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good morning
can you give me a thumbs up if i am clearly curable
okay great on the phone
well ah it's a pleasure to be here wherever here happens to be here
here at berkeley zen center but actually if i look out the window it's the hills of green gulch farm that i see but nevertheless here at berkeley's and center with you all
when i discovered a few days ago that tom pater was the saturday director would be introducing me i was delighted and thinking back
more than thirty years ago i think thirty years or so when we both work together
they'll thank you tom wherever you are in these little rectangles
so today i'm
i'm going to speak about the mountain seat ceremony that will be taking place tomorrow
on campus as it were at nineteen thirty three russell at berkeley's and center
just a little a chronological context for my speaking about it and ceremony itself some months ago or maybe a file for six months ago
the leadership at berkeley's and center asked me to participate in a team
that was going to be responsible for put on as it were a to ceremonies
ah that were the leadership transition ceremonies for berkeley's and center and this particular leadership transition ceremony this would be the first time for berkeley san center
there are two parts one was that the former abbot and surgeon mel weitzman would have a stepping down ceremony
and then the new person to become abbott to be the abbot hose on ellen senaki would have a mountain seat ceremony

ah man and ah
the original plan was to help the
stepping down ceremony
in late october and we did that on october twenty sixth
and the original plan was also to have the mountain seat ceremony two months later at the end of december many of you know this

but as i'm sure you all also now
mel's health was steadily declining following from be ah
diagnosis of cancer that he had received
ah we had the stepping down ceremony on october twenty sixth and mel sojourner she was on it's it's hard not to call him now
is it but i think known by most of us as mel
ah he was a still quite himself
chipper strong spirit as any of you are seeing the ceremony cut can attest but physically he was already in decline and i remember one particular moment i was
participating in the ceremony and he was going to sit on his seat and receive comments and respond to comments from various people
once he was on his seat he was okay but he was having trouble getting up there and i remember chica
on one side
at me on the other kind of kind of
can cannot hoisting him up there so that he could get on his xapo in order to cross his legs

his health continued to decline such that in early december ah we rescheduled the mountain seat ceremony for tomorrow
and as you all know to say it most formerly
how could you surgeon
white dragon essence of purity mel weitzman
roshi died on january seventh

so now tomorrow
january thirty first
hassan on shiki
dharma mountain
formless form
alan senaki well ascend the mountain sick

so i'm water what has come to me and thinking about the ceremony is to speak about some things in a more general way
what i think of as some of the may be less obvious but deep currents that run through the ceremony at the ceremony represents
deep currents like in a river you know their stuff going on on top or in the ocean but then there are currents deep below that
so i want to speak about that and then also more specifically about the different portions of the ceremony and
what is being enacted and and so on

so i'll begin with the the name of the ceremony we call it in english ah the mountain seat ceremony or ascending the mountain seat
allen is ascending the mountain and taking the seat
the abbott seek that is in the center of the practice mandola of berkeley's and center
so if we were to say it in a plane way more prosaically we could just say this is in more factual a so to speak this is the abbot installation ceremony
installing allen as the new abbot of berkeley's and center
and he did that's that's what's going on
but i think mountain seat ceremony is more a majestic and more metaphoric and carries with it a sense of the ceremony
it's a reference to our tradition
soto zen tradition this is what happens and so does then
wow and specifically it's a reference to
about twelve hundred thirteen hundred years ago in china
ah that that's called a you know that period is called the golden age of zen
and a just as such as a as a sidebar it's called the golden age of zen but actually the golden age of zen is right now
the golden age of zen is in
your practice
in my practice

