This is the first day of our retreat, the morning of the last Monday in October. Here in Montreuil, I’m having some tea with the cat before heading into the activities of the day — sitting, Skype appointments, paperwork, Portuguese lesson (sim, é verdade!), more sitting. After the time change here in Europe, sun is up earlier than I had expected.

And I’m starting the week with just one stroke. That one stroke says it all, it’s the full expression of one singular moment. Nothing else is necessary. Then I wonder: What else is an expression of one singular moment? I look around. Then I feel that a better question might be: What is NOT an expression of one singular moment? What does it mean to be the « expression of one singular moment »?

When a student asked the great Zen master Joshu what was the meaning of his teaching, Joshu replied: The oak tree in the garden. When Stephen Dedalus (in Joyce’s Ulysses) is asked what God is by the headmaster of the school where he teaches, he indicates the boys playing loudly outside and replies: A shout in the street. And then of course Bodhidharma famously replied to the emperor questioning him about the essential teaching of Buddhism: Vast emptiness, nothing sacred. Which is another way of saying: Infinite diversity, everything sacred.

Have a look around today and ask yourself again and again: What is « sacred »? What is not « sacred »? Then tell us all about it.