July 11, 2019

My mother always told me a watched pot never boils. She said I would always find what I was looking for in the last place I looked. I wanted to understand what she meant, but the truth of her statements eluded me. Of course the pot would boil. Of course I could find what I was seeking if I knew where to look. I just didn’t know when or where. I’m making tea tonight after a long week. I’m watching the pot, thinking of my mother and her wisdom. I’m also thinking about Miao Tsan, and the wisdom he has collected from a string of Zen masters going back to Sakayumi Buddha. The tea I am brewing is loose, rather than in a tea bag. I’ve learned quite a bit about tea since I started working on Miao Tsan’s books. And tea is just the beginning of what I have learned. A year ago, I had edited one of Miao Tsan’s books, Just Use This Mind. He was coming to Houston to teach meditation courses, to meet with various groups and intellectuals around town, and to have an East Meets West Dialog with Pittman McGehee, sponsored by the Boniuk Center for Religious Tolerance at Rice University and Bright Sky Press, our publishing house. I felt like I had learned a tremendous amount from my experience editing this book from its initial translation from Chinese, but I didn’t know what the Master’s visit would be like. I didn’t know how his interaction with Pittman–who had once been Dean of my own church–would be, didn’t know if the insight I had gained from his words would translate to my friends I had invited to his events. I was watching the pot, wondering when and if it would boil. Tonight, I am looking forward to Miao Tsan’s next visit to Houston. He will come again next week to teach meditation courses, meet with various groups and intellectuals around town, and have an East Meets West Dialog with Sam Karff, a rabbi I have long held in high esteem. I am excited about the coming week, because I understand how much insight these events will bring to Houstonians, to my friends. Since last year’s visit, I have edited another book of the Master’s–The Origin Is Pure. I understand his wisdom a little bit more, and I know that this new book has much to offer to all of us seeking enlightenment. The kettle is boiling. My tea is ready. I’m not sure where the last place I will look is, but I am happy to have these two books of the Master’s to read and his visit to anticipate. Wisdom comes from so many sources, and tea is always a pleasure.