rice money rain mist mud
in my begging bowl
As I sat and also took some time to think, I reflected on the symbol of the bowl, and in particular what takes place with begging. In the old days and still now, the monk on the begging round accepts everything that is dropped in his bowl, he doesn't show his face, so cannot actually show content or discontent (it is hidden under a large straw hat) and has to also accept bad weather, insults, cooking smells, swearing words, teasing from kids, beautiful legs going by and the thoughts they trigger...everything.
We don't have to beg in order to make this experience because everyday life serves us a big variety of happy, not so happy and sometimes really bad experiences and we have two options, not three: just two. We either resist what is painful and unpleasant (and generate far more pain and nasty feelings doing so) or we just take it and accept it, raw, plain, as it is. No pain killer, no hope or pretending. I am very bad at accepting things, like most people, I like to be in control, choose what I want when I want it, and that's exactly when the Dharma teaches the fool I am. It brings me everyday somehow in front my shortcomings and invites me to practice acceptance, to accept and feel gratitude for sun and rain, night and day, joy and sorrow. So I don't have to wear my straw sandals and my large hat and go hoping in the streets to entertain the local folks. I can do it when I commute, work, shop... name it....
The bowl? This body-mind, wondrous and mysterious and f..... up two. The teaching? This, whatever, always coming unexpectedly, this gift or wound, but always a rare opportunity to practice as Fugen puts it :wink:
If you come to Japan, I can share with you Takuhatsu, the begging practice. Exotic. Yeah. And (but) remember, you have the perfect environment to practice: this life, exactly where you are, exactly who you are with. Nothing else. Plenty. What better reality could you wish for?