This morning I bid a fond farewell to the Southern (fried) Dharma Retreat Center of Hot Springs, North Carolina, leaving behind my little plastic bag of toiletries in their lovely Teacher's Cottage for some future archaeologist to dissect and discourse upon. Meaning I forgot to pack my dog-goned little bag with my toothbrush, deodorant, soap, shampoo, floss, nail clippers and all that kind of stuff in it. And my electric razor! Man, am I bummed.
But the retreat was a very cool one. Diversity was the name of the game this weekend. More women than men, which has got to be a first for a retreat I've run if not for Zen retreats in general. Two devout Christians stayed through the whole thing and sat just as hard as anybody else. A group, for once, not made up entirely of white folks. Motley heavy metal dudes mixed with middle aged ladies. Hearing the language of the Bodhisattvas spoken in that melodic lilting down home drawl. An astounding scene. A truly southern dharma retreat!
We did a ton of zazen, raked a bunch of leaves, cut some wood, talked, read bits of Joshu Sasaki's "Buddha is the Center of Gravity," ate spectacularly great food, walked and talked some more. Many corn muffins and beans were consumed. Many farts were stifled in the silence of the zendo. Demons were wrestled with and conquered, though K.O.s were scored on the demons' side, ka-blammo by the zendo doors. Poetry was exchanged and dead dogs duly mourned. Live Buddha cats were petted and purred. The sun shone. The rain rained. The wind howled and roared. Sexy white butted deer trotted down mountainsides followed by Carolina panthers. Doubts were raised about swallowing the Kool Aid from trusted teachers.
A splendid time was had by all.
Then I raced down the mountainside in my nephew's squeaking Dodge Avenger to Asheville to speak in a reconverted chapel designed to mourn those dead from AIDS and now transformed into a tranquil sitting space. Six people showed up. But two of them traveled three hours just to be there and all were serious practitioners who cared deeply.
Tomorrow the Deep South Leg of Kalpa Long Cassidy Tour '09 continues. On April 6, 2009 (Mon) at 7 pm I'll be at The Regulator Bookshop 720 Ninth Street, Durham, NC 27705. On April 7, 2009 (Tues) at 7:30 pm I'll do a Dharma Talk at the Zen Center of Chapel Hill, 5322 North Carolina Highway 86 (2.5 miles north of I-40 Exit 266) Chapel Hill, NC 27514. After that I'll be at the Nashville Zen Center. Then on to T for Tex-Ass. Details linked to your left as always. So take a look!<<<<<<<<
Sunday, April 05, 2009