temple diaries

So many tangerines from a hearty donation! There’s a very rigorous no wasting practice of the gifts from the 10 directions. We’ve been having tangerines every meal so I offered to change it up a bit. And it turns out the flour shouldn’t be too much, it makes the cake too squishy. Today instead of orange chocolate I made ginger orange cake and brought two over to the temple next door with the old nuns who nurse a kitty with one eye. They’re so old school and legit. Much respect and gratitude too to 覺塵師 for being such a cool food manager and letting me make my pies and cakes and such. 🤗

temple diaries

I was reading about 慧遠法師 the founder of Pureland in 406 CE and all those monks were debating with monarchy and literati. A writer in Shanghai lamented that “Taiwan is the last bastion for democratic writing and thought. I wonder what Buddhism could contribute to that given this is such a tranquil environment for serene and methodical contemplation…”

Seeing spider webs everywhere delicately strong in the fog and amongst the trees after dreaming of chess and the other player taking my pieces and using them against me. But my King was safe, they couldn’t take those pieces. My Queen was blocked on all sides but because they had been making me see my pieces as theirs, up to that point I hadn’t defended…but then during my turn I realized that I was player of the white pieces, so I checked their king.

temple diaries

Somehow digging today in meditation I came to realize a great repentance for 過失 of trying to gain satisfy sexuality with fantasy…how I overlook things and don’t commit to the fullest effort of completing things, even realizing this as I swept the floors…that knowing my transgressions from intellectual understanding didn’t push me into right action. How long have I nurtured a deep habit of “well as long as I do enough”…but that’s not 精進!this excuse of, “oh just a bit, as long as it appears all is well or that I’m still doing right”…my mind has lost progress—this pollution, where is the hemorrhage? Yet 大師父’s 法 that our 娑婆心 is the materials for 淨土心 kept me from falling into despair of sinking into samvega…what necessary link to convert this shock…after all I’ve been looking at this slothly indolence that I came with—how to convert that into genuine passion to learn well? It comes out in blips but the motivation is shaken easily.

temple diaries

Reeling with questions and from the surprisingly serene visit. Was so tense washing dishes when I first saw them. Left with Audrey’s questions and stories: How to deal with a sense of home? Considering immigrant stress. Apologies. Lesbianism in temple that Ma was at in New Mexico.

Maybe in this way, I will keep my promises to my mother to be a good sister, my father to be a good citizen, my grandmother to be a good woman—tuan yuan…

Dharma talk chewing on: First you must know suffering before you can arouse compassion and wisdom…

temple diaries

Major love understanding after a night dreaming of holding a beautiful person with blonde hair while sharing heart to heart.

A friend has been sharing her concerns and spiritual journey. It’s a motivation to practice well, the tribulations of friends.

She mentioned the pain of displacement from the homeland, which I didn’t feel until this summer really and it knocked me down for weeks…feeling all that separated Ba and family cycling back and folded into my own struggles to return legitimately to a home that I couldn’t be sure how to belong to fully, if at all.

I told to her to come visit, that she would be so proud of this lineage of hers.  She said she would come soon and hearing what I’m learning definitely has boosted her spirit. 

temple diaries

Congratulations today on ma becoming a bhikkuni. 慈願師父now, not “ma.”

Funny, how fulfilling my parents wishes was re-ordered my life yet in a way that is less and less 衝突 with 自己理想。it feels far more blessed.

Had an advance in meditation today—took it a bit easier with resting. Though mid day meditation was all over the place, I am feeling that joy at 清境 that keeps me continuing. At night I was able to catch up with Amanda and chat about their life (another breakup!) and spiritual debts and their recovery. Then at night meditation seemed to go smoother—adjusting the leg, not getting stressed over the heating of the body. At one point I really began to see what 大師父 said about this insubstantial body—how it’s unreliable and tenuous when observing this body in meditation.

I observe my arrogant 慢xin when resisting chanting 阿彌陀佛—this chant of centuries and Chinese lineage…and the point of resistance that when broken thru becomes a clearing of joyful hearing.

temple diaries

I want that—lunch dharma talk mentioned the total surrender into a long secluded practice before a certain age, 死命修, du loh ki. Before 30-33?

I sat for 2.5 hours straight and my hip hurts af now. Snuck in a call at night with dear spiritual bro broke up with their person who just refused to move beyond white distance and disconnection and parsed thru East Asian aesthetics. Sigh.

temple diaries

Alright, now I’m in the 7 day silent practice.

Lorde, I told Han Shifu that I’ve been struggling with thoughts. She said to let them go unless they repeat. In that case, examine. Now in my mandarin that has always been 乖,I hardly could express these were feelings of lust…the thoughts of past partners. She asked for some reason what race they were, and initially asked if there was just one and also if these were thoughts of wanting to continue. I assured her in all logic I didn’t want to continue right now and she said to reflect on transgressions. But the body has its own memories. She asked 什麼程度 and how this would be a challenge on my 修行, and remarked how of course growing up in the west would expose me to this. At one point I wanted to say how hesitant I was to bring this up…and how purity was a dangerous antecedent to ascribe to untouched…this vaulting of virginity…I feel glad to attend to this challenge, especially given how so many people have remarked that I, so attentive to sensual pleasures, could hardly overcome this. Since 法 is truth, wouldn’t in true knowing, these ignorant attachments dispel? After all, being born into a field of feminine battered numbness was something I fought for feeling again…I’m averse to being taught to force my lifegiving erotic into submission again, or to wield patriarchal disgust. Rather, what is a way to enliven this joyful…淨化joy?

She advised me during meditation to move my body, breath deeply a few times and pivot xin…not to force it down, not to add weight to this seed of 8th storehouse consciousness. There is all kindness and sin there…contemplate how 無常 these fragile feelings were. And to let 佛 compassionate light shine on my body.

I reflected how dad’s death tainted me to see the deathly becoming of all things and how this was my own end soon…yet there was no escape. What trivial matters could separate me momentarily were flimsy distractions. More and more I desired separation from this…but a return? To what root? A more complete yet continual cycle of decolonized suffering?