This conversation with Roshi Egyoku took place during my six weeks (Jan-Feb 2007) as an artist in residence at the Zen center of Los Angeles. A few times a week, we would sit down for a half hour chat to examine the relationship of Clowning and Zen.
Being in the moment-Clown Perspective
That is what the clown often has the freedom to do, play the moment. This Spontaneity is often the most magical aspect of clown performance. For that magic to truly generate laughter and touch the audience, the clown is not acting, the clown is playing his/her clown world. This clown world is created from one’s own life experience informing one’s truest feelings with a sense of humor, absurdity and ridiculousness.
Being In the Moment-Zen Perspective
(the abbreviations are E for Egyoku, and M for Moshe)
E: It’s a tricky one in a way because it has become such a common place expression. Every body says that (be in the moment). Even George Bush said (in his speech last night) ‘here and now’ (state of the union 2007). I said hey, don’t steal our language.
M: Ram Dass said ‘Be here now’
E: You know Maesumi Roshi had a great expression about the moment, he said “ Whatever the moment is”. I never knew whether he was saying ‘whatever is manifesting’ or ‘what is a moment? What is that?’ What is that?
M: yes, what is that?
E: I think pretty much it means ‘being present’. There is a sense of presence with a clear mind so that we are actually connected to what is really going on.
E: Present with a clear mind, open heart. So that we are available for what is there, and not in cased in our own little world. It is very very hard, when you think about the challenge of having a clear mind.