Zafu zanga by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi
eMirror Vol 23, No. 32
Friday, August 9th, 2019
Edited by Ven. Jinmyo Renge osho
The White Wind Zen Community:
An international community practising and teaching Dogen’s Zen since 1985.
Dogen zenji speaks of the samadhi of “dharmata”. In the various Indian yogic traditions and in some Buddhist traditions “samadhi” or in Japanese “zanmai” means a state of concentration in which there is an almost complete suppression of all sensory and mental activity. These states of concentration can be of different extremity but in general the goal is to create a state in which there is no consciousness of anything except for the sensation of the suppression, of the narrowing and constriction, which is usually mistaken to be the nature or essence of consciousness. Before he woke up Sakyamuni Buddha had learned several methods of internalizing and abstracting attention like this and had mastered them fully. He found that while they were pleasant, they meant nothing.
In the Cula Sunnata sutta of the Majjhima Nikaya, it says, “Concentrating the mind in signlessness is still something which is fabricated and a strategy. Whatever is fabricated and strategic is impermanent and will fall.” And so instead the Buddha practised and taught a balance of samatha or steadying and vipashyana or insight.
Nonetheless, these kinds of narrowed states can be deeply attractive to people. Sometimes this is because they interpret the concentration states as having cosmological importance such as transcendence from the messy and flawed world into perfection, much like Western philosophers preferred to live in their ideas. Basically, self-image finds concentration states appealing because they are the perfection of its strategies of recoil from experiences through congealing and fixation of attention. Abiding in such a state, one cannot be bothered, cannot be contradicted, cannot be aware of aging or loss or illness. It is like deep sleep or even death. Which, at its most naked extreme, is what self-image most desires: for the death of everything that is not it and for there to be only it forever and ever without having to be aware of anything whatsoever including itself. And so various techniques involving extremes of concentration have always tainted Buddhism.
-Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi, continuing 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'."
August 14th and August 28th.
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 11:30 a.m. Students are reminded to remain on the first floor.
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 613-562-1568. 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.
July Samu Weekend Report
by Ven. Saigyo tando
23 students attended our summer Samu Weekend on Saturday, July 27th and Sunday, July 28th, working through one of the hottest weekends of the year to complete a great deal of samu, improving and maintaining the practice environment of Dainen-ji. Here are some of the "highlights" of the many tasks that took place over the two days:
In the grounds, the front veranda and front steps were cleaned, sanded, prepared and then painted. This included replacing a rotten tread on the front steps and painting several other areas. The steps on the side porch were also repainted.
The front path was cleaned and polymeric sand laid between the pavers which locks the pavers in place and discourages weeds.
At the side porch area a new platform decking was built which will be the new location for the garbage bin, freeing up valuable space in the basement and making garbage management simpler.
Lots of work was done in the gardens including the yearly clipping of the cedar hedge, plenty of watering during this dry period, weeding and replanting and adding manure to keep the plants healthy.
Inside the monastery, work continued to facilitate relocating the monastery laundry room from the pantry (currently somewhat awkwardly located through the men's change rooms) to its new location near the Undo. Drywall mudding was completed, trim installation done and the floor prepared for fresh paint. We hope to complete this project soon.
A great deal of thorough cleaning was completed in the public areas of the building which included scrubbing walls and trim and the staircases.
The attic archiving space was completely rearranged and now is a much improved and more spacious area. The attic storage area was tidied. Mishin ino was able to complete a lot of administration over the two days and the paper copies of the weekly eMirror from the last year were filed and sorted.
Thank you to Jinmyo osho for designing and preparing the excellent midday meals for those students who stayed through the day and to Shikai sensei for the wonderful afternoon refreshments.
Thank you to the following students who offered their time to assist with the tasks completed over the Samu Weekend: Mishin ino, Fushin shramon, Endai shramon, Isshin, Senbo, David Gallant, Leonardo Nobrega, Ian Richard, Alison Burke, Tarik Kaya, Jean-Francois St. Louis, George Donovan, Marc Valade, Breno Freitas, Kathleen Johnson, Hannah Kent, Pierre Trahan, Chantal Maheu, Erik Cyr, Paula Negraes, Chantal Maheu, and Alex Groarke.
At Dainen-ji, we do not lock the doors of washroom when they are in use. If the door is closed, that means it is in use. Do not open the door of a washroom if it is closed. When you have finished using a washroom, leave the door open so it is clearly ready for the next person.
As the Roshi wrote in Four Gates, published in the 1980s:
“Keep the bathroom as you found it and leave it neat for the next person. Leave the toilet seat and lid down after use. Wash and dry your hands carefully. If you are feeling sleepy or dull, wash your face and eyes in cold water. Clean up the water around the sink. Replace the towel neatly. Stop staring at yourself in the mirror to check to see if you're still there, or to complain to yourself about your practice. Do not bang doors open or closed. After you have finished, leave the bathroom door open to indicate that it is no longer in use. Going to the washroom is not an opportunity to loosen mindfulness and lose your practice. Dogen zenji wrote an entire chapter of the Shobogenzo solely on the mindful use of washing and using the toilet facilities.”
