Blog entry

Big Mind, Big News (for me, anyway...)

song of the day: changes made / bruce hornsby
word of the day: saxeous / of stone, stoney (cool!)

last night i asked Genpo Roshi to be my teacher. it's been about nine years i've been practicing, with different Zen communities and teachers, but never felt any kind of connection with any teacher that would warrant anything further. i first encountered Genpo about 8 or 9 months ago during a big mind mini workshop up at Ken Wilber's house, and thought then that he would be my teacher, but i decided to wait and be sure. and wait, and wait. since then i've interacted with him only a few more times, once on a three day Big Mind event at Upaya in Santa Fe where my buddy tripp was with, and i knew then as well the dude should be my teacher. but i kept waiting, cuz i'd never met anyone who i thought i would even consider asking to be my teach. i talked with Diane Hamilton and some others about it, she said "what are you waiting for?" and i said "i'm waiting till i die. when i die, i'm going to ask Roshi to be my teacher." last night as we drove to meet Roshi and Diane for a few hours, i had a feeling in my gut like this was the night, an expectant nervousness.

and actually, it's quite a sober thing. at this point in the practice, i'm over the romantic honeymoon part. in the first few years there was all sorts of excitement about sitting practice and sesshins, and there was all kinds of subtle level episodes of seeing lights, and spiritual experiences, and all that is fine, but it's also not really what the long haul is about. in my mind, a teacher is definitely part of the long haul, and it's just essential for carving away the extra, until there is only the essence left. i need help. Roshi spoke at length in New Mexico about the student / teacher relationship (including his really painful, difficult relationship with Maezumi Roshi), and last night he said that this relationship was not just for one life time. one time hanging out with Roshi, i told him that my wife and daughter were my teachers, and he said that was exactly right, but it was not sufficient by itself. you still need a teacher. i definitely think he's right, and it's true. my practice is at a point where it needs help, and will need that help to keep moving. i have also always, from the very start, felt deeply connected and kin to Zen. for whatever it's worth, i knew that was my "family" from the first time i went to a Zendo, and that has never wavered or faded. i really felt i needed to make a deeper committment to that family, that lineage, and Genpo is the only teacher i've ever encountered that felt like a true doorway to me. when i experienced his Big Mind process, and saw him interacting with students, and then hung out with him one on one at my friend Ottmar Leibert's house, it was sealed. so this is another step into relationship, into long-term relationship. wife, daughter, family. teacher, student, dharma. but it's all within the same circle, the same family, and it's all the practice, and it's all for the sake of love, dying into Love that has no opposite. i have a LOT of dying to do. i had to hire assassins (wife, daughter, Roshi). most of my work with love is in the world, in relationship, committment, which is the hardest, muckiest of all domains- the "WE" spaces. today i start the day with a deep sense of gratitude for my family, my teacher, and for all the friends and anonymous agents in the Mystery who are always there working seen or unseen, and patiently let me learn from them. and my deep thanks to my brother Ken, my first family member in the Dharma.

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