Sunday, February 6, 2011

Things Change

Last week I talked about my friend who has moved into our Zen Center, intending, probably, that she would live there for the rest of her life. She is still there, but she may not be able to live there much longer.

Our Zen center has exploded. Our Zen Center may cease to exist.

I am told that "it's all over the internet" and also that I "don't want to read what is being said." I probably don't want to read what I might could read if I sought it out. I was there at the meeting on Thursday. That was enough. I doubt that there is anything new and different on the internet.

Our Roshi is a very flawed human being, and in January his ethical lapses became public. I won't go into any details ("it's all over the internet"). The details don't really matter anyway, and what has happened to us has happened to many, many other communities, all kinds of communities. It has happened a lot within the North American Buddhist (not just Zen) communities. Some of the stories are legend.

The question is, what now?

We have a Board of Directors who will make the decision for the organization. Roshi will make a decision about himself and his life. We, the members of the sangha, will have to live with what they all decide. That's the easy answer. What will be, will be.

About a year ago, Roshi had a sangha meeting where he asked people to really figure out why each of us, as individuals, was there in that room and a member of the sangha. He asked us to get clear about what we wanted to "get." He offered two possible answers: 1) to improve your life and 2) to work towards eventually receiving transmission (becoming a teacher in your own right, aspiring to be a sensei and eventually a roshi).

He said is you were here to improve your life, fine. We'll help you with that as much as you do or don't want. But then he really laid into the second group of people for quite some time, and his message there was that those people needed to "get serious" really fast and to stay serious.

I had to think about why I was there. I was clear, very clear, that I was NOT there for reason #2. I have NO aspirations towards ever being a teacher. (Frankly, it looks like a horrible job to me .... 100% not for me). But I also knew I was not just there for reason #1. My life was, and still is, pretty decent, actually. Improvement is always needed, of course, but on the whole, things have been going along quite well for me in the past many years.

I was there because I wanted to be part of the community, the sangha. I came looking for a community to join, and I found one there. I love that GROUP of people very much and want to stay a part of them. That's why I'm even considering the idea of becoming a monk ... so that I will be a permanent and public member of that community. This is what is disturbing me the most here, the mere possibility that the sangha might be dissolved.

I intend to show up a lot in the near future. I intend to show my fellow shanga members that I want to be a part of the keeping us together, with or without Roshi. We have something here that is very valuable, worth struggling to keep and make better.

The Zen way would to let go of attachment to the outcome, wouldn't it? I'm not there right now.

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