Zen Discipline and Marking Milestones at Eiheiji
Part of our series on Kaoru Nonomura’s account of his year-long stay at at Eiheiji, the premier Zen training center in Japan. In this passage, Kaoru and his fellow novices just celebrated a major milestone (the “Registration” ceremony), which removed their provisional status and made them into resident trainee monks.
From Eat Sleep Sit, p. 184:
There isn’t the slightest trace of relief or jubilation at having passed an important milestone. … Even though our status had altered, we were in no state to know what to think about it. Certainly the registration ceremony was an important rite of passage, but our daily lives were not about to change. That’s the nature of Zen discipline. Attaining high office or completing long years of discipline does not alter one’s treatment either. Zen discipline is not a staircase or a means of getting somewhere, it is rather about the successive moments of life — of existence itself. It means being fully aware in body and spirit of the fact of your life, and continuing to cultivate and practice the best way to live as a human being. This is the meaning of Dogen’s words, “Dignity is itself the Dharma. Propriety is itself the essence of the house.”Advertisements