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Posts Tagged ‘hermit zen’

So, I’ve officially been slipping in my “writing every day” habit I’d been forcing myself to stick to for a while. I forced myself to do it because I knew if I didn’t make a firm commitment to keep a habit of posting every day, I’d fall into the habit of not.

I’ve been very draggy the past few days with the flu, so in the evenings I have wanted to just close myself up and rest in the solitude of my immediate family or my own thoughts. I haven’t really had an easy time thinking of words to share with others.

One thing I have learned over the past several months, though, is that when I sit down to write, I will usually find something to say. Not always something I’m fully happy with, but at least enough to make some kind of connection between my thoughts and words to express them.

So here we are. I’ve had a beautiful, frustrating-yet-rewarding day, even if I’m not quite finding the words to express it.  I hope you have had a truly lovely day, as well!

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I was talking the other day about the difference between Hermit Zen versus Living Zen, I think I’ll call them. While the latter is about trying to better live our lives in this world, the former is more about escaping the world entirely. After all, one might say, if the world is such a grand scam of an illusion, the best thing one could do is to ignore it and not get caught up.

That’s all on my mind again, and I truly do understand the draw of Hermit Zen. The idea of chucking it all and going to live in the mountains can be very appealing. So much of the philosophical and mystical texts focus on the ‘unreality’ of our reality that it can get to seeming like there’s no point to any of it. So yeah, I do get where Hermit Zenners come from. Except for the fact that the world remains so very fun and beautiful that it’d be a real shame to waste it.

So I’m more of the approach of Ikkyu, our old wild-spirited zen poet friend. He saw the dangers of getting so wrapped up in the idea of enlightenment that you lose sight of the great, fun-filled life of enjoying enlightenment. See through the fleetingness of it all, yeah, but lifting those gloom-tinted glasses shows me not a graveyard of crumbling dust, but a garden of blooming beauty.

So here’s a poem by Ikkyu about a kind of study meditation I can enjoy…

A Fisherman

Studying texts and stiff meditation can make you lose your Original Mind.
A solitary tune by a fisherman, though, can be an invaluable treasure.
Dusk rain on the river, the moon peeking in and out of the clouds;
Elegant beyond words, he chants his songs night after night.

Ikkyu (1394-1481)

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