My first Buddhist teaching or “showing”


My practice of Zen Buddhism and other traditions of meditation began around the age of fifteen. While I’ve had many kind souls guide me, the first was back around 2002 or so. I was just fifteen or sixteen years old when I chanced upon an elderly Buddhist refugee at a beach boardwalk; the first Buddhist monk I had ever seen in person (I later learned that a local shop owner helped Buddhists refugees). I tried to discreetly observe them as they were doing their walking meditation. Afterwards, they shouted at me to come over. I was so embarrassed as I thought I had gone unnoticed!

As I approached, the old monk in their saffron hued robes held out their hand for me to grasp. I put my hand in theirs and they immediately started grinding my knuckles, hard! I immediately started asking questions, which they didn’t answer. They just smiled, my questions slowed, and then stopped.

Our hands slowed, and slowed. At this point, I was staring at our hands, transfixed as the movement became as subtle as a heartbeat. The moment our hands stopped moving, the monk threw my hand away and shouted “Good luck!”

Quickly, my young bashfulness flooded back in. I bowed deeply, they nodded, I thanked them and ran off. Maybe you’ll run into me on a beach boardwalk some day. Prepare your knuckles,
Josen 常泉


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