it in another sense the golden age of said as then developed in china over some hundreds of years as it came into its own it took up residence in the mountains of china john took up residence in the mountains of china
i believe i'm not so good with geography but i believe it's the southern part of china
also conveying at a distance from the hustle and bustle of the capital
that was then flourished
and the great monasteries and the smaller temples associated with those monasteries what i think today we would call today in the united states we would call practice centers such as berkeley's and center san francisco zen center
a dharma rains and center etc etc
they located themselves on a mountain that was where such things were built
and this was so much so the case that teachers well known teachers from that period where sometimes referred to by the mountain but their the name they were given was the
the name of the mountain that they were on
so ah you know like that would be like like nowadays that there was somebody in the east bay they might be called diablo roshi
or if it were down in los padres in monterey or
in the mountains near monterrey they might be called tassajara teacher

so there's something there are some feeling about that
now a berkeley zen center
as you know how
is not is not on a mountain
you know the in berkeley a there are the berkeley hills
the hills are not mountains and besides that berkeley's and center is not his
known as the berkeley hills either
so literally there's no mountain there
but figuratively
metaphorically there's a mountain hidden
at nineteen thirty three russell street
maybe we could say ah you know duggan says we see as far as the eye of practice can reach maybe the i have practice can reach and see the mountain that there
oh and it on a inaction berkeley's insect are also actually has a mountain name which i didn't know until recently but surgeon had a named berkeley's and center old klum mountain old plum mouse
mountain temple
i think i asked around a little bit i think the plum part was because there was one or two plum trees on the property that have since
gone away
so tomorrow hassan is going to ascend all plum mountain and take the dharma seat in the center of it
again the metaphoric sense of ascend
going back
to its origins was that i think it might have been literally true
twelve hundred years ago that the new the new leader the new person the person to become the the new added would have to hike and trek through the mountains
through the deep mountains
four days or weeks or longer
just to get to the base and then ascend
ah literally that's not happening tomorrow literally as you know a allen lives about twenty or thirty yards away from the zendo
so he won't have to hike for days or weeks or months to get there
but i think part of the feeling is
i didn't know how to say it exactly enter the inner the the inner journey as it were
the development and maturation of allison
over indeed not just days and weeks and months but years and years and decades
that's his ascending the seat
he's ready to do that
and be and being ready to do it is not a small thing it's a big long project

so so that's the inner development
i like to talk with my hands but you can't see them from so well on a zoom that's the inner development and then there's also outer development
there's also the development of the circumstances of the causes and conditions that make it a proper or right great fit
for that to happen
the in then there's a are
a metaphor of the eye of the little baby
chicken that what you call a baby chicken kick inside the egg and when the when the baby chick is ready to come out the chick starts picking from the inside and the mom mother chicken starts picking from the outside

both are necessary for this for this to occur
for birth to occur
so on the one hand is hassan on allen's development and on the other hand the is is is the are the circumstances
that make it possible for him to do this
the ceremony marks that
what's called chipping chipping in and chipping out the ceremony marks that
this is the right time
for this to happen

so this is also connected with
another aspect of it
so in the instructions for the ceremony and it's a complicated ceremony that pages and pages of instructions
the name of the position that hassan has during the ceremony
his shin may
the process of the ceremony is that the shin may becomes the abbot
or abbess but in this case added
shin may also in the in the ceremony it says the shin may offers fragrance here and the schinman the zendo manager meets the shin may and they bowed to each other and so unlike that shin mission mission nation may she may means excuse
she may means new order or even better new life
so of the instructions were written completely in english it would say the zendo manager meets new life
and shows new life his seat in the zendo or at a later point in the ceremony new life
a exchanges remarks with the president and they both sign documents of mutual commitment
so i think this is really this is really wonderful new life
in that sense it is a ceremony of birth
new life is being born

just as an say it regular new life is you know when you have children or
a wall of us are children of someone
and some of us have children or grandchildren
there's a looking back to the previous generation and too many many many many many generations so it's not at all unusual to say she looks just like her father
i'll eggs just like his mother axe in the same situation that you all know that's right this happens all the time
i say to my son who's now about thirty five
i compliment him you're a handsome guy you get all of your good looks from your mother

