A Farewell in the Garden

On Wednesday, June 8, 2011 there was an informal and intimate farewell gathering held in the garden at 75 Sparks Street. The gathering was organized by Sheila L., Billy M., and Wade H. – all dedicated students of Maurine Stuart; Shuko (who also sat at the CBA with Maurine) and Dokuro were also present and participated in the chanting and remembering of Maurine who taught at the house from 1979 until her untimely passing in 1990.

The ceremony began with an offering of incense, chanting of the Heart Sutra, and a dedication chant by Dokuro. This was followed by Billy’s reading of an English version of  Hakuin Zenji’s Song of Zazen (zazen wasan), then we chanted together the Enmei Jikku Kannon-gyo. The attendees reminisced about their experiences at the CBA and expressed their gratitude to the fortunate circumstances that led to the opportunity to study Zen with an eminent teacher in such a wonderful setting. Wade quoted Dai-o Kokushi (On Zen), Billy read a poem he had composed, and Sheila expressed her deep gratitude and resolve to continue this practice to the best of her ability. We finished with a chanting of “ho” (Jap. for Dharma), something that Maurine had practiced with the group, and with the Four Great Vows (Shigu Seigan-mon).

It was a lovely day and a moving farewell for Myo-on Chiko Maurine Stuart’s students and friends to the long history of Zen Buddhist practice at the Sparks Street house. Everyone was deeply grateful to have had the opportunity to study the Buddha path in this congenial atmosphere and we vowed to continue wherever the path may lead.

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