10 days at Gyobutsuji
Last February, I went to Nice in my car to attend a Board meeting. At the beginning of my journey back, I had a technical problem with the car and finally I had to stay in Nice for 10 days.
I “had” to stay? Not exactly. I thought at first that the car would be repaired in 3 or 4 days, but the wait went on first for 2 days more, then for 3 days more … and finally after 10 days, the car was still not ready.
At the beginning, I organized myself to stay only for a few days. I was happy to share the life of the dojo, I lived on the spot. But gradually, I took more and more pleasure to live there.
The practitioners arrived early in the morning to prepare the dojo and warm the gen mai. After zazen, we had coffee together and we made samu. Then everybody left to go to work or back home; I stayed in the dojo, to go on as well with what was my daily life: e-mails, translations, organization of a sesshin which I had to lead 10 days later.
In the evening, the disciples came for the evening zazen. Life was thus very animated: there was also once a week a zazen at noon, a tea ceremony, some Japanese calligraphy.
The place was so peaceful that I was not tempted to go out, except for dinner or to buy some food.
The more the days went by, the more I felt comfortable to live in this place, as if it had become an extension of my mind.
The days passed … I had to go back home, but the intimacy that I had begun to experience also tempted me to stay. I could have rent a car and left after 5 days, as my own car was still not ready, but I did it only after 10 days, just to be able to arrive on time for the next sesshin.
These 10 days to Gyobutsuji reminded me of my stay in a temple, when I was in Japan. Gyoji, 24 hours a day.
In Nice, my practice alternated between "with the others " and "an intimate solitude ". How can I explain it … it is necessary to experiment this personally, as zazen.
This small car problem made possible for me this magnificent stay in the temple Gyobutsuji. I remembered that, a long time ago, I also had lived for one week in the dojo of Torino, during a week of practice as those whom Heinz-Jürgen Metzger organizes in Solingen. And it also had been for me a very deep experience.
When I left the Temple of Nice, my mind was full of gratitude and joy for the opportunity that had been given to me of a shared practice with the sangha, the Master and my own solitude.
Without any expectations, just to practice, in my position of disciple, of Buddha’s child.
I wish you all to be able to go to the Temple for such a retreat and experiment that intimacy with the Way and your own life.