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Lions Roar : November 2006
SHAMBHALA SUN NOVEMBER 2006 95 see things that the grand NGOs announc- ing reform from afar choose to ignore lest they play havoc with their larger pictures. Yet over and over, when people ask Stewart why he’s making the trip, and even when he asks himself, he cannot come up with a persuasive answer. And every time someone predicts that a road will lead to certain death, he takes it. The heart of travel, as of any pursuit, lies in the moti- vation, and here I felt constantly troubled and frustrated by the book. When Stew- art insults local tough guys, goes against their word, and walks into territory foreign to him—for no good reason he can give us—it’s hardly surprising that he is abused, shot at, and in one case punched. I began to wonder if he might not be jeopardizing the peace process with his crazy mission and endangering those who come after him, or simply sowing consequences he couldn’t— or wouldn’t—see. And I began to feel, in the absence of any explanation for the trip, as if I were being treated to an exercise in stiff-upper-lip machismo for its own sake. There is a great value in seeing the places we otherwise only pontificate about; I write this in Sri Lanka, where there are assassinations and armed sol- diers on all sides of me, and a civil war I’d have known nothing about if I followed the newspapers (or read my own articles) in California. Yet my heart began to go out to the Afghans who risked their lives to accommodate “His Excellency Rory,” and I wondered how one of them would have been treated had he started walking across the wastelands of Scotland. This is Stewart’s point, perhaps—that people at every turn were generous, trust- ing, and hospitable to him beyond the call of duty. It’s engaging when he takes on as his one companion for the latter part of the journey a 140-pound mastiff whom he names Babur, after the first Moghul emperor of India. But it becomes unset- tling when the dog becomes the most compelling figure in the tale (and the only one for whom Stewart sheds tears). For me at least, the enduring works of discovery are the books that trace a physi- cal and a metaphysical journey at once, such as Peter Matthiessen’s radiant Snow A Gateway to Zen Environmentalism through Master Dogen’s seminal teachings at Zen Mountain Monastery “ Those who would understand their own walking, must also understand the walking of the blue mountains.” - Master Dogen This unique week-long retreat offers an opportunity to work with Daido Roshi on the teachings of Master Dogen as they relate to the natural world and our place in it. Held within the monastic setting and schedule of Zen Mountain Monastery, the retreat will include: • Daily discussion sessions in which Daido Roshi guides us through the original Japanese text and several English translations • Zazen• Liturgy • Oryoki • Art Practice • Body Practice • Work Practice • Silent Periods • Informal time with Daido Roshi, the senior staff, and the Mountains and Rivers Order sangha. Zen Mountain Monastery P.O. Box 197 • Mt Tremper, NY 12457 • (845) 688-2228 www.mro.org •