The Four Noble Truths textorized Buddha
eMirror Vol 22, No. 52
Friday, December 28th, 2018
Edited by Ven. Jinmyo Renge osho
The White Wind Zen Community:
An international community practising and teaching Dogen’s Zen since 1985.
Traditionally the Four Noble Truths are associated with the sravakas or in Japanese “shomon” which means “hearer.” Traditionally, this means those who heard the Buddha speak or those who listen to the Teachings. In some of the Mahayana texts this is used pejoratively for people who have a shallow understanding of the Dharma, in which case I have in some instances translated the term as “those who have only a hearsay knowledge of the Dharma” or “those who practise on the basis only of what they already understand. Although the Four Noble Truths are very basic Teachings, they are not shallow. They lay out a clear foundation for the path.
The Four Noble Truths were Sakyamuni Buddha’s concise and clear summary of people’s existential situation and its remedy: You experience suffering, unsatisfactoriness, contraction, limitation. This is caused by grasping, by a continual sense of poverty and lack. You can put an end to this. The end of suffering is found in practising the Buddha Way. Each of these points require further clarification and instruction but they delineate very clearly what the Buddha stated as the purpose of his Dharma.
Amongst the various commentarial traditions there are some that for some reason wanted to collate lists with each other. For example, the Indian Madhyamika school placed a great deal of importance on the context of a statement as to whether it pertained to conventional or relative or secular truths or whether it pertained to ultimate truths or truths of the principle, as the Chinese Sanlun school, which derived from the Madhyamika, would refer to it. Dogen mentions here dividing the Four Noble Truths according to the two truths of secular and principle or shinzoku-nitai of the Japanese Sanron school, which derived from the Sanlun. The first two truths of suffering and grasping relate to secular truths and second to truths of cessation and the Way relate to truths of the principle. The scholastic Tibetan traditions tend to do this kind of thing as well.
But this does not seem to be particularly useful, does it? What do we learn, what do we understand by such classifications? Does it clarify our practice? Or does it just blunt the Buddha’s rather straightforward prescription?
The Four Noble Truths are a description of a process but are not a linear sequence. Instead they are more like: there is this, and this caused by that; there can be this, and this is caused by that. In the process of practice we can have many moments of recognizing grasping and its various forms (such as grasping after a state of not grasping) and each of those moments provide us with the opportunity to end the suffering and contraction brought about by the mechanism of grasping by just doing the practice of opening attention around that structure. Our understanding of the Four Noble Truths becomes more and more profound and thoroughgoing despite the fact that at those times a discursive thought about the Four Noble Truths just does not occur.
Speaking of deeper practice yet, Dogen says that if we understand the Four Noble Truths from the perspective of practice of the Buddha Dharma as a whole then each of the Four Noble Truths is a Buddha and each of them with the others is like yuibutsu yobutsu, a Buddha together with the Buddhas. Each is the Dharma abiding as it is and reveals the true form of Reality. In the arising of contraction and grasping we recognize the inherently open nature of contraction, of grasping, and simply release these into the openness in which they arising. This is like a Buddha meeting a Buddha. The unborn, the uncreated or unfabricated need not be mentioned here because everything is already “completely unnecessary” or naturally at ease.
-Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi, beginning teisho 5 "The Four Noble Truths and Interdependent Emergence" on Tuesday, February 17, 2004 in the teisho series "The Thread of the Buddhas," commentaries on Eihei Dogen zenji's Bukkyo.
Fusatsu: January 17th and 31st.
Joya (New Year’s Celebration)
On Monday, December 31st at 10 p.m. until Tuesday, January 1st at 12:00 a.m., we will celebrate Joya or New Year's. Join Zen Master Anzan Hoshin, Ven. Shikai Zuiko sensei and Ven. Jinmyo Renge osho and the monastics of the Northern Mountain Order in ringing in the New Year with 108 recitations of the Mahaprajnaparamita Hridaya sutra mantra. Following the sitting there will be an array of shojin-ryori (Zen vegetarian cuisine) dishes for an informal feast. All students are welcome to attend. There is no better way to begin the year. Dana is $25. Please register by sending an email to schedule at WWZC dot org, or telephone the Zen Centre office (613) 562-1568.
