In a particular way, Shokai’s being acknowledged as a Shuso requires the Sangha’s blessing, and not just the will of the Teachers and the Abbot. This is called the Sangha Transmission or Sangha Blessing.
-- Rev. Jay Rinsen Weik
Sangha members giving the Sangha Blessing by their joyful participation in Rinsen's Inka Shomei Ceremony on August 13, 2019.
This post is based on interview on Sunday, October 20 where novice Zuisei and Revs. Jay Rinsen Weik and Karen Do’on Weik Osho chatted about their experiences with Shuso students, and becoming Shuso students, as well as their work guiding Shokai through the Shuso preparation process this Ango, and what it will be like for BTT to have an acknowledged Shuso student after the ceremony.
Read the fourth part of the interview, about the Sangha's role in blessing the new Shuso. The rest of the interview will be published throughout the week leading up to the ceremony.
You've said that it's very important for Sangha to attend the Ango Closing Ceremony, which is also the Shuso Hossen ceremony (Sunday Nov. 18, 2019). What can we expect at the ceremony and why is it so important for the Sangha to be there in force -- as many of us as can be there?
Well, in a particular way, Shokai’s being acknowledged as a Shuso requires the Sangha’s blessing, and not just the will of the Teachers and the Abbot. This is called the Sangha Transmission or Sangha Blessing.
So -- and I wouldn’t expect it! -- let’s say what if it was the case that nobody came to the ceremony? Do’on and I could still acknowledge Shokai as a Shuso, but it would be undercooked because it wouldn’t have gone through the interface with the Sangha. It’s the same as the way my Inka acknowledgement happened in a very specific moment in time, precisely when Myoun Roshi and I both turned our zabus to face the Sangha and bowed together. I went down in that bow as a Sensei and rose as a Roshi. That was the moment, and it was a public moment that was acknowledged by the community. The Sangha witness is an integral part of the transmission process in this case.
For Shokai -- and for the health and well-being of the Sangha -- to have her practice acknowledged in this specific public way is an integral part of the magic of it. And, I don’t know what Shokai’s experience will be [that day at the ceremony]. It could be all kinds of things! But one thing that will be the case, is that whatever her experience is, it will happen publicly and it will be acknowledged publicly.
As I’ve said, I actually have literally no memory of anything that I said in my own Shuso Hossen and it was not recorded. But, I do remember afterwards, the Sangha coming up and being very congratulatory to me. I have a notebook where people wrote gestures of congratulation that serves as a physicalized fact, a tangible touch-in to what I played and said that day.
So, for Shokai’s sake and for the health and wellbeing and sound practice of the Sangha, it’s really important for as much of the Sangha as humanly possible to be in the room, to witness and verify what’s going on. It’s not just another ceremony!
As Bodhisattvas who are enlightening for the sake of bringing everyone else to enlightenment, we are all in this together and this shared public moment is so critical. This is our life. This is what we’re signing up for as Bodhisattvas to share our spiritual development with everybody.
That's right. Yes -- it's not just an isolated, solitary thing. It's for all beings. So, this moment is literally a manifestation of it in our community.