Jack Calvert has generously agreed to be responsible for opening up and closing the building on the two Sundays that encompass our long retreat at Mount Madonna. I’ve asked Jack to facilitate the meditation by ringing the bell at the beginning and end of each period of meditation, and by inviting other folks in to a conversation about the koan which we will be sitting with at Mt. Madonna, during our long retreat.
I have long felt that being a member of the community provided me with the opportunity to receive the benefit of attending a retreat, even if I was not physically able to attend. The members of the community who are able to attend the retreat do so for all of us, as well as for themselves. It occurred to me that if people unable to attend the retreat were hanging out with the same koan as we were in the retreat, the benefits might be amplified.
Here is that koan:
Once Zhuangzi dreamt he was a butterfly, he didn’t know he was Zhuangzi. Suddenly he woke up and there he was, solid and unmistakably Zhuangzi, but he didn’t know if he was Zhuangzi who had dreamt he was a butterfly, or a butterfly Dreaming he was Zhuangzi. Between Zhuangzi and a butterfly there must be some distinction! This is called the Transformation of Things.
Recently we had the opportunity to sit together with the koan about the earth bearing us witness on two consecutive Sundays with Corey Hitchcock, which was a quite rich experience, as it always is when we can hang out with a koan longer, getting to know it and ourselves better.
So, I invite you to join Jack on Sunday the 21st and Sunday the 28thto explore this dream together. As part of my own exploration, as I’m writing this, the question comes to me is: I wonder what Zhuangzi’s reaction would have been if he had dreamt that he was a dung beetle?