Mirror of Zen Blog

Searching for a Doorway in Graz

Good morning from Graz, Austria. I travelled southward here on an 8-hour train ride to visit and confer with Yorae (Pablo) and Do Tzong, two of my closest and most trusted disciples, and Yorae’s beautiful and strong wife, Nadine. We were up early this morning and meditated together in Yorae’s living room. We gathered from our separate sleeping-pods in silence, just like in the Zen Center, and used pillows and folded blankets to go right in to the vastness of infinite Now. Concerned with my physical condition after travel, Yorae suggested a 30-minute sit, but since I controlled the bell, it ended up being a 50+ minutes plunge, and even then I would have pushed a little further, but some among us were sitting on non-optimal cushions, so, we ended with the bells at 7:00, just like in Regensburg.

Yorae’s home is located directly across the street from the Graz Opera, which is where Gustav Mahler performed his Third Symphony (twice), as well as attended the premier of Richard Strauss’s Salomé in 1906 (photos below). So, as soon as we finished meditation, I dragged everyone across the street so that I could find this location, specifically this doorway where the ever-kinetic Mahler appears as a blur:

It was not possible to ascertain the exact location of where he stood, based on this photo alone, since there are several doorways that look pretty much the same.

But then I found another photo of Mahler emerging from the building, and this angle gives us more evidence of where He stood.. I will go find it after lunch:

Whenever I visit a city where He visited or lived, I visit some spot associated with Him. He is, to me, exactly what Jesus is to some people. I’m actually not joking at all. I actually worry whether I will have the same level of full-body reaction to the holy sites of the Buddha in northern India, if I ever visit them. (Sometimes I have joked that it might be best not to test that possibility by actually going there and finding out!)

I love Mahler with a degree of love which is nearly physical in nature. His music makes my body shake and my eyes fill with tears, even crying, and I am RUINED for a few hours — or even longer — after hearing Him. This is why I will only let myself listen to Him not even 10 times per year, or less. I actually needed to stop hearing his music for several years, in the time I was engaged in intensive practice in the mountains of Korea. He is beyond mere “art” — he is a prophet and a spiritual force of the highest order: He changed my life. I love his soul beyond what words can express. It’s terrible!

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