Monday, February 28, 2011

A Peaceful Life

This morning I was looking ahead to Wednesday morning's service, when we commemorate Katagiri Roshi, who played an important part in the development of Zen Center. I remember Blanche commenting last year that she didn't like the photo we usually placed on the altar for the ceremony as he looked so stern in it, and she remembered him always laughing. So I googled some photos; unfortunately, trying to get a decent size for printing out limited my choice a little, but there were some wonderful old photos, that moved me in a very particular way. I think it is something to do with a real sense of presence and concentration.

These pictures came from here and here, both of which are fine places to learn more about our teachers, and I hope they don't mind.
I am also lobbying to include his poem A Peaceful Life in the service, as it is something we have chanted at noon service in the past:

Being told that is impossible
One believes, in despair, “Is that so?”
Being told it is possible,
One believes, in excitement, “That’s right.”
But, whichever is chosen,
It does not fit one’s heart neatly.
Being asked, What is unfitting?”
I don’t know what it is.
But my heart knows somehow.
I feel an irresistible desire to know.
What a mystery “human” is.
As to this mystery:
Knowing how to live,
Knowing how to walk with people,
Demonstrating and teaching,
This is the Buddha.
From my human eyes,
I feel it’s really impossible to become a Buddha.
But this “I,” regarding what the Buddha does,
Vows to practice,
To aspire,
To be resolute,
And tells myself, “Yes I will.”
Just practice right here now,
And achieve continuity,
Endlessly, forever.
This is living in vow.
Herein is one’s peaceful life found.


ksellman said...

How large of an image do you need for the altar? It may be possible to print one of the 1200x1600 pixel images at 150dpi for an 8x10 print of reasonable quality.

I recommend Photoworks on Market @ Church Street (though it is unlikely they would have it ready by Wednesday). If you'd like help with this sort of thing in the future, I'd be happy to assist.

Shundo said...

Hi Karissa,

I am going for a 10"x8" of one of the first two, printed here - it's just that the first pictures that come up, if you don't filter by size, are all tiny little things.
Thank you for your offer though.

David Silva said...

Thank you for this post. I was lay ordained by Katagiri in 1972, during his year there in between SFZC and Minneapolis. I was fortunate to do two practice periods with him at Tassajara. He definitely had his 'stern face' and his 'beaming smile' face. I usually sat pretty far back in the old Tassajara zendo, being a newer student, and the lighting in there in winter was very dim, but I remember his smile could light up that room.