Friday, July 22, 2011

The Morning Schedule

Last night those of us who were up were mostly sombre; this morning the tears and distress were to the fore. At the end of the jundo I invited people who wished to assist with the ringing of the densho; Paul and Blanche did the first prostrations and strikes, and after I had taken my turn, I was deeply moved to see a long line of residents along the hallway, each of us affected by what has happened. We sat through the two periods as it didn't seem right to get up for kinhin while the bell was ringing.
At the beginning of the service, the same that we have already done several times in the past year, Paul addressed the assembly with some simple and effective words; chanting the Enmei Jukku twenty one times had its own power and effect, and I could hear people crying as Tova did the dedication:

He has entered solitude with his karmic forces.
He has gone into a vast Silence.
He is borne away by the Great Ocean of birth and death.

Everyone had the chance to offer incense afterwards. I think many of us were very aware that usually on a Friday morning, David would be the kokyo as we chanted the Diamond Sutra, after which he would come in with a solo rendition of the Hymn to the Perfection of Wisdom, which he always did very sweetly and beautifully with a soft voice that often moved me.
After the bows in the kaisando, Paul, Tova and I consulted and felt that it would be helpful if we had a community meeting tonight for people to be able to share their feelings and support each other. It had been felt that oryoki would not be right this morning, as it would have taken people away from the service, so we all ate silently in the dining room together.  After the work meeting senior staff checked in with each other in Tova's office, each expressing how we were feeling, and helping each other to stay strong, not just for ourselves, but for others who would be looking to us for help and leadership. I am aware that some of those who are just here for the intensive might be feeling a little on the outside of this community grieving, and as Paul said, we continue to practise, mindfully, because this is why we practise.

The first part of David's dharma name, given to him at Tassajara, was Blue Mountains. These were his mountains.


Liping Zhu said...

I am grieving with you all for the loss of a dear friend, a sweet man.

LWA said...

I'm awfully sorry you have all lost your friend and community member so suddenly, in such a shocking way. Please accept my condolences.

Anonymous said...

He and I cleaned the kitchen and dining hall together one time. Working together, I remember thinking how this was an obviously kind, gentle and intelligent person. I did not even know his name, yet he made such a big impression on me. I know you lost a very good person. My condolences.

Shundo said...

Thank you all - Liping, I was very glad to see you here today.

Chris vLS said...

Shundo --

Thank you for reminding me of David's Friday kokyo role. I know, I knew him by sight more than anything else.

But the way he sang the hymn! It sort of drifted in above everyone's murmuring the Sutra. Almost like I was hearing it in my head first, before realizing that I was hearing it with my ears. And, then once listening to it, it was so lovingly sung.

So many people who knew him have used the word 'gentle' in their remembrances. I can't say I knew David, but I can say I was truly touched by his gentleness.

Thank you.


Shundo said...

Thank you Chris