Home page: https://sites.google.com/view/risabear.
Soto Zen service and sitting, very informal, 7:15 pm PST most Sundays through Thursdays, available on Zoom.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

In Place: An Album: Preface and Part 1

Explanation: I'm book-blogging In Place on this site as a way of prepping a second edition.

In place: 1. working or ready to work; established. 2. [North American] not traveling any distance. One thinks of Thoreau (Walden): “I have traveled a great deal in Concord.” To “shelter in place” is to ride out an emergency, disaster or apocalypse in one’s place of residence or wherever one happens to be. Here it is suggested that the study of reality may be carried on just as one finds oneself, be it home, monastery, hermitage, hotel, freeway, or jail cell.

Not hindering others is not hindering self.
— Dogen (tr. Tanahashi)

Preface

The author is a part-time hermit, part-time householder; that is, the hut is by her back fence and she’s not there all the time.

The hut, called Gogo-an after the hut where Ryokan wrote poetry, currently contains

(deep breath)

a broom, cot, two blankets, two pillows, four chairs, electric desk lamp, desk, altar, censer, Buddha statue, vase, several clay offering bowls, candles, incense, lighter, cleaning rags, ointment, toothbrush, hairbrush, soap, ointment, two steel bowls, two soup/tea mugs, tumbler, two spoons, two forks, two pairs of chopsticks, a knife, steamer, coffeemaker, several Mason jars of dried tea, beans and grains, salt shaker with salt, water bottle, hammer, pair of pliers, assortment of hardware, pair of scissors, sewing kit, about twenty books, a transistor radio, Guanyin statue, a copy of a Soto Buddhist order of service, four chairs, framed enso, framed image of a statue of Mugai Nyodai, trunk with several changes of clothes and a pair of slippers, oil-filled heater, kerosene lamp, four bamboo window shades, work gloves, a gardening apron, secateurs, camp saw, ceremonial rakusu (for a Zen layperson) in its envelope, mala necklace and bracelet, lineage documents, pennywhistle, magnifying glass, flashlight, thermometer, and a horihori or Japanese gardening knife. Outside usually reside a bucket, hoe, sickle, and watering can. This list could easily be shorter but we’re not trying for martyrdom here.

1

Decades ago, a playhouse for her children
but too much window glass for their play
by the fence it stands now, forlorn, lost
neighbors' horses seem amused


This image was probably taken about 2010, when the playhouse had been mostly unused for almost two decades. The shade tree, a Douglas fir, is already looking a little drought stressed, perhaps partly because the playhouse was built so near it when it was a sapling.

I move my table to read sutras by moonlight
I pick wildflowers to fill my altar vase
Shiwu (Stonehouse, tr. Red Pine)

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