Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I Remember That

I did a one day sit with Robert Kennedy Roshi, a Jesuit Priest/Buddhist Roshi/psychoanalyst/former professor. I'd been told that he was good... and I trusted the source, so I went with a friend to San Antonio to see for myself.

The hours of the "sesshin" were not as advertised, so when we got there we discovered that everyone was sitting. We waited for the short 25 minute to be over so we could join the group in kinhin (walking meditation). Though I had seen a picture of him of the web, I couldn't recognize him.

My friend had black pants and a black shirt with white spots. He asked me when he got into my car if I thought his shirt was too lively for the sesshin. No, I said, this guy is pretty cool.

So I looked over the group walking. In the official zen world a priest would have a robe. No, noone had a robe, even the priest who ran the zendo. But everyone was in black, even yours truly. Everyone, that is, except a tall gray-haired man with kaki pants (w/rolled up cuffs) and a patterned shirt. Clearly this would not be Kennedy Roshi. He should have a robe and a collar and maybe a patch over one eye... not kaki pants and a patterned shirt.

So, you guessed it... it was him, in all his splendor.

I'm now listening to some of his talks on CDs that I purchased. He told an interesting story about Bodhidharma, who supposedly said that if a monk only studied and copied the teachings then he could be killed because there was no need for him. We need people with insight. Yea... not to the killing, but with that the point of view. How it might change education?

When I was in college my friend Susan said that if two people say the same thing, there is only need for one of them. I don't remember too many things that friends told me almost 50 years ago... but I remember that.

3 comments:

Kate Freeman said...

Today, my friend told me that teachers at the school which she sends her daughter have the girls kneel on the ground to make sure their skirt touches the floor. If the skirt does not touch the floor, the girl receives a checkmark on a card which hangs around the girl’s neck. Four checks and one gets detention. One can get checks for things other than a short skirt. My friend doesn’t understand why some parents got upset about this. Her daughter is six.

Kim Mosley said...

All in the name of education.

Anonymous said...

"When I was in college my friend Susan said that if two people say the same thing, there is only need for one of them." I doubt the wisdom of this statement. H.