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I met my husband twenty-five years ago when he was a Buddhist monk. We were both full of enthusiasm for the traditional Rinzai practice in which we were intensely involved. We entered the relationship carrying a load of personal baggage and, unfortunately for us, practice offered little help in navigating our personal intimacy. It was all empty—except off the cushion. There, it was a catastrophe and full of drama.
At the time, there were many unethical goings-on happening in a number of monasteries and training centers, and we, like many others, left our community feeling betrayed and confused. We went on with our lives, staying together through determination and sheer luck. We became professionals, had two children, and got lots of therapy. Both of us yearned for what we had once tasted with practice, but we did not know how to find it again.
Eventually we stumbled into the community where we now practice as a couple and as a family. Here our teachers offer the teaching of “seamless practice”: there is no separation between the zafu, the dining room, the bathroom or the bedroom. Our children are our koans, as is our marriage. Our teachers and the monastics provide examples of how to make practice alive everywhere.