I was just a beginning student at The New York Zen Studies Society (New York Zendo) when Soen Roshi came and gave what I believe was his final talk in America. Naturally, the zendo was completely packed. As a relative newcomer, I was lucky to find a place to sit far in the rear.

Literally, the only thing I can remember of that talk after these years is that he asked, "Which is more important, sitting or shitting?" And he answered himself, "Shitting is more important. You can live without sitting, but you can't live without shitting."

So that was the one Dharma lesson I learned from one of the pre-eminent masters of our time.

The Moon of Bosatsu Mountain
is Rising over New York
Soen Nakagawa

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