Monday, April 16, 2018

Jisha's Teacher


No sooner had I decided that I'd be my sister's Jisha (attendant) than someone said that would make her my teacher. And Zen teachers say that there is no separation of giver, gift or receiver. It is like when you aren't minding your p's and q's while doing electrical work. If you get shocked, the shock, the electrical wire, and you become one. They can't be separated. Any interaction is like that, including a kiss. Kissing occurred. That's it.

I thought I was just going to serve my sis. It seemed implausible and selfish to attend to her for a teaching. Thinking a little more about it, the teacher, the student, and the teaching really are one at the moment of the shock. That is what occurred when a Zen patriarch was enlightened after his teacher tugged on his robe. It is called "instantaneous enlightenment" and also "transmission" though it might have taken 1000s of lifetimes for the patriarch to get enlightened/transmitted from a tug (or from any other of the chance occurrence that did the trick).

At. Pasadena's Target store yesterday I had an argument with the young Jewish checkout clerk. He had a yarmulke (aka kippah) on his head. A fun diversion: yamaka in Buddhism refers to that part of the Pali Canon that are the real teachings of the Buddha. In any case, after I checked out he said "have a nice day." I asked why and he said that it is better to have a nice day than a bad day. I told him that all days are good, even the bad ones. He told me I was wrong. But we know that the customer is always right, so I repeated that all days are good––even the bad ones. I hoped he'd remember that.

I'm reminded over and over again of my childhood friend's father who had to have his feet amputated to save his life. Being a brilliant theologian, he repeated a number of times with much gratitude that it simply was the best of the alternatives. In Buddhism there is the koan where the disciple enters the room and says, "How is the venerable master today?" Master Ma answers, "Sun face Buddha, moon face Buddha." My sis is moon face Buddha these days. Yes, if she had a sun face light switch, she'd click it on. But still she's riding high in the saddle, despite having a body that needs some serious repair, and having a house with a clogged drain even after two plumber visits.

Hopefully the last of the clogs will be freed up this morning with plumber visit #3. As for my sister, she might not have a good day today, and that will be alright.

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