eMirror Vol 23, No. 26 (2019-06-28)


Photograph of monastery walking onions by Ven. Shikai Zuiko sensei
Photograph of monastery walking onions by Ven. Shikai Zuiko sensei

eMirror Vol 23, No. 26

Friday, June 28th, 2019
Edited by Ven. Jinmyo Renge osho

The White Wind Zen Community:
An international community practising and teaching Dogen’s Zen since 1985.


Firstly Dogen says that in the end it is a matter of “mushi dokugo”, or realizing the truth alone without a teacher. In Dogen zenji’s text “Shisho” or “The Document of Transmission,” he uses the same phrase,

Buddhas receive the Dharma only from Buddhas, Buddha-to-Buddha, and Ancestors receive the Dharma only from Ancestors, Ancestor-to-Ancestor. This is the experience of alignment1 in the Transmission from one-to-one.2 In this way, it is the unsurpassable Awakening Intelligence.3 It is impossible to certify the seal of realization without being a Buddha, and it is impossible to become a Buddha without the seal of realization of a Buddha. Who else, other than a Buddha, could seal this realization as the most profound, the most unsurpassable? When we receive the seal of realization from a Buddha, we have realization without a teacher,4 and realization without self.5 This is why it is said, “A Buddha receives realization from a Buddha; an Ancestor merges realization with an Ancestor.” Those who are not Buddhas cannot understand the meaning of this. How then can bodhisattvas measure it amongst their ten stages or even in the stage of balanced awareness?6 How much less then can scholars of the sutras or commentaries understand it? Even if it is explained, still they cannot understand it. A Buddha receives the Dharma from a Buddha; it is Transmitted between a Buddha and a Buddha.

And so “mushi dokugo” does not literally mean realization without a teacher. Although of course one can have moments of opening or kensho without a teacher and in fact without a practice. But all realizations and true and complete realization is essentially realization of something that cannot be taught or learned from another because it is our own nature. It is who we are. This realization is always without a teacher or “mushi-dokugo” and is also “muji-dokugo” or without a self.

So now Dogen says that “Even for those with natural wisdom7 it is still necessary to meet a Master and question into the Way.” “Natural wisdom” or shochi is a Confucian term. In another text from the Shobogenzo, Shizen-Biku, Dogen says, “In the writings of Kong-zi there is the shochi sa or person born with natural wisdom. In the Buddha’s Teaching there are no people of natural wisdom.” Now, this is actually not fair to Kongfu zi or Confucius as he is called in the West. Much more representative of his philosophy is this saying:

"By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third, by experience, which is the bitterest."

In any case, Confucian texts and commentaries were prolific even in Japan, and so the term “shochi” apparently has some association with those. So Dogen is saying that even if one had inherent wisdom, one would still need to meet a master and to learn the Way because true wisdom is not static, it is not frozen; but apparently this was the meaning that the term “natural wisdom” had for people. Although what is realized by the Buddhas and Awakened Ancestors through practice of the Way is what has always already been true, it is not something remote in the past but is true now as well. It is not something set back from the world witnessing it; it is presencing as the world. When we realize the Original Face as our own face we have to embody it with our own face and feet and hands.

1 Shokai. “Sho” means experience, kai means “pledge, commitment, accord, alignment”.    
2 Tanden.    
3 Bodhi.    
4 Mushi-dokugo.    
5 Muji-dokugo.    
6 The juchi (ten stages) are the 41st to 50th of the 52 stages of the Avatamsaka Teachings. The 51st stage is “togaku” or “balanced awareness” and the final stage is “myokaku” or     “Awakening as wonder”.    
7 Shochi. A Confucian term.

-Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi, continuing teisho 1: "Meeting Natural Wisdom" Friday, December 3, 2004 in the teisho series "Essentially Real, commentaries on Eihei Dogen zenji’s 'Hossho: Dharmata'."

Upcoming Events

 July 3rd, 17th and 31st.

The Roshi will begin a period of hermitage on Wednesday, July 3rd, which will end on Sunday, July 7th, at 9:30 a.m., when he leads monastics in Acalanatha Sadhana. 

Introduction to Zen Workshop:
The next Introduction to Zen Workshop will take place at Dainen-ji on Saturday, July 6th. For more information please see: http://www.wwzc.org/content/introduction-zen-workshop-ottawa
For information concerning our Long-distance Training Program, please visit this Web Page: http://www.wwzc.org/long-distance-training-program

Yaza (all night sitting) will take place on Saturday, July 13th, from 10pm until Sunday,  July 14th, at 8am Zen Master Anzan Hoshin will lead the Yaza. Students attending should arrive by First Bell at 9:45 p.m. A light breakfast will be served before the end of the Yaza. All students are welcome to attend. Please register soon as seating will be limited. The suggested dana contribution for Yaza is $30.00. To register, please send an email to schedule@wwzc.org or leave a message on the Zen Centre office answering machine at (613) 562-1568.

Samu Weekend: 
The next Samu Weekend is scheduled to take place on Saturday and Sunday, July 27th and 28th. Please pencil these dates into your schedule so that you will be able to attend some or all of this weekend of samu practice. Saigyo tando will be writing soon to students with more details about the activities taking place over the weekend. To register please send an email to Saigyo tando at saigyo dot cross at gmail.com or leave a message on the Zen Centre office answering machine at 613-562-1568.


