January 17, 2006

One Channel

My mother has been living at the Green Gulch Farm Zen Center in Mill Valley for the last eight months. Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, also known as Green Dragon Temple is a Buddhist practice center in the Japanese Soto Zen tradition offering training in Zen meditation and ordinary work. It is one of three centers that make up San Francisco Zen Center, which was founded by Shunryu Suzuki-roshi.

Their effort at Green Gulch is to awaken in themselves and the many people who go there the bodhisattva spirit, the spirit of kindness and realistic helpfulness. This is how they offer their understanding of Buddha's Way.

Green Gulch Farm is located in Marin County, just north of San Francisco, in a valley that opens out onto the Pacific Ocean. In addition to the temple program of zen and study, it includes an organic farm and garden, as well as a guest house and conference center.

I am lucky to receive some extremely insightful, simple and beautiful reflections on the things I say, do or write from my mother. I wanted to share the following email she sent me:

What a cool thing you are doing on the computer, Blogging, Logging! Today marks the eighth month that I have been living at Green Gulch and for eight months I haven't watched TV, so I don’t really know what you are talking about in regards to the show…

But an interesting thing is that I do have a TV set myself. It has very large screen, about a meter by a meter. This TV has just one channel, and there is no remote control for it, but every second it changes the charnel by itself. There is no on and off switch, and nothing to lower or increase the volume either. The only choice I have is to sit and watch it or not to watch it. Actually I love to watch my show, so I put my bed in front of it.

Yesterday was my day off and I ate in front of my TV. I also read in front of it and took a nap there. I sat and watched the show for a long time. The soundtrack you hear is the sound of the rain, wind, owls, coyotes, foxes, frogs, birds, but most of the time it is the soundless music of silence. You can watch the sky, the sun, moon, stars, and the movement of clouds. Oh I forgot to tell you the program runs 24 hours a day, and it is in color. The other interesting thing about this TV is that you are in the show as well. You play your part but you don't have any control over the scheduling or programs. There is no TV guide. I love the show happening here. I can sit and watch the change on different channels every second, but like everything else I can't become attached to any one program, so like you said, I watch for an hour or so, but then I need to play my role.

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