Monday, November 28, 2011

Old Notes

While reading Branching Streams Flow In The Darkness, I have come across the bookmark I left in the book the first time I read it, during my first practice period at Tassajara in 2002. It is a little index card, and written in Sharpie on one side is : "Lantern #7 - Place on the outer perimeter to the right". I have no trouble remembering what this means.
During the first sesshin of the practice period, we were due a Full Moon Ceremony, and the ino that year, Melissa, wanted to do the ceremony at the memorial site. Along with Greg, Eric and Bob, I was deputed to carry the big bell from the zendo to the site, up the steep and narrow path. There was a yoke in the shop for just this purpose - obviously it was not the first time the bell had been moved, though I don't know if it had been taken up there before. I remember the trip being a little tricky as it was hard to walk two abreast up the path, but since I was several inches shorter than the other three guys, I didn't feel like I was taking much of the weight of the apparatus.
We must have done this right after lunch, and been given the work period off, as I found myself with a stretch of free time, and for some reason I decided to head up Hawk Mountain for the first time, up to the telephone tower. It was not a very sesshin-like thing to do, but was spectacular - I only wished I had taken my camera with me.
The ceremony itself was that evening, so the note referred to the lantern I was going to carry during the procession up from the work circle to the memorial site. I remember this stately lantern-lit procession to be very beautiful. As to the ceremony itself, I recall wanting the moon to come shining over the Flag Rock ridge, which it didn't during the ceremony; afterwards I walked the last few yards up to the ridge of the Hogsback to see it shining brightly onto the Three Treasures - sound familiar?
What occurred to me this morning, as I looked at the note again, was how I would have made an effort to get the lantern in the right place when we arrived, but how Melissa, as ino, for all her organisation and effort, may have had some feeling about her vision for the ceremony not quite coming to pass - perhaps this is always the dukkha of the ino. It was, obviously, still most memorable in its manifestation.

In 2007, we did the Annual Suzuki Roshi memorial at the memorial site - but we didn't bring the big bell

Looking down the path that leads up to the site
The even steeper trail leading up Hawk Mountain - this is also from 2007


Anonymous said...

many thanks for your writings ... I love all that you share, all your insights, reflections, musings, photographs, stories ... there is a pace and a tone that is rich and deep ... calm and reassuring ... am very thankful and nourished with each new posting ... gracious bow of thanks that you share your experiences and thoughts this way with the sangha

Shundo said...

Goodness, thank you very much, and please continue to enjoy the blog

Chris vLS said...

ditto on the blog, plus add general astonishment at getting the big bell up to the memorial site . . . seriously? I think if the ino had told me to help bring the bell up there I would have taken it as some sort of hazing thing, like a snipe hunt, or being sent to find a left-handed smokeshifter . . .

Shundo said...

Well you know what they say around here, Chris - just say 'hai!'