This piece was composed by Roshi Wendy Egyoku Nakao for the occasion of Bernie Glassman’s passing on November 4th, 2018. It was shared during the first Founders’ Memorial service at ZCLA, which included Roshi Bernie as a founder of the second generation.
Egyoku Roshi ordained as a Zen Priest with Taizan Maezumi Roshi in 1983, and trained with him until his death in 1995. She continued her training with Roshi Bernie, from whom she received the Seal of Approval (Inka) in 2004. She is a founding member of the Zen Peacemakers and third abbot of the Zen Center of Los Angeles. Preceding her as abbot are the center’s founder, Maezumi Roshi, who served 1967-1995, and Roshi Bernie (Tetsugen) Glassman who served 1995-1999.
Smoke-filled sky; burning eyes, sore throats—
When the great fire rages through,
Is there anything left?
In this month of fires,
our Great Benevolent Ancestor —
the Plum Hermit Who Penetrated Subtlety, Baisen Tetsugen,
went up in smoke.
Bernie, now we chant your name as Ancestor
See you with your clown nose
Smoking a cigar
Expounding prajna on the streets
In the killing fields
In countless realms far and wide
Making joy and sorrow your own —
And here, right here
We are filled with you.
Thank you for everything.
Your humble student,