Rohatsu sesshin finished last week at City Center and Green Gulch (Tassajara always follows its own timing for this), and was followed by shuso ceremonies at each place. As usual it was enjoyable to go to hang out with friends, peers, teachers, and to participate in the formalities of this always vivid ceremony.
I have known Barbara for at least fifteen years, and worked with her on senior staff at City Center, so it was a joy to see her take her place on the shuso seat at last, and to see the confidence and heart with which she fielded questions from the room. Blanche, her teacher, was invoked throughout the ceremony. For my question, I asked Barbara where she felt Blanche’s ‘inconceivable joy’ (the translation of her dharma name Zenkei) at that moment; her response, “In my posture” felt just right.
I have not been around Grace nearly as much, but she has been inspirational for so many people for many years, that I wanted to be a part of this important moment for her. It is usually possible to gauge how a practice period has been going by the questions that the students asked, and the feeling of intimacy and unpretentious joy in practice was what came across to me.
Barbara being congratulated by Marsha after her ceremony.
Barbara inspecting the new rakusu she was presented with at dinner.
Grace before the ceremony – she didn’t seem to be at all nervous.
The procession came out at the end just as the sun was setting on a lovely winter’s day.
The new moon showing just as we headed back to the city.