In a four-day retreat on Verses on Trust in Mind, Roshi Hogen Bays, in his return visit to Tampa last week, offered moving teachings about mind and body that began with the foundations of mindfulness and sometimes brought himself and members of his audience to tears.
Equally as broad as the beloved sutra were the applications of the teachings, ranging from how one navigates fear and sadness after becoming vulnerable, to the wonder of feeling one's own pulse throughout the body, to a glimmer of understanding of the oneness that encompasses all beings and everything in an unending universe.
This unknowable beauty is yours, claim it! exclaimed Roshi in a burst of emotion that was pure heart. The tears of the retreatants mingled with his tears of wonder.
The less sublime was beautiful, too. It ranged from the pure joy of our teacher Fred at sharing Dharma space with Roshi, his Dharma friend of 50 years, to retreat attendees sharing tasks so simple as sweeping the floor together in silence.
Although Roshi would wag his finger and admonish, "No stories! And anything older than a nanosecond is a story!" here are some pictures to share the experience of oneness that came together at the retreat. After all, human beings seem to can't resist the shared delusion of telling (or depicting) stories!
The kitchen chop-and-slice team, from left, was Spence Davis of Tallahassee, Nina Hatton of Tallahassee, Chef Nancy Natilson of Tampa, Robbie Tisch of Bethesda, Maryland, and Carol Green of Naples.
Bryan Hindert of Tampa and Maria Sgambati of Tampa, residential caretaker, led weekend cooking duties.
Lunch duty was tough, but somebody had to do it! Making sure there was no food waste was, from left, Scott Nissensohn of Tampa, Marilyn Warlick of Tampa, Mitch Schaefer of St. Petersburg and Dana Mooney of Temple Terrace.
Tidying up in the kitchen are Elena Rigg of Atlantic Beach, left, and Maria Sgambati of Tampa.
Ned Bellamy of Clearwater and Diana Fish of St. Petersburg inspect some forks with globs of peanut butter stuck to the tines. Dishwashers don't like peanut butter!
The peanut butter problem brings Bobb Hart of Tampa into selfless service. He makes sure that peanut butter doesn't get stuck on the forks.
Chris Witrak and Betsy Arizu, both of Tampa, sweep a gazillion crumbs from the dining room floor. Eating in silence can be messy.
Roshi checks out the kitchen, to Bryan Hindert's delight!
Tran Phung of Tampa, left, shares a laugh with Roshi and Fred in the dining room.
Nina Hatton of Tallahassee, foreground, and CiCi Claar of Tampa, right, get into the spirit of Diane Powell's Mindful Movements class.