Not that I expect to change the world


I'd be embarrassed to tell anyone, it sounds so wishy-washy, but now I have maybe 50 or 60 years (who knows?) of time, of a life, open, blank, ready to offer. I want to live it for other people. What else is there to do with it? Not that I expect to change the world or even a blade of grass, but it's as if to give myself is all I can do, as the flowers have no choice but to blossom.
Thise are the words of Maura 'Soshin' O'Halloran who is seen above. Born in 1955 in Boston to an Irish mother and American father, she travelled extensively after graduating from Trinity College, Dublin and teaching in a Rudolph Steiner school. She then became a Buddhist nun and completed 1000 days of arduous Zen training at the temples of Toshoji and Kannonji in Japan. In August 1982 she became only the third Western woman to receive transmission and qualify as a fully transmitted Dharma teacher in the Soto tradition. Tragically, she was not granted her 50 or 60 years. On October 22nd 1982, aged 27, she was killed while returning to Ireland, when the bus she was travelling on through Thailand crashed. A statue at Kannoji Temple commemorates Maura O'Halloran as a reincarnation of the bodhisattva Kannon, the Buddhist saint of compassion. There is contemporary music from another Zen tradition here.

Primary source is Pure Heart, Enlightened Mind, the Zen journals of Maura 'Soshin' O'Halloran. Photo comes via the Stiltij wisdom website. Any copyrighted material is included as "fair use", for the purpose of critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Also on Facebook and Twitter.

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