Monday, March 23, 2009

March 2009 Sesshin

Some of us just got back from Spring sesshin! It wasn't a home run with 32 people like last sesshin, but it was wonderful - 2o people (at most times) and it took much lesser time to clean up the zendo and kitchen!

Kudos to Justin! It was his first sesshin -- and boy did he get transformed!! Many people thought he will just quit -- he had only sat for a week at Rutgers before jumping into sesshin but by the end, he "was home"! He loved food and thought it was excellent that, in words from a teisho at this sesshin, "we held each other up" so beautifully!

It was a party in the kitchen, as always --- Many thanks to Brian for endless shredding of carrots and beets, Nobuko for cutting (and eating ;)) pickled daikon, Mike Shawe for squeezing a million limes, Sandy for the rich dessert, Ashish for mixing that thick potato puree, Karen for ricing us up, Imtiaz for delicious eggplant and sambhar, Ilusha and Yvette for initiating laughter when most of us would suppress our giggles! Brian, Jeff, Mark, Alex, Nick and Rachel were doing dishes -- meal after meal. And Rodica ..she is the master mincer - she cuts veggies so beautifully that they seem like tiny jewels!

Gary donned his cold mountain sangha cap at the beginning of sesshin and remained in that spirit throughout - tirelessly drumming mukogyo (wooden fish, a fish is always awake) . Jacky and Alex kept the zendo warm and inviting. The altar looks amazing everyday - but especially when the earthern lamps are lit on the last evening. Alex has made them on Bob's turning wheel and painted these lamps himself. I think they beat everything ever sold in Indian markets during Diwali time! Ofcourse, no one did only one thing and we were all butting our heads and noses into everything!

At one point while announcing Kinhin, Kurt said, "It is time to go limping around in a big circle!" Kudos to all of us -- bunch of limpers! Thanks to everyone for holding each other up and to Kurt for guiding us along ....and making delicious Lasagna (we had rice based one too) on the way!

Some COLD news!

Jacky and some of us were wondering why exactly are we "cold" mountain sangha? We hug at the smallest excuse and seem to be very warm people, cold sounds a bit heartless! Here is a little poem by Hsu Yun, the great Chinese master who could sit for seven days at a stretch that, according to Kurt, explains the cold! Chia-ju (pronounced Jaru) later pointed out the word 'Han' in Han Shan (Cold Mountain) can be translated as both 'cold' and 'humble or poor'. Its beautiful ..isn't it?

Ilusha is leaving for Seattle soon and he is going to try to meet -- guess whom -- our dharma aunt! She is wonderful -- or sounds wonderful. Check this article for all most of us know about her!

Mike Pope has been going to sesshins in Japan and has promised to write a post soon but we heard a snippet in a teisho -- during winter sesshins, there is not heat in Japanese temples. He has taken bath is freezing cold waters! Mike, hope you are deep in mushin when you do that!

Nobuko is leaving for Japan tomorrow for 4 months! There is a wild "Rutgers gang" that sits almost every morning and evening - setting up cushions at rutgers zendo or driving around New Jersey on sundays. She has been an integral part of that "lets do it" spirit and she knows she will be missed! Keep in touch, Nob!

Rodica is inspired to try out sprout based salads and many other people over the years have wanted to atleast keep a recipe handy! So in the next post, there will be recipe for basic sprout making! But it won't turn out so well without help of so many people who chip in to chop, chop and chop!

And last but not the least --

make it known that you would like to edit this post-- to add or correct things!

Gassho and hugs!



  1. Thanks, Kritti!
    Noboku: Tell Michael we say hi, and take lots of pictures!

    On top of Cold Mountain the lone round moon
    Lights the whole clear cloudless sky.
    (Han Sahn)

  2. Will do, thanks Jacky!

    And thank you Kriti, I'll try to keep things posted on the blog. But how do I post here? In order to publish a blog don't I have to create my own? (that's what I did- I don't know how to post on this one).

  3. Dear Nob and Jacky,

    Thanks for the poem Jacky!

    I sent you both a re-invitation to join the blog as an author on your Rutgers and bookend accounts. Please accept that offer and that should allow you to post here in this blog! Hope you have a wonderful flight and trip!

    big hug - Kriti