eMirror Vol 23, No. 52 (2019-12-27)


Pagoda on a cliff, photograph by Ven. Mishin Roelofs
Photograph by Ven. Mishin Roelofs

eMirror Vol 23, No. 52

Friday, December 27th, 2019
Edited by Ven. Jinmyo Renge osho

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

In 1243, at the beginning of winter Eihei Dogen zenji sat in the drafts blowing through the decrepit walls and ceiling of Kippo-ji and concluded his presentation of Hossho. He said,

Sakyamuni Buddha said, “Form is suchness, nature is suchness.” So blossoming flowers and falling leaves are the nature of suchness. Foolish people, however, think that in the world of dharmata there are no blossoming flowers or falling leaves. Now, without asking anyone else, let your own doubt be an explicit standard. Try to address it as if it were an assertion made by someone else and question it three or four times and you’ll probably find your way through it. These assumptions were not evil, just thoughts present before there was clarity. In the moment of truly clarifying doubt, there is no thought of trying to get rid of it. Blossoming flowers and falling leaves are of themselves blossoming flowers and falling leaves. Even the thought that there are no blossoming flowers and falling leaves is dharmata. What a “thought” is cannot be conceptualized, it is dharmata as a thought. The totality of all our thoughts of dharmata has these features.

In the Lotus sutra, Sakyamuni Buddha says, “What is called ‘all dharmas’ is form as it is, the nature as it is.” Nyoze-so, nyoze-sho. So Dogen takes “nyoze” as “immo”, Suchness. Dharmata, the essential reality is nothing other than the blossoming and falling away of moments and motions. Everything and every thing is dharmata and everything and every thing is motion, arising and falling away. Those who have realized what is essentially real about themselves and all beings and about this world and all worlds have realized that there is no underlying substance. All forms are utterly empty and open. All experiences are opening from experiencing and emptying into experiencing but experiencing is not a container or a background; it is not a thing. As all experiences, all dharmas, are experiencing presenting itself as those things thus those things are not things at all because experiencing is not a thing. The nature of each thing is that it has no nature, the essence of each thing is that it is without an essence.

Those who have not realized what is essentially real may hear what the Buddhas and Awakened Ancestors say but just do not believe it. They live in the ghostly realm of their ideas about reality, preferring their words and categories, their stories of self and other, their pretences that there is an unchanging essence to themselves and that permanence is meaningful. We have the words “permanent” and “impermanent”. We place a prefix before the word “permanence” and modify it to indicate its opposite. But only the word “impermanent” is actually coherent. Only impermanence is possible. Impermanence has no opposite. “Permanence” is nonsense and cannot be found anywhere throughout the ten directions and three times and the numberless realms of the Dharmadhatu. 

-Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi, beginning teisho 6: "Coming Thus As Us" Saturday, December 7, 2005 in the teisho series "Essentially Real: Commentaries on Eihei Dogen zenji’s 'Hossho: Dharmata'."

Upcoming Events

January 8th, January 22nd.

On Tuesday, December 31st at 10 p.m. until Wednesday, January 1st at 12:00 a.m., we will celebrate Joya or New Year's. Join Zen Master Anzan Hoshin, Ven. Shikai Sensei and Ven. Jinmyo 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 on Wednesday, January 1st, which will end on Sunday, January 5th, 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 on January 4th at 1:45 p.m. 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 

January Two-day Sesshin
The January two-day sesshin will begin at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, January 10th and will end at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 12th. Monastics and formal students are asked to send in their schedules as soon as possible. 

Associate and General Sitting January 11th
During the sesshin, on Saturday, January 11th, 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 29th, which will end at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, February 2nd, when he leads monastics in Acalanatha Sadhana.


Hannah Kent sat a partial retreat on Saturday, December 21st.

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, December 28th: “Bright Right Through”: Zen Master Anzan Hoshin's Commentaries on Dogen zenji's "Muchu Setsumu": "The Pole" (6 of 12)
  • Sunday, December 29th: SAkN "Root Cycle Four: Moving in Knowing" by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi "Always Moving" (Teisho 5 of 5)
  • Monday, December 30th: "The Four Noble Truths" by Ven. Shikai Zuiko sensei: "Practice" (Dharma Talk 4 of 4)
  • Thursday, January 2nd: "Before Thinking: Foundations of Zen Practice” by Zen Master Anzan Hoshin: “The Garden” (31 of 71)
  • Saturday, January 4th: “Bright Right Through”: Zen Master Anzan Hoshin's Commentaries on Dogen zenji's "Muchu Setsumu": "Because" (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.

Photograph of Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi at Daijozan, mid-1980s, by Ven. Shikai Zuiko sensei
Photograph of Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi at Daijozan, mid-1980s, by Ven. Shikai Zuiko sensei


Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi has recently completed translation work on some shorter texts by Eihei Dogen zenji from the Shobogenzo. The work on these particular texts is based upon the literal translations that he worked on with Joshu Dainen roshi at Hakukaze-ji around 1977-78 followed by many years of putting them down, picking them up, and polishing. Naturally, more essential texts such as Uji, Genjokoan, Shinjin Gakudo and some 40 others were completed first and have been given extensive commentaries by the Roshi. This batch of texts includes Baike: Plum Blossoms, Ryugin: Howling Dragon, and Udonge: The Udumbara Blossoming and many others are nearing completion. Many of these will be posted on our website over the next few months.

