Good morning, everyone, just taking taking a minute here to get all our microphones figured out. Looks we've got it. Today is the 23rd of April 2023. And my name is Kanji. So today, I'm gonna be taking a look at a text by Master Dogen, the Instructions to the Cook. And I'll be using that to reflect a little bit on my own experiences of cooking, especially here at the Zen Center, and also on work practice in general. So many of you know that after several years away from active staff life, I recently experienced a strong calling back to the Zen kitchen. And since that time, I've been working mostly Chapin Mill, with Eryl out there. And my commitment has been to do the preparation and planning for each sesshin that comes along and then to serve as head cook at sesshin as necessary. And so it seemed real natural for me at this point to look back at this, this wonderful text by Dogen, The Instructions to the Cook. So the name of the text in Japanese is the Tenzo Kyokun. And Tenzo is the Japanese word for cook or head cook. And the translation I'm using they don't translate that word. So you'll hear the word tenzo a lot and that means the cook. The translation I'm using is by Thomas Wright. And it appears in a book by Uchiyama Roshi called How to Cook Your Life. So the Instructions to the Cook is one of my very favorites and texts. And I don't think I'm alone in that it's quite a popular text and it may be familiar to many of you. But for people who are not familiar with the text, or perhaps with Master Dogen, I just want to start by setting the scene a little bit. So master Dogen's dates are from 1200 to 1253. And he is credited with introducing the Soto School of Zen into Japan. And that makes him our direct Dharma ancestor. You could say he's the founder of our, the Japanese part of our lineage. So just to be clear, at the time that he lived, Buddhism had been known and practiced in Japan for many centuries, but not Soto Zen. And as a young men, as a young man, Dogen felt dissatisfied with the instruction that was available to him in Japan. So he made a pilgrimage to China, to study with some of the most renowned Chan teachers of the day. And when he got back to Japan, he founded a Hagey monastery, which is still the head Monastery of the Soto school Tuesday. And he began to write. And he began to write, and write, and write, and write. He's an extremely prolific writer. But in spite of the quantity of what he wrote, there's also the quality. And I don't think that it would be far after say that he's generally considered the most important and profound spiritual writer in all of Japanese Buddhism, if not in all of Japanese literature. But part of what he taught and wrote about is really practical. Although part of the key to Dogon is that the practical concerns are never really separated from the deeper concerns. But on the practical level, part of what he wanted to teach was how things were done in Chinese Chan monasteries, he wanted to bring that to to Japan. And one of the things that I've always found kind of fascinating, and Tolkien's writing is his attitude to Japan, because you might think that, you know, he'd be a little chauvinistic, or feel that Japanese culture is the best, or the way we do things in Japan is the best. But actually, it's not like that at all. It really gives you a sense of the status of Chinese culture at the time, at least in Diogenes mine. So there's, there's a passage that comes up in the middle of this text, and this is a really typical passage and a lot of the texts that Tolkien writes when he starts talking about Japan. He says, It has been several 100 years since the Buddha Dharma was introduced into Japan. Yet no one has ever written about the preparation and serving of meals as an expression of Buddha Dharma. Nor have any teachers taught concerning these matters. Much less has there been any mention of bowing nine times prior to offering the meal to the residents? Such a practice has never entered the minds of the people in this country. Here people think nothing of eating like animals with no concern for the way they eat. What a pathetic state of affairs It really saddens me to see things this way. Why must it be so? So Dogon definitely has the spirit of the reformer. She's something that I can relate to personally, he wants to find better ways for the temple to be organized and run. And to give him his due he, he's looking for things that will better support the practice of the monks. And so in this particular book, he's looking at the office of the tenza, the head cook, and how to approach the cooking of the meals. So it's a short text, which is one of the reasons why I thought of looking at it this morning. But when I actually went back to it, it's 17 pages was too short. But if I was going to read it to you, we wouldn't have time for that. So I actually have, you know, had to pick out just small bits. I hope I've captured the spirit of the text and the gist of it. But just to be aware, there's there's a lot that's been left out. But to start at the beginning, he starts out and says, From ancient times, and communities practicing the Buddha way, there have been six offices established to oversee the affairs of the community, the monks holding each office are all disciples of the Buddha. And they all carry out the activities of the Buddha through their respective offices. Among these offices is the tensor, who cares the responsibility of preparing the community's meals. And so in a footnote in my text, it tells you what these six offices are. And I thought it was quite interesting because it just makes you feel such a connection with the monastery so many hundreds of years ago, because essentially, we have the same officers functioning at the Zen Center here. So basically, you have the abbot or the spiritual director, the Abbott's assistant, the person who's in charge of financial and legal affairs, so that's our business manager, we've got the head of training, we call the head of