sic transit gloria, she wrote back

More Ryokan.

The moon appears in every season, it is true,
But surely it’s best in fall.
In autumn, the mountains loom and water runs clear.
A brilliant disk floats across the infinite sky,
And there is no sense of light and darkness,
For everything is permeated with its presence.
The boundless sky above, the autumn chill on my face.
I take my precious staff and wander about the hills.
Not a speck of the world’s dust anywhere,
Just the brilliant beams of moonlight.
I hope others, too, are gazing on this moon tonight,
And that it’s illuminating all kinds of people.

zmm main hall

zmm main hall

After reading of Roshi Daido Loori’s retirement, I sent a note to my teacher.  “Don’t get any ideas!” I typed.

“Sic transit gloria,” she wrote back.

Separation anxiety.

Zen Mountain Monastery was my first encounter with hard-nosed Zen.  I fell in love with the rituals – and Daido Loori is all about finding the sacred in the rituals.  When I heard him define liturgy as the language of a community, I knew I had found a precious jewel in his teachings.  My friends call it obsessive-compulsive features of my nature.  So be it.




Everyday rituals connect me to others.  The cup of tea, the favourite songs, the email signoff, the restaurant where we celebrate birthdays, the sweater I always wear when I’m in writing mode – all intricate containers of our commitment to each other.

How is there practice without commitment?

How does that commitment manifest without an embodiment of what is felt internally?

This is the gift of our teachers:  to always be present to us with through the ritual of practice .


<images from Zen Mountain Monastery>

Thank you for practicing,


2 thoughts on “sic transit gloria, she wrote back

  1. I know that many people struggle with form, ritual, pattern and liturgy. But I deeply “get” this aspect of practice and life. I appreciate how it supports my days with a kind of steady embrace – a lover that always asks me to lift my eyes, to see, to feel how it is, just now.

  2. thank you, barry! it’s the steadiness that’s supportive. it speaks to a trust that when things get chaotic we can fall into arms that will hold us.

    thank you for your steady presence,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.