When I had to go back to Kyoto after seven days I was really sad. My time at the International Zen-Dojo felt much longer than just one week, and the Tekishinjuku became a bit my home … I will miss K-san and J, our morning coffee on Roshi’s exclusive staircase, and so much more.

Our daily soup (with spoons)

Our daily soup (with spoons)

New guests will come and I won’t be there to help cooking. How will the polite Japanese man who arrived the other day and now moved into “my room” in the guesthouse get along with the group of tourists living under the same roof? They do not just not share the same schedule, but also not a single word of the same language? And also I did not even finish sharpening the second cooking knife … o.k., I have to let it go!

What could I learn after all, in such a short time … or was it in the end just some “Zen-tourism” I did?

Today, on the way to the airport, I found a leaflet in my pocket I must have collected two weeks ago at the Engakuji Temple in Kitakamakura. The answer to my question was written on it:

Although the spoon touches the soup every day year after year, it will never know the soup’s taste. But if you just drink one single drop, you will know the taste.

P.S.: A friend made me aware that the probably eldest source of the “spoon and soup” proverb is the Dhammapada, Chap.5 V.64+65. Not intending to discriminate fools and wise (or count me to the one or other group), I just wanted to say that it’s up to us to make the best out of what we find, and learn from it. Otherwise, however far you might travel, however long you might stay, whomever you might meet, chances are high “that’s a spoon ye’ll sup sorrow with yet …”

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