I am so happy to present as a guest teacher today Mitch Doshin Cantor, the leader of the Southern Palm Zen Group in Florida...
Doshin, a Dharma Heir of Peter Muryo Matthiessen in Maezumi Roshi's White Plum Lineage, is my adopted Zen 'Dad' in Florida (I don't think he will mind if I call him 'Dad'). I started to come back to America for three or four months at a time a few years ago because my real mother was sick, and found a home with Mitch's group. When I was ordained, Mitch taught me so much about bowing, incense lighting, chanting ... you know, the stuff a priest has to know. Doshin is the inspiration behind the Treeleaf Zendo, because for several years I was able to watch the many ways he nurtures a Sangha and keeps it going week by week, moment by moment, year by year. So much of what Mitch has brought to the Southern Palm, I am hoping to bring here ... from the atmosphere of open questioning to the way we do our Retreats and how we will study for Jukai early next year. If not sure what to do, I usually ask myself, 'What would Doshin do?'
Mitch is a font of wisdom ... listening to one of his talks, as we will today, is like listening to a great Jazz musician. Unlike Zen teachers in Japan, Western teachers will often reach into a variety of sources and traditions, both 'Buddhist' and not. It is difficult to do while yet staying on course as a Zen Teacher, not becoming lost in an eclectic, New Agey mess. Mitch, a walking encyclopedia of Wisdom writings, shows how it is done right. Never losing his diamond focus on our Zen tradition, he will pull into his talks Tibetans, Hindus, Jewish Mystics, Sufi Masters, Babe Ruth and Groucho Marx, ranging from homelife to the farthest star. Mitch introduced me to something very much present in Western Buddhism but sorely lacking in Japan ... immersion in diverse ideas and an attitude of constant questioning (Students tend not to ask many questions of Teachers in Japan, and just to listen and observe. That is certainly --not-- the case in the West).
I wanted to let Mitch give a bit longer talk today than I usually do, but at the end there is a 25 minute sitting as always.
Thank you, Mitch. Nine Bows.
(YOU MAY WANT TO TURN THE SOUND DOWN A BIT AFTER DOSHIN's TALK DUE TO WIND SLAMMING A DOOR!)
Press on arrow for 'play'