Friday, August 10, 2012

Pancakes For Breakfast

Ahead of the big fiftieth anniversary weekend, we had scheduled a daisoji, an hour of temple cleaning. We were all to wear work clothes to the zendo; I had posted a sign at the top of the stairs to remind people, and last night I moved my robes from their usual place in the closet as I know how little conscious thinking I am capable of before five in the morning.
I was tracking people as they came into the zendo, wondering if we would get a good turn-out or if people would take this as an excuse to stay in bed. When it came to the work, though, I even saw a few people who hadn't made it to zazen, diligently cleaning away. I busied myself in the kaisando, cleaning the top of the picture rails, the screens on the window, the altar and especially the black lacquer floor.
Todd had made pancakes for breakfast, which was a lovely thing to have after such an active time. As we sat down, it was quite evident that the energy was very different from a usual morning - there was a real buzz in the room, a sense of shared accomplishment. Christina thought that we should try doing this once a month, just to have this feeling in the temple regularly.
I have commented before about having multiple abbots about the place, and this morning, the table I sat at became a rather exalted four-abbot table, with Richard Baker, Blanche, Steve and Christina all together - not to mention the tanto, director and ino. We heard the old admonition that if the abbot did not take part in soji, the jisha had to leave the monastery, as well as a lovely story from the seventies about Jerry Brown, newly elected as governor, trying to enter Tassajara during practice period. The monk at the gate wanted to turn him away, but Baker Roshi remembered that in Chinese monasteries, the gates were always open to local government officials and major donors to come and inspect. I think something similar will be happening here over the next few days as well.

The kaisando floor a couple of years ago after the lacquer was refinished

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