What a treat it was to hold the Segaki Retreat and Ceremonies in the new Sodo. The new wood floor was only partially installed in the zendo, but it was enough to give us a flavor of it. It’s beautiful, and also wonderful to walk barefoot on. Having walls also really changes the feel of the Sodo. The sound is livelier, the rooms look bigger, and the light is wonderful.
It was also great to have meals in the new dining hall. It is also light and spacious, and beautiful to look out the windows in there. Since the kitchen isn’t done, we cooked food at the 85th House and transported it to the Sodo for each meal, which we ate oryoki style. A little cumbersome, but we did it, and the meals were all delicious, of course!
For the Segaki Ceremony, we set up the altar in the back of the hall, covered with junk food to attract gakis (hungry ghosts). The Buddha on the main altar was covered, so as not to scare the gakis away. We began the ceremony with a musical Quatz, and then a procession entered the hall, doing a daimosho offering at the Segaki altar.
Dharma Garden students taught the gakis how to bow and how to take off their shoes, and tried to help them eat some of the junk food. Eventually, of course, everyone got to share in consuming the food.