I was thinking about traveling to Japan to meet a man in his 60s who I thought used to run the Dallas Zen Center. I thought I could just show up at a Zen Center where he was in Japan and simply begin meditating. I might even join a Zen group again. However I thought I would have to either give them all my money or keep working and give all the money I made to them. I thought that was a spiritual decision I would need to make, which would give me some freedom which I didn't presently have. But I wasn't yet prepared to make the decision.
As I thought about it, I began talking with someone on the phone who apparently was the leader of a Zen Center. Finally the man was sitting down next to me taking down information, such as my name, as I filled out an application to join the Zen Center. The second question on the application was my account number on my checking account. I stood up, searched through my pockets for my check book, and finally pulled it out. I started reading it off, but then simply showed it to the man so he could write it down. He had some trouble with some of the numbers. I said, "I bet that's the first time anybody ever actually wrote down their checking account number."
I thought that although the question asked for the checking account number, people never actually gave it. But I wanted my giving up my money to be a part of my joining the Center. However I hadn't yet made the decision to give up my money. At the moment I was merely giving my account number.
As I talked, I noticed tears coming out the sides of my eyes. It was a rather emotional experience joining the group. We continued a while longer, even though it was about 3 a.m. Finally the man helping me spoke to someone and told the person to gather the rest of the people. Apparently we were going to have a meditation session. I was surprised. Soon some other people began filing into the room and putting down little pillows, preparing to meditate. It didn't seem like a bad idea to me. About a dozen people walked into the room. They put their pillows in two rows facing each other. I was given a small, dark gray cover to fold up and put in front of me. Although I already had on a sweater, I was given another colorful sweater.
First I folded up the cover to sit on. Then I put my hands together, bowed and picked up the sweater. I folded it up and put it on a shelf where some other things were sitting behind where I would be sitting when I meditated. When I stood back in front of my cover, I noticed that some of the people appeared to be Japanese, and that a Japanese man was already sitting directly across from me. He appeared calm, still and strong, almost like a picture. It seemed as if he might be the actual leader of the group.
It seemed as if this was the group I used to belong to, and as if I had been away from them for a long time. I thought how curious it was that now they were welcoming me back with open arms. I thought about how in the meantime I had gained a lot of weight and how now I was out of shape. It was an emotional feeling getting back into what I needed to be doing: meditation.
I noticed several women in the group, and some seemed to be writhing in pain, saying something about their sins. It lent a surreal aspect to the place. They were saying, "I'm saved of forgiven sins. I'm saved of forgiven sins."
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