Posts Tagged ‘cats’

Disappearing acts

We have been living together for over 13 years, the human animal and the two balls of fur and tenderness. I would like to say we were there for each other but realize it might be a romanicized picture my mind constructs now. We were there with each other, that’s for sure. Maybe sometimes that is enough.

The older one was somewhat neurotic, jumpy and insecure.  I could never say what she had on her mind and often had a feeling she could see me for who I truly was. Looking into her eyes for a while was often like staring into the sky, provoking the effect of vertigo. She never demanded attention, but asked for it ever so gently. Truth be told in the past year or so she very seldom received it from me. Not surprising, I didn’t notice when she started the fading away business. I was not paying attention, busy getting all the things done. The younger – very verbal, outgoing and totally incapable of being moody or angry – used to miew her way into a hug.

It ended within a week. Worse things happen, I suppose. Every day somewhere in the world people die, hearts get broken. We had to move on. Only something doesn’t work. It is not just that we became one loving being short in the household, it is that one other being doesn’t seem to know how to exist in this world without her companion. Lisa, so quiet you hardly knew she was there, had a function in our triad, of which I was totally unaware. Her disappearing act shifted the invisible balance. The younger one I knew seems to have disappeared with the death of her companion and in the rear moments of silence at home, I catch myself thinking, “This is not the one I loved”.


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Xuefeng Yicun was once the tenzo under Dongshan Liangjie. One day when Xuefeng was washing rice Dongshan happened to pass by and asked, “Do you wash the sand and pick out the rice, or wash the rice and pick out the sand?” “I wash and throw away both the sand and the rice together,” Xuefeng replied. “Then what on earth do the residents here eat?” Dongshan pressed again. In reply, Xuefeng turned over the rice bucket. On seeing that, Dongshan said, “The day will come when you will practice under another master.”

Dogen, “Instructions for Zen Cook”

During the second webinar Dosho briefly went through the story which is about intimately studying the self. Dongshan asks Xuefeng, What is the essence of your practice? Do you throw away what you don’t want or focus on getting what you want? He considers practice to be a concrete expression of our life, not something conceptual, theoretical. Xuefeng’s answer is overdramatic: he turns the bucket over, spilling everything onto the floor. Dongshan is not questioning this response but suggests that Xuefeng with time find a teacher supportive of this more demonstrative style of practice.

As always with these stories, I had no idea where to go with it. So I just let it simmer for a while.


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Living with the Buddhas

I have realsied I am surrounded by Buddhas even at home. They do not seem to be bothered about the meaning of life or obsess aboout the future but seem to be very much at peace with themselves and the world around. I have a lot to learn in this department.

Valuable and unexpected lessions I’ve learnt from the cats that have been kind enough to stay with me for over a decade:

There’s no need to answer the phone just because it’s ringing.

Stretch! It feels great and it does you good!



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