The long and the short of it: it was loverly. Did me a whole bunch of sitting. Even busted out some more yoga with The Man himself, which helped get my sore back through some of the longer sessions.
Oh yeah, and now I am officially a lobster-bib-wearing layman monk named Renkoku Dōei, so bow down to my serenity or I'll totally muck up your karma, peasant.
Quote of the weekend goes to Brad for telling me, after whining about 3 straight hours of zazen, that I need to "man up." After some moderate consultation we decided that in order to be non-exclusionary the phrase should actually be "bodhi up", though that smells dangerously close to using the word "dharma" like an adjective, which is just universally lame. ("Universally!" Get it? *Snarf!*)
So in the end I did a bunch of meal services, we started with 22 people and finished with something like 16 (including one dude who just up and left...obviously he needed to bodhi up some.) We did a bunch of sitting, I helped clean the rock garden, and oh yeah we did the comedy version of the Precepts Ceremony. I guess it's really supposed to be a fairly solemn and serious event, but with Brad at the helm, all bets were off.
Actually, the ceremony is really boring; besides the fact that I had to prostrate myself (in the Buddhist sense, so don't get any clever ideas) to Brad far too many times, it's just really repetitive because we repeat everything three times. Brad states the precept (don't lie, don't steal, don't desire too much, don't kill unnecessarily, etc.) and then asks me if I can keep it until I die and I answer "Yes I can" and we repeat three times for each one. We were doing ok until Brad goes "Don't live by selling liquor(...I don't even KNOW her...)" and then it was third graders playing Zen. Lots of fun and a good tension release in middle of a 30 minute ceremony that's generally alot more boring, I suspect. Wouldn't have been Dogen Sangha without the goofing off I think. And the fact that we were both attempting to hold onto our scripts and follow along whilst doing all the various bowing, prostrating, incense lighting, etc.
In all it went well and next year I'll be in a better position to organize the whole retreat a bit better (and hopefully won't have to deal with a flooding apartment as well.)
found the leak
Originally uploaded by renfield.
There is an overflow tank underneath the bathtub, in case anything starts leaking. Well, the overflow tank (which holds several hundred liters) overflowed, thus the wet carpet. The water also leaked out into the other two rooms, soaking the tatami floor and parts of the closets.
They have now ripped out all the carpet, removed all the tatami, cut a whole under the sink and smashed a hole in the bathroom, drained out all the water, and set fans and dehumidifiers all over the apartment.
They now have to call in the marble specialist to remove the entire bathroom wall, pull out the bathtub itself, completely drain the overflow tank, remove and replace all the piping, and rebuild the apartment.
Suffice to say that for the time being we are living in a furnished apartment conveniently located between the Tokyo American Club, the USA Embassy and the Russian Embassy, in a lovely 3 bedroom in a tower from the seventies call The Mansions.
So not sure if I'll be making it to the retreat at all this year...