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Christmas Eve party, conversation with a monk
about a koan interview I had
with a teacher from another zen tradition.
“he gave up his center
and asked me to teach him.”
surprised by the monk’s response,
“this is a great man!” hyon mun said to me.
pretending like I also understood, I smiled.
today, at lunch, after eating ma-po tofu—
the fortune cookie read;
“yours is the role of host wherever you may go.”
I had to laugh out loud!
it finally struck me.
host and guest are not important,
one is not better than the other.
to ask a visiting zen student to teach you,
when there is something to be learned—
is the mark of a great man.
how blind I am—stumbling about this way and that.
how lucky I am—to have a teacher like this.
outside the restaurant the air is warm,
a good friend is smiling.
we have managed to escape
the drudgery of work—once again.
how lucky I am to be so blind.
December 28, 1995
La Habra, CA