is not Seperate from Person"
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24th May 2007. Venue: Three Wheels Sunday Morning Service.
(File name: statuespeech_1)
Some time ago, on a sunny spring day in 2005, it came
to be that I was sat alone with Reverend Sato-san on the Zen Garden
viewing platform at Three
I happened to remark that one of my favorite parts of the scene
before us was the crack in the wattle and daub wall in the corner
furthermost from the platform. I call this accidental feature "Lighten
Zen". Sato-san immediately pointed out that I was not the first
person to make this comment and that in fact, just a few days earlier
a "Zen Man" who was then sat in the same place as I then
had said the same thing!
later, on the 29th of April 2007 I attended the 73rd
London Eza at Three Wheels. At this meeting the Reverend Sato discussed
three items in particular. 1. The recent Spring School, 2. The Zen
Garden Open Days in the May of that year and 3. The Erecting of
a Buddhist Stupa in Brockwood Cemetery scheduled for the June of
This last project came into being after Three Wheels was left a
generous bequest by an English Zen monk, Venerable Zenko Croysdale.
In his talk
at the 73rd London Eza Reverend Sato explained that the Venerable
Zenko first came to Three Wheels on the 20th of May 2005 and after
a brief exchange he asked Reverend Sato "point-blank"
if he would conduct his funeral.
Venerable Zenko apparently ended that meeting by suggesting that
in his Will he would like to make a bequest to Three Wheels.
At the time it did not occur to me that the Zen Lightening Man and
the English Zen monk were one in the same person.
in the autumn of 2005 shortly after his meeting with Venerable Zenko,
Reverend Sato discussed this bequest with his master, Venerable
Chimyo Takehara and it was then that the Buddhist Stupa project
was first discussed.
the end of 73rd London Eza, during the more informal
and friendly social gathering and sharing of food generously laid
on by the ladies of the Friends of Three Wheels, I mentioned to
Reverend Sato-san that, following constructive comments that he
made in regard to the layout and shrine in my home dojo (where I
teach Tai Chi on a daily basis and where also the Southampton Shin
Sangha meet weekly), considerable rearrangements had been made and
it had occurred to me that this would be a good time to get a new
Shrine Centre Piece. Thus I sought the Reverends advice on this
matter. He remarked that quite coincidentally a beautiful though
not extravagant Amida Buddha statue that had recently come the way
of Three Wheels was now in his possesion.
Again it did
not occur to me that the statue might be a part of Venerable Zenko's
personal estate or that he and the Zen Man be one in the same.
Southampton Shin Sangha holds an Eza only once a year. Rev Sato
did us the great honor of attending our last one on Sunday 4th March
this 2008. We are further honored by the fact that he made the 160
mile round trip to be with us for just an hour or so. He explained
that he needed to hurry back to continue with preparations for a
Buddhist funeral that he was conducting the next day. Sato-san had
told me that it was the funeral of a "Zen Man" and it
was only then that it began to dawn on me that this was the man
who, all of those years ago, sat where I later sat, struck by the
same "Lighten Zen".
We both liked
the image of a diagonal strike in the corner of the Stone Garden
here at Three Wheels - and that was all we had in common - but in
the last few months this has come to be great deal. Just a crack
in a wall.
this, the greatest personal 'connection' between any members of
the Southampton Shin Sangha and Venerable Zenko Croysdale is that
he died on the same day as the Mother of my partner, Mary. They
both died on the 23rd February 2007. She (Mary's mother) was eighty
five, he was eighty seven.
The next time
that I met with Reverend Sato was on the first Stone Garden Open
Day on 5th May. On this occasion he had Venerable Zenko's Buddha
Rupa brought here to the Buddha Room at Three Wheels so that we
(Mary and I) could all take a closer look at it.
just a week or two ago Reverend Sato phoned me and indicated that
he had become amenable to the notion of the passing the Buddha Rupa
- that once belonged to Venerable Charles Geoffrey Croysdale, born
the son Mr. Nelson Charles Croysdale on 2nd March 1919 - onwards
to myself as representative of the Southampton Shin Sangha.
In the knowledge
that Reverend Sato leaves for Japan tomorrow 25th June and will
be gone for a few weeks, Mary and I have made a point of attending
this Sunday Morning Service so that we may, within the Samgha, express
our gratitude for the countless gifts of encounter that Three Wheels
has bestowed upon us already.
In accepting any gifts I think of the three wheels of - the giver,
the receiver and the gift, - and I remember some more of Reverend
Sato's words: "Thought is not separate from Person".
I can promise
you Reverend Sato-san that for me, the thought of Venerable Zenko
is not separate from his Amida Buddha Rupa - no less than it is
separate from the crack in the wall in the corner of the Stone Garden.