Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Leave Home

Mission accomplished! There they are, from left to right: The Reverends Trevor Maloney, Steven Davidowitz and Shundo David Haye. This lovely photograph was taken by our official photographer for the event, Catherine McPhee. Thanks Catherine! Thanks everybody who helped with the ceremony and reception! Thank you ordaining teachers! Thank you sewing teachers! Thank you lineage of Buddhas and Ancestors! What a lovely day it was last Saturday. What a lovely ceremony.

Here's a shot of our Abbot Ryushin Zendo Paul Haller shaving the head of his disciple Shundo. The woman holding the shaving gear so carefully is Lucy Xiao, Paul's attendant. Our sources tell us that Lucy is sewing an okesa now, and she'll probably be the next to ordain. Also spotted in the assembly were Steph Wenderski, Thiemo Blank and Bryan Clark from Green Gulch Farm, who will soon be ordaining with Tenshin Zenki Reb Anderson. It makes me so happy, and fills me with so much school spirit, to think about how San Francisco Zen Center is doing our part to help address the world-wide shortage of Zen Buddhist priests. Not that I think everybody should ordain! Far from it. I'm also very proud of Zen Center for never forgetting to support the path of the lay practitioner, and I'm mighty fond of our lay teachers like Leslie James, Ed Sattizahn and Laura Burges. But I guess because I'm a priest myself I just love this ceremony and this career path.

The Rev. Dr. Linda Galijan has often told me that clergy usually rank highest in career satisfaction surveys by category. Just check out this excerpt from a University of Chicago website that I found after about 30 seconds:

Across all occupations, on average, 47 percent of people said they were very satisfied with their jobs and 33 percent said they were very happy. The top three jobs for satisfaction were clergy (87 percent reporting being very satisfied), firefighters (80 percent) and physical therapists (78 percent). Other top jobs, in which more than 60 percent of the respondents said they were very satisfied were education administrators, painters and sculpters, teachers, authors, psychologists, special education teachers, operating engineers, office supervisors and security and financial services salespersons.

Rev. Cynthia Lindner, Director of Ministry Studies at the University of Chicago’s Divinity School, isn’t surprised by the finding. “Persons engaged in ministry have great opportunity to live and work out of their deepest convictions, oftentimes in the midst of communities of faith who share their concern for meaning, compassion and justice,” she said. “This congruence of belief, values, and actions in one’s daily work can be immensely satisfying.”

We beat firefighters! Whoo-hoo!!!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing about the joy you feel when you are serving others. I thought I was alone with those thoughts as well as wrong to have those thoughts. It is nice to know I am not alone.


Shundo said...

Serving others is Bodhisattva activity, and since the more you do it, the less your ego needs to be involved, it can be a great source of joy. Someone at Tassajara once gave me a beautiful poem on the subject which I have been trying to find. If I do, I will post it here as well.