Hmm, am I remembering right and today is that "day which will live in infamy?" How interesting to spend it in Japan, ne? Who would have thought such a thing sixty-five years ago?
A recent thought: it is not that the master does not become ill with the sickness of the mind, it is that when he does, he can diagnose and treat himself. Perhaps, perhaps...
On the Shinkansen now, out to Kamakura by way of Ofuna. Last night, such a reception at the Cellar! The fellow who runs the folk jam has such respect for Kaicho Nakamura that merely by association, I'm warmly welcomed, an honored guest.
Returning now, on the shinkansen. Just barely made my train in Kamekura - evened out my travel karma by having no seat for the first half of this ride, sitting on the floor between cars. Still, daijobu.
The Daibutsu is great. Sitting there out in the open, with the hills behind - powerful. I imagine him there when we are all gone, still meditating. A zazen Ultraman, for all the sense that that makes. And the Jizos at Hasedera, something to see, definitely.
Also, up in the hills, very interesting shrine, Zeniarai Benten, where they have a ritual of washing money in water from the spring. Spending it is supposed to bring many times back to you, a prosperity ritual.
This got me thinking on the whole prosperity theme and on the poverty mindset. Prosperity is not a dirty word - "Live long and prosper," right? But prosperity must be understood. It's meeting your needs and a bit of your wants - if your wants are endless, you'll never prosper no matter how much you have. Hungry ghosts.
In agricultural societies there were fertility rites, that the harvest might be bountiful. No one thinks of that as greedy, perhaps because a good harvest was good for all; we think of prosperity as a zero-sum game. But that's only so if we only count how much money anyone has at a given time.
Look, prosperity needs everyone to do well. Who will buy my stuff or my services in a depression? Whose stuff can I buy when I am out of work? Metal is the element of communication - wires connect us, so do coins. (It happens I'm wearing my t-shirt form the AOBTA convention a few months ago - "Healing With Metal: Prosperity, Inspiration, Presence". And I got my picture taken with a big bronze metal Buddha today. How's about that?)
Continuing reading Kerouac's journals. Strangely gratifying to see his doubts and confusions and contradictions - if he can maybe I can too.
Something from back on Dec. 5 - as I was walking toward the temple, I saw a mother and daughter wearing Seido shirts. Said hello. They were from NYC, looking for their hotel. I figured out they were walking the wrong way, got them turned around.
Every once in a while, the guidance we need falls out of the sky to us. And every once in a while, we're the one sent by the Universe or the Tao or God or the Great Sun Buddha or whatever to do the guiding for someone else. Strange, it is passing strange. Again I think of Conway's "Game of Life", emergent properties from simple rules, patterns that develop that you could never se from the inside.
Think I will go out tonight, late a bit but what the hell.
On the "peculiar traveling suggestions are dancing lessons from God" front, right before I left Jen was telling me I must go to India. Last week I found out that next year, there's a Seido event in India. And last night, dinner at Indian restaurant in Doutonbori, Santana: before I leave I'm reading information on the walls about the Japanese-Indian friendship club. The manager notices me reading, we chat, he asks if my next trip will be to India. I tell him about the Seido event, turns out he has a hotel and an international school in Puri. So next year this time...who knows?
And a moment on the train today, looking at every person in the car and knowing, knowing, that each and every one of them was "just like this"! A bit in Kerouac about the subways being the city's living room, everyone sitting down together, visiting (not like this shinkansen or like an airplane, where we all face ahead). And another part about the artist, who loves men and women but loves God, the sum of it all, too, and so must sometimes go apart from men and woman, though he is of them...I might have shown that passage to Cathy, sometimes, when she despaired of understanding me. Well. Enough on that for the moment, eh? Lest we fall into self-pity. I shall get back to the hotel in an hour or so, clean up, and head out for a Friday night of whatever-may-come.
And another one on the random-encounters-guidance front - dinner at Slices Cafe, here an attractive young lady talking about trying to establish a writing practice. I give her book titles (Writing Down the Bones, The Practice of Poetry), tell her about Zelda's and give her the website URL. (And here's definitely another case where I wish I was staying longer, sigh...)