circlesq

Zen is ordinary, dead ordinary. Don't expect 'bells and whistles' enlightenment. To find clarity or freedom get to know your self and see what you make of the world.On these pages you see my offer to help you in this process, and a bit about me and my experience.
Our esteemed teacher, Zen master David Ferguson, retired in 2007. He asked me to take over some of his work. So I'm on duty now as Zen master.
For more information on groups, sessions, retreats...., e-mail me

The following I wrote a few years ago in answer to the question of what happened. It's pretty much the best account I can come up with, so here it is:

Dear Mark

To answer your question as to what happened: a lifetime of seeking with books, teachers, spiritual, political, drugs, marriage, being normal (trying to), and so on... A friend of mine (who was always good at finding new angles, or yet another teacher) told me about this man living near by, a sort of a Zen monk.

We went to check him out and I ended up seeing him fairly regularly. I always had these bouts of depression, you know, really being fed up, wanting to know what it is all about, that sort of thing. So the last time I had one of those, this man (his name is David) encouraged me to look who is having these depressions, who wants to know, basically, who am I.
With his encouragement I stayed with it, it was tough, I came up with all sorts of things, understandings, having worked things out, but he always said: no, not this either. This put me in a right frenzy and I tried even harder to work things out. Emptiness was a big one, I remember. And always asking: who is thinking this, who is coming up with this, who is empty?
But more than asking, trying to really find out, to see who it is, who I am.

I started writing poetry, that was the only way I could see to describe these mind journeys and chasing my tail sessions. I also listened to Ram Dass tapes: In the car, at work, with a walk-man and headphones, all the time over and over. (I really do know his jokes now, I can tell you) Anyway, one day I came to David and told him my latest. I can't remember, but I probably thought that I really had cracked it this time. He told me that "I" tried to work it out, "I"want to have the ultimate knowledge, "I"want to be enlightened, but "I" can't have it. And "I" cracked. I burst out in tears. Then I went for a walk along the coast, I sat down, cried my heart out, just sat, looking out over the Atlantic, and something died.
And over the next days, month, there was, there is, just is, beautiful and ugly, good and bad, something and nothing, one and two, all this, and not, but so much more, or is it less? I can call it awesome, or being, or everything, or the Tao, but that's not it, because then it's called something, and there is no one to call it anything, really, and nothing that can be called anything, because that limits it to my words, to my concept, to my perception, to my conditioning. And to the words, the concept, the perception, the conditioning of the one that hears, or reads. And it's not that and it is that,

.... one of our cats is lying beside me, its breath moving its fur up and down.. the little swallows in the barn have tried their wings today, maybe tomorrow they will fly....

Looking back, what cracked, what died that day, was my, the ego's, ambition to be, and it isn't. Because the ego, the separate "I" is an illusion, that is created with each thought.

Without thought, it's not there. And that's the black hole in the stomach, or the hole in the heart, or whatever it is for you, as long as you think you are. And you run to create yourself over and over, desperately, so you don't have to face that hole, and that you don't exist, except as an illusion, unless you are so much more, and so much less.

And this is a concept as well, it's not it! David gave me "The Great Way Verses on the Faith Mind", by Seng-ts'an, the Third Zen Patriarch, That's where the "not two" is from. Maybe I should just say: Read that, or listen to Ram Dass, and I go back to growing vegetables.

Lots of love
Nish