Zendo, you have the head cook. And then you have the person that's in charge of the buildings and maintenance. So our head of fire now. So Dogon goes on, it is written in the traditional monastic instructions, that the function of the tenza is to manage meals for the monks. The monastic instructions also say, put your awakened mind to work making a constant effort to serve meals full of variety that are appropriate to the need and the occasion. And that will enable everyone to practice with bodies and minds with the least hindrance. down through the ages, many great teachers and ancestors have served as tenza. Although the work is just that of preparing meals, it is in spirit different from the work of an ordinary cook, or kitchen helper. So this is the first point that I want to look at investigate a little bit, is how is this work different than that of an ordinary cook, or kitchen helper? Here at the center, we do lots of different kinds of work, we cook meals, we clean toilets, we take out the trash, change a light bulb, these are all things that as householders we do in our own homes, too. So is it different somehow, because we're doing it here at the Zen Center? Should it be different? And if so, what makes it different? So, Dogan doesn't really tell us here, he just tells us it's the same work, but it's different. So to take a look at this, or at least to take a look at how this is functioned. In my own life. I'm going to take you back to the year 1980, when my husband Mark and I had just moved into the first apartment that we lived in that had a kitchen. So we were no longer going to be eating on the university meal plan. And we had decided to be vegetarians, but neither of us had grown up as vegetarians. And in fact, neither of us had grown up cooking at all, neither of us knew how to cook. But as we talked about household tasks, and how we're going to split them up, the first thing that became immediately clear was that Mark was not going to cook. And I don't want to say anything against my wonderful husband because he does the dishes. I scarcely ever touch a dish when I'm home. He does the laundry he cleans, he does the the home fix it kind of things, but he just won't cook. So it was clear that I was going to have to learn how to cook. So I got that cookbook that you probably many of you remember if you were around at that time, the diet for a small planet. And I started to try to teach myself how to cook. And the result was that many meals ended up in the trash. And one of the problems was they didn't know how to fix things. I actually didn't have that concept. It wasn't until 20 years later when it came to the Zen Center that I understood that when you're cooking, you're supposed to taste stuff and then if something's wrong, you try to fix it. I still I have trouble with that. But at least I have the concept. Now,
I would just follow the recipe. And if it didn't taste good, it was like, Nope, that didn't work. So cooking wasn't something that I really felt very good at. But we didn't have money to eat out. So there wasn't really a choice. So then fast forward 10 years or so to 1990. And now I have two small children at home. And I've just taken a job teaching at the U of R. So I'm in that period of life when you just feel like you're juggling things, and you never have enough time for any of your jobs. And there's just so much to do. And one of the things I still have to do is I have to cook every day, and the cooking, it's probably gotten a little better than it was at the beginning. But my attitude towards it has not gotten any better. It was just something that I had to do. The attitude in that period of time was probably worse, it really felt like a burdensome task. So then I'm going to jump forward 10 years again, 2001, my children are young teenagers. And actually, partly encouraged by some of the questions that one of my teams was asking some of them of their interests, we came to the Zen Center for the first time. And when I showed up here, this was my relationship to cooking, as well as the cleaning just that they were chores, things that needed to be done. And I think it was probably on the first machine that I went to when I was assigned to scrubbing showers, that I began to realize in my body that there could be a different way to experience these kinds of tasks. And later on, I was assigned kitchen jobs. And I just have a very vivid memory of standing in the kitchen one day, and it was the kitchen here in Arnold Park. So it couldn't have been during this machine. But I was must have been volunteering, and I was chopping vegetables and just all of a sudden realized, this is wonderful. This is just the most wonderful thing. There's nothing I'd rather be doing. So one of my really favorite bits of traditional Buddhist teaching is the one that uses the metaphor of a river. And they say that when we human beings drink out of a river, it tastes like water. But if a hungry ghost tries to drink out of that river, it burns their throat and burns their stomach, it feels like fire. But if a god or a deva tries to wants to drink out of that river to the god, it tastes like The Sweetest Nectar. So this is what I discovered at the Zen Center scrubbing showers and chopping vegetables that our work is like this too. It doesn't matter what the task is. It can be it can feel like a burdensome chore and feel like something delightful or anything in between. But it's really, of course the nature of our minds and the nature of our attention that determines how the work is going to seem. And a lot of Dogons text is looking at how do we train our minds and our attention through the work that we do. At one point he says those who have come before us have said the way seeking mind of a tenza is actualized by rolling up your sleeves. So early on in the text, Dogan rolls up his sleeves and starts to tell us what the work of the tensor is. He says I shall not take up the work of the tensor covering a period of one complete day.
