I met Jana after Thanksgiving 2012. It seems a good time to re-post this video. Jana invited me to photograph and film her and one of the first things I filmed was this vigil for those that die on our streets, homeless. As I write, Jana herself is facing homelessness. Please donate, please help.
Any attempt to define our life force can only fail as it’s impossible to perceive the whole of something of which we are a part. When we first stepped out of our caves and stubbed a toe on a rock, animism was born. During the Industrial Revolution in Europe, Heaven was depicted as a series of cogs and levels…how many angels could actually dance on the head of a pin? Of course many people today are happy that we’ve discovered the real movers, shakers and creators in life..quarks!! Innumerbale battles have been fought and precious lives lost in the attempt to prove whose God is right. Yet…we can never see what we are part of..thus all arguments are void. There is, of course a way to experience the all-ness during zazen by letting go of any of our conceptions about it and just simply being part of the whole.
This is the divine mystery beyond words and concepts.
No need to figure out the true theology or philosophy.
Welcome to ‘Walking Through Peace’. Thank you for being here. I hope you are well.
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jana ….my name as a Soto Zen Buddhist Priest and Dharma Ancestor in the Lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi is Gengetsu Junsei…Mysterious Moon Complete Spirit.
This documentary series began during a recent downturn in my health when I could no longer leave my apartment. The teachings still needed to be shared and good fortune had brought Chris Spurrell, a wonderful photographer, into my life. We met when we were working at Maitri Hospice and he immediately became interested in documenting my work. Deep Bows of Gratitude to Chris.
The ‘work’ I speak of is simply that of a traditional monk on the streets of San Francisco, unsupported by any temple or church, freely sharing the path to peace of mind through such offerings as sitting meditation groups in a community garden and in a local church, groups in shelters, memorial services in SRO Hotels and for homeless folks, counselling and training volunteers and patients in hospices and hospitals and more which you’ll see in the videos.
The earliest videos were filmed when I still had a hospital bed in my living room, as I couldn’t get up the stairs to my loft-bed!! I told Chris it’s lucky that monks no longer care what they look like…as I was rather surprised at the way I looked lying on the couch in one video!!! It somehow brought home how ill I’d become!! Fortunately it’s simply total burn-out!!
All the teachings you see are ‘spontaneous’…I’m very aware of simply being a ‘vehicle’ that the words come through. Where they come from is an intriguing question…but in the end unimportant as long as they are helpful. I hope you enjoy these little works of art that Chris so kindly created….there are many more to come…and that you may find some useful teachings…or at least have a laugh as you watch!! May All Beings Live in Peace, Joy and Safety, Deep Bows, Jana
One of the services Jana provides is a Non-Religious memorial service, where there is no mention of God. This is especially helpful to those who die in on the streets and in the SRO hotels in San Francisco. They just need someone to remember them.
I met Jana in December, while photographing at Maitri. I had been invited to document the work there as part of a multi-media performance to be created by Lori Shantzis, performer, writer and gallerist.
While working in the courtyard I was immediately taken with her personality and her boots. The boots she uses when she is Walking Through Peace. I pulled out my iPhone and recorded this video.
Afterwards she mentioned she needed someone to help document her work, and I volunteered. It has been a joy to get to know Jana. Those of you who already know her understand this. Those of you who do not, have boundless joy to look forward to. This is how my journey began. Click on the image above to play the video