Wet, cold and gray Sunday afternoon here in Montreuil. Today is the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. That anniversary reminds me to bear witness to what happens when we don’t see « the other » as ourselves and ourselves as « the other, » as Bernie Glassman never stopped saying.
Meanwhile, looking ahead to our Heart of Life retreat, which begins tomorrow morning. For me, it’s already begun because I’ve been preparing it all for you. Since Bernie’s death a week ago today, his teachings have been more present than ever for me. (See my previous blog post.) So, to honor his life and what he gave to so many people throughout the world, our retreat this week will be focussing on his core Zen teachings. Retreat participants have already received the basic points we’ll be following; each day we’ll look into one of them. Watch this space daily for my words about each and the words that others may offer.
As an introduction to Bernie and his teaching (« It don’t mean a thing if ain’t got swing »), here’s a lovely tribute in music and pictures made by the photographer Peter Cunningham, otherwise known as Kuku, his Zen Order of Disorder name:
Thank you for sharing such an inspiration.
For me, the « retreat » already begun this day too. It was also « wet, cold and grey Sunday afternoon » in Porto and we were 4/5 people practicing and discovering a little bit more of Zen history during the workshop with Rui Lopes, in Centro Budista do Porto. Rainy day outside, a little more warmer inside…But it was not easy, I must confess. I was really tired and my old will wanted to go to my cats and blankets and some tea and movie(s)…and then, « what’s the right amount » I asked myself. And that made my day. Afterall, « our life is our message », sometimes the best practice is just follow our deepest will, and rest. And it’s ok if we don’t do some « formal » practice, sometimes the best practice is being mindfully in our home, with our cats and blankets. But this day I disciplined myself to a formal practice. And that’s how it was.
I have read and heard a lot about Bernie and his influence on Zen in the west. These were the first pictures I saw of his, and found them very interesting. I was struck by how many different personas he seemed to project.
Thank you for sharing this. It was wonderfull to remember Bernie Galssman this way.
I was very touched by the way playfulness and meaning come together in this video.