so in this sense hassan
as shin may as new life is being born promise looking back toward is ah on
coming from an orientation of his dharma father surgeon
and of his dharma father away to suzuki roshi and of his dharma father
shinji suzuki russian and back and back and back and back and back to dogan in the first half of the thirteenth century and back and back and back and back to an gardena in the fifth century and back and back and back and back to shakyamuni buddha
the it may not be literally so and unfortunately it has an extremely severe male bias

but i'll say something a little bit more about that later
at any rate so the shin may is looking back
but also as with
children and grandchildren and great grandchildren and great great great great grandchildren it's the same but it's new there's a new flavor there's a new quality there's something new going on new life is happening and it's like in some fundamental
ways like the life that it came from but it's different
and in that way allison will express the lineage from sojourn from suzuki roshi from dogan but he will express it in on his own particular way
that's all carried in this term shipmate
one more kind of general comment
and no one's told me this
but i i feel this is so which is that and it's connected to what i've been talking about to this notion of new life and to this notion of something new but also connected
my sleeve has gotten confused here merry go

so it's very clear to me and i offered to you
to notice that the ceremony is

particularly specifically about
trust and support
trust and support very very close trust and support
deep relationship

so the trust and support goes in numerous different directions there's the trust and support between hose on and
and then between hassan and the lineage between osan and the teaching
trusting the teaching trusting
the lineage of teachers
who have shown the way in words and action
and being supported by that
being supported from them

and vice versa
the lineage has entrusted hassan
and his expression of dharma is a support
another direction of trust and support is with the sanga
as you all know ah hosanna hosanna saga is very very wide
it goes way out there to southeast asia
and other parts of the world
and very wide not just two places but more importantly to people all over
he is becoming the abbot
he is the new life being berthed in berkeley zen center this particular sanga
and there are numerous places in the ceremony where
ah where there are mutual expressions of trust and support

the saga is saying we trust you
we trust you to lead us that of course that doesn't mean there it's not like you there eliminates disagreements or something like there there's always disagreements
however you will be extends always disagreements
as part of the deal
but the disagreements are within that context of trust and of support we trust you we support you
and vice versa of course
osan supports the saga
i can say with with his teaching but it's much wider than that
with devotion
and of course trusts
the practitioners here at berkeley's and center

just recently i heard a story a suzuki roshi story that i hadn't heard before have heard a lot of em but i hadn't heard this one
so this story i heard from david chadwick who some of you know i use the real old timer he lives in bali now and he was on a zoom call so we were you know he was like next door even though he was in bali
and we were talking about vel about surgeon roshi
and he told a story that sojourn row she told him about suzuki roshi which was in the early days
ah and so koji in san francisco or at three hundred page street in san francisco or in the early days of tough horror on morning service would be you know bowing and then everyone would recite would chant the
makkah hanya shingo
the a great perfect wisdom sutra god jeez balls until geology and
on top
i'm sure you all know it
anyway that was morning service we attended three times one of the little rectangles here that i see as peter overton who i'm sure remembers can't the thing
chanting the ceo three times that was it
so ah
a one time says your or no sojourner she had that time now many was definitely mill
you know he went to suzuki roshi and he said you know were chanting this thing nobody understands what it means
it is just a bunch of nonsense syllables and people keep complaining to me why are we doing this thing it's yeah right now get it
and suzuki as she said
tell them it's about love
now there's a a leap into twenty-first twentieth century american culture if i ever heard one
from suzuki rushing and from the tradition ah again deep current
the deep current of the shingo is love
which i think it's a good summary of the
meaning of the ceremony tomorrow
it's an expression of our
love an expression of or otherwise known as wisdom and compassion
that's what's happening

i thought that was really great
tell him it's about love
they'll know what that means

