Additionally, we had the chance to meet some Deaf people at these meetings who were wholly without language. Language deprivation is not uncommon in rural areas of the country as well as in the cities of Bolivia, as it is in many parts of the world for Deaf people. One young Deaf girl we met, who was in the second grade, only knew a handful of spoken words, and could not read or write. The community rallied around the mother, educating her in the virtues of sign language and the possibilities it would open up for her daughter, while my interpreter and I taught her dozens of signs in LSB, which the young girl greedily gobbled up as mom looked on. Connecting across thousands of miles through this language in our hands was so very humbling. However, like many of our encounters we felt a mixture of being energized and disheartened, incredibly hopeful and completely drained. The textiles shop where one particular meeting was held proved to be a wonderful backdrop; the young girl pulled us around the shop, pointing at the images on the walls, wanting to know how to sign the things she saw in the tapestries. She became suddenly so alive with language and possibility. The weavings were full of Bolivian scenes of daily life; mountains, the moon, and many animals. Her first signs were 'llama' and 'Bolivia', sign language 'homophones'.
Mother and child, and this monk, were all irrevocably changed.
During the sesshin I lead a chanting workshop where we worked with the many cultures present and the four languages we were using during the sesshin: English, Japanese, Spanish, ASL. It felt like a culmination of the journey for us and a way to honor all the languages and cultures bouncing around in our heads and pulling at our hearts. Here for you are some snap shots of our 'taller' and the Four Great vows in English, Japanese Kanji with Romaji, and Spanish. Jallalla!"
Sentient being are numberless; I vow to save them.
衆生無辺誓願度 SHUJO MUHEN SEI GAN DO.
Por numerosos que sean los seres, hago el voto de ayudarlos a todos.
Desires are inexhaustible; I vow to put an end to them.
煩悩無尽誓願断 BON-NO MUJIN SEI GAN DAN.
Por inagotables que sean las ilusiones, hago el voto de eliminarlas a todas.
The Dharmas are boundless; I vow to master them.
法門無量誓願 学 HO MON MURYU SEI GAN GAKU.
Por ilimitados que sean los Dharmas, hago el voto de obtenerlos a todos.
The Buddha Way is unattainable; I vow to attain it.
仏道無上誓願 成 BUTSU DO MUJO SEIGAN DO.
Por inalcanzable que sea la Vía del Budha, hago el voto de alcanzarla.