I feel much closer to all of you when we pretend we’re all fighting real dangers together in order to stay alive. The telepathic links among us heat up when our bodies register the information that we may really die horribly together all at once.
Ric says that when he first published the book, “I took it to a ‘New Age’ bookstore and was thrown out for being insulting to the Art and Life of Yoga. However, I know that Yoga people, like the rest of us, get off on a nice chocolate mint-chocolate chip ice cream sundae with kaluha syrup on top and a shot or two of creme de cacao on the side once in a while. Maybe at least they dream of it. I am sure.”
In the circles where he’s known, it is said that Soen Roshi never smiles, yet, however far-seeing and important those circles, I know it isn’t so. Once, during Rohatsu,* I went to dokusan (private interview) with Soen. I was in a volcanic mood, aimlessly enraged. I did not do the bows required by the situation. I did not say my name or practice. I just shut the door behind me, turned around, and sat on the floor in front of him — him so small and looking.
In the small kitchen behind the meditation room, the fire was going even in the late afternoon, heating milk and water for Tibetan tea in large dented aluminum pots set on the grill. The ventilator shaft above the flames was curved, and the smoke curled up to it lazily, discouraged by every small draft back into a tour of the low-ceilinged room. Walls and ceiling had long ago taken on a thick fur of soot, and the fading light that crept into the kitchen made little impression on the midnight walls. Even with his face turned partly toward the door, the young monk did not notice when the foreigner came into the room.