so let's see here i want to leave some time for
awesome some discussion but i also want to talk about the sought some more specifically about the ceremony let me see if there's anything else i was going to say more generally more widely
oh yes one more thing
here we are covered nineteen
so the ceremony has been seriously adjusted for covert considerations
at one point there's an exchange of documents
people sign things and so on and you'll see that we have our trusty on ah
what to call what he called the thing that year
you know why your hands with it such an emphasis on it
can someone tell me
hand sanitizer thank you thank you very much the trustee hand sanitizer that everyone uses before exchanging documents and pens and things like that
also in the ceremony the group of people who welcome and participate in the ceremony are called the real bond i don't know what that means in english but in japanese it's the real been the real bond is in a big monastic see
situation the real bond is the main representatives of a lot of the entire saga of the practice side of the saga and the administrative side of the sanga so for example
at san francisco zen center of the last mountain seat ceremony a few years ago there were fourteen members of the real bond seven people who were the practice leaders and seven people who were the administrative leaders you know the president treasurer secretary so i'm like that
the directors of the different places etc
so in this ceremony
the real dawn is too
does to people because we wondered at you know make there has to be at least six or eight feet between everybody so you can have too many people so ah the administrative side is being represented by one person married a
as the president and the practice side is being represented by one person carol pong the zendo manager so these are all these various covert considerations and there are other ones but anyway that's been very intentionally part of what the planning and and conception
in an execution of the ceremony is
based on
okay so a few other things more specifics
one is
so my feeling here is that i want to familiarize you with the flow of it cause i remember the first few that i went to it was like it just seemed like one thing after another and you criminal why is that happening and then news thing that that thing and so on and so forth
but the ceremony is actually has three main parts to it in the first part
the real bond in this case to people
to show the shin may show the new live show the person becoming the abbot show them different parts of the temple and welcome them to different parts of the temple again this is with the image that this person is coming from far away
and perhaps has never even been there before very different than the specific circumstances the berkeley said center but that's what enacted then there's a middle portion that's shorter than the other two in which
formal statements of a
as it were contractual statements are are are spoken and a contract is signed but it's you know it's a cut i mean it's it's a contract by the hits
it's not a contract that a lawyer would prefer evolve with it doesn't it's it's not that sort of the thing
it's it's a statement of commitment mutual commitment
and hold on signs it and the president signs it and then he stamps it he stamps it with the temple seal berkeley's zen center old plum mountain has a temple seal and he seals it with his own personal seal to seal the deal
and then the third section of
of the ceremony is a primarily teaching
primarily by a first mondo question and answer and there are a i think eight people that we've asked to speak at that time you'll know you'll know who they are ah llb spot
as i am today and a and then a allen also makes certain a teaching statements

