using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Buddhadharma : Summer 2013
SUMMER 2 0 1 3 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 81 is to say, I was at risk of losing whatever status I had so recently achieved in his estimation. I had elevated him to a point where I couldn’t confide in him out of fear he might banish me from his lordly realm were I to displease him in any way. There was nothing he did, short of being his serious self when it came to Zen, that contributed to the gulf between us. No, that distance came as a result of my fear of him and the authority he represented, a fear that short-changed both of us. It was also the result of what his teachings represented: the scary Buddhist notion of no-self that had bothered me since high school. 2006 WHEN I HAD STOOD in front of San Un Zendo on a brief trip to Japan sev- eral years before, I had been too afraid to knock on the gate and re-enter my former spiritual home. But now the time had come. I kissed Virginia, my ever-patient wife, goodbye for a week and flew to Japan. After a two-hour train trip, I was back in a place that had once been just short of paradise on some days, and a hell on earth born of panic attacks and paranoia on other days. Unlike my last fear-attenuated trip to the temple, this time I knocked, opened the latticed gate, and walked under the kan (barrier) cal- ligraphy that hung above the entrance to the zendo. No one was about yet, and for this I was glad, because I was immediately overcome with emotion when I slid open the shoji doors of the zendo and slowly walked to the altar as if in a dream. It was largely unchanged from when I had last seen it over two decades earlier, except for a photo of Yamada Roshi framed in black. He had on his face a smile of the utmost com- passion and kindness, a far cry from the gruff visage I had carried with me for so long. I found a stick of incense, lit it, and bowed, tears dampening my cheeks. “Thank you for everything,” I whispered, as I placed the incense in the urn and stood transfixed in the echoing silence for a full half hour, just remembering. The evening contingent of zazen practitioners began to arrive, and so I plumped up a zafu and sat with them for the next two hours. At the end of that time, Ursula Okle, one of my old gaijin friends who had been coming to San Un Zendo for three decades now, took me inside the house to meet Yamada Roshi’s wife for the first time in over twenty years. Oku-sama showed little sign of her ninety-plus years, and not only did she remember me, she brought up details of my time in Japan that I had forgotten all about. I bowed to her as I left, saying, “Thank you so much, Oku-sama. Thank you for everything.” “Oh, don’t even mention it,” she replied, just as she always had. Out on the streets of Kamakura dur- ing the week I was there, I was in for another pleasant surprise. The shouted “Gaijin!” of children had driven me around the bend back when I first lived in Kamakura in the early ‘70s. Now, not only was I unmolested, but the children seemed not even to notice my foreign other-ness. The following Sunday was zazen- kai, led by Kubota Roshi, whom I had known years ago as Kubota Sensei. He still remembered me. As dokusan time approached, I felt none of the old anxi- ety I had once felt when “going alone” to see Yamada Roshi. Instead, I was filled with confidence and serenity. At one point during our face-to-face meet- ing, Kubota Roshi said words that have resonated in my mind ever since: “In kensho we realize there is no intrinsic, permanent ‘I.’ We are completely free.” And there it was. The Buddhist doctrine of no-self that had so terrified me for years. Now, though, it represented total liberation from that fear. No limited ego that imprisons one in time and place, birth and death, but rather a univer- sal “I” that is boundlessly liberated, at home everywhere in what Yamada Roshi once called the “homeland of the heart.” Adapted from A Straight Road with 99 Curves, published by Stone Bridge Press, 2013 ➤ continued from page 39