Jeremy Yo: again, my heart escaped far far away
—-Retreat Sharing, 7-day retreat (TP7R1), June 4- 11, 2016
I always hesitate and struggle before every retreat. This time was no exception. I kept thinking about how to advance my Zen experience, how much suffering I would go through, and how long I had been stuck at this level.
The suffering which comes from the practice isn’t new and I have already experienced a lot. There is nothing noteworthy to describe. What I can do is ask and keep asking No-self. During the process, Shifu Linda used the Zen stick to remind me, and constantly and earnestly gave me instructions in the one-on-one talks. I feel ashamed as I look back on the whole process now. I wasn’t really present, I let my heart escape. I always need others to push or force me to move on, no wonder I can’t practice Zen well.
It was about halfway through the retreat, when I found my weakness and my fear. I was so scared. Finally, I burst into tears. Shifu Linda said that this was the perfect time to work hard and encouraged me to get through it once and for all. I wiped away the tears and nodded, but again, my heart escaped far far away. Shifu Linda said that my heart had been leaving the retreat. Indeed, my mind and my heart were deserted.
At the end of the retreat, Shifu Linda said she exerted her best efforts to help every student and she hoped that we also did as best as we could. When I heard this, I was so ashamed that I could not say anything during the sharing and discussion time. My mind was blank, so I could only say something meaningless to fill the time. Of course, Shifu Linda scolded me in public.
Do I know the key point of my problem? Of course, I know. To put it bluntly, I am spineless and I dare not take responsibility. Shifu Linda asked me to reach the one-pointed mind level in this retreat and then to teach the beginner’s class when she is in the states. It doesn’t matter that I can’t speak English. It is fine that I teach in Chinese. Otherwise, the resources of the Center are wasted. I was scared out of my wits when Shifu just told me this. I kept thinking, if I can’t take care of myself and my family, how can I expect to teach others? I thought of my father. It had been just three months between when he got sick and when he passed away and I couldn’t do anything to save him. When I thought of this, I couldn’t help crying. How can I teach others? I resisted teaching about Zen from the bottom of my heart. I don’t want to do it. However, on the other hand, I saw what the Shifus have done and how they have behaved; I feel so ashamed. How can I say no? I was full of reservation. If you do not put yourself 100% in Zen, don’t waste your time. You don’t really need to do it.
At first when preparing to write sharing, I told Karen (my wife) that Shifu Linda scolded me more and more severely. Karen showed me the four great vows and suggested I read them again. I was so shocked that generations of people have said and taught the vows. In the modern twenty-first century, our Shifus still teach in this way. Don`t you understand? Gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate, bodhi svaha (mantra in the end of Heart Sutra). **** check more Student Sharing ****