Leaving home ...

This post will be “in progress” all week. I will update and add periodically.

Sometimes one leaves home to go home in order to remember what home is. Below is a picture of the road out of Tassajara. It is the only picture I have from last week. I marvel at the blue sky.

update/postdate #1, July 10: Most of the time, when I am at/in Tassajara, I find I want to capture the beauty of practice. For me. And for you. I rarely take pictures or put pen to paper there because such mediums end up disappointingly flat in affect. I snapped this picture on the road to send someone a txt to let them know I was, in fact, leaving Tassajara.

I remember, a long time ago, my grandmother teaching my sister and I origami. Remembering that now, awkward fingers struggling to make crisp pleats, corners, folds. Dirty finger smudges on the paper. I learned, remembered but did not at the time, understand. I have not made cranes since the first commemoration of the Hiroshima bombing (Aug 6) by Japanese Americans and Hiroshima survivors, circa, 1969 or 1970. San Francisco. Ten thousand cranes went to Hiroshima. A symbol of strength (and compassion) for sorrow.

Katherine, with a sigh, once said, ‘sometimes, maybe the best we can do is to just hold hands.’ Origami might be the expression of holding hands right now. Mourn the past and see how cranes fly in the present. See the link to Ryuken Duncan Williams’ site about Fort Sill, a July 20 Buddhist service for the past and present. Send a crane, if you like.

Update/Postdate July 12: I’ve often said I came to meditation because I was working some stuff out in my life. Do you say such things? In the West, we tend to privilege individualist modes of understanding the world. Western Buddhist practice is an historical formation (trigger warning: sociological/academic word) and it is also an individual practice path. My path is always a shared with others, some of whom I know, and most who I will never meet. My, or your (and technically, its neither mine nor yours) individual practice will always be part of larger formation of Buddhism in the West, much of which is hidden from view (for most of us). And my life, and yours, is already conditioned by patterns of inequality, ideas about the self, ideas about nature, etc. Sometimes I think I see this path but then as I round the next corner, I am not so sure what comes next. Recently, I’ve been reading/listening discussions about practice and the historical formation of Buddhism (in the West), and the connection between the two. I will write more about some of these conversations in a future post. But for now, I return to making cranes.

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