Sunday, February 16, 2014

Everything Changes - Have No Preferences - Nothing is Hidden

     "When we are training at the (Zen) monastery, we put on straw hats and go from house to house reciting prayers and collecting food, which is the only food we are permitted to eat. Some people are glad to see us, but some get very angry. When I was training, one of the places I had to beg from was a clothing shop that made kimonos. When I went there the proprietress threw water on me and became very angry. I had only begun my training a short time earlier, and I didn't understand the meaning of going to a place where I was not welcome. So I talked with a senior monk, and he agreed to go instead of me.
     I was watching from across the street to see what would happen. But he just did what he always did. This happened several times, and every time the woman would lose her temper and tell us to get lost. Finally my fellow monk said to her, 'Negative relationships, too, are relationships.' She became quiet, and then began to sob. After that she would send handsewn robes to this monk. I think that watching us come every day and go from house to house with our heads bowed had irritated her for some reason. But when the monk did not respond to her with hatred, something inside her changed suddenly so that she wanted to support us. I'm very interested in this possibility: that the things you have been suffering with up until a certain moment can change in an instant to a new way of thinking. In the course of my counseling, I see people become full of energy who just a few hours ago seemed on the verge of death. Seeing that, I feel that the process is very similar to the (Zen) training that I went through as a monk."          Ittetsu Nemoto

       Winifred Bird. "The Counselor. Japanese Priest Ittetsu Nemoto has made Suicide Prevention his Life's Work." Tricycle, Spring 2014.

Kah-Wai Lin

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