So now I’m having to write this entry and post it Wednesday night, before going to bed, because I have to set off early Thursday morning for my work at the refugee center.

Which means I can reflect on the day that is now ending, hazy moon high in the sky: quiet holiday in France, only two of us sitting in the zendo tonight. Not sure what is Halloween, what is All Saints Day and what is the Day of the Dead. But it doesn’t matter really. I spent the day at work on a translation, with a few Skype meetings in between, and coming and going in my mind Bodhidharma’s radical statement about Zen: « A special transmission outside the scriptures/Not based on words or letters/Directly pointing to the heartmind. » This speaks to me and has always spoken to me, corresponding to my own experience.

I’m reminded of it often when I go into my garden, where, at the back, is planted the pine tree that I received 13 years ago during my official transmission ceremony at Vajradhara Ling in Vimoutiers. All during that week, the tree sat on the altar in its little pot as I bowed and bowed and bowed. It was not even a meter high when I brought it home and planted it in our garden. For quite some time, several years, the little tree seemed to struggle and we weren’t sure that it would make it. And then at some point, I don’t know when, it began to grow stronger and taller. Now, as can be seen in the photo, it is taller than the neighboring buildings.

This tree keeps reminding of impermanence, of the basic teaching that nothing is static, everything is always transforming. Whatever arises — tall tree, short tree, no tree — I just need to see it and welcome it as it is. That’s the special transmission outside the scriptures.

Look around today: Impermanence? Special transmission? Life just as it is?

And keep sitting, keep coming back, keep reading and writing here, in the heart of your life.