Saturday, January 10, 2015

Step One -- A wagon with no wheels

Step 1:  We admitted we were powerless over something -- that our lives had become unmanageable.

Master Gettan said to a monk, “Keichu made a cart whose wheels had a hundred spokes.  Take both front and rear parts [wheels] away and remove the axle: then what will it be?”  Gateless Barrier #8

“…whose wheels had a hundred spokes.”

 ·      Back in the day…100 spokes…the best of the best.  Some might have said, “This is the perfect cart.”  Like driving the most popular car and being the center of attraction.
·      I am this cart.  Wheels or not, it’s perfect the way it is.  Aren’t we all perfect human beings?  Born that way.  In Zen we say we ALL have buddhanature.

We also have our dis-ease.  In Step-1, to various degrees, don’t we arrive here only to realize that our wheels have fallen off—or one has fallen off and the others are about to wobble off—and still others it may only be loose lug nuts?  We come here broken, or soon-to-be broken.

·      “Take both front and rear wheels away…” Who or what is responsible for the taking?

No wheels, just the axels, power gone, lack of control, “that our lives had become unmanageable.”  We make our own cart.  My cart is my life.  There’s the cart that brought me to A.A.; there’s the cart I move around in today.  What are you driving today?

What others said:

·      Humbleness came to mind.  I don’t need 100 spokes.  It was only after they have been taken away that I can realize this.  Maybe four spokes are enough.
·      My life right now …everything seems to be crumbling around me and still I have been able to stay sober.
·      Our 15-year old grandson died in November.  It was cancer.   Part of me feels like this dismembered wagon.  All that is left is the wagon’s “box”.  But there are times where the wagon’s box is full of good things, like the good times I remember with my grandson.  All of this is happening at the same time and slowly the wagon is being put back together; but it will never look the same.

In addition, Zen teacher Barry Dogo Graham sent me this:  "What becomes vividly apparent is that he did not make a hundred carts, or even one cart. He found the carts in wood, metal and space. You do not make yourself - you only find yourself. This question - What becomes vividly apparent when wheels and hub are removed? - is a personal question, directed specifically at you. It asks you who you are."  See Barry's link to the right.

Bill K.

BTW, on Friday we held 12 & Zen at our new home, at Rocks and Clouds Zendo in Sebastopol, CA. Daniel Terragno Roshi was there to greet us... all nine of us! We always seem to leave with more than we came with.  What a great start for 2015.