“Daily sitting is our bread and butter, the basic stuff of dharma.
Without it we tend to be confused.”
― Charlotte Joko Beck
To a bunch of us erstwhile hippies, peaceniks, and radicals, stories of rambunctious monks kicking over water jugs, unabashedly proclaiming that Buddha was a "shit stick, or writing poems lauding drunkeness, Zen seemed "far out." These were the prototypical rebels, our kind of people.
Little did we know.
Once I actually connected with a teacher and a sangha, a different reality emerged. I found that the foundation of Zen Buddhism, like that of other spiritual traditions throughout the world, rests squarely on a set of vows and precepts. Rather than becoming a member of another tribe of free form hippies, I found out that engaging in formal Zen training with a teacher meant making a commitment to a set of clearly stated intentions: Taking Refuge in the Triple Gems, the Four Bodhisattva Vows, the Three Pure Precepts, and the 10 Essential Precepts was expected. It was part of the deal.
Jeez. Growing up I only had to worry about the ten commandments! Now? Do the math. This is twice as many! So much for being hip and cool, for "doing your own thing!"
Or so it seemed.