Sunday, March 15, 2009

Brian Ino

I know the name of this blog is dead boring, but I couldn't think of anything else at the time. I came real close to calling the blog Brian Ino, but I just couldn't quite go there, not as the name of the blog. My friend Brad Warner says he can't hear the word Ino without thinking of Brian Eno. (By the way Brian Eno and David Byrne have a new album out, with a title that is pretty dang zen, and it's killer!)

But what is an Ino, you say? It is the title for one of the traditional temple officer positions of a Zen temple or monastery. According to the Eihei Shingi, Dogen's Pure Standards for the Zen Community, "The Ino [a term derived] from the Sanskrit, here [in China] is called yuezhong [giver of joy to the assembly]." As you can see in the photo, a former Ino, Mark Lancaster, printed out this quote and posted it next to a sign outside the Ino's office on the 2nd floor of the building at 3oo Page. Since my last practice position at Zen Center was Treasurer/CFO, I like to joke that I've gone from being the bearer of bad news to the giver of joy. Well, hopefully giver of joy. My job, as I see it, is to keep things running smoothly in the Zendo and Buddha Hall in order to help create and sustain a space for practice, and to encourage the Sangha in their practice.

I have now been Ino at Hosshin-ji, Beginner's Mind Temple, which is San Francisco Zen Center's city practice place, for the past 12 days. Wow. It has been a very intense learning curve, particularly as I assumed this practice position in the midst of an ango, or practice period, already in progress at City Center. I am learning so much about this temple! And I am continually asking people for their help and feedback. I have told several people that my experience of the last few days has been somewhat akin to mosh pit surfing. What? Okay, maybe not, but it has been intense. Nonetheless I am enjoying it, and my practice intention is to share that with the community. The previous Ino, Kosho McCall, made a certificate for me which I am proudly displaying on the wall behind my desk.

Why an Ino's Blog? My intention is to use this as a skillful means to share something of my love for the Buddhadharma, the practice of the Ino, what's going on at City Center, maybe some helpful hints about forms and ceremonies around here, and no doubt, in the tradition of blogs all over teh interwebs, whatever the heck is on my tiny little mind!


Jasha said...

Welcome to my blog.

Jasha said...


DanP said...

Congratulations Greg. I look forward to finding directions to my seat at 300 Page next time. As confused as this one is...well, I can use help.

Love and Blessings,

jgreene said...

Honorable Ino, I can't imagine a better choice for the position of official giver of joy. You see, you have already been in the position for at least as long as I have known you, only you didn't know it. Every time I see you, JOY! I look forward to further exploring the wonders of practice with you, and please be nice to us non-natives when we come to practice at the great Beginner's Mind Temple. Love and bows, Jody

Alec Henderson said...

Ino-san: Gassho and great tidings to you as you set out on this course. And to blog it as well. Very auspicious! Keep that formal credential close by. It will serve you well.

With great respect and admiration,


Colin said...

That is, without doubt, the greatest award I've ever seen.


Linda Atkins said...

Yes, that certificate is very funny. Great idea.

Sandy's witterings said...

I haven't read every blog on the way back from your stat blog to here (I would still be here at tea time with nothing done) but it seemed a good idea after a while to pop back to the start and see how it all began.
A most interesting blog and I'll definately pop back from time to time.