Kuo Chou offered to drive us to L.A. to meet with the Master this weekend. When he first arrived he said, "Hope it doesn't disturb your plans." "We have no plans;" we replied.
At the end of the day we were washing up.
Monk: "Wash up?"
David: "I already did but I can't get the dust out of my mind."
Monk: "Like in the Avatamsaka where it says the Buddha 'is wealthy with ten thousand virtues, and cleansed without the finest dust."'
David: "Bowing this dirty highway is a great spiritual bath. It's wonderful!" grinning, "This is the best meditation session yet."
We never thought of the bowing as a session. Sessions have a beginning and an end. But we don't think of the bowing as beginning or ending. Bowing has become a state of mind, no longer just prostrations. Bowing is constantly practicing "being here and now" and subduing the busy mind. It is the heart that is unmarked by self or others, living beings or a lifespan. It's the mind that doesn't dwell in the past or future and takes the present as it comes, still and empty.
Bowing is not being moved by forms and sounds. Always returning the light to illumine within, bowing is just" recognizing our own faults and not discussing the faults of others. "Bowing is taking kindness, compassion, joy, and giving as our function and universally transfering merit and virtue to all beings everywhere as our
work. Bowing is borrowing a path to go back home.
Three of us were bowing in a light drizzle on a quiet, empty road. Suddenly a Hell's Angel-looking biker roars up and parks right next to Kuo Chows car. He's as tough and mean as any character we've seen. Full beard, black leather, tattoos, insignias, and weighing at least 250 lbs. There's a long bowie knife strapped to his side and heavy steel chain around his waist. He fixes a penetrating and tension-filled stare at Kuo Chou who is bowing a few feet in front of his big Harley. One hand resting over his elevated handle bars, the other on his knife, he silently judges.
Kuo Chou keeps bowing. It's his last day before heading back. Slowly the biker dismounts and walks over to Kuo Chou's car. He hasn't showed any emotion, just like granite. He reaches into his leather jacket and pulls out a ten-dollar bill and slams it down through the car antenna. Slowly he strolls back, mounts up, adjusts his jacket, and jump-kicks his bike with a roar. He stares at Kuo Chou to make sure they make eye contact, and then without the slightest expression, nods his head in approval and pulls out.
When you bow you get back exactly what you put out. Show kindness and kindness returns. Think peaceful and peacefulness comes back. But if your thoughts are angry and obstructive, then life on the road can become miserable and even dangerous.
"As one thinks, so one receives in return," say the Avatamsaka. And what you receive mirrors what's on your mind. The biker came to inspect David's sincerity and spirit. It was David's test. He passed.
We left the Plymouth with the McCauleys who live in a red log house in the steep, wooded hills above Cambria. Young Dan McCauley offered to repair and tune-up the wagon. It needs it.
As we drove South, Kuo Chou said, "I was bowing and I had a small eye opener. I realized, "Hey, I don't have to have any plans either."He looked happy and pounds lighter in the face.
We slept at the dead-end of a frontage road below the Gaviota Pass. Before Dawn, we put a stick of incense in the ash tray and did morning chants together bundled in blankets, and then headed for Gold Wheel Temple in L.A.