The Roshi will begin a period of hermitage at midnight on Wednesday, January 2nd which will end at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, January 6th, when he leads monastics in Acalanatha Sadhana.
Introduction to Zen Workshop
The next Introduction to Zen Workshop will take place on January 5th. For more information please see:
For information concerning our Long-distance Training Program, please visit this Web Page: https://wwzc.org/long-distance-training-program
The January two-day sesshin will begin at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, January 11th and will end at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 13th. Formal students are asked to send in their schedules as soon as possible.
Associate and General Sitting January 12th
During the sesshin, on Saturday, January 12th, there will be a sitting for associate and general students which will take place in the Zendo. Arrival time is 9:15 a.m. (in time for First Bell). The sitting ends at 11:30 a.m. Students attending are reminded to remain on the first floor.
January 22nd is the memorial of the date of death of Daiji Tenku daiosho, who was the Teacher of Joshu Dainen daiosho, both of whom Anzan Hoshin roshi studied with.
The Roshi will begin a period of hermitage at midnight on Wednesday, January 30th, which will end at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, February 3rd, when he leads monastics in Acalanatha Sadhana.
What to do if you arrive late for a sitting
You don't need to turn around and go home. Ring the bell once and then sit on the bench on the front porch. If possible, we will come and unlock the door for you right away. If we are in the middle of the chants or listening to a teisho, we will come to let you in as soon as the teisho finishes.
Leonardo Nobrega sat a two-day retreat on Saturday, December 22nd and Sunday, December 23rd. Chiso anagarika sat a two-day retreat from Sunday, December 23rd to Tuesday, December 25th. Alexander Tzelnic sat a two and a half-day retreat from the evening of Saturday, December 22nd to the morning of Tuesday, December 25th. David Gallant sat a two-day retreat on Sunday, December 23rd and Monday, December 24th.
To Schedule a Retreat
Please visit this Web page for information about scheduling a retreat and an explanation of the different kinds of retreat (duration and timing) you can sit: https://wwzc.org/retreats. Please note that retreats should be scheduled one week in advance.
Public students sitting retreats should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm they sat a retreat so that notice of it can be included in the eMirror. Please include the location of the retreat and the duration.
Recorded Teachings Schedule
- Saturday, December 29th: “Without Difficulty”: Zen Master Anzan Hoshin's commentaries on Jianzhi Sengcan's “Xinxin Ming: Words on Trusting Awareness”: “One Thing" (22 of 26)
- Sunday, December 30th: SAkN "Presencing the Open Body" by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi: "Where Is Your Face" (2 of 5)
- Thursday, January 3rd: "The Four Noble Truths" by Ven. Shikai Zuiko o-sensei: "Practice" (Dharma Talk 4 of 4)
- Saturday, January 5th: “Without Difficulty”: Zen Master Anzan Hoshin's commentaries on Jianzhi Sengcan's “Xinxin Ming: Words on Trusting Awareness”: “Shinjin Funi Shinjin Datsaraku" (23 of 26)
Missed Sittings and Teisho
If associate students are unable to attend the Thursday evening associate sitting, they may attend one of the general sittings to make up for the sitting they missed. General sittings are held on Monday evenings at 7:30 p.m. (first Bell is at 7:15) and Saturday mornings at 9:30 a.m. (first Bell at 9:15 a.m.). Please send an email to request permission to attend one of these sittings.
