Jiko’s Memory

We asked people to share their memories of the places where we practiced for a quaarter-century in southeast Portland. You can find these posts using the “MemoryBook” tag.

by Sallie Jiko Tisdale

The year I was shuso, we had several regular visitors who liked to sit in the back steps off the front doors. It was a blind stairwell, hidden from the street and protected from the weather, and often a few guys would hang out there and share a bottle. Once during a sesshin, they were having a pretty good time, and I went out to talk to them. They were really surprised to see me peek around the corner, where they thought no one could find them. “We’re having a quiet meditation retreat upstairs,” I said. “Can you keep it down today?” They were apologetic and a little sheepish, and shushed each other. “Meditation! Oh, we’re sorry!” Ssshhh, shhh. Never heard another peep from them that week. But eventually we put a gate across the stairwell!