January 07, 2009

The Anniversary of Ryokan's Death Day, January 6, 2009

January 6, 2009
The Anniversary of Ryokan's Death Day

Today is the anniversary of Ryokan's death day.  He died quietly on a snowy morning in 1831 with friends at his bedside.  Hundreds and hundreds of people attended his funeral several days later to pay honor to the beloved hermit priest/poet/artist-calligrapher.  
He comes alive in this age,  his poems translated far and wide into many languages.  What would we do without him, without his simple teachings that wind deeper and deeper into the heart the more we recite them!
At Olympia Zen Center, we recite one of Ryokan's poems every morning as part of our liturgy.  It's a simple practice, but each time we chant those words, we create a resonance around the space that moves the teachings of Ryokan into the bones.  It's the simple act of every day doing that helps teach us about the abiding spirit that resides within and without.
What is your simple everyday practice?  Is it the simple, conscious, aware act of washing your face?  Is it the offering of a fresh cup of water on your home altar?  Now, in this New Year it is a fine time to renew that daily aware sacred action.  It is a fine time to begin.
Eido Frances