Thursday, August 18, 2011

Familiar Faces

This week Zen Center is hosting a number of distinguished guests: on Monday, we had several members of the SZBA board staying, and yesterday we had members of the AZTA arriving. If the acronyms are a little mysterious, the former is the Soto Zen Buddhist Association, which means that they are all in Dogen's lineage, while the latter is the American Zen Teachers Association, which casts its net a little wider. Either way, they are all lovely people, I have met a few of them before - especially when we had the SZBA conference here a couple of years ago - and it is wonderful to have so many senior teachers in the building.
The zendo was nicely full this morning, though luckily we did not start to overflow, as I had been concerned might happen, and the Buddha Hall likewise. I should add for readers who are new practitioners that teachers coming from other centers can be just as mystified about the particular forms we have here at Zen Center as you might be, so there has been some gentle guidance about where to stand, how to exit and so forth.
This morning was also the 28th day memorial for David, and Abbot Steve was the doshi. The chanting was very strong with so many extra voices, and again, the fact that we were chanting the Dai Hi Shin Dharani in the morning brought the occasion home to me, feelings which the beautiful eko augmented.
I was just looking through some old City Center pictures for shots of the SZBA, and came across this one of David working in the kitchen - he was on the crew when I was tenzo, so we spent many hours working side my side.

I have also been meaning to write about how much I have enjoyed having Teah back in the zendo on a regular basis - she sat the sesshin the other week -  and how moved I was to see her being doshi again as she has been recently. I think this may be due to the fact that she was tanto when I first arrived at City Center, so perhaps it triggers memories of those early days, as does seeing Blanche in the zendo, which she is more and more again. It makes it seem like things are the way they should be - though of course they always are.
This is probably my favourite picture of Teah, taken after Liping's shuso ceremony last year.

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