House Guests and Shingon

My friend, Nathan, is staying with us as of yesterday. He arrived on the train from Seattle the other week to work a contract job locally (he’s a sysadmin). It turns out that the mutual friend that he was staying with decided to move at the end of the month so Nathan needed to find another place to stay briefly. He’s looking at apartments and I’ve passed his resume around my work so there is a chance we’ll wind up working together (or at least in the same building).

Nathan is one of my few Buddhist friends, a student of Thrangu Rinpoche from the Karma Kagyu Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. Nathan is one of the lucky few people that I get to have conversations with on Buddhist topics. He came with me for the pet emergency on Saturday and we’ve had some lengthy conversations on Buddhist topics (and others!) over the weekend. Hopefully, things work out smoothly for him.

There is also a fair chance that he’ll be at Burning Man this year as well. He has a ticket but given his work and home situation, there are other priorities. It turns out he knows (and hung out with last year) the people I’ve been in discussions with about doing some ritual activities at Burning Man this year.

Also, amusingly, it turns out that he’s been exposed to Shingon Buddhism, the other form of esoteric Japanese Buddhism. Last year, at Burning Man, the Shingon priest from the small Japanese temple in Seattle wound up at Burning Man with a friend of Nathan’s through happenstance. While there, he did the goma fire ceremony following the temple burn on Sunday night. It was, apparently, quite cool.

The funny thing is that his temple is the same one in Seattle that I had heard about but never seen. I bought an obscure book on a Shingon ritual this last week and it was written by this guy’s bishop at their mother temple in Sacramento. This weekend, I received a copy of a small booklet on a Shingon (and Tendai) meditation practice that was written by the same fellow. The person who sent it to me lives in Seattle and she bought it at an interfaith event from people at the same Shingon temple in Seattle.

So, that’s three separate instances this week of running into people and/or materials who are derived from or related to this Shingon temple based out of Sacremento with a branch in Seattle. Weird.

Who would have thought that someone did goma at Burning Man last year? :-)