There was a bit of a reshuffle at City Center around the New Year, and I was asked to become ino. I found it very easy to say yes, as it is a job I have been interested in doing since my early days at Tassajara back in 2002. Yesterday I was asked if I would take on the ino's blog as well. I was a little slower to say yes, but soon realised there was no reason to say no.
I have been sitting in the ino seat for a month now. Before taking on the responsibilities, I learned quite a lot of practical details in a very short time from my predecessor Greg, who has moved to the kitchen where I came from. I was also keen to get a sense of what it means to take on this practice position. In the kitchen we chant the Tenzo Kyokun every morning before starting work, and near the beginning Dogen writes "first of all, you must deeply study the Zen’en Shingi. After that, it is necessary to hear discussions about details of the job from former tenzos". So I went to read, not the Zen'en Shingi, but Dogen's update on that, the Eihei Shingi, or Pure Standards for the Zen Community. There is a section called Pure Standards for the Temple Administrators , and in it I read "the ino's job is called the delight of the assembly...this is called the ino's regarding with love all who arrive and compassionately nourishing monks, so that the assembly's heart becomes the ino's own heart and the mindfulness of the Way becomes the ino's own mindfulness".
So this gives me something to practise with as I sit in the ino's seat, just inside the zendo door. I am aware of everyone who walks in, how they step, how they bow, whether they are new or experienced, nervous or relaxed, and I think about making them all feel welcome.