Saturday, September 23, 2006

French croissants

As I finish my morning zazen on my futon in a bare and simple single room (I have no furniture and don't need any), I go out in a little street nearby, close to the lazy river. A small and very beautiful wooden shrine with bibbed Jizo stands there, next to a vegetable shop. This morning, to my surprise, an old lady that can hardly walk is offering incense to the group of small stones vaguely shaped in human form. She has presumably lost a baby or a child in a distant past, and this the way she remembers the lost being. I stand there watching her and her son or neighbour helping her. After greeting each other she leaves. And I do a short ceremony before the group of Jizos, reciting sutras and offering incense. It is what i do now because I have no altar at home, no statue. Just a bowl in which I burn incense and a kakejiku of Daruma painted by a famous Soto patriarch. A gentle Autumn wind blows and my happy robes fly in every direction.

On my way back, I buy two French croissants from a great local bakery. I eat them on my way back home, as I walk along, without coffee. Just tasting the joy of being alive.


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