All my life I´ve encountered beautiful coincidences that have guided me on this path.
I arrived at the Black Scorpion Temple through a good friend from college. I had shared with him how uncomfortable I felt with my religion, but that I was sure of not being an atheist and was very curious about Zen Buddhism. He said his aunt was a "zen monk."
That is how Hosso Sensei became my teacher, and the TEN my refuge. The trust I felt made me want to take the lay vows right away, but I decided to observe and wait until the time was right. Hosso explained to me that there was nothing to wait for before making a commitment to this practice.
Since my first sesshin, whe I was 25 years old, sometimes it has crossed my mind to leave the practice, with the idea of returning to it when "I grow older." Taking Jukai represented a symbolic act of committing myself to not abandoning this path.
From the very start, meditating turned out to be easy and intuitive for me; being able to taste the first little layer of a state in which everything is clearer and at the same time more intense; where the colors are brighter and the tastes and scents are stronger, where a sense of tranquility and joy overcomes you.
Maybe that is the reason why Hosso Sensei decided to name me SANMAI, because she saw in me this ease for non-distracted awareness, or samadhi. It is difficult for me to translate it, but I could say that it refers to living in the present without distraction. But I also believe Sensei's intention was to assign me this Dharma name as a reminder that I need to keep practicing, because I could simply quit with the same ease that I experience samadhi.
After a while, the attachment to these first meditation experiences started to grow, and it was difficult for me to release them. The point of practice is not to cultivate the sensations you experience in meditation, but instead the point is the changes practice brings into your life. There is no place I have to reach; practice is present in my day-to-day life, and I can appreciate it more deeply if I am in the present moment.
The beautiful coincidences keep appearing: Another curious college friend reminded me: "Wasn't Samadhi the name you gave to your degree project? If I remember correctly, it meant a place for meditation, right?"