Sunday, August 14, 2011

settling in

Anna has been doing some massive unpacking and organizing. We need some furniture, like a bookcase or two, and something new to do with the television, but overall we're in pretty good shape to be ready for the coming of the Epic Couch, whenever that is. The spare room bears the brunt of the unpacked bins, but they have to live somewhere, and hopefully we can cull out a bunch of stuff.

We had some drama around getting Internet access, since the DSL tech showed up and basically went "WTF?" and left. There's a phone junction box outside on the next building, but there's also a junction in our front hall closet, and it appears AT&T naturally ran their circuit to the outside box, except it's the closet junction that connect to our internal wiring. I know, it bores me, too. At any rate, DSL Tech #2 came on Friday and ran a network cable from the outside junction box, around the building, in the ivy groundcover, through our window. It's very fast, and hopefully when AT&T comes to run a new circuit, they don't break everything.

The new place is amazing. We have a bedroom! With a door, that closes! Also, hardwood floors, granite countertops, gas stove, and a porch. It's a good change and we like it.

It's not been a restful weekend: my teacher gave dharma transmission (see next paragraph) to a student, yesterday was a one-day sitting to welcome a new teacher. It was a particularly rough schedule, so I was beat last night, and today was shopping and going to a celebration dinner. Nowhere near as much slacking as I'd like.

Dharma transmission is a Zen ceremony where a teacher gives full teaching authority to another teacher. This something to do cautiously, because for better or worse (Eido Shimano, Dennis Merzel), it can't be undone. My teacher especially feels that some people receive transmission too early in their lives and their practice, so right now it seems likely she'll only do it twice, and this was one.

There's a lot of romanticism around dharma transmission, usually making it out to be some magical anointing with pixie dust that lets you bestow enlightenment on people. The original story goes that the Buddha was speaking to an assembly, and held up a flower. Everyone was confused, except for Mahakashyapa, who smiled, and that connection between them was the first "mind-to-mind transmission". It's not something that happens, though. It's a recognition by the teacher that this other person sees the Dharma, Buddhist practice and teaching, the same way as the teacher; that the student will carry forward the essence of the teacher's teaching, with their own individual stamp. Certainly true in this case. So, yay!

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