FiRSt Day Of SPRing and a NEw NAmE


It’s spring equinox and there’s that feeling of “pushing through” even with chilly temperatures, it’s almost as if the time comes when the season refuses to act like winter. Under the cold, spring patiently waits.

Deep life happening and I haven’t been talking about it very much. Somehow, so deep, so profound (i don’t even understand just how), only slowly am i able to gather words to describe. Only slowly and now, able to make an image after weeks of quiet.

In Natalie Goldberg’s new book, “Living Color: Painting, Writing and the Bones of Seeing”, she talks about how she painted, then she stopped, and began to understand how her joy and freedom that she felt from painting fed her writing. Oh, i got that right away. My writing and making images go hand in hand; one breathing into the other. It’s just that I’ve been walking this path that’s kept me so focused on “things I needed to get done” in preparation for the Jukai* ceremony. And now, come and gone and I’ve just been breathing in the experience and allowing it all to sink/take root.

It was all i could do this evening, to photograph the purple tulips i bought on my way home from work and create a feel of texture of this moment in time. and now i remember how good it feels to be a “maker” and how writing helps me to sort things out and images help to sort things out.

and Roshi said, “mary sherman, your new name is Myotai and Myotai means subtle wisdom and she placed the rakusu* over my head and said, “this is the robe of the buddha, will you maintain it?” “i will”, i answered. And then she handed me the ancestor lineage and said with kind force, “study your ancestors, Myotai.”

And Lucy snores and the outside is finally quiet and my skin warms to the feel of the flannel and stomach rumbles and the eyes say sleep.

*Jukai- zen buddhist ceremony for the lay practitioner to receive the precepts and become a part of the zen lineage. *Rakusu- hand sewn garment worn during ceremony and zazen representing the robe of the buddha.


  1. Thanks for your comment on my blog and leading me to the beautiful music of Noirin Ni Riain. I’ll have to read more on what led up to the ceremony you experienced. You sound like you’re on a path that I’m taking a few steps on but am only beginning. Or are we all only beginning?


    1. Thanks for stopping by Maery! It’s funny, I didn’t write very much about the process that led up to my “taking” Jukai. I do have at least one previous post describing the sewing and taking the vows. I’ve been a practicing buddhist for many years, but mostly without a lineage that I stayed committed to. The zen path has shown itself (for me) to be the path that is the clearest and most concise and also full of heart. That is not to say I still don’t have very strong ties to the tibetan tradition and some of their teachers. More will be written, of that I am certain :smiles


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