Monday, September 12, 2011

Back In The Day

Following last week's dip in the archives, this morning I happened to catch the tail end of a visit by two women who used to live here before it became the Zen Center - back when they were eighteen, they said, and they were now in their seventies. They seemed delighted to be able to see the place again, talked of how the director's office and the art lounge had both been lounges where they could receive gentlemen, and how the Buddha Hall was a large living room with a very small TV in it.
I couldn't find any pictures of that in the Zen Center archives, but here is another picture I had thought of using, and two others I hadn't really seen before.

The zendo as lounge

The stage on the west side of the zendo

A ceremony in the zendo - probably a jukai - with the stage behind Suzuki Roshi
As a little twist in the story, neither woman was actually Jewish - apparently in the latter days of the residence, since it was harder to find women who wanted to live there, the doors were opened more widely. As one of them remarked, it was a choice between this center and the Catholic one on Haight Street, only there you had to be back inside by 10pm, whereas here, if you gave them 75c, you could get a key to the front door...


Anonymous said...

It's strange to see a space you're familiar with being used in an entirely different way. Given the very specific purpose and association the zendo has for me, the "zendo as lounge" photo made my head spin.

I think it is just as well that all the hours I spent just to the right of where the piano is, I was ignorant of the fact that such an instrument used to inhsbit that space. It could have resulted in some very un Doan like giggling around the 6th day of sesshin....

The last photo has someone who looks very familiar at the end of the front row - could certainly pass for a certain Abiding teacher at Tassajara.


Shundo said...

Thanks Shonen, though it doesn't always take so much to have a doan giggling during sesshin...
I always struggle to align the faces in old Zen Center photos with our current elders, but I am pretty sure that Leslie was not yet around when that picture was taken.