service to the world

Spiritual Pirates

Here’s a bracing article by Corey Ichigen Hess about the wildness and intensity of Zen training. With thanks. Read the full article on his website.

... what I found was a group of wild rebellious spiritual athletes ... they had a brightness, a sturdiness, an unmistakable freedom ...
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SPIRITUAL PIRATES

- by Corey Ichigen Hess [published at ZenEmbododiment.com]

There seems to be a feeling among some practitioners who have never lived in a monastery or Zen center, that it is some kind of cloistered, strange place, where socially awkward people go to be alone and get away from society. That society is one thing and the temple is separate. I thought this as well before I met a couple of folks who had lived in the Monastery I lived in in Japan.

What I found instead was a group of wild rebellious spiritual athletes, like some band of bald skinny pirates, chasing after the meaning of life with zest and swag and samugi. And the most badass pirate of them all, the most intense, the most extreme, the wildest, was the Roshi, like some transparent Alpha Dog Captain Hook. Being in the monastery is like being in the spiritual major leagues or the Zen biker graduate school, with exceptional people pushing life to the limits. It is like an oven turned up all the way. It is a bunch of determined heroes, men and women, with a problem with authority, only bowing down to the Roshi because of his obvious energetic dominance. His huge sublime state of mind. He walks in the temple and everyone sits up straight, not because of an idea, but because his energy changed the cells in our bodies.

We went there because we saw a huge vessel, human potential at its ultimate expression. We saw someone who would never be fazed by our incredible intensity, our rogue spirits, our inner turmoil. He could take anything we gave him, and show us just how badass one could be. He showed us that our struggles could be transformed to really help people.

And the folks who trained there, they had a brightness, a sturdiness, an unmistakable freedom we wanted. They had been through the shit there, so that every day is a good day, no matter the circumstance. Sitting a billion hours, in the cold of winter, or being swarmed by mosquitos for days, clothes molding on our bodies. Year upon year of training, like Jedi knights.

And being forged in that oven of essence, we saw that the way to truly help society is to find a light within ourselves which can never burn out. Deepening the vow to save all sentient beings, over and over, deeper and deeper…

Continue reading the article here : https://zenembodiment.com/2018/04/30/spiritual-pirates/

- with thanks to Corey Ichigen Hess and Zenembodiment.com. (Leave comments for the author on his website).

Corey Hess offers manual body therapy sessions and internal process work. He is located near Seattle, and can be contacted here.

Further thanks to Reinhard Jung.