Below is a link to a new video that was used in my Shuso Hossen Ceremony. It involves images of the Vista Zen Center and music produced by me and Central Florida’s favorite blues singer “Stoney” Stone. For more background on the ceremony, the video and Stoney, read below before watching.
About a month ago I published a post titled “Koan For Manoj’s Shuso Hossen” (http://artandzentoday.com/?p=4380). In that article I wrote:
In this ceremony a student offers his or her understanding of the Koan and fields questions from other students about the Koan to demonstrate their readiness to be considered a senior student. Usually, students are assigned to work on one of the traditional Koans that have been part of the training for Zen monks throughout the centuries in China and Japan. However, my teacher has decided to explore alternative Koans that speak more to Westerners living and practicing Zen in non-monastic circumstances.
The Ceremony was held on March 5, 1916 and many of my upcoming posts will either entail segments from the video recordings made that night or will be based on my experiences as a Shuso at the Vista Zen Center. The essence of my Shuso Koan (see below) had to do with how I would or could fulfill the Four Bodhisattva Vows as an artist. During the Ceremony I presented 5 different musical performances that I saw as answering my Koan. In addition to my presentations, about 15 other members of the Center also gave short performances displaying their understanding of Zen and their creative interests. So the Ceremony consisted of a full evening of poems, songs, stories, demonstrations and short talks etc.
I ended my portion of the evening by singing Sly Stone’s “I want to Thank You For Letting Me Be Myself Again” using altered lyrics that I hoped expressed my appreciation to my teacher and fellow students for providing a safe place to practice Zen.
A week after the Ceremony, my wife’s niece Elene and her boyfriend “Stoney” visited with us for a few days. They both are musicians and play together in various venues in central Florida. Stoney’s other band “Stoney and the Housebreakers” also play for events throughout Florida and have produced numerous CDs. Their album “Cruisin’ For A Bluesin’ ” was the recipient of the prestigious Central Florida “CD of The Year Award” in 2009 @ The Brevard Live Florida Music Awards.(See the band’s website: http://www.stoney3.com/ )
Anyway, soon after our visitors arrived, I had Stoney in my studio singing the altered lyrics to the Sly Stone classic. The short video below incorporates the recording Stoney and I produced and is accompanied by images compiled for the Shuso Hossen Ceremony to display the talents and dedication of the members of the Vista Zen Center.
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