I made the decision that we should ring the 108 bells in the morning so that everyone would have a chance to participate, and went around putting together the elements for that, and finding the service that we did the morning after Jerome's death, and Lou's; we found his dharma name, and I put name cards and photos on the altars. When the body left the building with the medical examiner, about twenty of us accompanied it onto the street, softly chanting the Enmei Jukku over and over until the ambulance had turned the corner, then we returned inside with our arms around each other.
I practised with David for a number of years, first at Tassajara, and then here. He was always so likeable, easy-going, smart, with a line in self-deprecating humour, beneath which was a deep and ongoing struggle around self-worth. I used to think of him as being like one of the monks in the great assembly of the koan stories - not the ones the stories would be about, but one of those practising diligently and hoping for their own breakthrough. Recently things had been hard for David, not finding a job despite having recently finished a couple of years at school. I had talked to him last week about things that were coming up for him, an offer from a friend to go and live back on the east coast that he was conflicted about. There had been a lot of discussion this week among senior people about how we could support him through these challenges, but in the end, all the support and the good-will of a close community cannot always be enough if someone's mind is not at ease.
|David at the work circle in Tassajara|
|David as benji after Ren's shuso ceremony|
|David with Stephen on the Stone Office lawn, a picture I always felt summed up life at Tassajara in the winter|