So after the noon meal, the Tencel should go to the head officers to get the rice, vegetables and other ingredients for the following morning and noon meals. Once he has these, he must handle them as carefully as if they were his own eyes. The Tencel should handle all food he receives with respect as if it were to be used in a meal for the Emperor. Later on, when he was talking about preparing the meal, he says Keep your eyes open. Do not allow even one grain of rice to be lost. Wash the rice thoroughly put it in the pot, light the fire and cook it. There's an old saying that goes see the pot as your own head. See the water as your life blend. So certainly one way to read this text would be to say that Dogon is using the process of cooking as a metaphor for formal practice. Keep your eyes open, don't allow even one grain of rice to be lost. Keep your attention focused on the practice. But for Erdogan, it's never just a metaphor. He's also talking about the cooking itself, the work itself. And this idea of seeing the rice is our own eyes comes up several times and the text I think maybe three times he says to see the races your own eyes. And it's strange. It's sort of a strange instruction enough so that at one point when I was working In the kitchen, it had sort of become a little in joke with us that whenever we'd spill anything or grain or rice would go down the drain is like, Oh, my eyes, my eyes. But besides being a little strange, he's also telling us something really serious. What happens when we handle food with with this degree of care and respect as if it were our own eyes? For one thing, it brings up gratitude in us it's so easy for those of us who never have truly been hungry to take our food for granted. But treating the word the food with this kind of care reminds us that it's the labor of countless beings. And seeing each grain of rice is our eyes. The pot is our head. The water is our lifeblood, corsia Dogons talking about oneness, not seeing ourselves as separate. Especially not separate from our food, what would we be without our food. Also, though Dogons telling us what we need to do to experience this oneness we need to pay attention, we need to direct our whole attention to the work that we're doing. But this actually made me think of was how sometimes here at the Center on Temple night or special occasions, we have to move some of the bodhisattva or Buddha figures, sometimes from the sand room to the link or from the link to the Buddha Hall. And only certain people with people with a good deal of practice under their belts are allowed to move those figures. Of course, if you're moving just a regular piece of furniture, and you don't want to bash it, you don't want to scrape the walls with it. But what's different about moving a Buddha figure, we could say that it's just a piece of wood or metal just as the tenza His job is simply that of preparing meals. But when as Buddha figure, when it's something we consider sacred, we pay a different kind of attention. Or perhaps we could say, when we pay a different kind of attention, things become sacred. It really is a circular process. And in my experience, cooking in the temple environment has real effect. If we want to devote our whole attention to our work, we have the bodhisattva and Buddha figures around us to encourage us we have ritual aspects to food preparation and serving the meals. We have fellow practitioners who are also trying to concentrate and do their best. So there's everything here to support us in seeing our work is sacred. In working with the kind of attention that makes our work sacred. Dogon calls the work of the 10s of preparing meals for the three treasures. So I told you the story of my attitude in in my shift in attitude to cooking after working here at the center. And of course, I took that home with me cooking at home became different too. And of course, the three treasures are everywhere. They're not just here at the Zen Center. But for sure, it's much harder in an in the home environment than than it is here. And I would find when I spent periods away from the Center for a while that the cooking would start to become a burden again start to feel more and more like a chore. And I think that's really one of the reasons that I've felt such a calling to come back and, and cook here at the center again, is just to experience that, that feeling again, for me at least it's it's just easier in this environment. And that's one of the great things about that