Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Gifts of Summer at Open Gate

The Open Gate 2011 Summer Sesshin and Ordination was gifted with great weather and great company. We had a full house with community and sangha members coming far and wide to participate in the ceremonies and training sessions. The ceremonies begian Wednesday evening with a precepts ceremony welcoming Mitch Gaff into our sangha. Mitch is a long time student and solo practitioner of Zen, who is looking forward to the rewards that come with being a member of a Dharma family.

On Saturday, the work period was dedicated to preparing and arranging the Zendo for the ordination ceremony, whereby three more sangha members received their full vestments and dharma names.  George Walczak was gifted the name Jikai Seido, Ron Brickey became Muji Shindo and Matt Lawther is now known in the dharma as Jishin Hoka. As is the tradition in Zen, the initiates received their “robe and bowl” along with their walking staffs, which is an additional form of vestment gifted in our order to signify our commitment as Wayfarers- to always strive to move freely through life, as Drifting Clouds and Flowing Water.

The ordination ceremony was followed by a potluck lunch and social time whereby cards and gifts were exchanged along with good conversation and merriment. However, due to the nature of Zen, this was too soon interrupted by the sound of the han calling everyone back the zendo and the schedule of sesshin. As the guests parted the cushions were rearranged, the incense was lit and after three strikes of the bell, only silence remained.

Gassho and a deep bow to everyone.

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