Newly Presented Teachings


  • During the December 2019 Rohatsu O-sesshin, Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi presented the following teisho as part of the ongoing series, "The Lineage of Luminosity, Part Two: The Lineage in China”:
    • December 2nd: Rujing’s Plum Blossoms Again
    • December 3rd: Rujing’s Flower for Pindola
    • December 4th: Rujing’s Painting Plum Blossoms
    • December 5th: Rujing’s Frogs and Worms
  • Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi presented the following teisho during the November Sesshin, as part of the ongoing series, "The Lineage of Luminosity: Part Two: The Lineage in China”:
    • November 9th: Rujing and the Old Plum Tree

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:


Update on the Plan for Essential Repairs to the Hojo (Abbot’s Quarters)

Hojo renovation funds raised to date: $4,210
Fundraising goal: $40,000

Essential repairs are needed to the Hojo (Abbot’s Quarters). The needed work includes taking down the ceiling in the Hojo washroom in order to insulate, raising the floor, repairing interior moisture damage, and addressing other structural problems (extremely uneven floors, and ventilation, plumbing, and electrical issues). 

The Office of the Shissui has met with 3 local design/build companies to discuss the scope of this substantial work and is reviewing their quotations. The total cost of the work will be in the region of $40,000. Provided that we are able to meet the fundraising goal, we anticipate undertaking the work in the summer of 2020.

All donations towards the Hojo renovation fund will be much appreciated, and will receive a charitable tax receipt. 


The image above shows the icicle that forms every winter on the roof of the Hojo. It is often over 20 feet long and is causing damage to the exterior trim and roof line and may be causing interior damage and mold inside the walls.

Description of the work
After a recent risk inspection by our insurance company, one requirement for ongoing insurance coverage is to address a buildup of large icicles over winter from the roof over the Hojo washroom. The ice buildup is caused by heat loss through the roof that melts the winter snow, which refreezes into icicles. 

In order to address this, we should be insulating the ceiling of the Hojo washroom. We will use an application of spray foam insulation which will require taking down the interior ceiling. As there is also heat loss through the very poorly insulated walls, we shall also be removing all of the wall plaster and lathe and using spray foam insulation on the exterior walls. As well as heat insulation, this closed cell foam insulation will impede moisture transfer and eliminate the possibility of moisture buildup and mold issues in the room. Because the plaster and lathe will need to be removed in order to insulate, we will be replacing the old shower stall and re-plumbing the shower. 

Replacing the ceiling allows us to raise the height of the ceiling so that we can eliminate the 8-inch step down into the washroom, which is a potential tripping hazard. We can also add new lighting, improved ventilation and proper venting of fixtures. Raising the floor height requires replacing two hot water radiators with under-floor electric heating and installing a new vanity. 

Once completed, all of this work will result in a substantial improvement to the functionality of the living and working environment of the Hojo, the Abbot’s Quarters, and eliminate potential hazards. As the last area of the building to receive any major renovation work, this improvement is a priority.


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.

Shikan-taza (J) “Just sitting”. The root practice of our Lineage. The practice of realization; practice without reference points, techniques or boundaries. Shikan-taza is complete penetration into and actualization of Ordinary Mind; anything less is either an introductory stage of shikan-taza practice or a delusion.

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


Tofu and pancakes wit a dip

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 godo and Saigyo ino offer assistance as tenzo-anja. 

Monday Yakuseki:
Mixed grain (calrose and arborio rice) with optional garnishes of gomashio (roasted sesame seeds and salt) and furikake; miso shiru (kombu stock, shiro miso, silken tofu, rehydrated shiitake mushrooms, slivered ginger, shoyu, mirin, rice vinegar); takuan, gari, and umeboshi plums. 

Tuesday Yakuseki:
Roasted turkey; stuffing; Yukon gold mashed potatoes; steamed cabbage and broccoli; baby green peas; roasted carrot batonettes; brussel sprouts roasted with balsamic vinegar; gravy made with shitake and cremini mushrooms; cranberry sauce. 

Thursday Yakuseki:
Potato pancakes made with leftover mashed Yukon gold potatoes mixed with leftover stuffing, baby green peas and chopped roasted carrots; cream of cabbage and broccoli soup made with leftover vegetables; cranberry chili tofu (deep-fried tofu tossed in blended chili sauce and cranberry sauce, sauteed on the griddle); salad of Napa cabbage, thinly sliced carrot and daikon and white onion, with choice of dressings.


Mishin godo bowing in gassho

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 Endai shuso:
Thank you to the Roshi for three new English translations of parts of Dogen zenji’s “Shobogenzo”: “Ryugin - Howling Dragon”, “Baike: Plum Blossoms”, and “Udonge - The Udumbara Blossoming”. Thank you to Jinmyo osho for a delicious multi-course festive meal for residents and for creative use of leftovers to make another completely different meal. 

From Marc Valade:
Thank you to Mishin godo for inviting me to attend Fusatsu. Thank you to Saigyo ino for practise interview, particularly a useful discussion about trust. 

From Hannah Kent:
Thank you to Anzan Hoshin roshi for making Dainen-ji available for students to sit retreats; to Shikai sensei for daisan and an afternoon refreshment during my recent retreat; to Mishin godo and the Office of the Tenzo for delicious meals and to Mishin godo for a helpful practice interview; and thank you to Saigyo ino for arranging samu. 

From Claude Schryer:
Thank you to the Osho for daisan where we discussed a wide range of topics, with both seriousness and humour, including the importance of honouring one’s commitments as a general student while managing the ups and downs of daily life. I appreciate the opportunity to ask any questions and to receive the Osho’s advice. I also wish those monastics currently under the weather or ill a speedy recovery.

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.