obeisance \oh-BEE-suhn(t)s; oh-BAY-suhn(t)s\, noun:
1. An expression of deference or respect, such as a bow or curtsy.
2. Deference, homage.
Obeisance comes from Old French obeissance, from obeissant, present participle of obeir, to obey, from Latin oboedire, to listen to, from ob-, to + audire, to hear. The adjective form is obeisant.
Bending the head or body or knee as a sign of reverence or submission or shame
The act of obeying; dutiful or submissive behaviour with respect to another person
This evening we talked about the gassho which literally means To place the two palms together, and we also talked about bowing. Both fundamental to Buddhist practice.
Zen Master Dogen teaches, As long as bowing lasts, Buddhism will last. I rather like the thought that obeissance has roots pointing to listening and hearing because at the heart of bowing, which includes the gassho, is hearing. That’s hearing in the depths of ones being, and bending at the same time.
Bowing, at heart, is an expression of gratitude which has no object and no subject either. No reason to bow, just bow.
Thus it is that daily; Buddha recognizes Buddha, and Buddha bows to Buddha.
Several of us thoroughly cleaned the meditation hall, from floor to ceiling. It took most of the day. It’s been a good day.