Tassajara Stories


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last edit 9-24


There was a student we all loved named EL Hazelwood who'd been at Tassajara since early on. He was older - late forties I guess - slim, soft spoken with a twang, like me from Texas but from an area that had little in common with the upper middle suburbs of Fort Worth - a poor West Texas town that he described in such a way that invoked Bogdanovich's Last Picture Show which was filmed in that area. EL said he was raised on his daddy's pea patch. He could be quite coherent but times he'd get really out of it and not on drugs.

EL was our mechanic, in charge of maintaining the vehicles, always had some role in the shop. I think that overall he did a pretty good job - when he was functioning. But one day I suggested he do a more thorough checkup on our few vehicles.

I was returning alone driving the six ton Dodge flatbed with a truckload of horse manure from Carmel Valley for the garden, a few miles to go on the rutted dirt road. Coming down a steep grade toward one of the switchbacks the steering wheel suddenly came off in my hand and I was holding it up in the air in front of my face, the sharp turn where the road reverses direction getting closer by the second. At least the truck was still going straight. I squeezed on the brakes hard ready to pump if it started to slide, glancing at the drop-off on the side leading to the quickly approaching drop-off straight ahead. Not slowing down fast enough, pulled the emergency brake, pushed my foot down harder, pulled my arm up on the hand brake as hard as I could. The truck screeched up on the berm of the curve and came to a stop just as the front wheels rolled on to the top of it. Looking below, Made a mental note to thank the road crew for putting that sizable rise there. Walked downhill a couple of miles into Tassajara, arriving during the work meeting outside the shop, most residents in a circle, went up to EL, handed him the steering wheel and keys. I thought it was a great dramatic moment, but no one but he and I paid any special attention. I couldn't help but wonder if he'd done that to the wheel on purpose or maybe half on purpose.

One day EL said he had something to show me. Led me up the trail on the other side of the creek from the old bathhouse. Then off trail up further. Led me to a cement pyramid about two feet tall placed where we had a broad view of mountains and valleys beyond. He looked at me, raised his eyebrows, smiled then turned the pyramid over revealing it was hollow and below it a chamber with a crystal, a curious small polished Manzanita burl which vaguely looked like a seated figure, a tiny toy flying saucer, a drawing of an eye within a pyramid, some dried yucca nuts, a tiny baby doll on a dried leaf. He looked at me more intensely with a knowing smile. I smiled back and nodded as if I understood something. What an interesting break in the daily routine.

EL had gotten so crazy that he had to go to a hospital where they gave him Thorazine, a super heavy early tranquilizer. In order to continue staying at Tassajara he'd have to keep taking it. He told me it felt to him like having cement poured in his head. He'd cheat. I recall one day seeing him caught, held down by two senior male students on the road and force fed his Thorazine by a third. That was not an agreeable solution for anyone.

He became less and less functional. Got to where he'd put on his robes for work meeting and wander around in his work clothes for zazen, stand on the hill above the zendo staring down at us. Not all the time but quite a bit weird behavior like that.

I was at the City Center and saw Claude on the steps, said, "Claude, what are we going to do about EL?" He answered, "Funny, that's just what Suzuki Roshi was saying about you."

In staff tea one morning not long after he'd arrived, the guest teacher Tatsugami asked who that person is that's standing around looking strange. He was told that's EL. Tatsugami asked what he was doing there? Oh, just being EL, came the answer. They tried to explain to him that EL was part of our family and so forth. Tatsugami said this isn't a commune and that man did not belong in a monastery. So EL was driven to the city the next day.


Tatsugami brought more order, form, and ceremony to Tassajara, modeling the place after the great Japanese training temple Eiheiji though indeed a greatly simplified version. The officers was no longer a vague term for those in authority. There were now six with a classical monastic Japanese name - the Rokuchiji, (six [who] know-things or affairs). Each position had a Japanese title. Tatsugami had the shop make plaques with position names on them. Tsusu was director, kansu the assistant director, fusu the treasurer, ino for Zen stuff, tenzo kitchen head, and shissui was the work leader. That's in pecking order. If the Tsusu is gone, the kansu is the director etc.

