Expressing our gratitude – Commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the passing away of Master Taisen Deshimaru

Expressing our gratitude
La Gendronnière 28-29 April 2012

To this temple of the Gendronnière, founded by Master Taisen Deshimaru, 250 people have come on this day of the 30th anniversary of his entry into nirvana to express their gratitude: monks and nuns, elders and beginners, from all of the sanghas have come together as one single body to see each other again in a spirit of friendship.
Saturday morning is dedicated to silent zazen in the dojo. After the joy of seeing old friends once again, a deep calm sets in.
In the afternoon the moment for the conferences has come: Roland Yuno Rech, the previous abbot of the Gendronnière speaks on the relationship between Zen, Buddhism and religion. Oliver Reigen Wang-Genh, president of the French Buddhist Union and abbot of the temple of Ryumonji in Alsace, informs us about the state of Theravada and Mahayana Buddhisms in France. Pierre Dôkan Crépon, president of AZI and abbot of the temple of Kokaiji in Brittany explores the meaning and the relationship amongst the terms “faith”, “awakening” and “transmission”, which are at the heart of Soto Zen and the teaching of Master Deshimaru. Next comes the moment for a drink together; a slide show documenting the Master Deshimaru's mission evokes memories; faces reflect the joy of being together – a moving moment of friendship.
Sunday morning there are three successive ceremonies in the dojo. The first is dedicated to Master Deshimaru, with Raphael Doko Triet, abbot of the Gendronnière serving as doshi (officiant). The second, led by Kengan D. Robert, abbot of Denshinji Temple in Blois, is dedicated to practitioners who have passed away or who for other reasons are no longer with us. The last is dedicated to present and future practitioners, with Taiun Jean-Pierre Faure, abbot of the monastery of Kanshoji in the Dordogne, as doshi. Each of the doshi read a deep and moving dedication; no less deep is the concentration evoked by the ceremonies. When we leave the dojo and move on to the tomb of our master, the spring rain has given way to the first rays of sunshine in a long time. At the tomb of Master Deshimaru, once again there is a short ceremony, this time led by Katia Kôren Robel, one of the eldest disciples. After the recitation of the Hannya Shingyo she plants a tree in homage and gratitude. There on the lawn everyone gathers to hear a short speech given by Jizo Forzani, who is responsible for the Soto school in Europe.
Finally, there is the final meal, goodbyes, hugs and handshakes. The various sanghas depart, the Gendronnière recovers its silence – until the next sesshin, until we meet again...