Signs of a Shuso: Milestone Ceremony for Deaf Head Student Keith Baker
In our Zen tradition, a shuso ceremony represents a certain culmination of a student’s training. Longtime resident Keith Baker was selected to be shuso, or head student, for the Fall 2013 Practice Period at City Center, with Keith’s teacher, Ryushin Paul Haller.
Because Keith had become profoundly deaf as an adult in 2010, his term as shuso brought with it particular challenges and joys. Interpreters, real-time captioning, and various electronic devices all facilitated communication during the practice period so that Keith would be able to participate and to share his own experience and understanding of the Dharma with the hearing sangha.
The shuso ceremony on December 7 was, again, challenging and joyful, but also inspirational. A slideshow below offers a few highlights. In addition, Keith has been chronicling his reflections on the practice period on the shuso’s blog, in which the latest post gives a review from his perspective of the event and the close of the practice period.
More on Deaf Practice:
- Article: Deaf Practice at City Center, by Keith Baker (April 5, 2011)
- Paper: The Emergence of Deaf Practice at San Francisco Zen Center, by Keith Baker (fall 2010)
- Ongoing blog: Zen and the Deafened Adult, by Keith Baker
- Shuso Blog SFZC Fall 2013, by Keith Baker
Slideshow: Clicking on the image increases the advancing speed.
Photos by Shundo David Haye