The ino was the officer in charge of the zendo, ceremonies, rules. Brit Soto Zen teacher Jiyu Kennett who founded a monastery in Shasta in 1970 gave Anglican type names to the positions and called the ino the Sacristan and Disciplinarian. The Ino had underlings called doans. Bob was the ino, a decision that could be compared in retrospect to John McCain choosing Sarah Palin as a running-mate.

Bob's oldest friend Reb was a doan. So were Meg, Jane, another Bob, Niels and I. A respectable lot except for Bob and me. This is the group that was to set the tone for the zendo, services, conduct in general. We were the engineers of the services and schedule, there to make it all run smoothly. Eventually that happened. There was a lot going down that was new so a certain amount of confusion would be expected, but not the amount that ensued. I can recall times in the zendo with Bob looking at a chart in his hand, he, Niels, and I whispering loudly to each other walking around confused, not clear on who should do what when. Tatsugami and Katagiri sitting zazen facing out toward the room would not intervene or even appear to notice. Mel, the head monk fresh in from Berkeley the same. Students enduring the chaos. The other doans embarrassed and covering for us as well as they could.

Tatsugami went over with us how to use the kyosaku, the stick, and how to receive it and Bob instructed those who carried it, a task shared by a number of students. He also demonstrated one way in with to receive it. One morning Lou Musto was carrying the kyosaku. He rested it on Bob's right shoulder. Rather than put his hands in gassho and lean to the left as is customary, Bob turned his head slightly and growled, "I wasn't sleeping." People who are nodding in zazen often think that because they're in an in-between stage. Lou did not back off. He pressed the stick down on Bob's shoulder again. Bob reached over his shoulder and grabbed it. I was sitting nearby and caught this tug of war in the corner of my eye. Neither would let go. Lou was strong but Bob's iron worker muscles came into play as he thrust the stick forward bringing Lou crashing down onto the tatami between Bob and Niels. Tatsugami sitting on the altar looking right down on them didn't budge. Lou walked on with the stick.

Tatsugami had been the ino at Eiheiji for thirteen years. This was the area he put the most energy into. After the officers, we had more contact with him than others. Right away we were getting trained by him in how to chant, ring bells, drum the wooden fish mokugyo, strike the oak board han and brass umpan. Meeting with him hour after hour, day after day. It was like being in training for the Olympics. "From the hara!" he'd say in Japanese and pat his stomach, "Not the head!" Chanting not only from the diaphragm, from heart and big mind. I'd get confused about just where he meant. Then "Don't sing!" he admonished me in chanting practice. He'd demonstrate. I'd try. He'd shake his head. We were to go onto the hillsides to practice chanting, bellowing out the ancient Japanese lines. Striking the bells and other instruments that punctuated our ceremonies and daily schedule was equally demanding. "Spirit of a flea," he scoffed when I first tried the wide brass bell with the deep sound used in service.

Not only Katagiri but Dan too would translate for many of these meetings. Dan was Tatsugami's jisha, personal attendant. He'd studied Japanese in Hawaii and then lived a year and a half in a Rinzai Japanese temple right out of high school. He had a good sense of how to do all these things. Dan did everything well. To me he was the Eagle Scout Zen student, always applying himself a hundred percent but never judgmental with others. Driven. Exemplary.

All the doans did their best, but to me Reb was the most enthusiastic student of doaning. He got a tape of Tatsugami chanting and spent extra time in the hills honing his voice to as close to Tatsugami's as he could. He was a serious concentrated Zen student period. I remember when Bob introduced us. Reb was sitting full lotus with a slightly crazed look of fierce determination. I always said that from the day he first drove up in a hearse from Minnesota he was an older student than either of us.

