As most of you know, my dear teacher Zenkei Blanche Hartman died only a few short weeks ago. Here is a lovely piece written for Tricycle by one of my good friends and dharma sisters, Shosan Victoria Austin. The link to her reflection on Blanche’s last days can be found at Inconceivable Joy.
Of course I miss my teacher, but I feel her presence so intimately. This is the way she taught me, through her intimate presence and her moment-by-moment willingness to simply do what was needed. One of the Zen ancestor stories she enjoyed telling was about the of not knowing when you embark on whatever is next in life. She could not know about death before entering that mystery, but she was willing to go. Here is the old story from China:
Fayan was preparing to go on pilgrimage. Dizang met him as he prepared and asked, “Where are you going?” Fayan answered, “I’m going around on pilgrimage.” At which Dizang inquired further, “What is the purpose of pilgrimage?” Fayan said, “I don’t know,” at which point Dizang concluded, “Not knowing is most intimate.”
I am profoundly grateful for her presence, her teachings, the way she treated me and Erin as a couple, the way she was such a gracious guest in our home when she visited, always wanting to help out around the house. I can still feel her help working in me and I believe I always will.