This was my first visit with the Ch’an group since the retreat. After certain events I was feeling spiritually flat. I needed some cushion time today. Shixong ( brother) says, after we do some meditation we will have a special exercise to help with your detachment. It will help with those random thoughts you have during meditation. I’m thinking hmm ok, I can use that.
After about 30 min. of sitting we break. Shixong tells us about the drill/exercise. We are going to go hand out fliers. Oh No!!! I think. Facing strangers is good practice for you on detachment he says. Observe and reflect on your reaction to their response. In my mind I flash on the Japanese Soto exercise of begging, in a sense the same thing, but different. I think, oh jheeze, I do not like this, but I will do it. I have had plenty of exercise on detachment lately but one can not get enough, I guess until one is truly detached, It is always needed not just for sitting meditation but in daily life, eg: no email replies, job rejections, etc etc. Reminds of a Nurato Ninja cartoon where he was told, everything is training to a Ninja. Same as everything is Zen training. Ok, this one is dealing with strangers. For one as shy as I am, it is a major thing to do this, but I will “ganbatte” ( do my best) and face the shy demon. I will do the seperation, detachment thing I do when going on stage, getting up in front of a class, the like.
It was a nice day out side, cooler than it had been over the last few days. That was a blessing. We, my group, three of us, took a station in front of a Major Asian market. I notice there is already a group a people handing out fliers as well. Oh boy… It is not a real big deal to do this, but the other two in my group also admit they are shy as well. I pick a spot by a second entrance, alone and have at it. “Duweibuchi” ( excuse me) Jiega yau buyau, I say to the folks that look Chinese ( they look surprised to hear that from me, hehehaha) and show them the Chinese printed side of the flyer. Interested in class in Meditation, Would you like info, I say to the non-Chinese. One guy takes the flyer, looks at it, then looks at another flyer he is holding. He laughs and asks, this is interesting. This flier just handed to me a while ago is on the Christian path, now this one on Buddhism. We laugh. I say, this is not about Buddhism. Zen will help enhance the Christian experience. We use Buddhist words but it is not about being a Buddhist, it’s about being centered. We laugh, and he sets off to do what he was doing. There was one good encounter at least. Others just took the info, some with a slight smile some not. I thank them all.
After about 30 mintues, I had run out of flyers. Not bad. Only a few gave me the do not bug me look. A few plain ignored me, a few just said no, a few smiled and said no. I faced the demon and survived again…life continues. Did this help my detachment from thoughts when doing meditation…I’ve no idea. Perhaps the most important thing and Shixong did say something about this was…maybe it helped someone find THE TAO . Therefore helping fill my bodhisattva vows.