I didn't get back to my seat, but went to set up for the 108 bells, which we did after the jundo. Almost everyone from the zendo came out to offer incense, bow and strike the densho in her memory. We also did the same service that we had done the morning after Jerome's death, with the Heart Sutra and the Enmei Jukku Kannon Gyo. Everyone was in a sombre mood.
Again, I leave it to others who knew her better to tell of her life. I remember her in dharma talks reminiscing about how she came to Zen Center, in the early days, and how she met Tony, her husband. One of my favourite memories was from Tony's shuso ceremony, first with her question:
"Yes, dear" replied Tony almost completely deadpan.
"What is the secret of a successful marriage?"
Tony came right back without a pause: "Knowing when to say 'yes, dear'".
Later in the ceremony, as the former shusos offered their traditional compliments to the new shuso, usually about their wisdom and insight and skillful answers during the dharma inquiry, she purred: "Shuso....you're very handsome!"
A couple of photos as well: the first is a picture I took in the old days of 35mm, Darlene with Joan on the day of Joan's tokudo in September 2004. The second is a picture that Ren kindly sent on to me after I had previously written about not having any recent pictures of Darlene. This was from the ceremony at the tail end of last year where she was presented with a new ceremonial okesa.
I remember being at Tassajara when she did her dharma transmission with Michael. As is traditional, after the midnight ceremony, she came to the zendo the next morning (less than four hours later, that is), to give a dharma talk. My memory is that she started by looking at her new brown robe and saying "What do I do now that I look like a giant truffle?" I wonder how she described herself in that beautiful lilac okesa?
|Photo courtesy of Ren Bunce|