eMirror Vol 23, No. 30 (2019-07-26)


A densho at Eihei-ji, photograph by Ven. Endai Mayeda shramon
A densho at Eihei-ji, photograph by Ven. Endai Mayeda shramon

eMirror Vol 23, No. 30

Friday, July 26th, 2019
Edited by Ven. Jinmyo Renge osho

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

“Dharma” can mean many things depending upon the context it is used in. It can mean “a duty” or “a law”, or “how things are” or “reality”. It can mean the Teachings, specifically the Buddha’s Teachings or Buddha-dharma or Buppo. It can mean “a thing” or the things that comprise a thing, such as particles or atoms. It can mean a moment of experiencing. It can mean what is experienced. Shikai osho often says that “Whenever you notice something, that is a dharma.” The suffix “ta” means “ness”. “Dharmata” or “hossho” can mean the essential nature of something.

Now, we need to be careful here because words can convey meanings that we do not intend. “Essence” can just mean the “gist” or “the main point.” The “essence” of something in classical Western philosophy from Plato and Aristotle down to Aquinas is that which makes something what it is, which was regarded as an abstract ideal that was more real than its manifest counterpart. For example, there are many round things, many circles: the rim of this water glass, the edge of this gong, [strikes gong gently] the full moon, the sun.

I’m sorry to say this, but according to classical Western thought none of these are as real as the ideal or essence of a circle. As for “nature”, this how the essence is expressed in how the concrete manifestation acts or behaves; its qualities. So for classical Western thought essence preceded existence, the idea was more real than the thing that the idea was referring to, just as in Christianity the abstract idea of a soul was more real and of greater value than a bodymind. This is unfortunately not only silly but dangerous. This is why heretics have been tortured and executed; this was not merely punishment but was what was viewed as compassionate attempts to save the heretic’s soul and the souls of those they would corrupt.

In the Buddha Dharma, the essence or essential nature of something and indeed of everything is that there is nothing behind anything making it what it is. The idea of something is a delusion about that thing. At the very least the idea of something can only highlight particular aspects of that thing but cannot describe let alone convey or present the totality of a glass, a gong, the full moon, or the sun. So the essence or the reality of something, of a dharma, the Dharma about that dharma, is that it is sunya, empty. The reality of reality is that each and every thing transcends ideas and instead is just such, the display of Suchness.

-Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi, beginning teisho 2: "What is the Samadhi of Dharmata," Saturday, December 4, 2004 in the teisho series "Essentially Real, commentaries on Eihei Dogen zenji’s 'Hossho: Dharmata'."

Upcoming Events

 July 31st, August 14th and August 28th

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.

The Roshi will begin a period of hermitage on Wednesday, July 31st, which will end at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, August 4th, when he leads monastics in Acalanatha Sadhana. 

August Two-day Sesshin:
The August two-day sesshin will begin at 8:00 p.m. on Friday,  August 9th, and will end at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 11th. On Saturday, August 10th there will be a sitting for associate and general students in the Zendo. First Bell is at 9:15. The Sitting will end at 11:40 a.m. Students are reminded to remain on the first floor. 

Dharma Assembly
On Saturday, August 24th, Ven. Jinmyo Renge osho will lead a Dharma Assembly which will begin at 9:30 a.m. (please arrive by 9:15, in time for first Bell) and will end at 9:00 p.m. Dana is $40.00, which includes two meals: lunch and supper. Participants are asked to bring clothing and shoes appropriate for samu practice. To register, please send an email to schedule at wwzc dot org or leave a message on the office answering machine at 562-1568. Dharma Assemblies are open to all students.
Note: The 9:30 a.m. general sitting that would ordinarily take place on August 24th is cancelled owing to the Dharma Assembly.

August 28th is Dogen-ki, the memorial of Eihei Dogen zenji's death.


Christian Pustilnik sat a one-day retreat on Monday, July 21st at his home in Mar del Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Jean-Francois St-Louis sat a two-day retreat on Monday, July 22nd and Tuesday, July 23rd.

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.


Newly presented teisho

During Yaza on Saturday, July 13th, Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi presented the teisho “Yaza: The Buddha and the Lies”.

Recorded Teachings Schedule

  • Monday, July 29th: "Rhythm and Song": Zen Master Anzan Hoshin's Commentaries on Dongshan Liangjie's "Hokyo Zanmai": "You Look Fine" (5 of 15)
  • Thursday, August 1st: “Before Thinking: Foundations of Zen Practice” by Zen Master Anzan Hoshin: “Self-doubt and No-self" (11 of 71)
  • Saturday, August 3rd: “Flowers and Clouds” by Ven. Anzan Hoshin: "Welcome to the World" (6 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.

