Filed in Zen (Chan)

Zen and the Art of Begging

Practicing Takuhatsu in America

Eido Frances Carney

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It is the day for takuhatsu in Olympia, this small city in the State of Washington. After zazen and morning ceremony, we eat a modest breakfast of oatmeal and tea and still feel hungry. This is good, as one should not go begging on a full stomach. The rain has held off, but it is misty, windless, and raw. Streets and alleys are full of puddles. Only students who have requested this opportunity are participating, and two are doing takuhatsu for the first time. There will just be four of us. We are not trying to create a spectacle; we are practicing a tradition of Zen that dates to the time of Shakyamuni Buddha and has been passed down with the begging bowl to the lineages of the present day.

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