September 16, 2010 by Yugen
Today is the first full day of regular schedule training period. 5:00am wake up, zazen, service, breakfast, work, lunch, work, zazen, dinner, zazen, bed. In that order. With a bit of a break after each meal and kinhin in between each of the meditation periods, of which there are three in the morning, three in the afternoon and three in the evening. So that, in a nutshell, is the Wednesday-Saturday schedule at Yokoji until November 21st. Sunday is a little different due to the Sunday morning schedule that we run, and then after morning zazen and service on Monday morning we have some time off, and the same on Tuesday, apart from we also have afternoon and evening zazen. It is a rigorous schedule, but one that I have come to really appreciate.
Today a new trainee arrived from Denmark. Daniel will be with us until the beginning of December. He has not sat a single period of zazen in his life. After brief instruction this afternoon, he managed to get through three half hour periods with out so much as flinching. I think we were all impressed! Our Daniel-san will be put to work over the next few months by the Mr Miyagi that is Yokoji (this is a Karate Kid reference for anyone confused at this juncture), washing windows, hauling rocks, mixing concrete as well as sitting zazen. By the end of it, having repeated many of these tasks over and over (wax on, wax off), Daniel will not find that he is suddenly able to leap in to the air in displays of gravity-defying physical prowess (unless he has been practicing in secret), but he will have washed some windows, hauled some rocks and mixed some concrete. And eaten lots of vegetarian food. Welcome Daniel-san!