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Chapter One: Designing A Creative Zen Life

To take up the study of a book means both its form and function. Not the form of the art of a binder in encapsulating the cover and pages, but the layout of the writing. The hundreds of hours spent in selecting and shaping words, then constructing sentences, paragraphs, sections, footnotes, chapters, acknowledgements, and introduction. The structure of scaffolding frames the author's function of crafting boundless options and making selections to tell this story.

As the Falmouth Soto Zen Sangha studies these teaching, we also see the life of a person who walks among us as sensei or teacher, in my case for twenty years. In many ways our task is almost as daunting as writing the book.

So we too must move into the original frontier, each in our own way, but with a scout as guide. We can solicit responses from the author about our responses to his writings! A rare opportunity indeed.

We began our study a few weeks ago with a look at the sections: acknowledgements, introduction and then the last chapter--The Original Frontier. This process informed us as to who provided a grub-stake (feedback from reviewers of drafts over the years), and others offering perspective from paths they explored (peer reviews); and the introduction (mapping the trail that would unfold.) Then, the last chapter offered a look back to the introduction and provided yarns of experience garnered during the exploration to make us wish to start our own journey. Again in the spirit of Hojo’s theme, in the last chapter he is a mountain man spreading awe to the less travelled, but seriously interested seeker.

Our first leg (chapter) of the exploration is Designing a Creative Zen Life. Here (throughout our study I’ll refer to the author Taiun Elliston-roshe as Hojo, abbot in Japanese), He left home at seventeen and took up seeing, experiencing, and understanding-- as unrestricted. In our Tuesday Night service on May 25, we will look at his life experiences, early teachings (from Hojo), influences on his creative process, specific statements offering deeper sangha conversation and specific ways Hojo draws attention to Buddhist teachings along the trail he is forging.

Please join us, the journey is afoot...

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