The doan tasks had plaques that rotated. The kokyo would lead the chanting, the person with the doan plaque hit the bells, the tenken hit the mokugyo and densho bell outside. But the tenken's main job was to check attendance. The officers had always paid attention to who showed up and people would be talked to if there was a pattern, but there was no clipboard. In a small community like that most of us would know who was there or not. But now it was codified. On the bright side, only one person now had to think about this in the zendo. Attendance was taken for each zazen. If someone wasn't there the tenken would go to their room to see if they were ill, bring meals on a trey. The abbot and officers were presented with a tenken report at morning tea. Having someone in black robes standing with a list checking to see who's there and not was a bit much for some - especially if it was someone in black robes standing at their door looking down on them in their sleeping bag.

New chants and ceremonies were introduced. The morning service was now longer with the Sandokai chanted in addition to the Heart Sutra in Japanese and English and the Daihishin Dharani. Longer eko were included. Eko were recited by the kokyo at the end of a sutra offering the merit of that sutra's recitation to various luminaries in Buddhist lore, all beings, temple donors, parents, the nation (which some of us wanted to change to the world). Later Dogen's Fukanzazengi came to be chanted during the 2nd evening zazen. It was Dogen's best known piece on zazen. It took up more than half the period, was in a difficult type of Japanese to chant. Pretty tedious though I sort of liked it because I studied it and everything we chanted in that old Japanese.

Late in the afternoon of the day before the four and nine days off we in time had a ceremony called Sampachi Nenzu, three and eight something, in which we'd wear white socks called tabi and walk around the zendo before all others stooped and hands in gassho. Two students came back late enough from a hike to cause concern - after the evening zazen - and an apology ceremony was introduced.

The most popular ceremonial addition that Tatsugami brought was the full moon Ryaku Fusatsu. It took an hour, had a number of sections with demanding and if done well beautiful chanting from the kokyo, tons of standing and prostrate bows. Bodhisattva vows are part of it, but a general confession is the core and unlike all the other chants and ceremonies, it goes back to the Uposatha day of purification at the beginnings of Buddhism.


Tatsugami was a task master in many ways, but he had an even disposition, was patient, and was kind. He wasn't stiff, was at home with himself, always confidant. There was a curve on his popularity chart. Some did and some didn't like the changes he'd made, a few departed, but no one was calling him a bad person. Arrogant and imperial to an extent but benevolent, sincere, and not unpleasant to be with. He didn't rule from an ivory tower either. He was always with students, either participating with us in the schedule or meetings in his room or garden.

Tatsugami had a few students at a time for tea, no one excluded. He'd write down their names and ages and ask how long they'd been practicing. One of Suzuki's earliest students, Paul Alexander, was at a tea. Tatsugami wrote his age - fifty-three - one of the oldest there. Asked how long he'd practiced. Paul said ten years. Ten now is no big deal but ten then was a rarity. Tatsugami said Paul's practice must be very good, to which truly humble Paul replied, "No, It’s going backwards."

Cheryl Hughes was a quiet redhead at her first practice period. She'd first gotten turned on to Zen reading The Way of Zen and had decided to go to Tassajara because psychic Ann Armstrong told her to. At a tea with students he asked each person to tell what had brought them there. Everyone had such impressive reasons. The person before her talked about the role his of his sumi brush practice. Cheryl was last and thought - Alan Watts and a psychic - he's going to kick me out. "Oh I don't know," she said. "

"That's the right answer," Tatsugami responded. "I don't know is closest."

Eventually Tatsugami would extend his participation to spending some nights with a female student. She was open about it, said he certainly hadn't taken advantage of her, and that he was more of a man than any of us. Overall though they were discrete and no one paid much attention or cared.