Sennin (J)  Mountain ascetic practicing outside of the institutional 
structures of of the state-supervised monastic system of medieval Japan.

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.

Monday Yakuseki:
Mixed grain (Thai white rice, basmati rice, barley, Chinese white rice); bulgogi tofu (deep-fried tofu, chopped peppers, chopped onion, dai gai choy, bulgogi sauce); mixed greens (sauteed dai gai choy, gai lan, bok choy and Napa cabbage garnished with sesame seeds). 

Tuesday Yakuseki:
Calrose rice mixed with Lundberg Farms short-grain brown rice, garnished with toasted sesame seeds; miso shiru with reconstituted shitake mushrooms, baby bok choy and silken tofu; takuan and ginger. 

Thursday Yakuseki:
Thai curry (chopped onion, carrot and daikon batonettes, chunks of red bell peppers, cubanelle peppers, poblano peppers, chopped mushrooms, sliced green beans, Thai red curry paste, coconut milk); vegetarian ‘chicken’ made with pea and soy protein, with a Thai dipping sauce); salad of Romaine lettuce, cucumber, tomato, with a lime pickle dressing.

Baking by Shikai sensei:
Plantain coconut vanilla cookies; Chocolate Torte; Triple ginger molasses cookies; 5 star oatmeal raisin cookies.


Gassho sign

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 Mishin ino:
Thank you to the Roshi for overseeing the entire practice environment and the practice of all students. Thank you to Shikai sensei for making an excellent dark chocolate torte and several kinds of baked ginger creations. Thank you to Jinmyo osho for regularly making a variety of kimchi, most recently a delicious dongchimi (radish water kimchi). Thank you to Saigyo tando for arranging for several plumbing repairs (including the sink beside the Hatto which now drains instantly). Thank you to Senbo for preparing the bi-monthly ads about the Introduction to Zen workshop for the Bytowne Guide. Thank you to Claude Schryer for weekly samu. 

From Endai shramon:
Thank you to the Roshi for presenting a new teisho during Yaza called: "Yaza: The Buddha and the Lies". Thank you to Shikai sensei for explaining her experiments with dipping fabric in beeswax in order to create a flexible waterproof alternative to plastic. Thank you to Jinmyo osho for leading Yaza and preparing a delicious early-morning breakfast for participants. 

From Sarah Goul:
Thank you to the Roshi for establishing the monastery and for so many translations and teisho, especially the teisho presented during the recent Yaza. Also for leading by example to show how it is very possible to fully realize our own true nature. Thank you to the Sensei for precious daisan, informal daisan outside of the monastery, random encounters around the monastery and for many toys for Komox. Thank you to the Osho for daisan, instruction in Maitri Bhavana practice and how to use a mala, leading morning sittings, and for adjusting posture with the big stick (shippei). Thank you to the Angya for example of maintaining dedicated practice at a distance. Thank you to the Ino and the Tando for practice interviews, leading kata, and for being available during retreats. Thank you to the Office of the Treasurer for dealing with finances. Thank you to the Office of the Shissui for maintenance, including fixing the dining hall ceiling. Thank you to the Office of the Tenzo for meals, especially Saturday morning eggs. Thank you to Fushin shramon for a fun time hanging drywall during dining hall renovations and for instruction on how to use the snowblower a while back. Thank you to Endai shramon for having a consistently pleasant disposition. Thank you to those involved with maintaining the monastery gardens. I am thankful for the long distance program. Thank you to Benoit for cooking a week's worth of meals whenever I was in retreat all weekend. Thank you to my career manager for posting me to Ottawa for two years. 

From Ian Richard: 
Thank you to the Roshi for the teisho delivered at Yaza, "Yaza: The Buddha and the Lies" and for the care and attention evident in every action, even closing a door. Thank you to Shikai sensei for an unexpected yet most welcome chat at the coffee shop, and to both her and Endai shramon for reminding me that getting pooped on by a pigeon during samu is no more or less a big deal than we choose to make of it. Thank you to David for lending me his Yukon hat (which the pigeon thankfully missed). Also, thank you to the wildlife around Dainen-ji, and the monastics and students who keep it welcoming for them.

From the Office of the Treasurer:
Thank you to Mohamed Zakzouk and an anonymous donor (no name on the dana envelope) for donations towards the upcoming samu weekend.

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.