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An Ango at Toshoji – Javier

An Ango at Toshoji – Javier

An Ango at Toshoji

Javier’s Experience

” In the field , only straw remained. Then they burnt that too …..And now, new green shoots appear here and there. This is the chance to see what rises from the ashes…”

~JMR Kôzan

From a subjective point of view, the effect of this three month ango has had a devastating effect on my sense of ‘me’, my preferences and dislikes. I felt stripped of all will to distinguish myself from  others, even in very simple and basic personal gestures. During these 85 days in the temple, everything is organised so that we forget ourselves. It doesn’t matter ‘who’ is cutting bamboo during samu, ‘who’ did meal service, ‘who’ chanted the sutras in the Hatto, or ‘who’ meditated sitting in the Sodo. There was only the evidence of being present to each moment and the key word was to be totally available.

I was merely the observer of the life that was being lived through my physical body. There was no time for more, as quite simply ‘it was what it was.’ Without a doubt, it was one of the most intense  and profound experiences of practice in my life. Everything was filled with intensity, fervour and also devotion: the ritual of ceremonies, the sutras in the morning, at midday and during the afternoon, the ceremony of repentance, every fifteen days, the daily bath….

Every occasion was a unique opportunity to bring the mind of awakening , the Bodhicitta, to life, with internal energy, whether in devotion, surrender, or the process of contiually questioning oneself…

Leaving the temple and returning home, I felt as if I ‘d been living in a dream.

Or perhaps it was the exact opposite : is my present life a dream?