February 28, 2011
Today we begin the fourth and final week of Roshi Pat Enkyo O'Hara's Tricycle Retreat, "Ease and Joy in Your Practice and Life." This week's teaching is called "The World is Vast and Wide," a reference to a well-known Zen koan.
The discussion has already started this week, with a commenter discussing Roshi's experience on a homeless retreat of the type run by Bernie Glassman. The commenter says:
As someone who has been a homeless, alcoholic and addict, in the 17 years since I took my last intoxicant I have been approached by others in that situation. My instinctive reaction based on my experience was not to give the person money but to try offer food and coffee and a safe place to get those.
I "know" that to be the appropriate and compassionate response and the simple fulfillment of the request to be otherwise. The problem with giving is when it can harm and not help and to give with discernment which implies some form of judgement (expectation) as to what that gift will be used for.
That I suppose is a koan in itself.
The discussions are led by Enkyo Roshi herself, and have been particularly vibrant. Don't miss out on the chance to discuss Zen-in-the-World with Enkyo Roshi and other retreatants! Stop by the retreat here. The video is fifteen minutes long, but there is a two minute preview for non-members. (Non-members who would like to view the full video and engage in the discussion should join the Tricycle Community as Supporting or Sustaining Members.)
Enkyo Roshi's retreat also gets a shoutout at the end of this Religion Dispactches article, "Turn Off, Slow Down, Drop In: The Digital Generation Reinvents the Sabbath." Thanks, RD (and a tip of the hat to Gary Gach)!