we have so many volunteers coming here now into the kitchen. Because you can have that experience and and hopefully take it home with you. Duggan says handle even a single leaf of a green in such a way that it manifests the body of the Buddha. This in turn, allows the Buddha to manifest through the leaf. In another place, he says clean up the rice and leftover soup from the noon meal, conscientiously wash out the rice container and the soup pot along with any other utensils that were used. Put those things that naturally go in a high place onto a high place. And those things that would be most stable on a low place onto a low place. Things that naturally belong in a high place settle best on a high place. While things which belong on a low place, find their greatest stability there. One of the hallmarks of Duggins writing is his wonderful affinity for inanimate things. Seeing the letters leave the pot, walls and tails. Pebbles is fully alive, fully part of ourselves in our universe. And I love the feeling that you get from this passage. When he tells you to put some things on a high place and some things on a low place. It's not because it would be convenient for him As to find them on a high place or a low place, it's because the things feel better there, they feel settled. And when the things feel settled, we feel settled, we're not really as separate from them as we might think. I know everyone's had that great feeling you get when you finally cleaned your room or organized your desk desk are organized your tools. And this is part of how we find our own stability through work practice. And once again, it's one of the sports of working here in the center, the instructions, we have to clean up after ourselves to leave no traces. It makes them for an environment that settled that's organized and conducive to practice. So beyond talking about attention, another thing Duggan discusses is the quality of energy that we put into our work. He says the work of the 10 xo has always been carried out by teachers settled in the way and by others who have aroused the bodhisattva spirit within themselves. Such a practice requires exerting all your energies. If a person entrusted with this work lacks such a spirit, then they will only endure unnecessary hardships and suffering that will have no value in their pursuit of the way. For myself here, what I think about in particular is the experience of being head cook and machine. And with that job I have definitely experienced, I've definitely experienced both sides of this, this coin, the practice requires exerting all your energies. And if you can exert all your energies and throw yourself into it, it can be really wonderful. But if you're entrusted with this work, and you lack that spirit, and you only endure unnecessary hardships and suffering, I'm sure that other people who have been had crooked sesshin can relate to that. Besides being a lot of work and responsibility, that job requires a lot of thinking, planning, even mathematical calculations, and all that can really feel like it's interfering with your practice. So for years and years, I remember replying to scenes and thinking, I hope they don't make me hate cook, I hope they won't. And then the call would come you're going to be head cook. Again, it's not fair. I didn't say that out loud. But that's what I would be thinking. Of course, my teachers were always quick to point out the problem to me, where did I get the idea that I couldn't do a preposition while serving as head cook? Why the feeling that I couldn't focus on my practice, instead of realizing that being head cook was my practice. And, of course, I could read doggins texts at a certain point, and I knew that I knew the theory. I knew I needed an attitude adjustment. But how do you do that for yourself? You know, it's like we can only go so far on our own efforts. And then something will suddenly shift. Things can shift and then they can shift back. In it's like we have to go through both sides of this. If the work didn't feel really hard at times, you know, what would be the point? Dugan is very emphatic about the exacting nature of the work and the number of boxes that have to be checked. He says you must not leave the washing of rice or preparation of vegetables to others, you must carry out this work with your own hands. Put your whole attention into the work, seeing just what the situation calls for. Do not overlook one drop in the ocean of virtue by entrusting the work to others.
