Arashilmaran With some of the outcome of their work together, doctors from Japan were invited to teach. The master only took off his shoes when he sat in his place. On the grounds in the countryside a zendo for retreats was built and a stupa in his memory is actually under construction. But takataa have great fighting spirit, like the general Anaya. It has Japanese characters engraved on both ends.
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Learn to Die! I doubted art. What was it for? If it was to entertain people who were afraid of waking up, I was not interested in it. If it was a means of succeeding economically, I was not interested. If it was an activity taken on by my ego to exalt itself, I was not interested. If I had to be the jester for those in power, those who poison the planet and leave millions of people starving, I was not interested.
What then was the purpose of art? After a crisis so profound that it led me to think of suicide, I arrived at the conclusion that the purpose of art was to heal. I do not wish to be misunderstood: the only therapy I had known was carried out by scientific minds, confronting the chaotic subconscious and trying to bring order to it, extracting a rational message from dreams. I approached therapy not as science, but as art. My goal was to teach reason to speak the language of dreams.
I was not interested in art turned into therapy, but in therapy converted into art. I owe this profound entry into the expression of the unconscious force—which, if we listen to it, is not our enemy but our ally—to Ejo Takata, who was my Zen master for a period of five years.
Without really knowing what I was getting into, I agreed to be part of a group that meditated for seven full days, sleeping only twenty minutes each night.
After barely two hours, the torture began. My knees, legs, back, and entire body hurt. If I moved just a little, the giant Mexican patrolling with his baton would give me a hiding on the shoulders. If I winced when flies walked on my face, the master would yell demonically. My imagination flared up, and so did my anger. What was I doing here, suffering needlessly in the midst of these enlightened shaved heads?
I saw my shoes in a corner, like open mouths, inviting me to fill them and leave this hell…. At the sound of a gong, we had to run to the dining room and gobble down a bowl of rice, almost boiling hot, in two minutes, without leaving a single grain in the bowl.
We returned to meditate with bloated bellies. A concert of belches and continuous farting began. With anger and shame I noticed that the others, especially the women, were holding it in better than I.
At midnight we lay down like dogs to sleep on the floor for those divine twenty minutes. We awoke to screams and insults and had to run to sit and continue our meditation.
We were allowed to go and defecate once a day in a communal latrine, where a row of holes over an artesian well invited men and women alike to completely give up privacy. I resisted and resisted, out of pride rather than mysticism.
Takata began playing the drum, singing the Heart Sutra. The monk made a minimal movement, ducking by a few centimeters so that the heavy instrument passed millimeters from his ear and smashed into the wall, leaving a hole. Ejo, not in the least perturbed, kept chanting the Sutra. No comment was made about this assault. Ejo Takata By the fifth day I had become a scarecrow. My knees were swollen and bloody, my belly was full of gas, my eyes were tear-filled, and there was a pain in my chest.
At three in the morning, I was dragged by two aggressive students to a room where the master was going to give me a riddle, a koan.
I was forced to fight and defend myself as the fanatical pair rained blows on me. I crept down the stairs and sat in front of the curtain hiding the sacred room. A gong sounded, indicating that I should go in. And so I did. There was Ejo, transfigured, dressed in a ceremonial robe that made him look like a saint.
What is it? The universe? All of this? I bowed, humbled, and began to leave. Suddenly, I realized that all my searching up to that point, everything that I had done, had been carried out by a cowardly intellect that, afraid to die, was clinging to the iron bars of reason….
Existence began when the actor-self stopped identifying with the observer-self. In a flash, I entered the world of dreams. Reprinted with permission from the publisher Inner Traditions International. This issue is available to purchase here. If you have enjoyed this piece, consider subscribing.
Mestre Ejo Takata
Learn to Die! I doubted art. What was it for? If it was to entertain people who were afraid of waking up, I was not interested in it. If it was a means of succeeding economically, I was not interested.
Ensenanzas De Mi Maestro Budista Zen Ejo Takata
Reality Sandwich These chants are him. When the self ceases to exist, the world exists. Soon he opted not to use koans, but somehow euo were always two questions floating in the zendo: He advertised it, not out of vanity but to avoid any inner gain for himself. With some of the outcome of their work together, doctors from Japan were invited to teach.
EJO TAKATA PDF