To the memory of Etienne Mokusho Zeisler
He was known under his dharma name, and before anyone calls him master, a young monk arrived one day in my dojo to lead a sesshin, his first sesshin in Barcelona. That is the way I knew Etienne Mokusho Zeisler, and in this first retreat a spiritual unshakeable link is born, beyond any word, beyond titles, and beyond time. I felt an infinite gratitude and the silent zen manifested itself.
We saw each other in the sesshin, two or three times a year, in La Gendronnière, in Barcelona, Sevilla, or in the Basque country, sometimes in Paris. On my way the meeting with Etienne has been a decisive strong point. I felt accompanied from the first moment in a wise and warm way, exempted of any mystification. We could stay together the whole day almost without talking, however a clear communication was taken place without any need of pretending anything: nothing to explain. I found a true spiritual friend. Etienne was an example of simplicity in his manners as well as in his determination in what is fundamental. He was bearing no special interest in being a master, but after the death of Deshimaru he became his natural successor in the Dharma. In the dojo he was like a dragon entering his own house, his teaching appeared in a natural and deep way, without any trick, through his words and his silences.
His translations and commentaries of classical texts, which were the manifestation of his understanding and of his teaching approach, brought us fresh water, most precious. The song of the silent illumination of Wanshi and its silent zen, or the Tenzo Kyokun from Dogen – the teaching to the cook allied to the rigor in the daily life practice following the three attitudes, or “spirits” -, are true examples. We listened to the speech of the kindness, to the joy, or to the lack of prejudices, as the expression of the Way and of the ideal of our life.
He transmitted the importance and the rigor of the rules of Dogen, the necessity of preserving the dojo as the place of practice-realization of the awakening by always putting zazen before any other consideration.
He assumed in a complex moment the heritage of Deshimaru Roshi by being one of the first European teachers to speak by his own voice, and spread the seeds of the dharma with a total generosity.
Time is passing like an arrow, already 25 years from his death, but he continues by our side to illuminate the way. Would his example and his memory serve to make arise in us the thanks, the determination and the love, in order for us not to loose this precious moment, and not to forget this admirable ideal.
Pedro Taiho Secorún
Shingetsuji, Barcelona, April, 2015