Ancient Dragon Chants at Joffrey Ballet

Sixteen sincere chanters joined the musicians and dancers of the Joffrey Ballet in five performances of RAkU, a ballet that premiered in San Francisco in 2011 and written by Shinji Eshima. We wore robes and sat quietly in the orchestra pit at the historic Auditorium Theater until the moment in the love story when conductor Scott Speck cued us to stand and begin chanting the Enmei Jukku Kannon Gyo for the well-being of the Warrior Prince going off to battle. The plot of this ballet was inspired by the 1950 burning of the Temple of the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto. Shinji, who is a member of the San Francisco Zen Center, thanked us warmly for our contribution to the performances expressing how important it is to him that the Well-Being Chant is heard by thousands of people at performances of his music all over the world. As we chanted we felt strongly that we were chanting for the general well being of all.

Participating from Ancient Dragon Zen Gate were Taigen Leighton, Dave Doerksen, Eishin Nancy Easton, Jenny Obst (who drove from St. Paul), and Gyoshin Laurel Ross. Joining from Udumbara Zen Center in Evanston were Tricia Teater, Nancy Gearty, Joe Witt, Susanne Fairfax, Jennifer Thiermann, Ricci Young, Chuck Hutchcraft, Sarah Lloyd, and Ann Morishita. In addition, Tova Green and Barbara Machtinger traveled to Chicago from San Francisco Zen Center.

KAN ZE ON
NA MU BUTSU
YO BUTSU U IN
YO BUTSU U EN
BUP-PO SO EN
JO RAKU GA JO
CHO NEN KAN ZE ON
BO NEN KAN ZE ON
NEN NEN JU SHIN KI
NEN NEN FU RI SHIN

Chanters
Chanters
Chanters
Tova