I am going to look back in revision of my understanding of the Buddha's teachings from the beginning simply because I have the urge to have a deeper look into what I have learned over the years and see if i am still on the right track. The Buddha's words has always been my guide through out my adult life ever since my father told me of the Triple Gems and taking refuge in the teachings of the World and Time Honored One. Perhaps this is also my final analysis of the teachings and my way of saying thank you and farewell to the Great Teacher whose Way had helped me seen through many a great hurdle in life, pulled me out of many deep wells of delusions and saved me from my own self destructive nature. Yes, I have had my share of tumbles and had it not been for the light shed upon me by the teachings of Buddhism I will not be where I am today.
My first real encounter with the Buddha's teaching was through the works of D.T. Suzuki and later followed by the works of Alan Watts followed by the works by Sunryu Suzuki and The Dalai Lama and many more great contemporary teachers like Trungpa Rinpoche and Thich Naht Hahn. I took upon myself to study the religion as far as it would take me to fully comprehend what it is all about and it brought me to the San Francisco Zen Center at Green Gulch Farm also known as, The Green Dragon Zen Temple where I was a student for over two years. At the Zen center I became acquainted with all those who were looking for their understanding of what the Buddha's teaching was all about and they came all walks of life like myself lost and was looking for answers. I read all i could and sat as much as I could in meditation the Zen Buddhist style. While at the Monastery i let go of myself although not as easily at the beginning but slowly but surely the teachings got to me and got me settled into its comforting rhythm and I was hooked.
There reason for this revision is also because, this was when I first experienced to the awakening of my understanding to the the nature of my consciousness and what it meant to me.
I was a drug addict and an alcoholic, I had many broken relationships and my life was in a shamble and I when I walked inot Green Gulch Zen Community I could barely take three steps without gasping for breath as i was suffering from Pleurisy -
The signs and symptoms of pleurisy might include: Chest pain that worsens when you breathe, cough or sneeze. Shortness of breath — because you are trying to minimize breathing in and out. A cough — only in some cases. A fever — only in some cases.
Death would have been a blessing but i was not going to allowed to escape so easily and my only hope was to surrender my heart and soul to the Zen Community as i had no where else to turn during the time. Yes I was suffering and in every form and meaning of the word when i stood at the gate of The Green Dragon Zen Temple facing my later would be Zen teacher by the name of Paul Discoe.
The Tassajara Zen Mountain Center in the Ventana Wilderness area of the Los Padres National Forest, southeast of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, is the oldest Japanese Buddhist Sōtō Zen monastery in the United States. Wikipedia.
Within a year of my stay at Green Gulch I was cured of my Pleurisy and became a rough tough farm worker growing organic food which supplied most of San Francisco's organic restaurant and produce markets. I worked alongside Peter Ruddnik and his wife Wendy Johnson, both the original community members of the Zen Community and are masters at what they do.-
Wendy Johnson lived and trained at Green Gulch Farm from 1975-2000. She is one of the founders of the Organic Farm and Garden Program at Green Gulch, a lay dharma teacher, and the author of Gardening at the Dragon’s Gate (Bantam, 2008). Wendy is a garden mentor to the Edible Schoolyard program and a College of Marin instructor in the Environmental Landscape program at the Indian Valley Organic Farm and Garden project.
I cannot write enough of how much I owe to this couple who took me into their lives and their home and helped me heal my wounded soul, cure me of most of my neurotic tendencies and kept my mind in the soil. They helped me cultivate my spirit from that of a lost and angry soul into one that saw no mountain too high and no ocean too deep to overcome.
At Green Gulch I met the Buddha in many shapes and forms, heard him in voices in the wind as it blew cold from the Pacific ocean up through the valley all the way up to Hope Cottage. At Green Gulch I met the Buddha in the form of an ancient Japanese Tea Master by the name of Nakamura Sensei who called me Shampoo instead of Shamsul and there I met great men and women who gave it all their mind and spirit in their practice of Zen Buddhism. At green Gulch I was healed of my fear of dogs by an elderly white Labrador by the name of Sierra aka. 'Sea Dog' as she loved to dive into the cold Pacific every chance she got.
To be Continued: