My first encounter with meditation and Buddhism was at a summer retreat that was to offer talks on the Four Noble Truths. I travelled by bus to a town northeast of Toronto where I and another person were picked up and driven to the Dharma Centre, seated on a rocky, wooded plot of land.
Dropped off at a simple shack at the end of a narrow dirt road after dark, I was grateful to have a flashlight and some water.
Over the next week I spent hours walking through the woods, the coolest place to be in August, chanting a mantra ￼given by the teacher.
reading between the lines
my search for stillness
Inspired by November with Basho by Frank Tassone. Here is an excerpt from his Day 12 quote from the Narrow Road to the Interior:
Monks at the foot of the mountain offered rooms, then we climbed the ridge to the temple, scrambling through ancient gnarled pine and oak, gray smooth stones and moss. The temple doors, built on rock, were bolted. I crawled among boulders to make my bows at shrines. The silence was profound. I sat, feeling my heart begin to open.
a single cicada’s cry
sinking into stone
Basho, “Narrow Road to the Interior”, translated by Sam Hamill, The Essential Basho, p. 22