temple diaries

Worked on bio last night with 慧心, the fancy auntie (she a triple Taurus, we bonded over Taurus effortfulness) who’s great 文筆. Remembering the poems of women in therigatha, Tang Dynasty to women journalists and poets of the contemporary time…I am so lucky to have this 福德 to write this Chinese bio. 性玓師 has been helping me decipher and recopy the text.

Prayed to 地藏菩薩 for memory for the foundation dharanis and mantras to memorize…and my dream was meeting a old brown ascetic laughing in a loincloth in a convention center (which I exited after washing clothes in an apartment then a restaraunt)…I bowed to him and he taught me to switch my feet for energy during the full prostration…and then to another ascetic like a tulku. Holding a white meditation guru scarf…

temple diaries

Had a dream about giving an artist talk and giving gratitude for working with what I got, the very relationships as matter. Instead of wanting more, wanting well.

Before that was yelling at ba for throwing out my homework and Audrey was back in the room, our maryland house crying how he didn’t want to go back to taiwan and respect Buddhism.

temple diaries

Dreamed of great changing landscapes, a great water rushing over the land and going exploring with a camera to capture the moving stillness. In meditation with other women as a teacher and contemplating how men’s androcentric approach was to see the women’s body as a trap, a hole but that as women inhabiting these bodies it wasn’t about hardening the body but seeing the unfulfilling capacity of this body.

temple diaries

Learning non western medicine as I’m ill with 胃炎. Somehow this feels so tied into emotions, a roiling knot after moon time that has surfaced to be dealt with. I feel terrible–unable to eat and help out in the last dog days of kitchen duty rotation. The doctor has told me to stay away from fruits and pretty much anything spicy and savory. Just seaweed and congee for me these days with the medicine.

監智師, the beautiful nun with lion eyes came to check in on me, giving me a lecture on the insubtantiality of all phenomena as the rain came pouring down. How she can sense my turmoil…I suppose this is 修行的功德…penitent my surly heart…the knots we tie surely find us…like the compassionate water samadhi Sutra: even after lifetimes of virtuous practice, Wu Da Shifu still was struck by an illness in a moment of pride and found only relief in the arahant’s wise instructions of penance.

I am no means on his level, just someone who is similarly paying a debt for distraction from 道心…a misty mountain morning lifetimes ago when my heart fled the practice for love, a practice 我這一輩子一定要嚴厲.

temple diaries

Made cinnamon rolls today! I’m on the team with 海宣師 性帝師. Was a hit with the shifus. 覺因師 who is about to have a retreat kept asking to save her 餅 or whatever I made on Wednesday. Maybe some pesto noodles? 覺塵師 was into it. And made some bagels to bring to Thailand.

temple diaries

Elections: Well, do I simply want westernization in a yellow color? Or am I still committed to undoing it all?

Contemplating, in my previous chapters of life: what were moments of liberation for me?

Why am I even holding onto this without a future?

Had a talk with my NZ nun friend. Her thoughts came across as a bit conservative, but I kept letting that go to listen. She said, that Taiwanese society doesn’t see that Westernization as progress. A gay parade is a skinful moral decline by confucian ideals. When I brought up again that Kuan Yin was seen by some queer people in the west as a queer Bodhisattva she responded that Kuan Yin is not transsexual. Buddha’s and bodhisattvas take on any form to liberate others.

Yes, indeed, moving beyond anthropomorphicness. But in this answer that obviates a western framing of gender, can we acknowledge another pertinent question? What is the suffering behind this wanting?

Focus: All things towards liberation.

In this questioning, I am dealing with the greed. Remembering how I felt a deep frustration with the piecemeal resolutions. And the increasing 煩惱 of working even for justice.

Move as water moves…softly through the shards.

temple diaries

I’m making roti canai today, but feeling simmering anger at the election results as I throw the dough. This whole year has been a wheelbarrow of being shocked by entrenched conservativism and busting up my own idealization of Taiwan’s progressivism. How are you gonna not move to de-nuclearize while voting to stop food imports from Fukushima? How is it humane to deny children education on gender and sexuality? And while I’ve never been a fan of marriage and very skeptical of hanging hopes on marriage equality, the near lack of discourse around trans* issues in the Taiwanese mainstream + this blathering bullshit vote against gay rights has been devastating to see. All while living in a temple that has seniors who subtly mention Confucian based morality of how this is a destabilty for society if it passes. Bro, what society we gonna have when global warming is gonna flood our island?


Anyways, a little cuteness today in the kitchen//How nuns flirt:


Don’t say such things, this is just a momentary form!

temple diaries

Learning to make wontons and 饅頭 from 覺道師!河北 monk recipe master haha. She scolded my hands for being floury and said real mian makers have clean hands and pots. Also frying peanuts is done on cool oil low heat.

temple diaries

Today, Zheng Di Shifu, the Hong Konger 糾察師父 for these last two weeks of 佛30, pulled me aside for a funny conversation. (Temple humor is starting to grow on me…) She has a distinct warble and her Mandarin sounds like she’s exclaiming something.

These days, she’s often reprimanding me for walking out of order of seniority or closing the door too loudly. In all things, checking my pride and practicing being considerate to the 修行 of everyone in this shared environment, such as other Shifus studying or the uneasy ghosts in the hunger realm bothered by the sound of chopsticks clanking too loudly against each other.

She accosted me after meditation one day to ask me why I didn’t bow when I walked through a door someone had opened for me (which I did, but she didn’t see) and then ask:

“Did you fall asleep during morning meditation today?”

“I don’t think so, why?”

“Because I noticed that you can sleep without moving! Most people will nod off visibly but you sit there so still until you suddenly wake up and shake yourself. You are harder to catch!”

I laughed, “Shifu, that’s cuz my mom used to wake my sister and I up at ungodly hours to meditate. So we had lots of practice. You can blame her when she visits.”