Monday, October 16, 2006


The Benji and Me

A benji is sort of an assistant to the Shuso. She carries incense, sets up appointments for tea and makes or procures the cookies. She also helps the Shuso to clean the bathrooms every morning at soji, a traditional activity that goes back to Japan where the Shuso is responsible for mucking out the outhouse. I'm not sure why this is up to the shuso. My guess is that as Model Student, the shuso is showing a willingness to do whatever task is needed to serve the sangha. For me it also has to do with a wide and generous expression of practice--from offering incense and bowing to scrubbing a toilet, all is Buddha activity.
The benji this Practice Period is Janeen Rojas and that means I am one lucky shuso. Janeen is very dedicated to practice, warm and funny and, like me, a big lover of sangha. She also just got her nursing degree so we're covered if we have any unexpected mishaps on the way to the zendo. I'm hoping that she will write a few guest posts in this blog.
The past several days have been very full. I'm finding that being shuso is clarifying my hazy commitment and aligning my life straight on with practice and temple life. It's overwhelming and it's energizing, like being asked to do too much and simultaneously being given what you need to do it.


2 comments:

James said...

www.islandphilosophy.blogspot.com

victor said...

i am an old, old friend of Janeen's and i have lost contact with her. my name is Victor Sanz, and if this request to re-establish contact with Janeen can be forwarded or shared with her, i would be most grateful. my e-mail is victormsanz13@hotmail.com or vzualvirus@gmail. thank you.