Teisho presented at general and associate sittings which are part of a series need to be listened to in the correct order and with none missed out. If you miss a sitting please borrow a copy of the missed teisho from the library or download it from the WWZC Media Site as soon as possible, so that the continuity of what is being presented is not disrupted. The weekly list of recorded teisho played at sittings is posted on the web site at:
Online Access to Recorded Teachings
Students can access the password-protected online Recorded Teachings library on the WWZC website at https://wwzc.org/recorded-teachings or through the streaming site at http://app.wwzc.org. The custom-built media streaming site allows students to live stream recordings from the WWZC Recorded Teachings collection. It is optimized for use on smartphones and tablets, and works with most modern browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. It can also be used on desktops.
Recorded Teachings for Public Access
While most of the online Recorded Teachings library is password-protected and only accessible to students of Zen Master Anzan Hoshin, a small selection of MP3 recordings of teisho are accessible to the public at https://wwzc.org/recorded-teachings. Additional recordings will be uploaded periodically.
MP3 recordings of five teisho are currently available:
- Dharma Position https://wwzc.org/dharma-position
- Eyes See, Ears Hear https://wwzc.org/eyes-see-ears-hear
- Embarrassment https://wwzc.org/embarrassment
- Yaza 2007: Sit Through the Night, the Night is Bright Right Through https://wwzc.org/yaza-2007
- Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi's reading of his translation of Eihei Dogen zenji's “Bendowa: A Talk on Exerting the Way” https://wwzc.org/bendowa-talk-exerting-way
Recent Dharma Talk
On Saturday, September 22nd, Ven. Jinmyo Renge osho-ajari presented "The Whole World is Already Ready", Dharma Talk 2 in the series "All Around, All At Once".
Direct link to transcript of Dharma Talk: https://wwzc.org/dharma-text/all-around-all-once-part-2-whole-world-already-ready
Direct link to MP3 recording (accessible to students): https://wwzc.org/recorded-teachings/all-around-all-once
On Saturday, November 17th, 2018, Ven. Jinmyo Renge osho-ajari presented the Dharma Talk "Unfabricated", Dharma Talk 3 in the series "All Around, All At Once.
"Who, What, Where, When, Why: Uncovering the Mystery of Monastery Objects" by Ven. Shikai Zuiko o-sensei (PDF available)
The 138 articles with photos and descriptions presented by Shikai Zuiko o-sensei in the series "Who, What, Where, When, Why: Uncovering the Mystery of Monastery Objects" is available for download. http://www.wwzc.org/dharma-text/who-what-where-when-why
Samu on Sundays
Each Sunday afternoon (except during O-sesshin and Sesshin), Caretaking Council (Saigyo tando, Fushin shramon and Endai shramon) do samu from 1:30p.m to 4:30p.m. on the various small projects required around the monastery. There are always a great many tasks that need to be done and so any students are welcome and encouraged to come to Dainen-ji to join the monastics in caretaking practice. If you would like to partake in the samu practice on Sundays please write to Saigyo tando at email@example.com.
(do not satisfy hunger)
by Ven. Shikai Zuiko sensei
Continuing on with “Painted Cakes: A Zen Dictionary” a limited edition text written by Anzan Hoshin roshi in the 1980s and last revised in 1994.
Samsara (S) The continual round of Birth and Death. The circular closed patterns of self-image struggling to become real.
Questions can be sent to me, Shikai sensei, at shikai.sensei@gmail.
Office of the Tenzo
Dogen zenji taught in the Tenzokyokun that the work of preparing and serving meals is "a matter for realized monks who have the mind of the Way or by senior disciples who have roused the Way-seeking mind." In alignment with this, part of Zen Master Anzan Hoshin's samu for the Community involves personally overseeing the activities of the ancient office of tenzo. Ven. Jinmyo Renge osho serves as tenzo and Mishin ino and Saigyo tando offer assistance as tenzo-anja.