I enjoyed time spent with Tatsugami at teas in his room, and dokusan, the private interview - awfully relaxed in those. Not only would he smoke when I was in dokusan with him, but he'd blow the smoke in my face, not in a nasty way, just unconcerned. He smoked either cigarettes in a holder or tobacco in a long clay pipe that took just a pinch in its small bowl. Said he hadn't smoked when he was at Eiheiji.

Unlike many priests, he didn't sleep much in zazen. Zazen is done with eyes not wide open, not shut and he would frequently admonish us with, "Me o akete!"  (Open your eyes!) while we sat. He'd also give other brief impromptu zazen teachings, often invoking Dogen. He also said that in zazen we farted like horses.

Some people preferred being with Tatsugami to Suzuki because of his energy level. It was hard to get to see Suzuki for dokusan. Not Tatsugami. Suzuki got sick a lot. Tatsugami didn't.

Tatsugami had been helpful and close with Shunryu Suzuki's students who were at Eiheiji in the early sixties - Jean Ross, Grahame Petchey, and Phillip Wilson.

Grahame said that at the end of a day's takuhatsu begging that the monks had a feast and that Tatsugami was drinking with the other monks and offered Grahame sake. Grahame who had once been a heavy drinker, refused saying it was against Buddha's precepts to do so. Tatsugami asked him which one of them was drunk. Grahame admired Tatsugami more than anyone at Eiheiji. He said that when Tatsugami led service in the hatto it was the strongest. "He might have liked to drink," said Grahame, "even in his room, but his example was good."

Phillip had been a lineman at Stanford, was strong as heck. Tatsugami was riding him pretty hard at Eiheiji and Phillip challenged him to a wrestling match. Tatsugami, the sumo champ of Eiheiji, said okay lets go into the rock garden. Phillip said that Tatsugami beat him up so bad that it scared him and turned his hair prematurely grey. Before that he said that Suzuki had just hit him with puppy blows.

Shortly after Tatsugami arrived at Tassajara, Jean, whom I thought of as somewhat straight-laced, drove in, went straight to his cabin, presented him with a bottle of whiskey, and the two of them visited and drank for a couple of hours.

At a morning meeting with the Rokuchiji, Tatsugami was sitting behind his hibachi where he dumped his ashes, formality was relaxed, officers and Katagiri were sitting there talking and Tatsugami was reading a letter that had come in with the mail on the town trip truck the night before. All of a sudden he broke out laughing. Dan asked him what was he laughing at and Tatsugami said, "My best friend who is taking care of my temple while I'm here in America was eating New Year's mochi and chocked and died!" and he laughed more. That's a famous way for old Japanese to die but the laughter was unique.

It was brought up in work meeting that there was a guy living in the woods up creek. He'd come in every few days and beg for food from the kitchen. The FBI and sheriff were looking for him because he was a draft dodger who was involved with some underground group. Tatsugami said we should cooperate with the sheriff's department, that Tassajara couldn't be involved with harboring criminals. No one agreed but didn't get into any argument with him over it. Just didn't do anything. Eventually the guy walked out to Big Sur.

Tatsugami emphasized that Zen practice should be fun, that there was an element of sport to it. Suzuki didn't like parties, didn't encourage us to have them, though he let us have some now and then and attended for a while and left early. Tatsugami however loved parties. Not that there were a lot, maybe one or two in a ninety day practice period. He'd have alcohol brought in though I recall strong resistance from some officers to that. Katagiri didn't object as sake served to all on special occasions was not unusual in Japanese temples and monasteries. He said it gives teachers a chance to see their students in a different light.

Tatsugami started off the first party with a toast, "I hate zazen! I hate practice! I love alcohol and dancing! Drink up and enjoy yourselves!" Dianne was not at that practice period and another female student buddy and I maybe took his encouragement too far, slipped out later in the festivities, not unnoticed - because we had to hide in high grass from the prying flashlight of a couple of officers who almost stumbled onto us.

