Monday, April 26, 2010

Instructions for the Cook

Tonight we watched a documentary about Bernie Glassman that Tom got off the web. A simple film that goes through the five stages of making the meal of your life, it is titled after Glassman's book, Instructions for the Cook, one of the first Zen books that deeply engaged us.

He came to the point about looking at your ingredients. Using the metaphor of cooking an omelet, he opened the refrigerator and said, "You just look. Observe." He said we confine ourselves, we think much too small. He talked about how we think there's such a limited amount of money, but there isn't, and I recalled how he got Greyston Mandala funded. It is a huge endeavor, and seemed amazing in the book. But in the documentary it did not seem so amazing when you saw him sitting there quietly (in outrageous suspenders) explaining how he thought. We have much more to give than we think, and there is much more out there for us than we realize.

Out of nowhere I was struck with a personal realization: "I'll never get published in Poetry Magazine if I don't send them anything." (Poetry being the highest peak of that particular world.) I realized I've had a very small vision, an idea that there was a tortuously long, steep path that led to a basketball hoop way too high for little me. So, mind clarified a bit, and without even a real dokusan. [The image of Glassman Roshi above is said to be of him doing dokusan at the Yonkers zendo.]

1 comment:

  1. In his book Bearing Witness, Glassman wrote that he had started Zen Peacemakers when he was 55 years old. I thought at 55 I'd already run out of time to do anything "meaningful!" It was a good thwack on the head to see that time is just what the clock says.