After all, the preparations for the meal are complete, clean up thoroughly, putting everything back where it ought to be. When the drum sounds and the bell rings both morning and evening, be sure not to miss Zen, nor going to see the master to receive his teaching. So this really reminds me of being head cook. It's a shame to do this work. But I mean, I've heard at some centers that if you're assigned to be head cook for sushi and then that's your machine, you don't do sitting or at least you don't do much sitting you do that work offering instead. But in our center in our tradition, we don't miss any sitting is had cooked you. You do you get in their freezers and you go to Dark Sun as well as doing the job. And then there's also a ritual aspect of the work. The ritual we have is different than what Dogon has. But he says after each meal has been carefully prepared, place it on a table put on your case and spread out years ago facing the Zendo after incense and bow nine times. So for us, we light incense, we set our offering dishes, we play the unpin the gong that calls people to the meal. And then Dogon says all day and all night the Tencel has to make arrangements and prepare meals without wasting a moment. If he throws all his energy into whatever the situation truly calls for. Then both the activity and the method by which he carries it out will naturally work to nurture the seeds of Buddha Dharma so attention energy. One more thing that Dogon includes for us in His instructions, is doing our work without prejudice or preferences. He says when the tensor receives the food from the Kusu, he must never complain about its quality or quantity. But always handle everything with the greatest care and attention. Nothing could be worse than to complain about too much or too little of something, or of inferior quality. When you prepare food, never view the ingredients from some commonly held perspective. Don't think about them only with your emotions, maintain an attitude that tries to build great temples from ordinary greens, that expounds the Buddha Dharma through the most trivial activity, do not be negligent and careless, just because the materials seem plain and hesitate to work more diligently with materials of superior quality, your attitude toward things should not be contingent upon their quality. One of the ways that we try to capture this spirit here at the center is the training rule that we have that we're not allowed to comment on the food. Some people like that rule, some people don't. But it's definitely one way that we, we try to carry on this tradition that Dogon is talking about, of not having preferences on the food. At one point, he quotes an old old saying, and the old saying is, the mouth of a monkey is like an oven. And I take it by any means that you know, you put bad food into an oven, you put good food into an oven, the oven doesn't care, it just cooks the food. And so that's how the mouth of a monkey is supposed to be. But as I was Dogons, never just talking about food. Later on, he says, understand that it's simple green has the power to become the practice of the Buddha, quite adequately nurturing the desire to live out the way. Never feel aversion toward plain ingredients, as a teacher of man and of heavenly beings make the best use of whatever greens you have. Similarly, do not judge monks is deserving of respect or is being worthless, nor pay attention to whether a person has been practicing for only a short time or for many years. Without knowing where to find our own stability. How are we to know where someone else would be most stable. If the standard with which we evaluate others is incorrect, we are likely to see their good points is bad, and vice versa. What a mistake to make. There may very well be differences between those who have been practicing over many years. And those who have just begun, are between those gifted with great intelligence and those not so gifted. Even so, all are the treasures of the Sangha. Though someone may have been mistaken in the past, he may very well be correct in the context of things now, who is to say whether someone is a fool or a sage. So he tells us, all of us are treasures of the Sangha. Each person is a jewel. As John says, Sensei said in a recent teisho, teisho, everybody is amazing. And when we're truly paying attention, if we can put aside our own agendas, our own emotional reactions, judgments, we can just start to see this. Which is not to say that it's easy. Living in a community, we certainly become aware of how hard it is to put aside our preferences, about food, and even more so really hard to put aside our preferences about people. But just as we have little ways to practice, putting aside our preferences about food, there's little ways that we can practice with our preferences about people to I remember when I was first training here at the center, and I go into the kitchen to get my noontime meal. And then I'd come into the dining room with my plate. And I'd suddenly have that feeling that you get in middle school, you know, like, where am I supposed to sit? Who am I? Who should I sit next to? Who wants to talk to me who finds me really annoying, you know, who should I Who do I find annoying? Who should I avoid? And after a few days just realized you don't have to think about any of that. Just take the next seat. Doesn't matter who's there. Just enjoy that person that's there. At the end of his text, Dogan gives names to the three qualities of mind that he's been discussing, and that he considers most important for the Tencel. So the first he calls joyful mind, putting all our energy joyfully enter work, as well as experiencing gratitude for being able to do it. The second one is parental mind. This is the quality of caring for radiance utensils, coworkers with the attention and devotion of a parent. He says a parent irrespective of poverty or difficult circumstances, loves and raises a child with care how deep is love like this, only a parent can understand it. The parent protects the children from the cold and shade them from the hot sun with no concern for their own personal welfare. Only a person in whom this mind has arisen can understand it. In the same manner, when you handle water, rice or anything else, you must have the affectionate and caring concern of a parent raising a child. The third quality of mind he calls magnanimous mind. So magnanimous, literally in Latin means great soul, great soul or great hearted. But the way he uses it here is maybe a little bit different than what we expect. He's talking about this ability to encounter things and people without prejudices or preferences without attachments. And we should understand that it's not an indifference to things or to people, but rather the ability to recognize the beauty or value in each person. This is maybe a little more subtle for us to grasp than the qualities of joyful mind and parental mind. But it reminds me of the teaching of the Brahma the Horus, which some of you may know, the Brahma Vihara is also known in English as the divine abodes. These are four qualities of mind that the Buddha taught that when we put them into practice, make our world divine make that river tastes like nectar. And the first is loving kindness. The second is compassion. The third is sympathetic joy, that is feeling happiness at the joy of others. And the last one is equanimity. And these, these can in various traditions, these are done as practices. Many people are familiar with loving kindness, practice, metta meditation, you can also do compassion, meditation, sympathetic joy, meditation, and equanimity. And the point is that when we hear the word equanimity, we tend to think of it Oh, it's just, it's just an indifference. It's just being cool and not being involved. Just I'm calm, no matter what happens, I'm calm. But what we need to understand is that equanimity is presented as the culmination of what starts as loving kindness, practice. So we direct love towards others. They could sort of go in order of difficulty, compassion, really feeling for the suffering of others, feeling happy when others have joy, that's a lot harder than compassion, actually. And equanimity is considering considering everybody the same, in other words, feeling as much love and concern for each person, as we do for those closest to us or even for ourselves, loving others as ourselves. So this is the magnanimity that he's talking about the magnanimous mind.
