|What goes on inside|
that 1956 Plymouth 2-Tone Vihara
|3:50||Alarm clock-brrrrrring! From a heap of blankets a hand appears to reach for matches on seat-back altar. Uncover kerosene lantern from near food-box. Light it and trim wick. Stretch, take off blanket poncho. Praise Kuan Shih Yin Bodhisattva, behin Da Bei Jou. Unwrap lower blankets. Say mantra against harming insects. Step out of car, relieve nature, check the sky, do T'ai Chi waist circles. Four Da Bei Jou's.|
|4:00||In full lotus, don seven-piece sash. Light incense, begin morning recitation. Trade off wei no (conductor of ceremonies) duties each week. Instruments: small, red, wooden fish, brass bell and a Sierra Club cup struck with a wooden clothes pin.|
|5:00||Bow to teachers and elders and parents. Sutra reading by Heng Ch'au. Currently: Sutra in Forty-Two Sections.|
|5:15||Write in journals. Drink tea, if thermos water is hot. Drink warm water if not.|
|6:00||Roll out for T'ai Chi Chu'uan basic exercises and set of movements. Fifteen to twenty Da Bei Jou's under the stars (recently under rain clouds!) Always cold at first. T'ai Chi starts engines turning, like pulling rip-cord on a chain saw. Rrrrrrmm! Basic warm-ups done. Heng Ch'au practices Shao Lin Ch'uan or T'ai Kwan Do movement, then we begin the T'ai Chi set.|
|6:45||Fold blankets, store gear in stuff sacks, take water jugs off car roof. Start car. Drink juice or tea when we have it. Don grey monk's robes, precept sashes. Heng Sure takes blue Sutra pack, Heng Ch'au prepares yellow carry-all monk's bg. Five to ten Da Bei Jou's.|
|7:00||Drive out to bowing site. Heng Sure begins prayers and bowing. Heng Ch'au drives ahead one-half mile, arranges gear, locks car, walks back, joins bowing. Sun appears.|
|7:00-10:30||Single-minded bowing to the City of Ten Thousan Buddhas|
|10:30||Heng Ch'au checks watch, signals recess. Return to car, sit in full lotus, five-ten Da Bei Jou's. If weather permits, Heng Ch'au sits on tailgate. Otherwise both sit inside car. Forty-two Hands and Eyes.|
|11:00||Heng Ch'au starts Svea stove, opens cans, washes vegetables, heats water for thermos. Heng Sure studies sutras or writes in journal.|
|11:25||Heng Sure offers food to Buddhas, feeds peng bird and spirits.|
|11:30||Recite Meal Offering Praise. Lunch: three bits of Ritz crackers to accompany Three Recollections. Begin Five Contemplations. Lunch rules: no talking, reading, writing, notes. Pass only food. Stop eating when 80% full. Typical menu: crackers, nut-raisin mix, apple and orange, cheese, bread, peanut butter and jelly, granola. Alternative: hot vegetable stew over cooked whole grain brown rice, bulgar wheat, beans, soy sauce, miso, sesame salt, pickles--menu varies according to offerings.|
|12:15||End meal. Heng Sure translates from Ven Abott's writings: poetry, talks, and essays.|
|12:30||Clean up, brush teeth, repack car--ten to fifteen Da Bei Jou's. Return to bowing site.|
|1:00-5:00||Single minded bowing to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. Triple refuge, Transference of Merit, bows to the Master. Return to the car. Wash hands and face, stow bowing gear. Heng Ch'au finds campsite along the road. Ten to fifteen Da Bei Jou's.|
|6:00||Ch'an meditation. Forty-two Hands and Eyes.|
|7:00||Evening Recitation. Sutra reading/translation from Avatamsaka Sutra.|
|8:15||Sutra study, journal writing. Ch'an meditation. Finish Da Bei Jou's.|
|9:30||Shurangama Mantras, Triple Refuge, bow to Patriarchs.|
|10:15||Standing meditation. Finish Da Bei Jou's. Put on sweater, vest. jacket, down parka, hat, hood, sweat pants, blanket poncho. Blow out lamp.|
|11:00||Fall asleep sitting up. Exhausted, free, and happy.|
Like the ocean beats the rugged shore, Day and night, without moment's pause. Big rocks wear smooth, small rocks wear out. Bowing breaks thought-covers in this way.Inner changes result from hard work. Long bowing--four hours, no break. Long sitting-three hours, full lotus. New energy rubs old blocks, leaves and debris. New eyes see old habits. Test and trials.
Shih Fu: "Now that you know false thinking is not okay, you can't do it anymore, can you?"
Riding a yin-yang see saw. Great Compassion Mantra great equalizer. Too tense? Recite to relax. Too scattered? Recite to concentrate. Feel old and dirty? Recite and feel new and clean.
Slowly closing gaps in mindfulness. Less time wasted not cultivating every day. Pay a price for this quality work: Ego fights back. Smoke screens, afflictions, twisting, turning, schemes to sabotage.
The Way grows by a foot, and the demon's already on top.No vacations. Got to watch it all the time. Who watches? Heng Sure. Watches who? Heng Sure. All the states of mind working back to simple harmony in the Original Middle. What counts? The bowing, breaking thought-covers like the sea smoothes rock.