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Lee Ann Nail

Grandfather Zen

Loving-kindness  -
Looks forwards and backwards,
Looking, not seeing
            Seeing, not looking….
After four years of not thinking I could climb up here…
I’m cleaning the moss off the dark side of the zendo roof,
Why has this lineage avoided the matter?
The rains come –then snow and wind.
Light, shadow, seasons turn and play together.
I slide sideways pondering old Maezumi….
Still these tiny tendrils remain,
And grow – the never ending story of greed, anger and ignorance.
Even our patriarch fell victim more than once.

Today it’s the moss….

That’s why we call it caretaking practice.
every day, everyone  washing dishes, sorting laundry, watering the garden. No big deal…

The view is great from up here but it’s easy to lose my footing,
      I slip on the moss….

Quan Yin where are you?
Why can’t you protect your dharma children?
She smiles –

I pray for the victim, I pray for the abuser.
(it’s easy to miss my responding)
And I study the darkness and light.


Lee Ann Nail is a newly emerging American Zen teacher. Her recent work, published by the International Lay Buddhist Forum focuses on the transgenerational tendencies within American Zen towards dual relationships. She is assistant teacher at the Maria Kannon Zen Center and in the teaching role for both the Unitarian Universalist Compassionate Mind Sangha and the Salem Zen Center in Oregon where there is a lot of moss.