Although Taigen Henderson of the Toronto Zen Center has been declared a roshi in his own right, he continues to work with his teacher, Sunyana Graef. I asked him if he believed it was important for an authorized teacher to continue to work with another in this way.
“Absolutely,” he said. “Absolutely. You know, people think teachers are on some kind of other level, that all of a sudden you’ve reach some level of enlightenment and that the same rules don’t apply. And it’s a misconception. A lot of people started their training young. They didn’t get out in the world. They didn’t have experience in the world. Then all of a sudden they’re in the world again because you have to be in the world when you’re teaching. You’re not cloistered any more. Nobody is watching you, so you have to watch yourself. You know? Zuigan. ‘Be awake. Be awake. Yes. Yes. Don’t be fooled by others. No. No.’ So training with a teacher gives you that ability to communicate with somebody senior and to open up and to share problems with. Because—you know—there’s all kinds of problems you just never had to deal with before.”
[Taigen Henderson - Cypress Trees in the Garden: 346, 353-67, 369, 387, 389]
[See also: Toronto Zen Center]