the solitude to better understanding

Posted by Daniela Elza on Apr 05 2010

I got this link from my wonderful advisor Heesoon who manages so many times to advise without advising. Yes, she simply tosses something my way. Have you seem this…? Have you considered that…? Have you read so and so?
Which always reminds me that the best kind of teaching is sharing. Sharing in the sense that here I am sharing with you something I care about, something I have found useful for myself, something I am passionate about, something that looks like it is part of your path or interest. This has gone on since 2006, since I have known her.

So this morning I got a link to a piece in the Kyoto Journal called Dancing with Words: Red Pine’s Path into the Heart of Buddhism, by Roy Hamric.

Another wonderful reminder that when we love something and follow with both passion and discipline we grow with it and within. In simple terms Red Pine (aka Bill Porter) talks about his journey. How he followed what he felt to be true for him. This intertwine between life path and the work you do is fascinating to me. How each enhances, enriches, provides insight into the other. This oneness and authenticity in one’s pursuit and spirit. The belief it is the right thing to do, without consideration of time, or if it took you a whole lifetime to do. Here is just a little excerpt, but, really, it is the whole you should read to get a taste. The wisdom is in the small, the everyday, in the search, and the staying true, and the choice and turn out of events.

“I’ve never heard of any great master who has not spent some time as a hermit. The hermit tradition separates the men from the boys. If you’ve never spent time in solitude, you’ve really never mastered your practice.

“If you’ve never been alone with you practice, you’ve never swallowed it and made it yours. Now I can see the part it’s played in the history of China. If you don’t spend time in solitude, you don’t have either profundity or understanding — you’ve just carried on somebody else’s tradition.

“The hermit tradition is like graduate school — undergraduate school is the monastery — you should go through the first to get to the second.

The hermit tradition plays into the Chinese attraction to anarchism, he says. “If I could choose one word to describe the Chinese character it would be anarchism — they don’t respect authority unless it comes with power. It’s very Chinese to want to set up your own shop — the opposite of the Japanese. They’re very much like the cowboy. They respect people who are on their own, but to do that you have to be completely confident in what you’re doing.”

And it rained all night. The eaves are singing today. The leaves are unfurling their buds. And here and there a bird calls.

2 Responses to “the solitude to better understanding”

  1. Charles Says:

    First, this: “Have you seem this…?” (from Heesoon.) I don’t know whether the “typo” came from her or from your own typing, but it’s rather apropos, dontcha think? Have you seem[ed to be something]?

    The being stuff: that’s what’s important.

    And hermit stuff. I think Red Pine has it right: you need time well enough alone to develop your own voice, to be able to hear and respond to a calling that is uniquely yours. You need silence and solitude, for extended periods, to be able to do this. For me, it was time alone in amongst the Jack Pines of the Kootenays.

  2. Daniela Elza Says:

    Hi Charles,

    So good to see you here.

    You know, that was a typo, as much as I hate to admit it. And it was my typo. But how fascinating that a typo can take us places like these. This is a reading I appreciate and I am sure Heesoon would as well. Many times what is seen is what it seems.

    I have to admit I cherish my typos. Now, what does that make of their status? Once we start cherishing a typo, is it still a typo? Often they have pointed me in a direction which surprises me.

    I do not even have the heart to fix it, now that it has taken you (and me along with you) on this ride.

    Not to mention mishearing. What sources of inspiration.

    Thanks for catching that typo and allowing yourself to flow with it. :-)