Even though the Catskills are frozen and quiet right now, if I close my eyes, I can already hear the returning song of the Hermit Thrush and smell the tulips blooming. Slowly the Esopus Creek, covered in ice, will loosen its grip on Winter and Spring will come.
Not being a native speaker of English, living my 75th year of life, hard of hearing—surely I was way back in the line of candidates for Chief Disciple. Thus, it was a big surprise when Shugen Roshi asked me to be Chief Disciple for Spring Ango. Immediately a line from the Shuso Hossen Ceremony became real and very present for me: “I feel like a mosquito trying to bite an iron bull.” Fears of incompetence arose in my consciousness.
October 23, 2018—As of this writing, Shugen Roshi and Hojin Sensei, along with 14 fellow sangha members, are nearing the end of their three week pilgrimage in the footsteps of the Buddha. They’re looking forward to sharing their photos and reflections with the rest of us when they return, but we’re getting a head start using some of the images and messages that have been sent back over the past dozen or so days.