that's kind of the overall shape of it
it makes sense
somebody new you show them around you sign a contract and then you hear the teaching
pretty simple in that way
the very first section of the of the ceremony has called on your show which means rest we had to eliminate that altogether the image again as somebody coming from faraway and before they do the rest of the ceremony they re
rest someplace and informally people come to visit they say hello they extend their good wishes and so on but due to covered we eliminated that altogether
so the ceremony begins with a procession lined up on the street outside of nineteen thirty three
the first person in the procession is a flower scatter who scatters flowers along the path that the shin may goes on to get to the gate
and it's you know we could say well why that it seems incidental but it's flowers it's
in a sense the equivalent of the red carpet the red carpet is pacing rolls out for this new person coming and we are so excited and so delighted that we're going to just you know throw flowers all over the place it's so great
that's a very first thing procession and then they arrive at the gate which is the berkeley zen center gate
if this were some you know thousand person monastery in the mountains of china the gate might be some huge thing there are multiple stories high
but in a surgeon's a modest way in berkeley zen centres modest way and in hosanna modest way it's just a plain old little gates said he goes through
so he stops at the gate and offers a fragrance
i'm used to be incense but now fragrance and says something or they are order is different he says something first and then offers fragrance and bows he does this at many places
he then enters and the first place he goes to appropriate for a sense ceremony is the zendo
and indeed the zendo manager welcomes him and they go in the zendo and i wanted to point out that one of the things that happened some of you know what this is it's called jindal jimdo is where a person bows
and then stay bowed like this can you see me staying
and then staying bowed like this walks
and i'm explaining it like in detail like that because when i first came upon it myself long long time ago it seemed very odd to me but that's what it is
the manager takes the chin may around the entire perimeter of the zendo the inside perimeter of the zendo in that circuit with jindal the feeling is again this is relationship this is connection the feeling is that the new abbott
the shindig is saying hello basically to every seat in the zendo hello hello hello hello hello hello hello hello hello hello
trust and support trust and support trust and support trust and support trust and support trust and support
like that
if berkeley's zen center were had multiple buildings after that they would then go the shin may would then go to the buddha hall which is a different building at say ag it's a different building but there isn't such a thing it's all one
place ah for bcc
so then the shin may offers fragrance and statements to various on i don't know how to say a big figures shakyamuni buddha and then off to the right to die again sure a bodhisattva
a who is the dharma protector bodhisattva and then bodhi dharma
and then now this is something new that was added to this ceremony
by holocene and the planning group which is
the next
person or figure ah is maha majority who as you know ah was shakyamuni buddha's and and stepmother and the first the first woman to receive ordination
considered you know
we don't know about the historical veracity of these things so so there's a a very deliberate as referring back to what i was saying earlier there's a very deliberate on
recognition and acknowledgement an expression of appreciation for as we say the women ancestors known and unknown in our lineage mostly unknown i guess i'm guessing
and i would add not just the women ancestors but to the feminine principle in our practice the feminine principle that is so important for our practice
there's an acknowledgement of that
what has been called suzuki roshi salter
i'm assuming that you all who sit at berkley said center frequently know what i mean so that is the founders altar and now
since you haven't been there recently i can let you know it's changed it's no longer suzuki roshi salter it's the founders older
so the photo you may remember there was a photo of suzuki roshi at that place and that was very appropriate for mel to do that
but now there's another framed another framed item and their suzuki roshi and so did motion
because of course both of them are co-founders of berkeley's and center

just have a little bit of time left let me i had numerous things to say but i think i want to have on trying to do that
let's see
oh yeah let me just mention one other one other thing so then they go outside and do this document event
including bows and formal statements mary as president makes a number of statements
they go back in for the third part of the ceremony and ascend the mountain the shin may ascend the mountain which is a platform it's not by the altar it's a platform usually built in another place in the practice hall and in this case it's at the other end of the zendo

