As it turns out, this will be my last entry for my little seasonal project of one-picture-a-month of-the-same-spot... of this house. Yes, we are moving again folks, and for exactly the same reason as the last time: mold.
Luckily, and very happily, the problem is no where near the extreme we experienced in southern Maryland. So we will not lose 80% of our stuff, as was the case last time. And I'm
not spending hours bent over bleach-washes of the remaining 20% of our stuff, as was the case last time. No, no, very happily we caught the problem early, are breaking our lease and moving on.
But just like last time, the whole chaotic and disappointing affair has got me wondering a lot about my Zen vows of tokudo, of home-leaving. Surely, it was not meant to be quite this literal! is one thought that pops to mind. And, my family did not take the vow alongside me, did they? is another. But of them all, one thought is fairly constant:
Why do we keep losing our home?
And then I look more closely at my rumination over my vows, and what is revealed is this: guilt over lost chances and laziness; a sense of split-self between parenting and family life and the "priestly" life I once knew; and perhaps most potently, a full-on storyline ravaging my mind of not deserving the okesa, the Buddha's Robe.
On that final point I finally found my tears, for a deeper mystery had been solved at last. You haven't got to deserve, as the saying goes. "How can you 'become' what you already are?" as my old teacher once put it. Sewing the okesa was, for me, a practice of experiencing my life weaving into a much larger picture, a much older tradition than my little mind could conjure alone. Wearing the okesa was, for me, a practice of experiencing a putting-on of Buddha's own skin. (It is powerful and transformative to wear the clothes of those you admire, as any 6-year-old girl dressing up in mommy's finery will tell you.) And entering the Soto priesthood was, for me, the practice of allowing, at long last, a sweet exhalation into the larger being that I knew I already was.
And so I return: we are not losing our home because we have been bad (as my old Catholic-self would think). We are not losing our home because we have offended the mold gods (as my old pagan-self would suggest). We are not losing our home because of all our ancient, twisted karma (as my old inner-Buddhisht --yes I meant that spelling-- would reprimand). Losing our home is happening. And still the green leaves explode in the chilly spring rain; and still the drops will spill down the concrete, into the street, ever following that ancient trail to the ocean.