Congratulations and deep gassho to Julien Jefferson and Breno Freitas, both residents of Ottawa, who have been accepted as  associate students by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi.


Mohamed Zakzouk sat a two-day retreat on Wednesday, June 26th and Thursday, June 27th.

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 schedule@wwzc.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, June 29th: “Flowers and Clouds” by Ven. Anzan Hoshin: “Held Up” (2 of 12)
  • Sunday, June 30th: SAkN “Root Cycle One” by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi: “Truths” (teisho 6 of 6)
  • Monday, July 1st: "Rhythm and Song": Zen Master Anzan Hoshin's Commentaries on Dongshan Liangjie's "Hokyo Zanmai": "The Secret of Intimacy" (1 of 15) 
  • Thursday, July 4th: “Before Thinking: Foundations of Zen Practice” by Zen Master Anzan Hoshin: “Beyond Convenience” (7 of 71)
  • Saturday, June 22nd: “Flowers and Clouds” by Ven. Anzan Hoshin: “Sobu Kuju” (3 of 12)

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.

Help Required with Archiving Project

We would like assistance from students to work on an archiving project which has been underway for a number of years. Approximately 100 recordings of teisho and Dharma Talks presented by the Roshi in the late 1980's and early 1990's are still not available to students on our web-site. These were recordings were made on audio cassette. The process for preserving these cassette recordings and making them available to students is as follows:

  • Transfer the cassette recording to a digital format
  • Edit the single digital files from each cassette side to separate the presentations.
  • Clean up the quality of the recording as much as possible using computer software and in the cases of a recording being of very poor playback quality, using the services of a professional audio restoration company.
  • Rename, digitally tag each presentation and add the recording information to the database.
  • Create archive quality master CD copies of the recordings for long term storage including printing all of the CD case inserts and graphics.
  • Upload completed audio files to the WWZC sound-site so that they are available to students to listen to.

This process is extensive and time consuming, requiring at least 4-5 hours of work for each individual recording. The amount of work required for the monastic sangha to complete this project expediently is not possible, so we are asking for help from the rest of the sangha.

A student would be required to offer regular commitment of time, a block two to three hours weekly is ideal but also a commitment every two weeks would work well. Students would be trained in the work they would be doing and so no specific skill set is needed. 

If you are able to assist with this vital project to preserve the Teachings please write to Mishin ino or Saigyo tando or send a message to WWZC.org. Thank you very much.

WWZC Website


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:

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 saigyo.cross@gmail.com.

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.


Painted Cakes
(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.

Seiza (J) A formal kneeling posture which may be used in zazen as an alternative to lotus postured or the agura posture.

Questions can be sent to me, Shikai sensei, at shikai.sensei@gmail.

Windows Laptop

If anyone has a laptop running Windows 10 that they would be able to donate to the monastery, this would be much appreciated. We need to set up a second device on which to run Quickbooks 2019 (the accounting program used by the Office of the Treasurer) and it runs best on Windows. This would make it easier for a second person to take on regular data entry for monastery bookkeeping. Please email Mishin ino (mishin at gmail dot com) for more information.

Japanese noodles

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.

Monday Yakuseki:
Frittata (cubed potatoes, white and Spanish onions, paprika, garlic, black pepper, eggs, topped with friulano cheese); kimchi gazpacho (monastery-made Napa cabbage kimchi mixed with chopped tomatoes and cucumbers, finely sliced red onion, and tomato juice); toasted naan bread.

Tuesday Yakuseki:
Mixed grain (calrose, Arborio and basmati rice); braised beef (bottom blade roast cooked in an Instant Pot with mushroom and beef stock, tomato juice, ginger, garlic and onion); sauteed greens (dai gai choy, bok choy, spinach with lime juice and garlic). 

Thursday Yakuseki:
Roasted new potatoes; chipotle tofu (tofu marinated in a sauce made from chipotle adobo, butter, black pepper and salt and sauteed); carrots, peas and corn with butter, salt and pepper; dai gai choy and bok choy sauteed in butter; cheese sauce (roux, cheddar cheese, friulano cheese, sauteed onions, Keen’s mustard powder, garlic powder, milk). Lactose intolerant option: mixed grain with dal topped with toasted cashews and fresh coriander; Asian pear with lime juice and chili flakes.

Baking by Shikai sensei:
Chocolate salted caramel cookies; rhubarb cake; oat cookies with toffee chips.


Little monks bowing

Thank You

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 Jinmyo osho: 
Thank you to Saigyo tando for creating a table for a food dehydrator and for tidying the covered balcony; to Endai shramon for washing dehydrator trays, chopping vegetables, figuring out how the vacuum sealer works, and for making a list of spices. 

From Endai shramon:
Thank you to the Roshi for instructions on landscaping in the grounds of Dainen-ji. Thank you to Shikai sensei for many delicious baked goods, including rhubarb pie this week. Thank you to Jinmyo osho for instruction in daisan, for preparing yakuseki meals on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings, and delicious brunches for residents on Sunday mornings. Thank you to Mishin ino for overseeing the bi-weekly processing of student donations and monthly pre-authorized remittances. Thank you to Saigyo tando for overseeing gardening samu and the maintenance of the grounds.

Ongoing Project:
"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.