So for me over the years working in cooking here at the center, it's just been a privilege to encounter so many Sangha jewels, so many remarkable people. And I think that perhaps the fact that I've kind of been in and out back and forth, when I was first here, I was back and forth between my work at the University and training here. Then for several years, I was back and forth between training in Auckland, New Zealand and training here. And at the moment, and back and forth between training here. And being at home in Massachusetts. I always seem to be coming and going. But I think that this come and go and has helped me appreciate all the more the people here and what goes on here. It's kind of like living with a child, when you see them every day, you don't notice the changes that are taking place. But when you've been away for a time, just as I'm when I'm here, now I'm away from my granddaughter for periods of time. And then when I go home, it's like, wow, things have changed. She's got new skills and new ways of expressing things. So when I come back here, after being away for various lengths of time, I see that some people have left some people who've stayed some people like me have left and come back again. But people have always changed and grown. And just really appreciate the the effect that this place and that the practice we do here has on people. And so token calls in this text are practiced with the strength of the community. And right now out of Chapin Mill, I have the privilege of I'm working with a tensile who really actualizes these things every day, what Tolkien calls the joyful mind, the mind of apparent, the magnanimous mind. Everyone loves due to Chapin Mill, not only because the food is delicious, but because it's really an offering of love to each of us every day. And when you train in the kitchen out there, you're able to train in that spirit of love that values each person. Absolutely. And here at our park, we haven't had Zendo, who before he had his current post worked for 10 years as head cook, just throwing himself body and soul into that work year after year. So he was my mentor when I was a novice priests and I did many stints of training in the kitchen under his supervision. And one of the things that I took away from that one of the things I always remembers, so the meals it served at 12, served at 1230. And around noon time, he'd always look around the kitchen and say, We're in really good shape. And it didn't matter if the dishes were stacked tight in the kitchen was pulled apart. And we were seemed to be really, from my view behind schedule. He just always say we're in really good shape, and just exude this joy and calm. And fundamentally we are we're in really good shape. You know, we may have every reason to feel negative and frustrated, our lives may be a mess, the world may be a mess. But just shift your attention, shift your attention to that lettuce leaf. Shift your attention to your body right now, sitting on the cushion,
the sounds in the Zendo. Shift your attention to your breath. We're in really good shape. I want to end by reading the last paragraph and doggins instructions.
He says Be very clear about this. All the great teachers down through the ages have learned the meaning of magnanimity not merely from writing the character for it. Or we could say not merely from reading about it or studying about it. But through the various events and circumstances of their lives. Even now, we can clearly hear their voices expounding the most fundamental truths and the ramifications of those truths for our lives. Whether you're the head of a temple, a senior monk, or other officer, or simply an ordinary practitioner, do not forget the attitude behind living out your life with joy, having the deep concern of a parent and carrying out all your activities with magnanimity, Britain by Dogon, in the spring of 1237, at Kosho G, for followers of the way in succeeding generations. Thank you doggone.
So, there's some time if anybody has comments or questions.
