On October 2, 12013, San Francisco Zen Center installed the Shuso for the Fall 2013 Practice Period. This was our first ceremony with an ASL interpreter! It was a special honor for me to be asked to be Shuso, and the presence of the interpreter began a reconnection with Temple that has been steadily growing in the short week since that ceremony.
I used my memory from past ceremonies and imagined the various gongs, and bells. Although I did not have to imagine the Han being struck, as I was standing next to it. It's sharp energy penetrating to the bones.
There was a period where I stood with my back to the proceedings, and kept peeking around to see if it was time for me to do something yet. My inner teacher just said, "be still - they know you're Deaf and will signal you".
The dialog was intimate, and was a foretaste of the deeper and equal communications that will be possible when my Signing skills improve.
I am most grateful to Zen Center for bravely moving into the unknown, with a Deaf Shuso. I am also grateful to Ari Lathuras, my interpreter, for being willing to take on the daunting challenge of interpreting for a new signer.
"Let us SEE the words of the Shuso..."