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4-22-07 - Peter Coyote lay ordained in Mill Valley, CA (a report by DC with lots of cool links)

Sunday Trinkita and I went to 616 Throckmorton in Mill Valley to attend the lay ordination of dharma pal Peter Coyote at the zendo of the Vimalasangha.

 

 

Lew Richmond performed the ceremony with clarity and grace. It wasn't too long. He gave Peter the Buddhist name Hosho Jishi -  Dharma Voice Compassion Warrior, saying he'd long ago earned the title. Yes, how appropriate.
 

Gary Snyder sent a greetings with an additional name for Peter which had Katsu in it, the katsu of the Zen shout katsu! Then Lew made his own shout which I thought was pretty cool.

Peter took the Bodhisattva precepts and I really liked the wording of them. Lew said he just used the Berkeley Zen Center version. Check out their texts link with a lot of good translations. Actually, I'm not sure that's the same as what Lew read but it's good. These things are always evolving.

At the end of the ceremony, Michael McClure read what I'd call a brief congratulatory poem

Then Ed Sattizahn, another teacher of Vimilasangha, gave a brief congratulations where he said that Peter was always quick to help out in numerous ways including washing the dishes, something I can relate to. See brief bios on Ed and Lew.

Next Edward Espe Brown had a few words.

I don't remember what more anyone said, but it was all very warm, heartfelt. A grand occasion. And brief.

 

Then there were munchies and chatter. I said hi to Michael McClure and told him I wanted to talk to him about the old days some time and thanked him for pointing out yerba santa to me in '67 on at hike at Tassajara. Hadn't seen Virginia Baker and writer David Harris for a week - at the Koa Press brainstorming sesshin with Arnie Kotler (see What's New this year 4-14 and 4-15). Lou Hartman (cuke interview) came with Peter's old friend and fellow  Zennie Chuck Gould whom I was introduced to years ago by their Digger pal Paul Shippee (cuke interview). Anyway, Lou Hartman is an inspiration. He's somewhere in his early nineties and I always see him doing the dishes or something at ZC. Said hi to Steve Weintraub (cuke interview) and many other Zen friends like Mary Watson who told about visiting Mitsu Suzuki, Suzuki's widow, in Japan last fall. She said Mitsu, 93 this year, said they'd be the last guests, that she was too old and tired for visitors. And then Mitsu took them on a long walk to a park.

Sat down next to Peter and two couples. He introduced Donald and Cheryl Lynne Rubbo as Chi Gung teachers. Their website, Cultivate Chi dot com, indicates they teach various martial arts. The site leads off with the banner, Rubbo - Art of Energy. This site features their dream of creating  RubbO Healing   and  Meditation Center in the San Rafael area. Click on thumbnail to see their dream center.

Continuing clockwise, Michael O'Keefe (his site) was ordained (shukke tokudo - remember? priest or monk ordination) as Daigu by Bernie Glassman in the lineage of  Taizan Maezumi Roshi (cuke interview) whom Michael also studied with. Michael is an actor and writer who's also involved with Bernie Glassman's Peacemaker Circle. Michael has been working with SFZC abbot Paul Haller on Zen in Ireland.  The photo is Michael with Bernie Glassman at a Peacemaker gathering at a Catholic retreat house in Lichtfield, CN with Thomas Merton looking over them.

We got into a talk about Peter's zaike tokudo, a term Michael correctly translated as lay ordination but I got confused. Taigen clarified it for me (via email). Shuke tokudo is priest ordination. Michael's web site has lots of interesting links to both his Zen and acting incarnations. Michael lives in LA and San Rafael and came with Mary Gail Artz who's a casting director in LA. I've got to IMDB her - if you don't know that you don't know the ultimate site to reference when you have a movie question. Good lord - she's got quite a string of movies she's been the casting director for. My favorite on the list is Rushmore. Here's Michael's IMDB page.

And here's Peter's IMDB page. Here's Peter's bio on IMDB. It's got some interesting stuff like the following quote:

"I'm a Zen-Buddhist student first, actor second. If I can't reconcile the two lives, I'll stop acting. I spend more time off-screen than on."

Congratulations Peter.


An excerpt on cuke.com from Peter's autobiography, Sleeping Where I Fall (Amazon link). Peter came to the ZC in 75, after Shunryu Suzuki's death, but their paths had crossed at times, like at the Human Be-in.

Thanks to Michael O'Keefe for various corrections on this page.


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