The Lotus Blossoms in Germany, Also

October 10, 2011 by  



For years now, I have been traveling through Europe and parts of Asia sharing what has been given to me. My Spiritual teacher, Sadguru Sant Keshavadas set the example for me many years ago. Even so, there was no reason for me to believe that I would follow his footsteps beyond the borders of America. When we met in 1976, I had never been further than New York and Massachusettes. The Lord moves in mysterious ways. With Santji, as I affectionately called him, I clearly saw that the power that moves us (The Spiritual teacher) from place to place is none other than The Lord, himself.  Santji was pleased to focus on and teach this awesome personality in creative ways. The Lord pulled the strings that made  Santji "dance," and the guru was overjoyed to just dance.

Much of what transpired between us was secret, that is ... it was not openly discussed with others but the embrace and acceptance was public. Once that transmission happened my life changed even more. There was an ever present current flowing between us. Santji did his job of preparing me for my mission but I was aware, and he underscored that understanding, that he was the instrument, not the source of wisdom or power. I was reminded to remember that no matter what occurred, I, too, could be nothing more than an instrument of The Lord. I had no power in and of myself.

I know what radiated through Santji to me. The depth and reality of it was too much to express completely in words but I discovered over time that I was being seasoned with it, scented by it, as when one rolls over in a field of fragrant flowers.

The time came, first at his urging, then intensifying when he left me standing on this side of the void alone, that I would act decisively and experience the inherent authority and perks of our “kind.” It was then the “passport” came. The doors opened up around the earth. I reported for duty where called. I did what I had to do. What I did not know was when, where or how? I was being moved around the board like a chess piece but I understood who was moving me. This was not some manifest being pushing me, not Santji but the Unmanifest. Truly this wondrous being is a person but a person without dimensions, one beyond reach of concepts or any of our analytical powers. I found this marvelous, indeed. I reveled in not attempting to capture and contain The Source of All in the medium of thought.

It seems that the majority of beings need the manifestation before they can believe there is a power beyond manifestation. A leap is required. Granted most people do not take the leap or recognize that it is possible and desirable.

The Zen term, No-Mind is helpful. It is a common belief that there is a mind, after all, we think with it, we think about it, we clog it up with concepts and ideas constantly.

What would we do, if we suddenly discovered that we have no mind?

In Japanese, No-Mind is rendered as mushin. It is also said that the truth of direct perception or Zen lies in No-Thought, munen.

I suppose a lot of people would imagine they would be helpless without thought, no better than a statue. Finally, we are admonished not to reflect, muso, in Japanese. With the kyusaku or Zen stick flailing us at every turn.

How do we live now? We have no mind, no thought and no ability to reflect on having no mind or thought. It sounds like a pitiful state to the uninitiated but ahhh -how sweet is the experience.

You can have fresh vegetables or precious stones but you have to work for them. You have to till the soil, fertilize the ground, plant the seeds, irrigate the field, and harvest the yield at the right time. You have to survey the land, get to the rich deposits, acquire rights and dig into the unknown, never knowing beforehand whether your investment was well spent. Faith is a requirement, not just technology and Science.

When the Himalayan Sadguru declared emphatically that Heaven had also Transmitted The Dharma to an African American, a Christian, at that, he created a deep koan (mystery) for seekers to unravel. Was the consciousness the product of a single culture or Religion or was it beyond cultural and Religious boundaries? Must its genius always be recognized by a particular form or pattern?

Since such thoughts prevailed in the west. I found myself facing strong opposition even though the renown master openly endorsed my legitimacy in writing, vocally and by his presence. There was no recognizable American lineage of Spiritual teachers or masters as followed in The East, nor did there exist to any large degree the understanding of how vital those roles are to the advancement of humankind.

Santji said that there was only a certain distance he could go in an attempt to spread Dharma (The Inner-Teachings) to the west. Speaking specifically  of the  African American community he said, "You can go further." I was willing but I faced a huge challenge. Would the people accept me acting in the role of a Spiritual master, a Zen master, a Guru, a role that is clearly and traditionally the birthright of Mother Asia? Regardless of what the answer might be I was willing to stand where I was placed, or to put it a Zen way ...sit. The Dharma would not be stopped. It was transmitting through a body of African roots, regardless.

It is because of my long history of warring against stereotype that the words of a German Psychotherapist, rang so sweetly recently. "Your being an African American is of great importance to me," he said. "There is something there that I know I need to learn ..."

This is the lesson that I receive in  Europe. People are far move likely to embrace openly and without reservation what is within me, inclusive of my own cultural roots than is common in my own country.  For some  reason the Europeans I have been blessed to meet, grasp the essential nature first, wherein in America it is still common to judge a person by their appearance, the superficial, their race. One is forced to use more mental energy in to establish one's personal identity than should be necessary. Receptivity frees the roshi to radiate  

I am an African-American raised in the Christian church, what would be the flavor of my Zen? If you said or thought anything at all, hit yourself with the Zen stick. You are far off course.

