Zen Center's Dogen Translation Forum was a pretty big deal this weekend, and by all accounts it was a great success. We had the biggest crowd I can remember in the Buddha Hall for Peter Levitt's very rich talk, with apparently a full dining room of overflows as well; certainly the zendo and the gaitan were packed full for the period of zazen beforehand. Where I sit for lectures always gives me a good view of the assembly, and scanning the crowd I could see that there were a number of zen luminaries in attendance, including some teachers who have helped me greatly on the path - Gaelyn Godwin, Houston Zen Center's resident teacher who gave me my dharma name at my jukai in 2004, and Hogen and Chozen Bays from Great Vow Monastery, which I visited in 2006 at the end of a year away from Zen Center, a visit I fondly remember as very grounding and rewarding.
As ino, there was not really anything special for me to do - most of my work involved me wearing my sound engineer hat. Our web maestro Laura had set up a Livestream channel, and between us we managed to connect our somewhat primitive Buddha Hall PA system onto the web. As technical accomplishments go, it did not have the same scope as some of my adventures at the BBC (like say, using an early generation satellite phone the size of a large suitcase, powered, via a power inverter, by a car battery, for a live link-up between a small town in Central Nigeria and the World Service in London at five in the morning) but it was actually very gratifying on Saturday morning to connect everything up, go upstairs to my office - as the front office computer did not have any speakers - and to go online to hear Blanche, who had graciously agreed to be miked up during zazen instruction, though I don't think she had expected to be beamed to the listening masses (actually I hope I was the only person listening at that stage). During the question and answer session afterwards, we even had Laura asking a question that had been submitted from Belfast via the chat stream; while again this may not be the pinnacle of technological wizardry, it was nice to know that we were spreading the dharma far and wide in real time.
And since we are speaking of the wonderful world of online connections, I don't know if Brad would like to be referred to as one of the zen luminaries, but I suspect he probably has less problem being one of the "ROCK STARS of the American Zen community"- and my thanks to him for that link.
Now I shall be waiting for the comment that goes "Enough with the Dogen...we are not all as enthralled as you are".