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Zen Lesson One for Christians
"Gassho" means to "join together in respect". The butterfly is joined to the flower. The past few years I have been joining together my Zen practice with my Christian beliefs. It all began with a "Kensho" - enlightenment experience in a forest outside of Leavenworth, KS. In this silent forest I was invited by the Holy Spirit "to see one"s own nature". I began the practice of zazen; sitting with my wandering mind and addiction for planning the future. In this state of mind I am usually wanting to be somewhere else. With lots of zazen I have discovered the contentment of being in the now. Zazen pulls all the thoughts, images, concepts and exciting ideas into one big blank space. There is nothing sometimes in those zazen moments, but the sound of the wind banging on the blinds of the window or the cooing of the dove in a tree nearby. To think is to be cut off from the wind and the birds. Breath within becomes one with the wind outside the window. The sounds of others coming and going in the zendo are instructive of how I respond to life. Each "mu" or breath counting on the cushion opens up the senses and one claims harmony with the sounds around them.
After a number of hours sitting one day in the Zendo, my Roshi asked me "who are you?" My response was silence. All I could recall later was an event back in the woods that took my breathe away when I read from Gal. 2:20; "it is no longer I but Christ lives in me." I was touched by the realization that to live from this stance is to partake of the divine reality within oneself. The human and the divine are interconnected. God's finger tip touching my finger tip are one. We are joined together with respect.