POLLY'S REFLECTIONS FROM THE BALI RETREAT

Thursday, 16 July 2015

I stayed on in Bali to attend a professional development week with Caroline and a number of other teachers and trainee teachers from across Australia. One of the ongoing themes throughout the period of retreat was about how people learn.  I always take a special book on retreat and this year I took “Each Moment Is the Universe: Zen and the way of being time” by Dainin Katagiri.  An inspiring book that completely challenges notions of time and space and Self and suffering and also on occasion it gave a gem of a statement that could be ‘held’ within the familiar parameters of logic.  Dainin Katagiri in the book is representing Dogen Zenji’s teachings on ‘being-time’ and he summarizes a process explained by Dogen about this question of learning.  He suggests we are like the baby chick inside the shell waiting to be born. The chick has to peck from the inside so that the hen knows the chick is ready.  The hen then pecks from the outside to help the chick arrive into the world.  This metaphor made me smile a lot because I had left Vera teaching all of the classes of the school and I know that one of her most developed skills is that she is patient beyond belief as she waits for that first sign of a peck.  Once she sees it, she gives her all.  Knowing that the students of the school had a great hen looking out for them I was able to rest deeply into my practice of being a ‘chick’ whilst on retreat.

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