Sunday, October 23, 2011

Occupy Genjokoan

I was meditating on the plaza where our Occupy protest is going on today, sitting next to the sign you see above. Next to me also sat the book in the photo, a fairly well known academic commentary on Zen Master Dogen. There was a cool breeze, and the air was fairly damp as I sat, watching my breath, and taking in all the various sounds of the folks around me.

Suddenly, I hear the following:

"To study the Way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be enlightened by all things of the universe."

I opened my eyes and saw a guy about my age standing in front of my sign. He said "What's the next line?"

And together we came up with the next line of "Genjokoan" about dropping off body and mind.

We bowed at each other. He said "I saw your book about Dogen sitting there and then read your sign."

It turns out he had been attending services at one of the other local Zen centers, which is where he had learned the Dogen quote from.

We talked a bit more, and then he left to get something to eat. As he walked away, I thought "What a small world it is to have someone walk up to you and start quoting Dogen."