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February 5, 2014

Eijun Linda Cutts Welcomed as Central Abbess

Photos by Shundo David Haye

A brief ceremony this morning at City Center officially installed Eijun Linda Cutts as central abbess of San Francisco Zen Center’s three temples.

Central Abbess Eijun Linda Cutts stands center (in blue). Right from center: Eijun's teacher, Senior Dharma Teacher Tenshin Reb Anderson, and President Susan O'Connell. Left from center: Eijun's husband, Steve Weintraub, Abiding Abbess Elect (Green Gulch Zen Center) Furyu Schroeder, Senior Dharma Teacher Zenkei Blanche Hartman, Abiding Abbess (City Center) Kiku Christina Lehnherr, Vice President Tova Green, and City Center Tanto Rosalie Curtis.

Central Abbess Eijun Linda Cutts stands center (in blue). Right from center: Eijun’s teacher, Senior Dharma Teacher Tenshin Reb Anderson, and President Susan O’Connell. Left from center: Eijun’s husband, Steve Weintraub, Abiding Abbess Elect (Green Gulch Zen Center) Furyu Schroeder, Senior Dharma Teacher Zenkei Blanche Hartman, Abiding Abbess (City Center) Kiku Christina Lehnherr, Vice President Tova Green, and City Center Tanto Rosalie Curtis.

At the end of the usual two periods of zazen, Eijun ceremonially greeted everyone and was “shown” her new seat in the zendo. Eijun’s opening statement follows:

Beginning anew
at Beginner’s Mind Temple
Nothing to seek—only
Responding and according with conditions

On this flowing mountain
Patiently traveling the pathways
Following the North Star
Treasuring the road

In this Year of the Horse—with shanks gone gray—
Please help me to take care of the sangha

Comments from key leaders welcomed and supported her in this role as the community stood witness in a full zendo. The ino concluded with the following formal announcement:

Having served faithfully as the San Francisco Zen Center Abiding Abbess at Green Dragon Temple for four years,
Having fostered and contributed greatly to the flourishing of the dharma and sangha harmony,
Having worked collaboratively with others in caring deeply for Green Dragon Temple and Farm, all the aspects of the San Francisco Zen Center and the wider community,
Abbess Eijun Linda Cutts now assumes her new seat as Central Abbess of the San Francisco Zen Center.
You are taking this seat with our deepest gratitude and full support.

In the Kaisando

In the Kaisando

Immediately after this ceremony, the new central abbess led a service in the Buddha Hall and a smaller service in the Kaisando (Founder’s Hall), which was followed by a celebratory breakfast. Below are the words of dedication offered at the conclusion of the service:

On this day in February, we have gathered for the Seating Ceremony for the new Central Abbess of the San Francisco Zen Center, Eijun Linda Cutts.
We have come together peacefully, with deep gratitude for the teachings and the blessings of our life of practice.

With full awareness we have offered flowers and light, and have chanted the Heart of Great Perfect Wisdom Sutra and the Enmei Jukku Kannon Gyo for protecting life.
May our time together be harmonious and joyful,
May we speak and listen to one another with open hearts,
May we express our true understanding without holding to fixed views,
And may the positive energy of our work and practice in the coming years serve, benefit, and encourage the community, the Great Earth and all beings ~

Before breakfast

Before breakfast

For several weeks prior to this occasion, Abbess Linda had already been tending to many of the responsibilities of central abbess as necessary for the well-being of the sangha. Zen Center is pleased to recognize her officially as central abbess today. She will be holding this new position in addition to the position of abiding abbess of Green Gulch Zen Center until her Stepping Down Ceremony for the latter on March 1.

At breakfast