Hello, this is December 18 2021. And my first recording in at least three months, I think --four months, maybe.
It's been an unusual year, to put it mildly. I think most of you know that my wife and I sold our house in Rochester, we bought this house in Sarasota, Florida. And it seems like the last four months have gone by in a blur of change.
So let me apologize in advance for what will probably be a somewhat ragged podcast. I am out of practice. And this is new technology. One of the one of the adjustments I've had to make down here in Florida, is how to manage my technology without all these helpful staff members and others at hand to straighten things out for me. But I was able to get help from Jeanette, too, find a new way to do a recording, the other ones that I've done during the pandemic involved, actual recording device, a little thing that I would then run over to senseis house and he would do some magic with that. And then it would get to Scott Jennings, who would find a way to send it out as a link in an email. Well, instead, we're sending this to what they call the cloud. And so yeah, this is something of an experiment. I've also had to get used to managing without the one of arguably the best assets have my whole adult life, which is Zen Center cooking. This is this has been the first these two months now that we've lived here in Florida had been the first two months in 50 years. That's five oh, half a century that I haven't had the wonderful blessing of Zen Center. Cooking at the center, and, and leftovers. I've been immensely grateful for Zen Center leftovers all these years. And now we are finding we have to find another way.
Yeah, so it's a time of transition. It's a time of ambiguity. Let me first go to the sort of the origin of the secona cast, which is the pandemic itself. Yes, we're all looking at another major wave now with the Omicron. The Zen centers COVID Committee met today to look at the upcoming January session in the ROTC session to see what restrictions there might be on that. I'm told that it'll be more restricted than the October or rather the November the last two seven day sesshin is in November led by Sensei and the September one late September led by me that was maybe something of a of a break for us all. All of us able to attend the Chapin Mill, but now with these alarming numbers I heard yesterday of something like Corrado the cases the COVID cases doubling every day or something like that every two days. We're clearly we're going to be clobbered. clobbered with this again. I'm hoping to be able to go to the January session just to face the wall no teaching no don't sound notation just to face the wall. But now I'm not so sure these surging omachron numbers may torpedo my getting there, we'll see, you'll see we just you know, we're all in the same boat, we are all in the same boat we we rise and fall based on those who refuse to get vaccinated
I've also come to appreciate the zoom settings even more than before I did before in Rochester but now they're my lifeline. I mean, I would sit anyway, but it's not the same. It's not the same as being able to glance at the screen and see that you're sitting with 2530 35 other people it's a it's a great, great blessing, really to do these sittings together. And I don't think even I would be quite as regular with my morning sitting without that seven to eight commitment probably would do end up doing a little less than an hour a day
as grateful as I am to participate with others sitting in the morning, evening in via zoom. I'm also going through quite a transition. Being down here without Sangha, without Sangha nearby. It's it's the first time if I can repeat myself as the first time in 50 years that I haven't then with the Sangha around me in the same Howdy, except for I think, 1981 I spent a year full year with Roshi Kapleau in Mexico, assisting him in his book writing, but even there, I had him to sit with every morning and Polly Polly would come then papageorge The three of us lived in a house in Mexico and I would sit together every morning and and sometimes in the evening. So, this is this has been quite time for me. Adapting to these very different circumstances
some of you may have may have heard some background sounds when I in the zoom settings when I introduced the Roku verse and then at the end of the sitting the four vows may have heard some construction noise in the background. We have a just to just to get this out on the table. We have a 10 storey condominium under construction right next to us, right next to us. They're maybe a couple three more months away from finishing the shell. Once that's done, then it'll be quieter but if you do hear hammering sounds and other odd construction sounds well that's what it is.
And then we have the the shooting that high school in Oxford, Michigan. Not that it matters but Oxford, it was just a short drive from where I grew up Rochester, Michigan. It's now called Rochester Hills, Michigan. Oxford High School was was in our athletic league. Football, basketball and baseball. So it hit home in a special way, feeling it's so close to where I grew up but back to back to the pandemic
What? What can we do? But carry on? I know it's it's hard for a lot of people, I can't imagine what it's like, without daily sitting. I can't imagine how people are dealing with this month after month now about to enter our third year. This is Who could have imagined this in the winter? Of what was it 2020? No one in our lifetime has been through this. And, you know, who knows? How much longer this will go after? After omachron? What then will there be another variant that sweeps the globe? And another it does no good. Does it does no good to think about that. Thinking about it is the problem thinking about it is cause is what causes us to suffer. We just adapt to whatever the restrictions are. Here in Sarasota I haven't worn a mask anywhere in two months. It's just become very safe place. I don't see I see hardly anyone else wearing masks to up until now. When I went to Santa Fe last week to visit my sisters and in laws and nieces and nephews and grandnieces and grandnephews it's much more dangerous. There, we were wearing masks everywhere, because that's what was required everywhere indoors, you had to wear masks. And I realized in in wearing masks all all of last week, just just how what a break we've had in Rochester and, and Florida, to not have to wear masks everywhere.
And it seems that in Europe, Europe, it's already much worse than here. But I guess it's a it's a Europe is a is a forerunner. It's it's a bellwether, of what we're about to see here. You know, one could talk about why the most intelligent thing we can we can do in these circumstances is daily sitting. But I guess we have to find that out for ourselves. Or actually, and the way to find out is to is to miss a few sittings and see what that does with a mind. But I hope it doesn't come to that for anyone. I hope that everyone can, can have the faith to sit every day knowing that however bad it is, however bad it is. Now and when will be surely it will get worse this winter. It would be worse. It would be worse about sitting. There's no question. It's a it's a matter of it's a form of self care. It's a form of survival. To sit every day. People find it difficult to sit every day. Well, you need to find a way to do it. I remember Roshi Kapleau saying a long time ago that everyone needs to sit it's good for everyone to set. But everyone has a felt need to sit. This has come to me many times that probably most almost everyone who here is hearing this now understands what an intelligent thing it is to allow the mind to settle every day, during sitting to allow the mind to settle to settle our thoughts to settle so that we can become more centered and grounded in abled To adapt to the winds of change, starting with a pandemic, everyone must know that it seems so obvious. But then we have to in a physical way, we have to feel drawn to the mat. And to and to do that, and, and, yeah, just just miss a few days, or even worse, a few weeks of sitting, and anyone who has built up any kind of momentum will then have confirmed for them what a different setting can make. So my message is not a new one. It's not original, that kind of a plea for you all who are listening to this to find a way to sit every day or almost every day. And and that's the way that's the Dharma. That's the DAO that enables us to live in accordance with truth, the way there's no other way. The other way is to suffer unnecessarily.
I hope those of you in Rochester and other hard hit areas, states, narrow other areas can contend with all this. You know, it won't last forever. Oh, I've heard the other day that. And not just the other day. I think we know historians tell us that the pandemics of hundreds of years ago 1000s of years ago could last for years and years and years. But they ended and this one will end. And then maybe, you know, in 100 years or 50 years, another one will come rolling in. How do we manage all this? Through sitting, sitting and of course, carrying into our daily lives, our active lives as much as possible about stabilized awareness that we get from the sitting. Well, thanks for listening. And I'm hoping now that Jeanette has taught me how to do this new kind of transmission to the cloud. I'll be able to do it a little more often. Take care