before the shin may goes up onto the mountain once up on the mountain then there's the question and answer and teaching statements before he goes up on the mountain he's seated
not even before that excuse me before that he receives a new okay sir you know an okay so the outer robe
song by the sanga
again this is relationship this is support this is where behind you
you can do this
and then he sits down having taken off his old okay so put on his new okay so he sits down and he is facing the mountain it doesn't want i'm about to say is not in the
in the directions but one can imagine that facing the mountain one might be feeling
what have i gotten myself into oh my god
how am i gonna do this
i don't know for i haven't talked with was asked about hopelessly think they don't have those feelings whatsoever but one can imagine it at any rate what happens then is that three people speak in very consciously supporting statements
one is ganga like cuba roshi representing or soto zen and the lineage and the soto school in japan
a second is mary during a again representing the saga a statement of support and then third is someone who speaks for the group of allen's friends
not necessarily berkeley's and center that his friends at berkeley sensitive but not that not limited to that and
the person who will be doing that is joanna macy will speak as alan's friend all giving him support so the feeling is i got the robe all these people think i can do it i guess i gotta go do it then it gets up on the on the mountain and talks
ah ok
maybe i'll stop there i see that we have just about ten minutes or so i was told that we have a hard stop at eleven fifty
so are all stop talking and see if anyone has any comments or questions and tom wherever you are among these rectangles if you would moderate that and a call on whoever seems good to call on
thank you steve
you're welcome and just remind everybody you can raise your hand by clicking on the reactions i caught the bottom of your screen or you can also enter a question in the chat and say question saw i'll pass i want to steve and as usual if you don't usually ask
please do when of looks like helen web has her up so on please submit yourself i am i have a quick question one that i didn't know i had but oh i wondered did mel have a mountain seat ceremony at berkeley zen center
that is a wonderful question helen and i don't know the answer i do up but yeah i thought you might a whole had is the answer all son he had ceremony or that was just after i had arrived he was him if it was i thinking the for
fall of ninety four a and
eighty four eighty four right after just after he had gotten dharma transmission and a jacket was he was here and it was a kibbutz big deal and i remember it like what was going on there ha so yes the hand are we to go she came and directed
it was quite wonderful
thank you rosanne yeah so he had that mountain seat ceremony with who is a hiroshi and i remember also shortly after i came to zen center
all of nineteen sixty eight am
i i heard that this fellow mel who was a taxicab driver was going to be ordained by suzuki roshi which was as unusual then as mountain seat ceremonies are now very very unusual and i went to berkeley
where i'd never been before a up to the attic in white way and saw suzuki security shaved mel's head
thank you on
hey i deem your next
thank you
thank you very much steve i really appreciate am a lot of what you said we have been brazilian box going on but the thing i really liked and say as i really liked hearing you in the beginning when you call him now and you said oh it's hard to get used to act as i think about that every
time i call him now that there's this part of me that loves that his name is just m e l it's really simple and it's really sweet and
i just love the simplicity he
some offered to me and i tried to often take him up on that offer so i really appreciate you saying that thank you so very much while you're very welcome deal and you betcha
that was such a year
core part of his teaching and his way
and even in even in the most formal the most
elaborated of ceremonies or actions or whatever we do we can still remember and i think that will be there tomorrow also that no matter how complicated it looks it can be done with a feeling of simplicity were simply doing
this and then were simply doing that
that's that's important yeah you're welcome
k on heiko as he never have raised please for yourself
thank you steve on i just want to express the feeling i had in my body right now and enjoy and
gord certainty doesn't apply but uncertainty is absent in in after your description and it makes me happy to hear and feel and realize in this moment
how relational it really is and how much
we are called on to engage and support and guide to open up the
net between us such that it goes both ways and to experiment and experienced that and i so anticipation in my case is gone and now i'm looking forward to that experience i thank you so my wonderful or you're very welcome
and ah
thank you echo or
this sense i could say oh
i'm not making this up a hill and i think post at is i'm specifically thinking of what you brought to mind actually is a passage in dogan
i'm not sure where it is it may be a year but so it may be somewhere else where he says and i'm not even sure the quote exactly it's something like
practice arises dharma arises like
that's what he says like cotton and i what does your dog it is going for big hard to understand sometimes and it was like what does he mean
what is what is got to do with caught
and fortunately this or i studied that
a work of dogan with show how cool gomorrah who was doing a once called against always session where he was explicate ng ah
a facile a chapter of the chabot gonzo and he explained it and then it was like oh and what he explained his cotton if you look at the thread and it's before thread if you look at what cotton is it all this twice
wind up like twining vines at all this stuff that intricately an intimately connected to each other it's there that dharma arises
not individual not oh i accomplished something i i gained enlightenment enlightenment is this complicated
intimate relational event
that needs to continue to to to be instigated nigger not instigated by continue continue to be brought forth as it were
and i'd see that we have to stop time i know just one more thing in the ceremony itself when there is this question and answer ah
what we through she says in japanese
before the question and answer begins his dragons and elephants let us call forth the dharma
dragons and elephants means you means us means the folks means the assembly let us call forth the dharma we call for the dharma in question and response in relationship