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Teah Strozer

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It was Tassajara guest season 1971. I was there for the summer to be with Suzuki Roshi, having met him in Los Angeles the year before. We were having Dokusan on a hot day in August in Cabin #4. We were both sitting on the floor, face to face. I remember I was looking into his face and feeling this body in front of me while asking vaguely about bowing.

“What is this bowing?" I said (I think).

Suddenly, he got up, came over to my side and started bowing. Up down, up down, up down . . . "This is how we do it," he said.

I thought to myself, "What is this man doing?‑ What is going on?" It seemed fifteen minutes passed before be stopped. Then he sat down again, in front of me as if nothing unusual had taken place. I have no idea what happened next. I suppose we talked for awhile, finished Dokusan, bowed and I left.

Then, later that day, during one of our rituals I bowed again. I have been aware of every bow I have done since then, always with the same question: "What is this bow?‑ What is it?‑ What is it? . . ."

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