We are certainly into the beautiful days of spring in the Bay Area, and one of the pleasures of attending the three shuso ceremonies was having the opportunity to travel, first to Tassajara to see the freshness of the greenery, the liveliness of the creek after several moribund drought years, and the glowing of the monks who have been in seclusion for three months; then to Green Gulch where everything seemed so bright in the afternoon sun, and people were relaxed and happy as the winter training comes to an end, and the farm season takes over.
Even though I am working to establish an independent life, it feels important to me to stay connected with my sangha, and spend time with people I have practised with for many years. It is also heart-warming to see friends and colleagues take the step into becoming a recognised teacher. As I have written before, a shuso ceremony is a time when a student gets to blossom forth as themselves, and each of the three new shusos did that, in very different ways.
Shindo, the City Center shuso, with her benji (attendant) Juan
There is always a lot of hugging
Hakusho – with the fan – at Tassajara, with Sonja and Qayyum
Stephen, at Green Gulch, with Tenshin Roshi
Tassajara creek running freely – I jumped in right after taking this photo
Ceanothus at the guest house at Green Gulch