Head Teacher Ceremony

Many deep bows of gratitude to the Austin Zen Center Board of Directors, Senior Dharma Teacher Ryushin Paul Haller, Rev. Unzan Doshin, Mako Voelkel and the entire AZC Membership for a beautiful and nourishing celebration at the recent installation of Rev. Mako as the Head Teacher of the Austin Zen Center. With upwards of 50-60 people in attendance, it was unclear how to fit everyone into the zendo! We would like to thank everyone who attended, as well as the many people who sent their congratulations to the AZC community and to Mako. Some of their comments may be read below the photos:

To listen to an audio transcript of the ceremony click HERE.

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Dear Mako, Best wishes for your ceremony.  I remember the decision I made to have such a ceremony.  The sangha was talking Abbot, but it was clear that they and myself weren’t ready for that.  But it seemed important for us to pledge to one another.  So we did the ceremony with Blanche presiding.  A nine jo lined okesa was presented to me at that time.  I left it at AZC feeling it was a treasure of AZC that I was loaned when there.  I hope it is not lost and that you know it is there to be used. Anita did most of the work on it. Anyway best wishes for a wonderful day and deep gasshos for your tenure as the head priest. Bows, Shunsen Seirin Barbara Kohn

Dear Mako, unfortunately Rohatsu interferes with my attendance. Wishing you a really nice ceremony. Wow, what a history of events. that ended up with this. All blessings, Sojun Mel Weitsman of Berkeley Zen Center

Dear Austin Zen Center and Unzan Mako, How sorry I am not to attend the Head Teacher Installation Ceremony this coming week. I will be in sesshin at Green Gulch and will be sending wishes for a joyful and peaceful ceremony. Bowing, Linda Ruth Cutts

Great congratulations to you all. This is a very auspicious event; a wonderful teacher for a wonderful sangha. I wish I could attend but the ceremony is on the last day of Rohatsu sesshin here in Houston. We will dedicate morning service to your well-being and continued growth. With palms together, Konjin Gaelyn Godwin, for Houston Zen Center

Kathie and I are sorry we cannot attend. We are in sesshin in Mexico. But our hearts are with the Austin Zen community and with dear Mako who is and will be a wonderful leader for your community. Her dedication big heart and dharma power are unsurpassed. May she and the community she serves enjoy ten thousand years of peace and prosperity. Please accept our deepest heartfelt congratulations. – Zoketsu Norman and Sokaku Kathie Fisher

Dear Mako-san, Congratulations for the installation ceremony! I am sorry but I will not be able to attend the ceremony because we will have Rohatsu sesshin until December 8th and Buddha’s Enlightenment Day celebration at Sanshinji on 9th. I hope things will go well with you and Austin Zen Center. – Shohaku Okumura

Let me congratulate you for finally being recognized as the teacher in Austin and to the Austin sangha to finally recognize the reality of your worth. I am sorry to miss your great day. – Rev Teah Strozer

Dear Mako and all at Austin Zen Center — Sorry not to be able to attend this wonderful, auspicious event! Big congratulations to you, Mako, and to AZC! Warmest regards and deep bow, Rev. Steve Weintraub of SFZC and Branching Streams

Great congratulations, Mako! I’m sorry I won’t be able to be there to witness and celebrate. I hope we get to connect in person again soon. Much love and many bows… Rev. David Zimmerman (upcoming Abbot of SFZC)

I am so terribly sorry to miss this ceremony because of a conflict with our Buddha’s Enlightenment ceremony! I send my best wishes, congratulations, and many bows. – Peg Syverson of Appamada Zen Center

Dear Mako and AZC, I am sorry I cannot be there with you to celebrate this wonderful event. I send great congratulations to you all.  In Gassho, Daijaku Kinst, Ocean Gate Zen Center

Congratulations, Mako! I deeply regret not being able to attend the ceremony, but I am very happy for you and for Austin Zen Center!    – Shoryu Bradley of  Gyobutsuji Zen Monastery

I won’t be able to attend due to commitments at SAZC, but great congratulations to the Austin Zen Center Sangha! – Rev. Colin Gipson of San Antonio Zen Center

Congratulations, Mako, Great Congratulations! So sorry I can’t be there to share in this joyous occasion. Hopefully I’ll get to visit AZC sometime soon. All my love, Rev. Ingen Breen

I wish you all the best. Thanks for inviting me-I would be there except for being in Tucson leading a retreat. -Patty Speier

May the Austin “Temple of Joy” be filled with just that for this auspicious event. Even though I now live on the California Coast, my heart has memories of gratitude for the years I spent in the sangha at AZC. Thank you for including me in the spirit of this special occasion. – Allee Blatner

Dear Unzan, So wish I could be there to celebrate with you. I send my best wishes and great congratulations to you. – Inryu Bobbi Ponce-Barger of All Beings Zen Sangha

My great congratulations to both UnZan and the Austin Zen Center on this gate moment in Zen in America. I have another commitment, and Austin is far, but my spirit will be bowing with you and all beings in celebration of the dharma’s continuing unfolding. – Jane Hirshfield, Poet

Congratulations from Katrinka and me. I wondered if you were going to be the one but it didn’t say who. Then I saw the link that read “Enable images to view Head Teacher Installation Ceremony” and that opened up not to the ceremony as promised but as an invitation to the ceremony – with your name on it! We’d love to be there but we’ll be 9833 miles away. Darn. Good luck and take care. – David Chadwick, Zen Priest & writer

Wonderful Mako! I am so delighted and pleased with this!!! Long overdue but no less welcome in the realization. Am sending lots of love. Write if/when you can. I am back in Cambodia now with lots of time and space for practice. Huge love, Beth Goldring

Congratulations to you old friend, and to AZC. Sorry I won’t be coming to Austin to help you celebrate.  Much love from Judith Keenan

I’m so sorry to miss this. Deep bow to Mako and to everyone at AZC. – Austin Haller