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F E A T U R E D

Sunday Zen: John Tarrant on February 12th

Wait List Only: Spring Open Mind Retreat, March 16–19

Zen Luminaries: Lewis Hyde in conversation with Jon Joseph on February 20

 

 

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WEDNESDAY ZEN: What Mask? with David Weinstein

December 28, 2022 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Free – $10

REGISTER


New Year’s Day:
Year after year,
a monkey puts on
a monkey’s mask.

—Basho

Basho wrote this poem on New Year’s Day, 1693. 1692 had been a difficult year for him, perhaps reflected in his comment that, “My New Year’s poem on the monkey is a completely bungled poem.” He had been caring for his ill nephew Toin, who had a wife and three children. Toin had died in April, and by mid-August, Basho had shut himself off from all visitors. During this time, he wrote that, “Crushed by other people and their needs, I can find no calmness of mind.”

This last year and the two before that have been hard for us too. Amidst the pandemic and accompanying instability, we could easily find ourselves joining Basho in finding no calmness of mind. 

New Year’s can be a time of marking a new beginning, a time of rededication to aspirations and goals. After a hard year, marking a new beginning feels particularly attractive. Basho must have felt very much that way at the end of 1692.

Basho considered his monkey haiku “bungled,” but I believe his judgment was clouded by the experiences of his difficult year. In his haiku, Basho notices what he has been doing, year after year (after year.) Noticing how his resolutions to change, to break new ground, not only at the New Year but with each new poem he was writing, were just like putting a monkey’s mask on a monkey: nothing changes, nothing new. 

I can hear Basho’s advice to his students, as he reminded them of the 9th-century poet and priest Kukai’s words:

Do not follow the ancient masters, seek what they sought.

Basho himself composed a haiku that spoke to this, “Don’t copy me, like the second half of a cut melon!” Basho was also speaking to himself, reminding himself to not copy himself—putting a Basho mask on his Basho face.

Our meditation practice is like this. With each moment, we are faced with the possibility of not putting the mask of previous moments on the present moment, of not putting masks of ourselves on our faces. 


David Weinstein Roshi

Join us for a koan, meditation, dharma talk, & conversation.
All are welcome. Register to participate.

—David

Details

Date:
December 28, 2022
Time:
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Cost:
Free – $10
Event Category:

Venue

PZI Online Temple

Organizer

David Weinstein Roshi
Email:
dweinstein@pacificzen.org
Register here to attend:
https://www.flipcause.com/secure/cause_pdetails/Nzk5NTc=