With the release of the Fall 2011 issue, online and on newsstands now, Tricycle reached a milestone: 20 years. In 1991, the landscape was very different. There were no other independent Buddhist magazine, just community journals and newsletters. The internet was used only by scientists and the military. How different and more diverse and bountiful is the landscape we see before us today!
Our 20th anniversary became the occasion for profound gratitude. To express the gratitude, we assembled a free e-book for Tricycle Community Supporting and Sustaining Members. But our expression still semed inadequate, so we turned to firends of the magazine—teachers, authors, academics—to share with us their own visions of gratitude. So far we’ve heard from Reverend Danny Fisher, Kenneth Kraft, Dairyu Michael Wenger, Mark Matousek, and Jules Shuzen Harris Sensei. Today they’re joined by longtime Tricycle contributor and friend, Zen teacher Lin Jensen, who writes of a moving experience he had as a California farmboy:
Pastor Rawlings was the Pentecostal preacher of a tiny congregation that met in the back room of Birkoff’s feed store in Santa Ana Gardens. As a boy, I worked long solitary hours on the turkey farm, but occasionally Pastor Rawlings—who was as poor as any of us—was hired to work with me. He wanted to convert me, and was always after me to get right down on my knees in the field with him to pray for deliverance. One day when I complained of the unlikely circumstances of praying in a turkey yard instead of in a church, he told me to put my shovel down, which I did. He took me by the shoulders then and turned me to face him. “We’ll make our church right here, son,” he said. “Do you think the Lord won’t hear us because our knees are in the dirt?” And then he got right down on the ground with his knees in the dust and manure and drifting feathers. I hesitated, but seeing Pastor Rawlings there in the dirt with flies crawling on his hat and his hands clasped together and his head bent forward in prayer, I couldn’t resist, and did the same myself. And he prayed for me and led me in a prayer of my own. I liked doing it with him, and felt a little less lonely after that.
Pastor Rawlings had shown me that church was wherever I happened to be. After that time of kneeling in the dirt, the whole world became the site of my religion, and I could never isolate sacred ground because it was never different from any other ground.
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