Zen Christian : Opening the Seal on The Shoyeido Calendar of 2021

Recently I acquired one of my favorite calendars from one of the oldest incense stores in Kyoto. They produce the zen scroll calendars in Japan with each month’s scroll written in brush stroke by each a different temple monks selected from around Japan. This is the year of the metal ox according to Chinese astrology and the calendar’s cover page is a charcoal drawing of a man riding an ox while calmly playing the flute. 
This makes me think of how, in the lead up to the feast of Christmas Joseph must have felt finding Mary suddenly pregnant. Joseph was free to choose among many options then, yet, decided to stay and help out and see where things would lead.
The world, fate or, really all things external to us are the ox. Sometimes heavy issues can be like lead heavy metal and Joseph riding atop it all gracefully like playing a flute in the midst of it all. Bad ass heavy metal quiet toughness with a more gentle style of music while all around, a crowded city with no accommodations for the influx of people all trying to find a place, people sleeping wherever they can and in the midst of it all a newborn crying and opening his eyes for the first time.
Music to calm a storm. “The ox and lamb kept time”.

The Shoyeido calendar always contains an extra month; the December of the previous year. This months’ scroll tells us that truth is not in vain. It is what sets us free from captivity; a means of finding an off ramp to get out of the ring circus should we, as many do, find ourselves trapped up riding the beast like an ox.  It can also be a means of intimacy, asking another person for help when faced with a great challenge. And Joseph was there even when he found out from someone else something went on with Mary and someone else.
They must’ve communicated quite well after each other’s different finding out the news of a child “to be born”.

眞実: Truly Genuine
Zhen Shi
不虚 Not in vain
Bu Shui

Later I’ll interpret the writing on the left column on the scroll. It contains a sort of  Lord of the Rings reference that is shown in one of the movies.
Until then be well and keep warm this winter season of Dec.2020.

About the Author

Matthew William Thivierge has abandoned his PhD studies in Shakespeare and is now currently almost half-way through becoming a tea-master (Japanese,Korean & Chinese tea ceremony). He is a part time Ninjologist with some Jagaek studies (Korean 'ninja') and on occasion views the carrying on of pirates from his balcony mounted telescope.

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