Saturday, April 2, 2011

What I Did During My Sesshin

I shocked a couple of new residents at the post Shuso Ceremony dinner by telling them I had had a good sesshin - I didn't run out of chocolate. You ate chocolate? The ino broke the shingi? Well that's the way it is.
I don't really approve of taking photographs during sesshin, though I do that quite often as well. For all that sesshin mind tends to being to the fore the kind of attentiveness to detail that a photographer is always aiming for, it also seems like discursive mind in action - oh, that would make a good picture, must capture that, when I would prefer to be saying, oh, that's beautiful, and then let it go. That said, I did take some photos during sesshin, of the view out of my window as the days went by. Any resemblance to my states of mind may or may not be co-incidental.
Day one - morning
Day one - evening
Day two - evening
Day three - evening
Day four - morning
Day five - morning
Day six - morning
Day six - end of day
Day seven - morning
Day seven - evening
As you can see, and as locals will attest, it got pretty nice and sunny in the middle, and warmed up somewhat. I would have happily taken last week's wet weather this week, and had this heat next week when I will get some time off, but it doesn't always work like that, does it?

Then there is this self-portrait I took on the only morning I went back to my room during soji:

Disclaimer: this is not really me and it was not really like this.
The ceremony with Lien was as a Shuso Ceremony should be, fully open-hearted. I hadn't taken my camera into the Buddha Hall as I wanted to be properly ceremonial, but then after we got underway, Blanche leaned over to me and said, someone has to take the picture of the shuso receiving the staff, or she can't be officially registered (with the Sotoshu, who keep records of this kind of thing). So I nipped out to get my camera, which I had nearby for the post-ceremony pictures. On first glance through, though, this is the one I like the most - Lien getting a hug from Vicki right after the ceremony:


I expect I will write more about sesshin soon, but I am feeling ready for bed, and I have to be at Green Gulch early in the morning.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi,
who is the African American (I assume) gentleman in the last picture of the sesshin post?

Thank you

Linda Atkins said...

Ooh, I like "Day six - end of day," and I'm glad you didn't run out of chocolate.

Shundo said...

Hello Anonymous, he is Bhante Suhita Dharma, who was one of the teachers of colour invited by Lien for her ceremony. I have heard him speak at Zen Center a few times over the years.

mm king said...

Oh, that chocolate love and so be the Disclaimer: this is not really me and it was not really like this!!! Capturing and letting go...!!! thank you.

Lisa Hamasaki said...

thanks for sharing the pictures! beautiful photo essay with heart.

Chris Burnham said...

I liked how the buildings stayed consistent but there was so much variety in the sky

Shundo said...

Thank you all for your comments. Chris, I find that buildings do not tend to move around so much.

sb3day said...

What rule are you breaking when you eat chocolate?

Shundo said...

If I remember the admonitions, it says 'between meals, try to eat exclusively what is offered by the kitchen'.

sb3day said...

Well then, it's time for the kitchen to start offering chocolate...

Shundo said...

They offered lemonade at the coffee-tea table and my first thought was, well the tenzo thinks we're having a picnic...

fiedler_ken@yahoo.com said...

Shundo,
I was just thinking about you. I never made it to Africa, but I live in Spain. I´m doing a short tour next week on the bike. If you would like I will send you a link to my blog.

gassho
Ken