Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ceremonies and Dedications

This could end up being a five ceremony week. They don't all involve bessu, but yesterday's ceremonies both had amazing ekos. We did the annual Mahapajapati memorial in the morning. The nice thing about doing these things as ino for a second time, is that I don't just automatically feel like I have to do it the same way we did before. Just as I got to be creative with the Katagiri memorial, it made sense to me, that since we were honouring Buddha's foster mother, the founder of the lineage of nuns, we should chant the list of women teachers that we usually have alongside the male lineage, which had not been a part of the service before. We didn't go the whole hog and do the dramatised reading of Gotami's Story, which Linda Ruth likes to do, but the dedication of merit is quite dramatic:

In the pure reality body, there is no coming or going,
    no female or male, no silence or sound.
From this solitary body, myriad awakened ones appear to teach,
    responding to beings like the moon shining in water.
In brightness, the Buddha’s foster mother appeared in this world
    with compassion and wisdom vast and wide.
Today in honor and celebration of her life, we have offered light, incense,
    flowers, sweet water, rice and tea, and have chanted
    the Great Compassionate Mind Dharani.
We dedicate the merit and virtue of this ceremony to: 
     Acharya Mahapajapati Gotami, who set forth on her path
      two thousand five hundred years ago,
      establishing the wholeness of the home leavers’ way.
     With red heart and steadfast resolve, she encourages beings
      to find their own voice and realize Buddha Dharma.   
May her pure practice and devotion dissolve barriers to understanding
     and awareness, and may we and all beings practice together endlessly.

In the evening we did a 49th day memorial for Lou; people from the practice period tea and the people from the zendo filled out the Buddha Hall, and after chanting the Sho Sai Myo and the Dai Hi Shin Dharani, this was the dedication:

The immaculate light reaches everywhere, leaving no place unilluminated,
    embracing all emptiness in tranquility.

Returning from oneness into the world of discrimination,
    the activities of the ordinary world are seen as but a dream.
Humbly we pray that the Three Treasures will look over us.
Respectfully we have offered flowers, incense, light,
    and we have chanted the Sho Sai Myo Kichijyo Dharani for removing hindrance
    and the Great Compassionate Mind Dharani.
We offer this accumulated merit for the sake of  Shu-un Mitsuzen Lou Hartman
    on the occasion of the 49th Day Memorial service.
We entrust our intention to the Great Being:
        Yakushi Nyorai, Great Medicine Buddha
        who releases all beings from suffering,
        and we especially seek your benevolent protection for our dear one
        during this precious time.
Kindly we pray that in the realm of life and death this one person,
Shu-un Mitsuzen Lou Hartman, like the precious Dragon Jewel,
will shine as the emerald sea, clear and complete,
as the clear blue sky, in the Dharma everywhere,
and will serve as a guide for the world in ascending the path to enlightenment.

We pray for his peace, his contentment, and for his freedom.
May he together with all beings realize the Buddha Way .

Tomorrow we may be having a leaving ceremony in the morning, and we will definitely be having Jamie's Lay Entrustment in the evening, and of course we are knee-deep in details for Lou's funeral on Sunday. I am wearing my sound engineer hat as well as my ino hat as we try to figure out audio and video needs for the Buddha Hall and the dining room so that the 150-200 people we are expecting can all follow the proceedings.

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