Meals Prepared Prior to the Evening Sittings:
Cavatappi pasta with a tomato sauce (chunks of vine-ripened tomatoes roasted with olive oil and chili flakes, mixed with some passata, minced garlic, oregano, basil, lots of black pepper); gluten with sauteed eryengi mushrooms and chunks of red bell pepper, seasoned with garlic, red balsamic vinegar, small amount of tomato sauce from the pasta); sauteed gai lan (Chinese broccoli).
White and brown basmati rice; red lentil Dahl (red lentils, cubed potatoes, chopped Spanish onion, chopped coriander stems, tomato paste, minced ginger and garlic, ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, cayenne pepper); chunks of Asian pear with lime juice and red chili flakes.
Bubble and squeak (made from leftover chopped roasted potatoes, corn and peas, roasted carrots, roasted balsamic brussel sprouts, steamed broccoli, steamed green cabbage, gravy made from roux, mushroom stock, porcini mushrooms, crimini mushrooms, thyme, rosemary, garlic, finely chopped white onion); served with cubed friulano cheese and black olives garnished with lemon zest.
If you would like to thank someone for a contribution they have made, please feel free to send an email to Jinmyo osho at rengezo at Gmail dot com, but be sure to type "eMirror" in the subject line.
From Mishin ino:
Thank you to Jinmyo osho for finding the dining hall table with an extendible design that we are now using for meals, and for the holiday meal enjoyed by residents. Thank you to Michael Nisch for transcription and collating a number of the Sensei's and Osho's Dharma Talks. Thank you to Ian Richard for proofreading texts on the website.
From Endai shramon:
Thank you to the Tenzo, Jinmyo osho, and the tenzo-anja, Mishin ino and Saigyo tando, for preparing a delicious festive meal for residents in addition to the regular yakuseki meals that they make each week. Thank you to Mishin ino for her work as librarian to organize archiving of teisho and Dharma Talks so that they can be made available on our Media Site for students and preserved in archival form for future practitioners. Thank you to Saigyo tando for restoring a sash window for the Kaisando, which now opens both bottom and top as it was designed to do when originally installed in 1875.
From Chiso anagarika:
Thank you to the Roshi for this incredible Monastery and thank you for the gift of a pen. Thank you to Shikai sensei for support, mouth watering refreshments, as well as a gift; to Jinmyo osho for very meaningful daisan and instruction and for unbelievable meals; to Mishin ino for her kind welcoming and a sweet present; to Saigyo tando for arranging the first floor library as sleeping area; to Endai sharmon and Fushin anagarika for the many unseen tasks done. And thank you to Alexander Tzelnic for driving hundreds of miles (around 900) to and from the monastery and for wonderful discussions along the way.
From Ian Richard:
Thank you to the Roshi for the Before Thinking series, particularly Before Thinking 40: "Yes, No, Maybe." Thank you to Shikai sensei for the Every Breath You Take series, particularly talks 49 to 57 on "Seeing Roads", and a number of helpful daisan. Thank you to Caretaking Council for inspiring me to take better care of my own home. Thank you as well to those who stay after the evening sittings to clean the boot mats in winter.
From the Office of the Treasurer:
Thank you to Fushin shramon for a donation towards the new dining hall table. Thank you to Gillian Higenbottam for a donation towards the roof repair fund. Thank you to Peter McRae for donating the cost of transportation for Shikai sensei's Dharma visits to Bath Institution.
"All is Change"
Dainen-ji, being a 140-year-old building, is continuously in need of maintenance and the costs associated with this can be astronomical when such things as porch repairs or exterior painting are needed. This is something that we cannot afford to do, yet must do and so the "All is Change" project has been created. The "All is Change" project is very simple. Most of us have a bowl or a jar or some other kind of container that we keep somewhere at home and fill up with loose change because it's too heavy to carry around. Several hundred dollars has been collected so far both in loose change and Canadian tire money which has been put towards the building maintenance fund. If anyone would like to contribute to this fund, each penny will be appreciated. The “All is Change” container is on the wooden wall shelf under the Sangha Board in the cloak room.