Open letter to my teacher Genpo Merzel

Atalwin receives Jukai from Genpo Roshi

From the moment I heard the news about your disrobing because of an affair with your student and Dharma successor KC I knew I wanted to write you an open letter. But it is now three days later and I still don’t know what to say. It is not that I don’t have anything to say but the topic, the person whom I’m speaking to (you, my teacher) and others who can (and probably will) read this (like senior members from the sangha) make me feel fearful. I guess I fear the judgments of others and I feel the fear of feeling humiliated for saying or doing something stupid. My initial reaction is to shut up meanwhile brooding on what I want to say until the momentum is over.

Fresh! Unstained! A brand new year ahead of us!

“Before you die, please live a little”. It is a quote from Hojo-san, the younger brother of my Dharma grandfather Maezumi Roshi and also a zen master. It is very good advice for the new year, I think. Sometimes we forget that our existence has created for us the opportunity to celebrate life. Yes, celebrate it! We have a brand new 2011 ahead of us, fresh and unstained. This is your chance, this is your moment! You are here on this planet, you are breathing, it’s an amazing miracle to be alive. And because a YouTube video says more than a thousand words:

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Peace Camp in Amsterdam

Peace Camp Zendo

At this moment, sitting behind my computer, I feel very limited as a writer. How do I find the words to sincerely describe the atmosphere in the room during our weekly Peace Camp sessions? I really don’t know.

Maybe it is better to start with describing what Peace Camp is. It is an hour of meditation followed by a workshop led by myself. The evening is hosted by Michael Henskens, co-founder of Bootcamp Nederland, personal trainer, avid martial artist and former high school buddy. Thus Peace Camp is where Basic Goodness and Bootcamp Nederland meet.