Shortly before the funeral service began, I stood in the audience and looked over the sea of faces that nearly filled the gallery. They had come despite the threat of a snow- storm, some from as far away as Europe and New Zealand. It pleased me to see students I hadn’t seen in over ten years, others who had just begun coming to the Monastery and barely knew Daido Roshi, teachers from the White Plum Asangha, Roshi’s old friends and relatives, all gathered for the occasion. “This is what family does,” I thought. We come together to mourn and to remember— and most of all to celebrate.
For me, this is what the weekend was about: a celebration of Roshi’s life and work, of his unquenchable love of the dharma, and his unwavering trust of its potential to radically transform people’s lives. “Daido doesn’t see what you’ve done. He sees what’s good in you,” Eddie Mutai Pacheco, founding member of the Greenhaven Correctional Facility affiliate, said to me later at the banquet dinner. I nodded, knowing exactly what he meant. Roshi made you believe that you could do anything, because he believed it himself. When you felt confused, he saw your clarity. When you doubted, he saw your determination. One of his favorite mottos was “Can do, will do, done!” and he seldom accepted anything less from his students and monastics.