Zen does not live by Kyudo alone
It sometimes seems like when I check over my posts since coming to Kawaii-land, most of my post are about Kyudo. My blogs in the states I think had more substance, hmm more variety, maybe. I read bits of other expats blogs and they speak of misc, teaching of classes, interaction on the trains, at coffee houses, parties, travel, sake, dates, food. discrimination, not all though. Some speak of their home life and the kids, Kyudo, a little Buddhism, sailing, hikes ( that reminds me I need to add a links section to this blog, hmm maybe just a reciprocal readers links). I guess that really covers the whole living in Japan experience so there is really nothing new to speak of. Maybe my view is just a little different because of my age and background…maybe. Also since I do not get out much other than to Kyudo, the occasional trip to the marina, and Zen temple. I guess my writing is what it is…mine. Sadly a big part of that, getting out thing has to do with finance issues…the getting out part. It is expensive to take a train ride to Kobe to sit in and Jam with some other musicians, or to another part of Osaka to do the same. That would be interesting…and fun..I would love to, but…choices, priorities need to be made.
My gardening stuff is limited with the weather change perhaps in the spring there will be more to chew on, (pun intended) with a bigger veggie garden and some cooking. I have done a few cooking tests here for breakfast items like, potato pancakes, fried potatoes with green onions, and stir fried rice-tofu both with garden herbs ( all frying is done with coconut oil). LZ loves it when I make breakfast. We do not have a real oven, so I am limited for now. We do have a small toaster oven and the microwave is suppose to be an oven type as well or something, but I have not gone there yet. Also, we do not really have a frying pan, We have been using a pot for frying. We lost our good cooking items on the boat. I do not want to buy an aluminum pan, I prefer cast iron However that is too heavy for LZ to use. Teflon I want to get away from and I hear some Stainless is questionable with using nickel in it. Sigh. We have found some good safe cookware however it is costly and will have to be eased into the budget for purchase as a life investment, as finances improve.
I have made a few contacts in the boating community, however with the onset of winter, that is a warm weather activity here in Japan, unless one has their own boat and wants to brave the cold. I did do some winter sailing in CA. We did have some cold days one just bundled up and went for it, not that often but still it was there with your own ride. Even here some of the days are not too bad, if I was not boat-less. A friend has invited us for a sail, however his boat is under repairs. Another issue here for boating is one needs to have a license. The class and test run in the range of over 100,000 ¥ ($1,000) min I believe. So even if I am lent a boat to go play with there is the legal issues. However I believe if one sails with no motor that is ok. So again it is the money thing and priorities. Food, rent, heat or…
So really most of my time is spent at home, gardening, internet research, Kyudo, Zen practice or study of some sort, studying some Japanese, looking for work. Not really at lot of other interesting things to write about, like some of my fellow expats with more exposure to Japan society. On the other hand as I was told by a veteran former Japan expat from The UK,
“just remember that out of chaos comes what is meant to be……you are still at the start of your Japan journey..it will become clear eventually“
I guess even a calm can be interpreted as Chaos, if it goes against a hoped for plan and throws one life into a tail spin…eg: chaos
Into his life some Fu must fall
So there is some relief from the turmoil of limitation$ and restriction$ in being able to practice my “Fu” arts at the shrine. That is my other moments of pleasure, challenge, work and meditation. The other face of recovery, “practice”. The summer here was pleasant however the mosquitoes made it, hmmmm a challenge. Now with the cooler (cold) weather they are gone. Once I get past the chill it is quite pleasant,
Warm tree filtered sun spots,
Chirping of birds songs freshen the air
I bathe in Shrine Ki
Fallen Summer leaves cover earth,
Whirling steps and weapons make them dance
Active again…brief as life
There is a certain sense of peace and oneness to practicing outdoors at the shrine that is different from an indoor practice or a parking lot on cement…more Zenish. Mostly these days it is review, relearning, refreshing. I have forgotten more than I ever will remember. However what I do recall is quality stuff and my foundation is strong I believe. I do have some worthwhile skills to pass on. It was good planning on my part to make a video of some things I knew I would to need to relearn and keep. The issue now is finding students. We have researched enough to find a affordable location to rent on a by class/daily bases. Not far from our home next to our friend’s Yacht harbor, a bike-able distance. Biking has become a big deal in this new life. Now comes the task of finding interested students. The common way would be to flood the area with ads, not a option because that will bring us back to “dough” 🙂 Music people will get the pun.
Living is Zen practice. It is not just going to a temple and meditating or sitting at home or some quiet spot. It is dealing with the everyday disappointments, it is marriage, relationships, jobs the having and not having. Sometimes dealing with them takes time, Buddha, sat for 49 days, Da Mo (Bodhidarma) for years it is said, Jesus went to the desert for 40 days to center, find a workable solution for his distress, unease. I recall seeing a cartoon on Facebook. Two monks a young one and a senior. The senior says; Your final test of enlightenment is forthcoming. The next frame shows the young monk sitting at a dinner table with his family around him doing their holiday gathering creating a mist of chaos. There is a saying, “practice” in the city is superior to “practice” on a mtn top.
Mine in this case from the quiet practice of waiting in Mexico, then facing the vastness of the sea, the lost of Zen II, to the quiet Chaos of restarting life in another country…Zen practice happens. Suffering and practice can be the quiet pains of budget restrictions and limited food or the yelling of bosses and blasts of car horns, or the lack of movement on a windless ocean counting the days of water supplies, or the lost of dreams. The discomfort of legs while sitting is a small challenge compared to making it to the end of another day under the illusion we have some control over anything but our response. Dealing with the small discomforts, sitting Zazen, doing a Kung Fu form with all details in order, the small adjustments in Shaho-Hassetsu to hit the target, conditions one for the big ones in living. Zen is not being happy all the time or not being emotional or not expressing joy or sadness. That is not living that is death. Zen is understanding that one does not always hit the mato. When missing happens you recheck, adjust and reload, you do not blame the arrow or the target, you blame your skill. Which can be form to raise or formless to overcome and that can take some time…practice… and practice has many faces, but the same head.
One does not live by Kyudo alone…when you see it as form alone. Kyudo like Zen is form and formless, Kyudo is Zen, Kung Fu is Zen, Zen is life, life is food, exercise, love, suffering, joy. Life is form and formless, in the practice of one, is the practice of all. Enriching one, enriches all.
End notes to self