May 04, 2009

Wind & Wolken, Hanover, Nuerenburg

We had a beautiful Jukai Ceremony on Sunday at the lovely Zendo in Lindau.  Ancestors seemed to crowd the room in an invisible chorus around the candidates:  Mechtild, Fritz, and Volker shown with me in the picture along with Harald and Friederike.  Harald and Friederike had supported their study in preparation for this moment and, I'm encouraged to see them go forward and deepen their practice.  They each sewed a wonderful rakusu.  It's fine to see the Buddha Dharma blossom in this quiet, northern area.

On Monday morning, Harald took us to the train station and Friederike and I boarded the train, first for Hanover to meet Doko Roshi who is the only woman Soto priest in Germany.  We talked for several hours about differences in practice between Europe and America.  Her Dharma Transmission teacher is Nishijima Roshi one of the translators of Shobogenzo.  She also trained in Italy for about 13 years before going to Japan with Nishijima Roshi. 


After lunch we returned to the station and caught the train for Nuerenburg arriving in time for a late dinner.  We went to very standard and local Bavarian pub filled with men who had large flasks of beer before them.  As we were the only women, the place came to an almost silence when we entered.  However, after a few moments we just blended in and enjoyed the mood and atmosphere.  Very warm and friendly.  We walked briefly around the castle wall to get a taste of the medieval fortress, so powerful.  Friederike pointed out signs of World War II, bullet and schrapnel holes in the stone.  Nuerenburg was where Hitler had planned to build his own center, his own castle, until that plan was erased.  She pointed out that the city still suffers the remorse of that war.
Today we'll meet a few friends of Friederike and Harald who live here in Nuerenburg.  One owns a Buddhist/Hindu antique shop.  We looked in the window after the shop was closed last night and saw some large Buddha heads and standing Hindu statues.  Seeing this shop up near the castle was a bit strange, but Buddhist statues seem to be everywhere we go in Europe.  They are in the windows of all kinds of shops.  As Doko Roshi said, they stand as a symbol of peace for many people and not as a religious article.  She thought that in that way they bring about some good.