Beaches and Belts
January 23, 2011 by Yugen
Today I headed down to Long Beach to give a talk for the Saturday program. Wayu often leads the class, but sometimes other senior students get the chance to do it, and today was my day. It was the first talk I have given outside of the dharma combat ceremony in the Fall, and I wasn't really sure how it would go. I hope it was OK. I think it was. It was certainly good practice if nothing else. It was a lot of fun to go down for the day, a nice change from the usual Saturday schedule. I really like driving through the sunrise, and rural Hemet is at it's best (which some may argue still doesn't amount to much, although I'm kind of fond of it) at around 6:45am on a winters day. The Long Beach group are nice folks. It reminded me of the Liverpool group that I used to sit with that Keizan Sensei leads. We sat two periods of zazen, had a short break and then went ahead with the talk. It is informal and friendly, and I would certainly like to go back again in the not-too-distant future. It turned out that I chose to talk on the same koan that Suiryu spoke on last week. What are the chances? We both chose Ummon's "The Sound of the Bell and the Seven-Panel Robe" from the Gateless Gate. Since I did not have a plan B, the group indulged me and listened to my take on the koan. I guess I'd better check on what the other senior students have spoken about recently before the next time!
As I pulled in to the parking lot at Long Beach, there was a loud snap from under the hood of my truck and my steering went out. Turned out that the power steering v-belt had snapped. The truck can still be driven with no power steering, but it is really hard work and didn't feel all that safe. I'm extremely lucky it didn't go out on the freeway. After the program, Rich, one of the Long Beach folk gave me a ride to the auto parts store and lent me some wrenches to get it fixed. I pretty much always carry my tools in the truck, and in fact last night as I finished up work, I remembered I should put them back in their rightful place as they were still in the shop. I did not, however. I figured, 'what are the chances that I'll need those?'. Now I know. After a few false starts (I've never changed a belt before but I did have a copy of the repair manual with me) I eventually got it done. And now I can change a belt! I even bought some spares for the next time...