Yeah, I'll just mention just a couple of things before we start. So yeah, we're going to start in here and there's no asking questions. So just keep in mind, raise your voice when you're asking the question. And also kanji if you could repeat it. So people online can hear a couple questions here. And then I'm going to pass it over to the side. She's my pen goes just getting the blue speaker, Bluetooth speaker setup. I'll see if there's any questions online. See if there's anything else. All right, that's it.
Because I'm a short person, this is right. Oh, okay.
I have a question. Yeah. Well, first, thank you.
So welcome. Thank you, for many years.
I'm curious if you could give advice to your younger self just getting started in your first kitchen? Or to your like younger self who's scrambling with kids? What, what advice would you have?
I mean, I don't know about my younger self that was throwing meals in the trash. You know, it didn't happen that way. But I was, you know, pretty into it. At the time. You know, I was newly married, it was all an adventure. So that's the way it was. The whole thing of having kids and a job and a practice. That's that's that's really hard. And I often I didn't really start practicing till my kids were in their teens. You And I often would look back at those years when they were little and think, yeah, if only I had been practicing then, you know, I just feel like I missed so many opportunities to just be present. And to let the other stuff self stuff go, and to be where I was enjoying what I was doing. Instead of, you know, of course, I was thinking ahead, and I was worrying and planning about the goal. So you know, those things, this is the advice we always get so easy to say, so hard to do.
Say thank you for sharing that. It was really lovely. And I appreciate you sharing your perspective and in helping us stay present. I'm even the smallest of details. Yeah. Thank you.
I didn't repeat Lila's question, but you're close enough to the mic, but I think they heard
Yeah, I think probably hear those in the center aisle. Yeah, just
anything on your end?
Does anyone have a question or a comment?
No, I really appreciate this talk, because to me, it sounded like a long developmental process.
Oh, yeah. Coming to that place where you can be present, even when you try to plan for your future. It seems like it's a whole the whole process. I mean, we're talking about being in the moment.
That's exactly that's exactly right. I remember Roshi saying once, when it's time to multitask, just multitask. And that's, and that's why I you know, I appreciate what you say about a long period of development. Where you years ago, I just really came to appreciate working in the kitchen here and cooking. But I didn't appreciate being a cook. It's really, and that came much later. And it is, it is that ability to say, Okay, I'm planning I'm figuring out how much leftovers how much food I'm doing the math, but I can be present with that, you know. So
kanji. Yes. And this is the side yeah. I really appreciate your words. My my own experience with working as head club for officiating the day, I was probably very few times that I did not just love it. It was mostly because because I was always on this edge. That and I guess maybe some people like that, and some people don't. It was, it was I had to let go of everything. So something that just some meal or some thing or losing a person in the kitchen. I just had to do it, just take care of it and move on. Yeah, I didn't have the space to fuss about it, which is my you know, my my go to way of dealing with I just had to take care of it. And so I I'm so glad that you commented on, on on Joe koans work because that was one of my favorite and still is one of my it's I mean, it's such a wonderful book for life. But But if anyone who feels so inclined to work their way to to train as as to for headcode Because it's a shame, you will be richly rewarded for doing that work.
Yeah, I love what you're saying about you just have to whatever happens, roll with it and go on that's that's, that is that is so true. And and when I and to be fair, just so many things in sesshin it would mostly be my dread and the beginning by the end of the session, you will feel fine. To the head cook, but yeah, to one of your points I remember when Harada is Sensei conducted sesshin here once heard a Roshi now. And he looked at the job roster, and he wanted to juggle things up. He wanted most people to have a job that they hadn't done before. And I was head cook, and I was like that I don't think that's such a good idea, you know? And he was like, Yeah, I want everything to fall apart. I want everyone to make mistakes. And it was such a beautiful teaching. It was like, okay, just to be able to let it let it go. Yeah.
kanji I think that balance there is kind of important because people can get into the idea that it's training and so you must you know, every grain of rice if you miss one problem, so the magnanimity the attitude has to be very present, because that's where it is. And people mustn't get hard, you know, checking all the boxes all the time.
Yeah, no, thank you. GCI. Could you hear that?
Can you repeat it? We heard parts of it.
