Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi
Zen Mountain Monastery, 05/28/2020
This floating life a changeable dream, yet we bitterly toil away;
The entire day full of busyness, as our karma grinds us down.
If only you can make a clean sweep of the cave of ignorance,
Nothing will remain but a life full of leisurely freedom and ease!
So begins the poem written by Xinggang, a 17th century nun in the Rinzai tradition who was able to fulfill her lifelong aspiration to become ordained after the deaths of her husband and parents. Shugen Roshi relates her poem on practicing true freedom of mind to a teaching from Trungpa Rinpoche on independence and developing faith in the dharma through meeting hardship with compassion and courage.