Tatsugami enjoyed day off picnics. I would sit near him, try to understand his Japanese and use my little bit. He offered me some coffee at one and I said no thanks I'd had enough caffeine and more would make me nervous. He replied, "Oh - you think it's the caffeine that makes you nervous?" Day off dinners would be more festive with him. Made some opening comments at one where he said - publicly to everyone - "I like zazen, sex, and alcohol in that order!"


Surely the most difficult part about being at Tassajara with Tatsugami was his tedious long lectures. We weren't to call them lectures though, they were teisho, dharma talks. He'd orate in a dramatic fashion, his voice rising and falling in pitch and volume.

His teisho would go on and on taking up the entire evening, sometimes lasting as long as two hours. The low point to me was an entire series of talks on the Shiryo Shingi, Dogen's guidelines for the study hall. Worst of all, he thought that his teisho were so important that we should hear them almost every evening except for that of the four and nine days. It was torture for Katagiri to do the translating as Tatsugami would speak for ten or twenty minutes before pausing for translation which would invariably take a mere fraction of the time he'd talked. To add to that, Student legs would be aching and patience tested as the subject matter wasn't usually all that inspiring, especially after it got to us via Katagiri's unenthusiastic and highly abbreviated translation.

After evening zazen Bob and I would often sit some extra zazen for a while in his room. One night from Bob came a pretty good facsimile of Tatsugami's deep rolling voice expounding the dharma with ascending pitch: "Dogen Zenji sama wa..." I filled in the following descending words with something that sounded good like, "Honto no zazen to iu no wa..." Then he and I started laughing and someone on the other side of the single board thick wall would bang on it to let them sleep.

Katagiri was not fond of Tatsugami, his style, attitude, or policies but he bore it stoically and did his duty as we almost all did.

Alan Marlowe didn't. Tall, handsome, dramatic Alan missed Suzuki and detested Tatsugami's screwing up what for him had been an excellent, uncomplicated schedule and practice.

Alan resented the way Tatsugami seemed to be trying to take over. Of the plaques made for each position that went in front of the person's zafu and sitting place in the zendo, Tatsugami's read docho and we were to call him Docho Roshi. I'd told Alan that Katagiri told me privately that Suzuki was the docho, the head abbot, and that Tatsugami's plaque should read seido, guest teacher. It seemed Tatsugami thought that Suzuki had founded this Zen monastery just waiting for someone qualified to arrive and assume their rightful place.

Alan had stopped attending Tatsugami's lectures. Instead he studied, sitting upright in his chair at a small desk, a lit kerosene lamp to each side, window open to the cold, facing the path in front of the dorm by the bridge, defiant in white tee shirt, shaven head even though Tatsugami said that only monks should shave their heads. Behind Alan his massive library of spiritual and occult books.

During the third three minute round of the han, Tatsugami would walk from his cabin to the zendo, behind him jisha Dan holding a stick of burning incense high and behind Dan the anja attendant. All others were seated in the zendo save a few cleaning up in the kitchen who would go to the zendo later. In the evening hush, Tatsugami and entourage would walk right past Alan in his illuminated obviousness. Tatsugami paid no attention to Alan's boycott which he was allowed to continue for the entire practice period.


We learned Suzuki was to visit and check things out for two days. He'd be staying for one night. The students were as excited as kids who'd been at camp for the first time and learned their parents were coming to visit. Tatsugami announced to the officers that in honor of Suzuki's visit, he would give a special lecture. Dead silence. No way that was going to happen. The officers suggested that the students missed their primary teacher and would want to hear him lecture. Tatsugami tried to throw his weight in the matter but he met a solid wall of resistance and gave up.

