This week my practical tasks have mostly been set aside in order to clear the decks for writing. I have got some work done on the manuscript of a potential book based on my "Questions in the Sand" series. I've also heard that my Dogen book is now under consideration by a publisher. Also, I have an article, "Foi et Croyance" in the latest issue of the French language Buddhist magazine Regard Bouddhiste and another short piece has been accepted (not yet published) for the on-line magazine "Many Roads". So that is quite a good week for writing and publishing.
This morning I went to Oasis as I generally do on a Friday. We hold a Pureland service in the gompa and then I give a short talk or we have a discussion of some point of Dharma. Afterwards we repair to one of the houses for coffee and cake. It is a very pleasant gathering. This morning I got into a small linguistic tangle as I was trying to explain that the practice of Dharma leads both to a liberation of body and mind and also a liberation from body and mind. However, in France, "of" and "from" are the same word "de". We got it sorted out in the end. The point is that through Buddhist practice there is a liberation from body and mind in that one ceases to be their slave and that when one has ceased to be a slave in this way there is a visible, yet deep, relaxation in the body and mind of the person - body and mind are themselves liberated. This principles is true in general - that releasing a slave also releases the slave master. In the West we are rather used to the idea that religion is a restriction, whereas the concept of Buddhism is that of a liberation, and liberation cuts both ways. If I am liberated from the world, the world is liberated from me. When we "save all sentient beings" one of the things we save them from is ourselves. Anyway we had a good discussion.
Later, over cake, the others tried to explain a little of the complexities of French politics. I do understand it all a bit better than I used to. I now recognise the big names and know roughly where they are on the political spectrum and I have some idea of the current goings-on.
The weather is milder but wet and when I got home I lit a fire, as much for the sense of homeliness as for warmth. I did not take Tara to Oasis this week and soon after my return she appeared at the door ,her fur rather wet. She was also pleased that I had lit the fire.