Letter to a Student – written from Paris

Good morning A., Today is my last full day in Paris, tomorrow I fly back to the US. For me this has been a long trip, the longest time away from home since my graduation from the Shingyo Dojo in Japan in 2008 and the time I lived in Japan. I miss my bed, my food, and my schedule. The trip has been fruitful on many levels. In Paris I’ve seen many new sights. Each day, before the activities of the day I woke early and walked. I divided the area around the hotel into sections and then each day walked all the streets and alleyways in those sections. On some days I would spend time in a cathedral, usually very old, older than anything in the US. On other days I would marvel at the ordinary. Getting up early allowed me to have Paris to myself, to see the sights at my own pace, and to linger over things others seem to ignore. The early walks ensured that my time here was filled with adventures unknown and unexpected. That stood in contrast to the rigid schedule set out to meet and speak with people. It was a nice balance. One day I was out when the maintenance people were cleaning the streets and sidewalks. Here they have a system of turning on water and flooding the street. While the streets and gutters are filling with water people come along with brooms and sweep the refuse along to the drains. For whatever reason I found this quite intriguing, and I’m guessing most people are not even interested. Street cleaning being as exciting as seeing famous monuments and buildings is not most people’s idea of sightseeing. On another morning I was presented with an exhibition of street art extending for block after block. The amount of such art would perhaps never fit into even the largest museum in the world. There it was for me to see and photograph. During the day much of the art is disguised, or covered up. Due to the bustle of pedestrians even what can be seen can not be lingered over because then you become an obstacle to progress. After my last email to you I didn’t hear anything. Perhaps I should have written a follow up email. It would be easy to second guess the should have and could have beens, in the end things simply are as they are and that is the ground upon which we are left to go on into the future with. When I return home, if you would still like to spend some time on this project to perhaps supplement what you gathered elsewhere I would be happy to do so. Perhaps some conversation or some questions and answers. Perhaps you might share with me the fruits of your summer long search for a meaningful passage for our writing meditation. As I have done all along I’ll let you be the person to set the pace of our interactions. If it happens or not it will be as it is. C’est la vie, as they say in France. I’ll close with a sincere wish for your steady growth in self and life. You are the future of the world, a future I’ll not see but one I wish with all my heart is as good as or better for you as my time has been for me. ⁣ With Gassho, Ryusho 龍昇

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About Ryusho 龍昇

Nichiren Shu Buddhist priest. My home temple is Myosho-ji, Wonderful Voice Temple, in Charlotte, NC. You may visit the temple’s web page by going to http://www.myoshoji.org. I am also training at Carolinas Medical Center as a Chaplain intern. It is my hope that I eventually become a Board Certified Chaplain. Currently I am also taking healing touch classes leading to become a certified Healing Touch Practitioner. I do volunteer work with the Regional AIDS Interfaith Network (you may learn more about them by following the link) caring for individuals who are HIV+ or who have AIDS/SIDA.