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Thank You and OK!: an American Zen Failure in Japan
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[DC notes to self and others in brackets]

Chapter 68


June 13, 1990   -   CUT THE MOZO


In sanzen Hojo-san said, "Cut, cut, cut!" and "Fresh, fresh, fresh!"  Then he elaborated.  A lot of it went by me but I think it went something like: Cut out your tired old thinking and let in the fresh always-new mind that is there waiting to be recognized.  Leave behind the world of mozo, of confusion and illusion, for the real world which is the real me just sitting there waiting.

I nodded.

He said, "You're living in society where it is difficult to practice.  If you lived in the monastery you could be part of the rhythm and there wouldn't be all the confusion and distraction.  In your life there is one thing after another tugging away at you.  It is hard to concentrate on your koan.  But there are times when you are alone and you can grab those moments to practice mu.  And one day when you return to America, will you be a person without practice?  You will have to continue pushing deeper and deeper in the midst of confusing complicated social life."  Something like that. 

There's always so much I can't understand and so much I forget.  He says not to worry, that my deeper mind is listening and will remember.  I asked him if I could tape it and study it and he said no.  I thought of wiring myself but I remembered Brian De Palma's "Blow Out" and pictured the mic crackling or the recorder falling to the floor when I bowed and Hojo-san hanging me by the light cord that I brush by in the morning.

Sometimes I run home to look up a word or phrase or catch Jessica after zazen and ask her about it.  She'll give me a more relevant definition than any of my dictionaries which might not have what I'm looking for at all.  If I'm lucky she may elaborate on it before she has to run off to breakfast or I may walk with her on the diagonal dirt path through the temple grounds and find some gems of the immediate beneath the pines.