Certifying Zen

A friend of mine took me to hear Kobun Chino Otogawa speak at the Santa Cruz Zen Center in about 1971. Kobun had a way of saying things where I thought he was speaking to me, and he was describing what I had to do (or not do) in order to be on-time or in time with my life. There was this sense of the future coming on, and although he could have no idea of what that would be, when he spoke he was time (if I may).

Sometimes I wonder at that sense of imperative I felt when Kobun spoke. I know others who feel the same way about being in the presence of Shunryu Suzuki.

If we are talking about a religion, then I guess we have teachers and temples, and certification. If we are talking about action that accords equally with the past, present, and future, I’d like to see somebody certify that.

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