Thursday, December 07, 2006

Full Moon over Champsecret

Not a mirror of anyone’s mind:

Round moon and two great circles of light

Like halos, you said? No, fuck off.

A target waiting to hit a buddha.


Blogger oxeye said...

mike - i wasn't able to say it before, but i thank you for your efforts here. i rarely go a day without thinking of you. you impressed me with your sincerity.

Friday, December 08, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

Thank you, Oxeye.

Sincerity originally means the absence of something. But in trying to be sincere we always seem to introduce something, and therein lies a great difficulty in this Work of pursuing the truth.

Even though the striving itself seems to be the cause of so much trouble, I won't stop striving. I won't be discouraged by my thousands upon thousands of missings of the target. Believing that Gautama Buddha’s enlightenment took place as a real event, I hope I never lose the will to keep on aiming for that target. I hope I never lose the will to keep on doing this Work of truth pursuing.

On Tuesday night around midnight, my wife and I witnessed something remarkable, the like of which neither of us had seen before: the full moon surrounded by two great circles of light radiating out from it. The scene seemed to be calling to me to make some kind of response -- some kind of insight? -- I didn’t know exactly what.

Then during Zazen yesterday morning (Thursday) the intuition came to me that, of course, I was already making, there and then, the truest, most sincere response to the moon that I could make. True sincerity is there in our everyday enjoyment of Zazen, first thing every morning. Not necessarily in a special celebration, or a superlative action, or a brilliant piece of creative art or anything like that.

By setting up sincerity as a target, I am bound to miss it. But sometimes in striving for sincerity, and, in the very moment of striving, forgetting about sincerity, the target seems to hit me. When that happens it isn’t that I have hit the target of enlightenment. But it may be that the enlightenment which is the original state of the world, for a moment, has caught me.

The Alexander teacher Marjory Barlow used to say “You are all perfect, except for what you do.”

Yesterday I received an email from Nishijima Roshi in which, even though the purpose of the email seemed to be to scold me, I felt his really great sincerity. Even at the age of 87, he is still striving to teach me the true meaning of sincerity, which he calls "balance of the autonomic nervous system."

In my life I have been privileged to practice under and with several great people who have guided and helped me along the path of sincerity.

Gudo Nishijima has been foremost among them.

Another big stout fellow (to borrow a phrase that Master Dogen used -- DAI JO BU) is David Essoyan, who was my mentor at the Yoyogi karate dojo from January 1982 and who first shaved my head in the summer of 1986. As you can see from his comment to the previous post, 25 years on, David is still keeping his beady eye on me.

Another big stout fellow is Marjory Barlow, FM Alexander’s niece. I had a long series of lessons from Marjory from 1997 onwards. One of her teaching phrases which I treasure is that “If you really do this work, it keeps you humble.”

In other words, when I am not humble, when I am not sincere, when my efforts manifest not the absence of anything but rather the lingering presence of something, it simply means that I am not really doing the Work.

We arrived back in England from France this afternoon. An hour ago we received a phone-call letting us know that Marjory passed away. On Tuesday December 5th.

I won’t be attending the funeral. There is only one way I would like to show my respects for Marjory, and that is by endeavoring to do the Work, even if only for one moment, in the way she did it, with true sincerity, with true humility.

This post goes nowhere near to doing Marjory justice. But from tomorrow morning, I shall try again, and not necessarily in words.

Friday, December 08, 2006  

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