Sunday, March 20, 2011
Seeking Spiritual Guidance: Gary Snyder
I've also liked things Gary Snyder says in one interview or another. Lately I've been feeling that I waste time, don't reach my aims (one of which may be to simply post a blog), have too little energy ... malaise, perhaps. Today, looking through old notebooks, I find something from the mid-seventies I called 'Anecdote from Gary Snyder Interview':
During the first year or two that I was at Daitoku-ji
Sodo [a Japanese zen monastery], out back work-
ing in the garden, helping put in a little firewood,
or firing up the bath, I noticed a number of times
little improvements could be made. Ultimately I
ventured to suggest to the head monks some labor-
or time-saving techniques. They were tolerant of
me for a while. Finally, one day one of them took
me aside and said, "We don't want to do things any
better or any faster, because that's not the point --
the point is that you live the whole life. If we speed
up the work in the garden, you'll just have to spend
that much more time sitting in the zendo and your
legs will hurt more." It's all one meditation. The
importance is in the right balance, and not to
save time in one place or another.
Is there, in sitting in the same chair from noon until ten p.m. watching highly-defined basketball on a large flat-screened television, as I did yesterday and expect to do today, any possible connection with meditation?
I don't think so. I think I would be asked to leave the monastery.