I enjoyed the Thursday evening group a little more this week, as I had not been running around training people how to be chidens right before going to the zendo. Actually to call it a group would perhaps be lending it an unwarranted air of cohesion - about half the people who were there last night were there last week, and I am not yet sure if they come every week. Once again, the conversation in the Art Lounge afterwards was rewarding - in fact this is my favourite part of my job at the moment, meeting people in circumstances like this, or the newcomers' table.
One person asked about the rakusus that two of us were wearing; I spoke about what they signify, and asked the other person, an older woman whom I was sure I must have seen once or twice before, who had given her her rakusu. Suzuki Roshi, she replied simply. Sure enough, when she turned it around, there were eight lines of beautiful, neat calligraphy, which neither of us could decipher, but which were undoubtedly his dharma name, hers, the date and the place of the ceremony, and a four-line gatha. So the conversation encompassed everything from a new sitter's experience of feeling their body opening up during zazen, to memories of coming up from Tassajara for a jukai here in the earliest years of City Center, more than forty years ago. As I said the other day, we are all swimming in the same ocean of enlightenment.