Many thanks to Gary Webb for this delightful account of meeting Katagiri Roshi. If you have a Katagiri story to tell, you are invited to post it on this blog (click below on “Leave a comment”) or get in touch with me through the Contact tab or by mail. Peace, Andrea
From Gary Webb:
One day in 1986, when I was living at Marpa House in Boulder, Colorado, I was asked to show a special guest around the center. I was somewhat shy but at peace as I showed Katagiri Roshi around. At one point we crossed paths with the statue of a bodhisattva, which was approximately four feet tall on a pedestal. Roshi paused, folded his hands, and bowed to the statue. So naturally I did the same. After touring the shrine halls and public spaces, we again came upon the statue. Once again we folded our hands and bowed. Thereafter I always bowed to the bodhisattva in the hall and thought of Roshi.
In 2000, I was blessed with the opportunity to spend the summer practicing at Marpa House. Upon my arrival one of the veteran students gave me a tour of the place. As we came upon that same bodhisattva statue, my guide stopped and with folded hands bowed and said to me, “There are many paintings and statues of the buddhas and bodhisattvas here, but for some reason we always stop and bow to this one. Don’t ask why, no one knows. I’ve asked everyone, even the director of the center, but nobody knows. But because it’s a house tradition we all bow.”