Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Requiem for Moths

It's moth season and several moths have found their way into Deming Zen Center.  They aim for lights and windows, any source of light, trying to find the sky and a way out.  Some die before we can help them find their way out.  Others catch on pretty quickly if we just open the door.

Zen Master Seung Sahn used to have interesting interactions with animals that would find their way into the dharma room.  On one occasion, he made the housemaster accompany him as he bowed to a potato bug that had crawled onto his meditation mat.  He then made a very formal introduction of himself, thanked the bug for coming, and escorted the creature out of the zen center because it wasn't safe for him there.  On another occasion, he did the same thing at morning bows when he discovered an insect in the dharma room, and as he helped it outside he said, "Come back when you have a human body!" 

This life is very precious, and the opportunity we have to practice is pretty rare, and time is fleeting.  The day came when even Zen Master Seung Sahn's body could not handle the prostrations that were part of his daily practice. 

Another teacher in our school, Myo Ji Sunim JDPS, once told a room full of students that they should practice as much as they could while their bodies were young and strong.  Early in 2012, she emphasized this point when she suddenly passed away.

Time is not as durable as the think.  Nothing guarantees even our next moment of life.  And when it comes to navigating human darkness and confusion, a lot of us aren't doing much better than the moths. 

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