On Sunday, March 8th, Shugen Sensei officially stepped into the role of Abbot of Zen Mountain Monastery in a brief but emotional ceremony as the sangha prepared to enter into the Spring Ango Intensive training period.
Coming on the heels of the weekend’s Ango Opening Sesshin, the Sunday morning program began as usual with a liturgy service, after which the timekeeper announced, “Prepare for Abbot’s Installation Ceremony.”
With three hits on the han, Shugen Sensei entered the zendo, offered incense at the main altar, and did three bows at the haishiki. He then did juhai, circumambulating the zendo to receive the sangha’s support. Following juhai, Sensei stood at the haishiki, facing the main altar, and read his vows to the sangha:
Abbot’s Vows to Sangha
With deepest respect for the Three Treasures,
I humbly call upon all Buddhas and enlightened ones,
may I draw upon your great wisdom and virtue.
In accepting the position of Abbot of Zen Mountain Monastery, inadequate though I am,
and entering into a sacred trust with the Sangha of the Mountains & Rivers Order,
I make the following commitments:
I sincerely vow to uphold the moral teachings of the Buddha, my monastic vows,
the Doshinji Code, and the Ethical Guidelines of the Mountains and Rivers Order.
I vow to continue my practice as a student of the Buddhadharma,
and to manifest the True Dharma—to the best of my ability—through my thoughts, words and actions.
I vow to offer my life in selfless service to this Sangha and to all Beings.
I vow to dedicate my life to the flourishing of the true Dharma so that we may spread the great light
of wisdom today, and for many generations to come within this Order.
I respectfully ask for the support and collective wisdom of the governing bodies of the
Mountains & Rivers Order, the sangha, and each of you.
May we practice together in peace and harmony,
accomplish the Great Way, and bring benefit to this world.
March 8, 2015
The Abbot’s Installation Ceremony concluded with Shugen Sensei doing three bows at his seat.
The sangha then sat one period of zazen together before the Ango Entering Ceremony began. Formal participants of the ango lined up in the hallway and while the ino read everyone’s name, they offered incense at the threshold of the zendo, making a commitment to intensify their practice and study during the next 90 days.
After entering, Shugen Sensei offered a talk outlining the Ango’s focus—Taking Refuge in the Three Treasures—and spoke about the themes that will mark the coming months, including faith and trust and the teacher-student relationship.
The usual mid-Ango-Entering Hike up Tremper Mountain was postponed due to icy conditions, and has been scheduled for Sunday, April 12th.