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River Time: Zenning On The River


We are landed ( not docked) at Naches, Mississippi. I again had good zazen time this morning . But did you know that time changes on the River?

For example we are told that steamboat going from the top to bottom of the River was considered "On-Time" if the arrival was within 24 hours of the landing/docking time. In addition the flow of the River varies and we can go back to Master Dogen for his view.

Dogen wrote awareness as the human condition of time, saying when we are on a boat going downstream it is as if we are standing still and the banks are moving. It requires a pivot of awareness to see we are moving and other things are not. So movement is important to time. I am sitting in the Men's Card-room of the American Queen, looking out at a small settlement called Naches-Under-the- Hill, which at one time was a river pirates' den. Both the room and the view are 19th century-with a few exceptions. So which time do you want to be in?

Yesterday we toured the Battle Field National Park of Vicksburg, Mississippi. Again, time got funny with me as I have been on my share of Civil War Battle Fields. I experienced these places more than looking at them. Vicksburg was never captured, it surrendered after 47 days of fighting...so many lives so many stories including a regiment of Missourians and a regiment of Missourians fought each other one with the Union and the other the Confederacy-a different time?

In Sakyamuni Buddha's time, taking vows meant to leave the shore and and enter the stream. This means open to the essence of life, the flow, as we face the 10,000 things.

Finally a river-koan. We toured the pilot-house on the boat (not ship) today and our Captain told her koan..." when I was a Mate, on watch, I spotted a refrigerator flowing toward us. I immediately radioed the Captain asking what I should do about IT. He replied if it is full of beer, leave it alone, but if it is wine, let me know....


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