Sep 182014

The Dojo’s window.

The house of my Dojo used to be a shop long time ago, so I have the chance to put some decoration in the “shopping window”. People passing by often stop and look, and sometimes share their opinions with each other, or with me if I’m near the door.

Often men explain to the wife or girlfriend at their side the “Meaning of Zen” while both are looking at the window. It’s interesting to hear what “the man on the street” all knows about that subject! Once a Chinese lady came in and asked in surprise how comes that I am writing “ancient Chinese”, but she assured me she can read it all. What a relief!

I am happy many like to watch my Dojo’s window, maybe they feel touched by the simple beauty of a single flower next to some calligraphy? Some passers-by even promise to come to the Zen class and ask for the schedule. Alas, most of them never came back …

Though, not everyone seems equally pleased. Every now and then someone wonders why this “Chinese Restaurant” has no menu on display. An international group of scientists, maybe on their way back from a conference dinner to the hotel, let me know (without being asked) they really have something better to do than “sitting around doing nothing”. Last week a man came to my door, just to tell me that he is not interested in “esoteric and such” … glad to know!

I really love the children’s comments. They are often attracted by the huge calligraphy brush hanging in the window. A few weeks ago a little girl watched the flower vase for almost two minutes, and then, all in her thoughts, said “I love that little flower!”. A young boy was so disappointed his father could not read what was written on the calligraphy “I really want to know!”.  This morning when I practised Hitsuzendo after Zazen class, mother and child hand in hand passed by, maybe on the way to kindergarten. The kid pulled back “I also want to paint, please, mummy!”.

It is my fantasy maybe, but I imagine the children’s’ open eyes can see much clearer what I am doing at my Dojo. A glimpse into another world, on the way from the playground to the ice-cream shop, a promise of exciting adventures and yet-to-discover mystery and beauty. We adults, of course, already know: “In there, they shut up and sit on a pillow and just breathe, for hours, because they want to get enlightened or such. I don’t need that!”. What a pity, too late …