Monday, February 23, 2015

the shelf project - zen-dō

There are some experiences in life that change you in more profound ways than others. They become a part of your internal story. One such experience was a trip to a Zen-dō on a winter weekend for an introductory class in meditation. I dragged my (then) 16-year-old daughter along for company. I'm not saying the class changed me much on the outside, but it did bring part of me into focus on the inside.

It was way up in the Catskill Mountains of NY, so the drive in was stunningly beautiful. The buildings were simple and lovely. The monks were compassionate to our little group of beginners. We had lots of questions. We spent the weekend sitting. We ate in silence. We worked. We listened. We chanted. We got some free time to tramp about the grounds in the snow.

For some reason, the shelf project was calling out for a tiny zen-dō, probably because I started a sitting practice for real this year. I attempted to make some tiny zafu, but, while they came out nicely, seemed too time-consuming, so only the bottom cushions got sewn.

I am fully aware that the Tibetan prayer flags are inconsistent with the Japanese tradition, but I felt like making them.

There's a tiny picture of my Mom next to the Buddha on the altar. Photographs of teachers who have passed away are often on the altars in a zen-dō, and my Mom was one of my most important teachers.

There's a tiny study, rendered in colored paper, for a possible quilt on the back wall.