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“It is essential at the beginning of practice to acknowledge that the path is personal and intimate. It is no good to examine it from a distance as if it were someone else’s. You must walk it for yourself. In this spirit, you invest yourself…”

That’s from Aitken Roshi’s Taking the Path of Zen, as quoted by Tricycle on October 16, 2013.

So, this is me, my story, personal and intimate, as I walk this path and do my best to sift out dharma from delusion. I am no teacher, just a loving wife, busy mother of four, and devoted student of the Way, enduring chronic illness and life in the suburbs.

When I’m not making lunches, signing permission slips, or driving endless little ensos here on our island, I take my refuge in the Dharma, the Sangha, and, of course, the Buddha. “However,” as Aitken Roshi continues, “we do not owe fundamental allegiance to him, but to ourselves and to our environment.” (ibid) And so, I write about and embrace not just my Zen studies, but all of it, every bit of the tathagata, even the lunches and permission slips.

A couple years ago, my teacher, Jack Duffy Roshi told me that being able to make a mature expression of the dharma was essential to the practice. Well, here’s my expression; I can only trust that the maturity will come in time.

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