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Buddhadharma : Fall 2013
62 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY FALL 2 0 1 3 Once Katagiri Roshi told us, “Practicing Zen is not like training your dog: Sit. Heel. Fetch. We are not training ourselves to be obedient and to just follow the rules. We are training ourselves to wake up.” When a teacher says this, you know he’s seen a lot of people trying to get it right. And failing. And being miserable. Katagiri Roshi would also say, “The meaning of life is to live” and “Let the flower of your life force bloom.” Not an easy task when so much by-the-book structure appears to demand compliance. Still the wisteria grows freely using the trellis for support. To be in the grip of rules is a fearsome place to abide. You know what you’ve done, so you are always on the run from the Zen police, trying to hide and cover up the lapses, seeing if you can face down the authorities. How discouraging it is to find out that you are playing every role yourself—and there is no one else to blame. You cannot escape the whole charade. You know what you’ve done, so you know KENTLACIN ILLUSTRATION | STACY INNERST Rules to Live By Doing the right thing doesn’t always mean following the rules, says Edward Brown. He only wishes he had known that years ago when he was deciding the fate of a young Zen student at Tassajara.