For better or worse, my enactment of my relationship with God – or the Buddha or the Nameless- has been through my relationship to the teacher. For me, this enactment has often been wounding, a struggle. There is the transcendent joy along with the pain and confusion inherent in being human.
In Zen primary importance is placed on the meeting between student and teacher, and all koans are based on this meeting. I have thought of my relationship to my teachers as my life koan. But the word koan suggests that there is a problem and a solution. But there is no solution, and maybe there is also no problem.
Maybe we accept (as joyfully as possible) living in defenseless ambiguity.
My relationship with the teacher is like two hands rubbing together, producing heat through friction. After decades of this confusion and friction, I see that the expression of all this is love. When I walk into the zendo, when I see my brothers and sisters in the dharma, there is a spontaneous out-flowing of love.
My husband Brad said that the precepts come down to having a soft and open and gentle heart. I see this heart of the precepts in both Brad and my teacher. Since we are so quick to disclaim anything good about ourselves, they both would probably deny this. But, nevertheless, it is so.
What a wonderful outcome this would be: to have a soft and open and gentle heart.