In olden days warriors would visit others areas to test their skills against other swordsmen. Zen monks would travel and engage in mondo or verbal combat with other monks to sharpen the Zen mind.

I grew up in a country that did not have a good record of loving its citizens equally, despite The Constitution. Traditionally, African Americans were never encouraged to see themselves as equals of white citizens. With centuries of slavery in the background and a subconscious urging caution in dealing with whites, the African American was prevented from experiencing and knowing the full extend of his personal powers. Basically, the will to survive overrode the will to thrive. In an environment where one is perceived as just another man or woman, a place where color is of no particular concern, something fresh arises in the consciousness.

Santji specifically spoke of my healing the psyche of African Americans. What he did not tell me was that becoming a healer works like a flu shot. I needed to be infected with a form of the disease to reach immunity against it. Only when I  wrestled with the demons within my own mind would I be ready to help others.

The Psychotherapist was pleased that this Zen master is an African American. Confirmation from the west .... synchronizing. The seed does not know what plant it will be. It just receives the water and the light. In my travels I share prajna, the inherent wisdom born of Zen enlightenment but I receive something as I pass through. My conscious mind is being changed by interacting with European seekers but not just Europeans, people from borders beyond where I was born on the earth.

It is so with your consciousness. You can not fix it with your own broken consciousness. The Spiritual student realizes that long before his mind can be his friend, it is his enemy. It must be re-oriented. Restored. The Spiritual teacher was, and always remains, a student of The Way.

Santji first came West by way of Germany. He was sent by the renown, legendary Yogi, Babaji. I loved Santji but I never had any interest in going to Germany. All I knew of the country grew out of its most negative period of History, so it was never on my travel list.

However, The Lord had a different plan. A German publisher, Loechow brought the rights to publish Soul Sword:The Way and Mind of a Zen Warrior in the German language.

Soul Sword, German edition is on the right.

Suddenly, I had roots in Germany. Those roots became deeper when German Martial artists and yogis attended my seminar in Holland at Aikido Maastricht. Later, former German students of Master Osho such as Andreas Zervas came to study with me. Heilpraktikerin, Sabine Kleftogiannis, founder of Zen BodyMind Works, became an adminstrator of the Soul Sword Zen Community and  coordinator for the European Zen mission. I quickly discovered how that genuine students of The Way were willing to come in by train or plane from nearby countries to meet with me.

I witnessed such phenomenon with Santji but I did not expect such a reception myself. The truth is, although I am well-vested in America, I am much better received across the great waters. The vessels which hold the precious liquid may different in weight and color but water, itself, still supports life.

The message, the teachings are never about what or who I am, only about what is being transmitted through me. Those who come to receive in sincerity will not be disappointed.  Water has never changed its properties. The Transmission of the ages, a spark sent from the beginning of human consciousness is transmitting still.

On my most recent trip to Germany I sheathed my “sword,”to hold forth the light of peace. I wanted  the devotees to practice maintaining peace in the mist of the great storm. So I did not include a Martial agenda in my schedule Peace is something lots of people talk about it. Few really have it and it is not not just a concept or something fixed in time and space. It is a balancing act, a way of riding the shifting ground in such away as to always maintain or restore your personal operating system through a kind of spiritual gyroscope. As you travel through the day or across the world you will face many different circumstances. It is easy to become disoriented  and disturbed by the unfamiliar. It is our practice to find home everywhere. Home is our own soul refuge.

The Lord promises good things. Some are virtually free and almost effortless to acquire but like growing a garden, some things require some work on our part … re-orientation. No human being can take credit for the existence of Spiritual teachers, they are sent into this world for a purpose you may never comprehend, nor they, for that matter. 

There are many familiar things on foreign soil. If you look hard enough you see that while things are different, there is nothing and no one truly foreign. If we look at things and people as if they are a product of themselves you will miss the point. We are all products of the same ...

All living beings, all nature have mysterious origin, though we placate our ignorance with words and theories derived long after the fact of our existence. The world changes, our perception opens up when we see that it is the mystery unfolding when we look into a people's uniqueness.

What helps, what is important to truly perceiving is that the perceiving instrument be clear. Empty your mind of preconceived thoughts and prejudices about the place and the people.

See and feel what is ... learn what is so as you go along. Whatever you do, do not travel with the mind of a tourist, who looks for post card scenes along the way. Travel as a sojourner, one who would live among the people.

If you can do this, even for a single day you will experience a new dimension  of traveling. I learned long ago that my mission was to give, to transmit. It took me a much longer time to discover that I must also learn to receive to be whole.

Everyone has something of value to give, if they are willing but it serves no purpose, if there is no way to reach out and receive it from them. That too, is balance. We can pretend that the world is not violent but people will still fall under the hand of the violent every day.  There is violence and there is peace. It is not one or the other. Peace can prosper in the midst of warring factions like a lotus blossom rises from the mud. It is a special gift you can acquire if you apply yourself in faith.

Ironically, I would need my "sword" again, shortly after returning to America.

Kitabu Roshi


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