Heather Iarusso is the shuso (head monk) of the Winter 2018 Practice Period at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center. Serving as shuso is strenuous. From the moment she rises before 3:50 am to wake everyone up to the intimate shuso teas she hosts and dharma talks she delivers, she must give herself entirely to the role of shuso, serving beside the practice period teacher, Ryushin Paul Haller. It is a rite of passage, six months after which Heather can begin leading practice discussions.
Heather offered these comments:
â€œRobins and wrens have returned to this mountain valley; their mellifluous songs flow through Tassajara like spring through spring. Though this winter has been mild and dry, we black-robed monks welcome the flowering of flowers, the unfurling of ferns, and the lightening of sky. As the head monk for this 101st practice period, the heralding of spring is bittersweet as it also signals the inevitable disbanding of our sangha. Some of us monks will continue practicing at Tassajara during guest season, others will head back to the marketplace and other temples, and others will embark on journeys with unknown destinations. We will disperse like pollen in the wind, carrying memories in our hearts and trusting the Dharma like a bird trusts the sky. May it always be so.â€
As we head into spring, we take a look back at winter at Tassajara in this short video. (To enlarge the view, please click on the fullscreen icon in the lower right corner of the video.)