Suzuki arrived in the afternoon, offered incense in the zendo, and paid a visit to Tatsugami. They went to the baths together. When the bell for evening service began, both prepared to lead it. Seems like that would have been worked out beforehand but it wasn't because they clearly had different ideas as to who should do it. On the third round when the doshi, priest to lead service, walks to the zendo, both did so. Suzuki went down the right isle, the one customarily used, with his jisha behind holding the incense. Tatsugami went down the left isle speeding up some. They met at the single step in the middle, brawny Tatsugami and diminutive Suzuki. Slightly pushing Tatsugami over, Suzuki moved to the center and, stepped up to stand before the altar. Tatsugami went up and to the left. Suzuki gave the talk that night in which he praised and thanked Tatsugami for his great effort and training, led service the next morning, and departed after some meetings. There was never a word spoken in those meetings about this power struggle, what was Tatsugami's proper role, and what was Suzuki's. It would work itself out.


The time came for the seven day sesshin at the end of the practice period. It was no surprise that Tatsugami had some changes in mind. More zazen. Less ceremony and chanting. Nobody minded that. As usual arise earlier for a 4am first period. Bed by 10:00. An abbreviated morning service. A lecture in the afternoon. Dokusan interviews throughout. Another dokusan if one wished. He eliminated the afternoon work period and the bath time - for men. Women he said had more odors so they got to go to the baths two times that week. Rather than simpler less rich food which we were used to, Tatsugami said that we needed plenty of the best food to fuel our enormous effort those seven days so there was more cheese and special tempura meals.

Some of us such as Bob and I had always tried to eat and drink as little as we could leading up to and during sesshin because we'd noticed that the less we ate and drank the less pain we got in our legs. I came to see liquid as a conduit for pain. We liked to sit sesshin without moving and the pain would get pretty heavy. I remember Bob and me discussing this before sesshin at the coffee tea area and Dan coming up to make himself tea and saying, "Oh boy, more tea, more water for more pain in sesshin. Oh boy!" And he'd drink that and make more. Alan made orders of homeopathic tinctures which he'd sell for cost and one of them, maybe Rescue Remedy, he said was so good for reducing pain that he quit taking it because it felt like cheating.


The next to last day of the practice period we were having a rehearsal for a shosan ceremony wherein each student asks the teacher a question. People were seated in their cushions, Tatsugami on the altar on his, not yet in his ceremonial robes. Those who were next to ask their questions stood in a line in front of Tatsugami. When it was their turn, the student would put hands in gassho, call out "Docho Roshi!," Tatsugami would answer, "Hai!," the student would walk forward hands still in gassho, drop down on their knees on a zabutan, but not speak their question since it was a rehearsal, just say, "Thank you very much," stand, standing bow, and slowly return to their seat hands in shashu - joined at the solar plexus.

When it was Alan's turn, he called out "Docho Roshi!" in his best theatrical voice. Tatsugami responded, "Hai!" Alan paused, walked forward, knelt, and then with enormous volume and force, Alan screamed out, "Pigggg fuckerrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!" loud enough to seem to reverberate beyond our valley, almost uprooting trees on the slopes, frightening birds to fly off, rodents to descend into their boroughs.

Tatsugami turned to Katagiri who was sitting next to him and muttered, "Nani?" (What?). Katagiri shook his head as if to say, it's nothing. The ceremony rehearsal continued with all of us much more awake, some perturbed with, some grateful to Alan.


It seemed to me that Bob had gone to extremes to try to get kicked out. He swaggered around making a point of his status in a not entirely serious way. He ordered beer on the town trip insisting it was his prerogative as ino and actually got it, something that didn't happen before or since that I know of. Why? He wouldn't order beer when he and I were in town. Normally Bob wouldn't miss any part of the schedule, but he slept in a few times and missing this and that seemingly just to flaunt the rules. And doing so while being the guardian of the rules. Mainly Bob was doing his job and following the schedule but in a communal semi-monastic setting like that, rather slight discrepancies are noticeable - and in that setting Bob's were not slight. His behavior reminded me of myself in school where teachers would tell me not to be disruptive. He went to see Tatsugami and told him that he was failing as ino and should be expelled from the monastery. He pointed out that other doans would be better ino, that he was not following the schedule completely, had beer in his room, and was sleeping with a new student. Tatsugami told him that he was the ino and that he would fulfill his obligation this term. He told Bob he'd had a friend like Bob and eventually it was concluded that the only hope for his friend was neurosurgery. That was perfect - really got to Bob.