Error was commenting that there has to be a balance that you can get too hung up, too precise, too. perfectionistic. On every piece of rice is my eyes. You know, the magnanimity is being able to be present, but also taking the larger view that it's okay. That we're in good shape. That's not exactly what you said. But I think that was good idea.
I really appreciate the way the joke that you have in the kitchen, oh, my eyes are going down the drain. Last night grain and you can laugh. And I think that is a big part of it.
Different cooks are different, you know, some people are more. Yes, some people are more precise. That's just kind of the way they are probably not just in the kitchen. And then there are other people that are just more open and loose. And that's just the way they are with everything. But there's room in the kitchen for everybody, every kind of little personality or personality quirk. It just somehow it just works. And it's it's a beautiful thing, especially by the time you get to like day four or five. And it's just like a dance that happens in the kitchen and sushi. And it's it really is it's a really beautiful thing.
Yep, agreed. Dwayne, you had a question?
Yes. Thank you. I was wondering what you would have to say about favorite foods. We we work so hard. I worked so hard. Making sure as free as possible of preferences. And yet, I have favorites.
Yeah, we do. What can we say? And I mean, well, geez, I said there's all kinds of head cooks. You know, I think I'm a little, I would like to be a little on the indulgent side. It's not, it's not my decision to make here in training. But I love how when John Sensei said at a work meeting one day that he wanted to hear from people. It wasn't about food. It was about scheduling. He wanted to hear from people because if people didn't tell him, he didn't know, what their what their needs were, what impact the scheduling was having on their lives. But then once a decision was made, he expected everybody to just get on board and go with the decision. And yeah, I sort of feel like that. I almost like to ask people, okay, what's the most important thing to you about the food here? What what do you feel is lacking? Just so I know, and then you make a decision. That's the best you can do for everybody. And then people have to say, Okay, I'm part of this community. And that's the way it is, you know, but it's a tough one. Maybe just one more question. And we'll wrap it up. Go ahead.
I don't know if it's so much a question. But what you've just talked about, just brought me back to my mother, who has been dead for a few decades now. And how amazing she was as a cook that she would make sheet. casseroles of lasagna starting with making the pasta from scratch. And she would just all by herself. There's three sisters now and it takes off three of us singularly and the ritual ality of it. And the special branch that She would make for Easter the special cookies not even cookies that it cookies just minimizes and it just takes away from the specialties of these amazing things she would make for the holidays and so I'm grateful for for your words for helping me become a better cook and just that closeness that you brought to this amazing cook there my mother was
just appreciating what so many women have done and really given meaning to in their families yeah
you take it for granted the complexities
we've got our VA CI manager to manage right away
oh the number array
and make a better reading and writing
weather I die great hours maybe a day or two right? Right right Right.
All right, so Johnson said we'll be back resuming Doakes on Monday night or usual schedule throughout the week. And also be giving his kind of last pay show until some other time but that Sunday will be will be given his last patient and then data Sensei is going to be running the show starting May 1. Now let me see what else I have. Oh, volunteer luncheon next Saturday. If you've come volunteer, you're more than welcome to come please, please, please RSVP. We haven't talked Thursday. So it just helps us get a number. So you can send it to us at the last minute which is Thursday what time limit that we say a particular time just Thursday, this Thursday, that way we can get a good number and and accommodate love to have you here but yeah, just give us a heads up for coming. And thank you ahead of time for all all your help and volunteering. And I think we have a song a hike today.
Yeah, there's one today. There's more info on the flyer on the bulletin board in the main entrance area. The link. Today is three sisters islands near Niagara Falls and parking When it's available, potentially maybe still?
Yes, it is. I like to jump in. If you'll let me please.
I bet you're with the kids. I'm sorry.
That was the whole thing anyway. So it's actually 1215. Today the height that's a little bit later than we normally go out. And yes, we are carpooling in the van. There's plenty of room. So it's a little bit different. And but I'm hoping it'll be a nice trip.
When the email sent from Surrey.
Oh, I It's 1230. Then
from here at 1230. That's correct. leaving
from here at 1230.
Good. And now we do have refreshments. Stick around if you can. Yes, Jamie. One more thing. Yeah.
Sangha at 3pm. Today, if anyone would like to come just let me know. I'll be there. It's just very casual affair. Don't overthink it. If you have any questions, just ask me. Thank you.