I named this blog after my dharma name!?! It feels like sacrilege. On the surface I am reaffirming a "self" or as described in the Diamond Sutra "creating a self." I'm promoting this image, this delusion, my ego. Or am I?
I started off using my dharma name as a filler to make this site but as I contemplated what the name of the blog should be, it became clear that I needed to do just that.
During the many years of practice I've been sitting with this paradox of "no self." What does that mean? When I get a toothache, I can't escape my self. When I was obsessed with wanting a motorcycle I just couldn't stop thinking about it. What could Mujo and all those generations of zen masters mean by no self?
Recently I had a long hiatus from formal practice. I think it was about two or even three months. I ended my leadership role at Conway Community Sangha and even stopped going. I stopped attending Mujo's Thursday night dharma gatherings on zoom, I skipped sitting most mornings, afternoons and evenings. I didn't read or study or chant any gathas or any sutras. I turned away, ready to give up. It even felt like most of the molecules in my body totally gave up. Mujo just supported me with patience.
Then I just quit all together. Something shifted. I was done struggling. I was going to just indulge myself and enjoy the experiences of life. Over the years it has become more and more clear how short and precious this really is. I just thought "why am I wasting my time on this beautiful day staring at the air when I could be out thrill riding on my motorcycle or smoking weed and just relaxing?" Sitting here right now I wonder if some of the molecules of my body just ignored "me" and kept sitting even when I was far, far away, not even looking, not even listening.
Am I these molecules?
Mujo came to NH for her annual vacation in July. On Sundays when she's here she gives dharma talks and it was my chance to return to my beloved Conway sangha and re-turn to practice. But, this time I'm not playing games with myself. I've decided to be totally me.
But, who am I?
Am I these molecules? Am I this identity? Jamie Gemmiti? Daikan? A dad? A son? A brother? A zen practitioner? A local photographer? A motorcycle dude? A friend? A lover? A listener? A pot head? Am I feelings? Thoughts in this head? Beliefs in this heart?
I don't know. Zen is don't know. Zen is openness. Zen is listening. Zen is life.
So, now I've come back to my vow to not turn away. Maybe I never did turn away.
And, maybe I'll never find out what really is in that name, but, I vow to keep facing it all. All the stuff I don't like and all the stuff I like.
Keep coming back, again and again and again.
With Black Magic, on the road, in my helmet, in the mirror, in the world.... in this Life.