“By our age, we have acquired skills,” Mushin said to a zendo full of Silver Dragons. “We’re even masters in our fields. But we’re amateurs at being old. Old is the new new. Old is the new now.”

Around thirty-five practitioners over the age of 60 gathered to sit sesshin with other mature Zen students in a special schedule with teachings designed for senior bodies and heart-minds. From the back rows, we younger residents sat in alert appreciation, invited from the meadows and forest of our own campout-style sesshin to listen in on the wisdom of the elders.

“The path of the young is well-trodden,” Kyoko said, “but the path of the elder is brand new. Only recently are we humans living to reach this age. It is up to us to decide what that path will look like. The Buddha’s first instruction to lay people was to practice generosity. And the highest form of generosity in Buddhism is sharing one’s wisdom, both in words and behavior.”

Contact Janet at stories@zendust.org.