• Daniel Fish

"Rōshi, what is your meaning of life?"

🤔 "Rōshi ['Zen Master', if you must], what is your definition of the meaning of life?"... 🤔

Here's a rather reflective throwback of something I've never shared publicly before; I guess out of the vulnerability I feel for it being 'counter-cultural' in the west.

This time 365 days ago, I had just come to the close of my first 7-Day Silent Retreat (formally referred to as 'Seshin'). This Silent Retreat was led by Tenshin Roshi (Yokoji Zen Mountain Center) and the now Keizan Roshi (Stonewater Zen) two leading luminaries in the west for Rinzai Zen.

At this point, I'd been on and off formal Zen study for around 18 months and the longest period I had meditated for was around 4 hours in one sitting - mild compared to the 60/70+ hours I'd endure in 7 days.

Reflecting back makes me realise that some of my insights and realisations while sat on the meditation cushion have been invaluable not only in the current climate of COVID-19 but the dirt and grit of life. Acceptance. Perspective. Action. In the micro, you might not realise the compounding impact of your daily actions but the macro knows otherwise.

I'll leave you with this. During the seshin, I couldn't hold myself back, I HAD to ask one particular question. "Roshi, from your years upon years of meditation and study of the human experience; what's your definition of the meaning of life?". Tenshin Rōshi replied, "Would you prefer to think about eating chocolate or actually taking a bite?" (a legendary answer I must say!).

Ponder it for yourself.

Amor Fati.