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 email@example.com 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
- Saturday, August 10th: “Every Breath You Take” by Ven. Shikai Zuiko o-sensei: “When Setting Out a Place to Sit" (Dharma Talk 28)
- Monday, August 12th: "Rhythm and Song": Zen Master Anzan Hoshin's Commentaries on Dongshan Liangjie's "Hokyo Zanmai": "What's That Smell" (7 of 15)
- Thursday, August 15th: “Before Thinking: Foundations of Zen Practice” by Zen Master Anzan Hoshin: “Clouds and Water" (13 of 71)
- Saturday, August 17th: “Flowers and Clouds” by Ven. Anzan Hoshin: "Not a Background" (7 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.
Newly Added Recorded Teachings for Associate and General Students
MP3 of “Yaza: The Buddha and the Lies”: Yaza: The Buddha and the Lies
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
(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.
White and brown basmati rice; chana dal (black chickpeas, onion, minced green chilis, minced ginger and garlic, chopped tomatoes, coriander leaves and stems, black cardamom, cinnamon, cumin seeds, turmeric, coriander, Kashmir red chili powder, garam masala, amchur (dried mango powder); salad of wo sum (sliced celery root and chopped tomatoes with minced lime pickle, lime juice, mirin, salt and black pepper; toasted naan with butter.
Hainan rice (calrose, arborio and barley, cooked with garlic, ginger and scallions which were first sauteed in sesame oil and then blended with chicken stock); roasted chicken legs and thighs seasoned with dried garlic and onion and mustard, cumin, black pepper, and barbeque sauce; sauteed greens (spinach, dai gai choy, bok choy and gai lan with lime juice).
Lo mein noodles tossed with sauteed strips of Spanish onion, poblano peppers, cremini and shitake mushrooms; puffed deep-fried tofu with sauteed rounds of daikon, seasoned with hot chili sauce and shoyu; steamed spinach and gai lan leaves; baechu kimchi.
Baking by Shikai sensei:
Oat, chocolate chip, marshmallow and raisin cookies; strawberry swirl tart; oat cakes;
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 Shikai sensei:
Thank you to Fushin shramon for some innovative metal work which much improved a lighting situation.
From Saigyo tando:
Thank you to the Roshi and Jinmyo osho for several trips each week to buy monastery food and supplies for residents and for the public events. Thank you to Shikai sensei for correspondence with students on the Long-Distance Training program. Thank you to Mishin ino for regularly taking care of the incense bowls in the public areas of the building. Thank you to Fushin shramon for making sure we have supplies of bird seed and to Endai shramon for ordering and packing away monastery supplies required regularly. Thank you to David Gallant for painting work in the new laundry room. Thank you to George Donovan for a garbage run with renovation waste from the laundry room relocation project and for donating the funds for this.
From Endai shramon:
Thank you to the Roshi for the teisho series "Flowers and Clouds", which is his commentary on Dogen zenji's "Kuge" ("Flowers of Space"), a fascicle of the "Shobogenzo"; it is being played back during general sittings on Saturday mornings. Thank you to Saigyo tando, Fushin shramon and David Gallant for ongoing work to complete the new laundry room, which will free up much needed storage space in the pantry.
From Kail Shanker:
Thank You to Ven. Saigyo tando for helping me in all manner of ways during my stay in Ottawa, this almost led to my taking the shirt off his back too, literally, I thank him for lending me a black shirt for the sittings, and for the practice interviews there and helping plan my attendances. I cannot thank him enough, he truly made it easier for me to fit in and feel relaxed. Thank you to Ven. Mishin ino for her practice guidance, general assistance and very pleasant company during my visit, and for the wonderful food. Thank you to Ven. Shikai Zuiko sensei for daisan, it was a real honour to meet her in person and for her invaluable insights into developing my practice. All very much appreciated, and an experience I still vividly remember. Thank you to the monks at Dianen-ji for their kindness and support when I needed it; they were all very inspiring. I enjoyed helping with clean-up in the kitchen twice. Thank you to Venerable Anzan Hoshin roshi for the gift of a mala which he had "opened" for me, for allowing me to take part in the sittings at Dainen-ji, and for the hospitality of the monastery and for his Teachings. Thank you to Tettsu for his assistance and support these past few years (in Harrow). Very much appreciated. This visit taught me how to live mindfully in the moment, in every moment, practically; which has been of immense benefit to me, as well as tuning up my sitting and walking postures and being fully aware of the bodymind and the touchstone of the breath - the written words I'd read before were beautifully translated into reality.
From Claude Schryer:
Thanks to Saigyo tando for reminding me of the correct way to stand up from seiza position with painful knees and joints. Thanks also to the monastics who pick up our sitting benches after practice. Thanks in particular to Saigyo tando for the detailed report on the Samu Weekend and thanks in general for monastics and students who share their words of thanks.
"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.