In memory of my master Étienne Mokusho Zeister
I began Zen practice in a sesshin with Master Deshimaru in Barcelona. Later, to the sesshin of Seville, the Master had health problems and he sent in his place his Italian disciple Fausto Guareschi. He impressed me and I decided to follow him to the Gendronnière. It was summer of 1982, and a table tennis championship was held there. I love this game, so I got registered. Then they told me I had to play against Étienne, that everyone knew but I found him nowhere. Until touching my shoulder, he said, "Pedro, it is you! Do you want to play now? ". His presence impressed me, but not his skill in table tennis!
Later in Barcelona, during sesshin, being a pillar in a zazen in the evening, I was so moved, I felt so happy, everything in the light, as if it was my first Grand Amour, unconditional, irreversible. I followed him wherever I could, in France, Andalusia, etc. In the Gendronnière, summer of Tenzo Kyokun, I was ordained as a monk. I was proud to be his disciple and to listen his kusens in the dojo. For me it was like going to the actual University all of a sudden. Not understanding the French did not matter, his voice was warm and with tone. I only knew what was the first and last word, the rest remained there, somewhere inside. Where I had the opportunity to analyze his teachings with the translator for Spanish after zazen. It was Paco Villalba, expert in translation and master Dokusho Villalba today.
I have many stories, but here are two that reflect the immense quiet offered by Etienne and the relentless storm that unleashed to protect the Dharma, the zazen, atmosphere, silent breath.
The first is about Gendronnière. I was kyosaku and Etienne was the Godo. It was a quiet afternoon and two squirrels entered the dojo to play between all the bodies still in zazen. My heart went up and down with them, I was really uncomfortable until they are gone. Once gone, Etienne opened his eyes a little and gently calmed me completely.
The other story is during the sesshin of Girona. During zazen of the night, they lacked ten people. Étienne realized this and called the kyosaku. I approached, and he asked me to see what happens and go get them. I went there and I found them at the nearest village. There I had to announce to the monks that tomorrow he would give them the Rensaku. This direct form of "punishment", I was very shocked. Etienne made use of the phenomena that occur during the sesshin to transmit Dharma. A great teacher, which seemed that there was not and I could find inside.
When Fernando called me to tell me he died, I wondered immediately "who will continue all this? Replacing this teaching?". Today, 25 years have passed and I know that all this continues, teaching continues to express itself, and that is why I offer my deepest respect to Master Kosen Stéphane Thibaut, Master Kosen Barbara and Master Myoken Yvon Bec. Gassho.
Pere Shin Gyo Gasol
Terrassa 11 may 2015