The City Center dining room was full of students and guests at a dinner in honor of Tatsugami the night before he returned to Japan after his first practice period. Suzuki invited him to come back to lead the fall practice period and he'd accepted. There was already a waiting list of students who wished to attend. Some, like Alan, had no desire to, but many were eager. I was. Bob, Reb, Suzuki, Katagiri, and I among others sat at the table with the guest of honor. No alcohol. Lots of laughter. Tatsugami seemed to have held none of Bob's antics against him, was playful and friendly equally with all of us. The talk turned to what people's positions would be in the fall practice period. People were making serious and silly suggestions for others and themselves. It all took time because of translation. I suggested Reb as ino and myself as dishwasher which got a laugh though I wished that position still existed. Bob said he'd like to try being the work leader. Tatsugami looked at him and said something. Pause. Katagiri translated, "He says you won't be coming to the next practice period." That got a laugh too, one that tapered off quickly.


Tatsugami did three practice periods. His lectures might have been long and tedious but we learned a great deal from them in time - especially when Yoshimura joined us in the fall and started translating.

In Fukanzazengi Dogen Zenji asks: "How do you think the unthinkable?" Dogen himself answers, saying that you should throw away everything. This means that you should go directly forward, without looking backwards or forwards, towards the left or towards the right.  What will happen if you plunge into doing something, eliminating everything?  Dogen Zenji states that no matter what you are about to do throwing away everything should be the basic attitude towards life.

I recall Tatsugami's emphasis on Dogen's teaching of Memitsu no Kafu (tightly woven family wind) which meant way of careful attention to details. He paid careful attention to the students as well as the form. Much of what he introduced is not there anymore - no Sampachi Nenzu or Fukanzazengi chanted at evening zazen, not so many Japanese names, haven't heard of any apology ceremonies in a long time, but the essence of what he brought that harmonized with Suzuki's way is embedded in the daily life there.

He did try to take over but that was a minor problem. Richard Baker was living in Japan at the time and he was at a meeting where Tatsugami called Tassajara his temple in America. Richard said that the Zen Center was most grateful and honored to have him as their guest. His plaque was changed from docho (abbot) to seido (guest teacher) but he still thought he'd retire there and it would be his.

He wasn't invited back after his third tour in the winter spring of 1971. But it wasn't because he wasn't appreciated. His contribution was complete. His time was up. No one owns Tassajara - not him, not Suzuki. Either events or death will move them on. Whenever I saw people think they owned a territory in ZC - including me and including the abbots - I'd remember my imaginary ZC axiom #1: What Zen Center giveth, Zen Center taketh away.

When Paul and Ruthie's son Benjamin was just a little baby, Paul took a photo of Suzuki holding him while standing next to Tatsugami. Afterwards Suzuki said, "I'm the mother and he's the father."

Paul liked Tatsugami and thought that he did what Suzuki wanted him to do. The way he saw it, Suzuki set the whole thing up with himself playing the female role and Tatsugami the male role. But, "You know," Paul, who lived in Japan for years, added, "Japanese women control everything anyway."

Three lectures by Sotan Tatsugami - the quote used herein is the first paragraph of the first lecture. Thanks to Jerry Halpern for transcribing and preserving these lectures. He was there and he has the distinction of being the only person who could figure out how to do a schedule chart for the kitchen when Tatsugami said they should have a day off every four days instead of every five like the rest of us on the four and nine day off regime. The math had been simple with every fifth day off but stumped even Bill Shurtleff for the every fourth with a staff of five. Jerry had dropped out of Stanford one second shy of receiving his PHD in statistics and dived into the dharma. All facts herein subject to correction.

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