Follow petcha on Twitter
Amazon Associate

If you see books or music or tools on this site that you would like to buy through Amazon, click here and thus i have seen will get a small percentage of the purchase price of the item. Thank you. 

The Elements of Typographic Style

Patagonia Synchilla Snap-T Pullover

Minding the Earth, Mending the Word: Zen and the Art of Planetary Crisis

North Face Base Camp Duffel (Medium)




« Lennon's Poster | Main | Can't Dance to Da Vinci »


Last Sunday was the final day of the Fall Practice Period (see Fall Practice Period 2012) at the Empty Hand Zen Center. There was an intensive retreat (sitting, lunch, and more sitting) followed by a Shuso Hossen ceremony. I was given a beautiful fan (shown above), walked to my seat in a formal procession with gongs (inkin), clappers, and moktok, and presented a copy of Mumon's The Gateless Gate.  I read "Case 19: Ordinary Mind is the Way" from the book and gave a short Dharma Talk (go here for a translation of Case 19 from the Mumonkan; scroll down to Case 19). 

I was next given the Dharma staff by Jion Susan Postal, walked with it (and the fan) slowly back to my seat, and then, one by one, proceeded to answer the questions (Zen questions) posed by every person in the room. Each question began with the exclamation "Shuso!" (to get my attention). I answered as best I could, and then made a loud thump on the floor with the staff to receive the next query. After all the questions were finished, I apologized for my mistakes during the Practice Period ("they fill heaven and earth, leaving me no place to hide..."), returned the staff to my teacher, and then, with feelings of great relief and elation, joined the procession back to the dokusan room.

Powerful ceremony. Transformative practice period. Little by little. Day after day. The never-ending, concerted, keep your eye on the ball, continual practice of Ordinary Mind. [NOTES: Bows of gratitude to Susan and the entire EHZC sangha (thx, guys). Photo by J. Jacobson].

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>