Saturday, February 11, 2012

Stepping Down

There were times during today's ceremony when I could sense that Paul was actually moved. Not that he would admit it of course; on Wednesday, before the Full Moon Ceremony, I tried him out with, "So this is your last hurrah, then?", and he replied with some gently amused scorn along the lines of "Get on with you". And he responded to a parade of fulsome statements of appreciation from his teachers, peers, colleagues, students and his daughter with some classic trans-Atlantic self-deprecation. But I think he was really touched.
It felt like a smooth day. We had a wonderful opportunity to hear Hoitsu Roshi speak, funny and clear even through a translator, and so very solid as well. I could tell the work leader was getting impatient that we went way past the alloted time, but nobody, least of all me, is going to ask Hoitsu to wrap it up so we can get on with work.
When we did, it was a bit of a whirl for a few hours. I was glad that I had given myself the task of picking up the monju from Benkyodo - apart from my trip to Rainbow, it is the first time I have left the building in a week. And it was lovely out there. But then there was a ceremony to do, and I had to spend some time looking over the script to get this one in my head, since the Stepping Up has taken so much attention. I didn't get to join the okesa receiving ceremony with most of his students in the dokusan room before we got underway, but that was okay.
Instead I got to stand in the entrance to the zendo hearing the inkins get closer on the procession while the densho also sounded, then bow to Paul, lead him into the zendo to offer incense and bow, then take him on a final jundo as Abbot, and lead him up to the Buddha Hall. Now that was something. And it flowed from there, hearing him express his gratitude before he stepped off the mountain, then a five-person food offering and the Heart Sutra, taking my time over the dedication, and sitting back listening to the praises being sung - while taking some pictures of course.
There was a great dinner afterwards, the dining room full of chat and colour, but I didn't stay so long, for all that there were lovely people from all over the world to say hello to. Saving a bit of energy for the rest of the weekend.

This was completely filled later
Altar with tangerines and monju
Paul on the Mountain

Mel addresses Paul
Paul and Audrey
Paul in the chair
Bowing out

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Between watching it on the live-stream channel, reading your words about it and seeing your lovely photos, I could almost imagine that I was actually there.

Thank you Shundo.