Monday, 9 August 2010

Books and rolling stones

I have just discovered that the American Zen teacher Robert Aitken died a couple of days ago. I was slightly surprised to find that I don't have any of his books, though his name is well known to me. Maybe I should honour the occasion by going out and buying one.

I haven't had time for blogging here for a long while, as Tiny and TinierBookworm have been occupying most of my energies, and we have also had a major house move. I am now living with at least two thirds of my book collection in storage, which would be frustrating if I actually had time to do much reading. As it is, I scarely have a chance to read the ones that I do have on the shelves.

Moving house has also meant moving away from the small Zen sangha to which I had become affiliated. Having returned to my cushion last summer, I am still there (still struggling*). I am now casting around for a Zen group in the area that will tolerate the patchy commitment that my family duties will allow. I have attended one zazenkai (day of silent Zen meditation) with a fairly local group. It was nice, among all the upheavals of changing location, to find something familiar in the zendo; but all zendos are different, and this group doesn't meet often enough for their way of doing things to become quickly comfortable. By the end of the day I was finding it somewhat gruelling, mainly just because the physical discipline eventually gets to my back.

* Zen has been likened to polishing a rock into a mirror: I am still chasing the rock.**

**I know: it is not the rock that is moving.