We finished our Practice Period with a week-long retreat during which C.J. Jikyo Wolfer who served as Shuso or Head Monk, led us with evening Dharma talks, various teachings, leading ceremonies, instructing in various points of practice, seeing the smooth continuation of the retreat. Toward the end of the retreat, Rev. Master Eko Little arrived from Shasta Abbey to participate in
and witness the Shuso Ceremony on Sunday, July 26th and to spend several days with us in informal discussion. It was a rare opportunity to share his presence, continuous wisdom, humor, insight. We are ever grateful for the gift of his coming to be with us. Rev. Master Eko had served as C.J. Jikyo's training master when she did her monastic training at Shasta Abbey.
The ceremony of Shuso involved the questioning by the Sangha about the Dharma realization of C.J. Jikyo Wolfer. She sat before the community and invited questions regarding practice and Dharma. Her responses were excellent and the exchange was indeed very lively. The ceremony is one of our most vigorous and energetic ceremonies since the questions and
responses are all spontaneous. The community offered her excellent questions which made for a deep and wonderful exchange. The entire Sangha congratulates her on this advancement in her practice and training.
Now we move into the time when we say "Buddha is sleeping." The birds stop singing in the mornings as they save their body fat for the migration. Trees seem motionless. Afternoons are sultry. Time seems to stand still.
We have closed the Zendo for a brief holiday until August 8th when we reopen with morning Zazen at 7 a.m. All is quiet and settled on the grounds and inside. I'm getting ready for the trip to California to substitute for Keido Les Kaye Roshi at Kannon-do in Mt. View, CA. He and his wife are traveling to Africa for a month and I'll lead Zazen and support the Sangha there. It's a familiar place for me since I first practiced there in Haiku Zendo where Keido Roshi now lives. I'll be staying in the house where Marian Derby edited the talks by Suzuki Roshi that became the book, ZEN MIND, BEGINNER'S MIND. The Kaye's bought the house when Marian decided to practice full-time at Tassajara. Haiku Zendo stayed at this location until the crowds became impossible with Kobun Chino Roshi giving Dharma talks there after Suzuki Roshi died. We were bursting at the seams and we had to move.
I'm enjoying lovely easy days and have decided to enjoy the heat. We got up to 104 the other day, but now we're at a mere 85 and sunny which is predicted through the week. So, so nice to have a real summer. It's a rarity in these parts, although everything is mighty dry and the fire danger is high. Without much ado, I'm back to reading, writing, painting while I also think of the good man, Ray Kelleher, who was a friend to us, who built the first altar we had at Sawyer St. and which is now our Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva altar. Ray died on July 28th at St. Peter's Hospital in Olympia from complications following heart surgery. He will be tremendously missed by so many people in this community. I'll write about him in an upcoming entry.