Sunday, October 25, 2009

As promised, the discussion of my recent intuitive insight, the one that not only clarified why it was that I came to Zen practice to start with but also told me volumes about my own personality and nature, will continue over the next several days, but not tonight. As the picture above indicates, today I went up to Chattanooga, but for more than the usual monthly visit. Today, I went up accompanied by Michael Elliston, the head abbot of the Atlanta Soto Zen Center; Arthur, my Zen teacher (visiting the U.S. from Switzerland); and Gareth, one of the Atlanta Center's novice priests. This large assembly joined me in Tennessee this month for a ceremony for two of the Chattanooga group's members into discipleship to the Silent Thunder Order.

The Silent Thunder Order is an organization led by Elliston Roshi of Zen groups across the United States and Canada descended from our founder, Rev. Dr. Zengaku Soyu Matsuoka (1912-1997). Rev. Matsuoka was a pivotal figure in the transmission of Zen Buddhism from Japan to the U.S., being "one of the first teachers to make his home and life work in North America. He also seems to be the first teacher to clearly and unambiguously give Dharma transmission to Western students" (James Ishmael Ford, Zen Master Who?, 2006, page 80). Both the Atlanta and Chattanooga Zen Centers are affiliated with the Silent Thunder Order, named after Matsuoka's term "Mokurai” to describe zazen practice.

So today, rather than talk about myself, I want to simply acknowledge the new discipleship of Jikai Terri Reith and Kannin Bill Agee. I look forward to continuing practice with the two of them, as well as the rest of the Chattanooga sangha.

No comments: