eMirror Vol 24, No. 11 (2020-03-13)


Photograph by Ven. Endai Mayeda shuso
Photograph by Ven. Endai Mayeda shuso

eMirror Vol 24, No. 11

Friday, March 13th, 2020
Edited by Ven. Jinmyo Renge osho

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

It seems that the general idea when you read a mystery story is that you are to identify with the protagonist, wade through descriptions of people, events, motivations - until you finally uncover "whodunit".

Zen practice is the study of the mystery that lives as us. In studying this mystery, we realize that no one does it. We realize that everyone does it. We realize that we each are each other. We each are that which lives as all beings. We realize Intimacy. Beyond self and other, beyond body and mind, beyond up and down – beyond all categories and descriptions and identities and stories. The hand lifts and it's only afterwards that we develop the feeling that "I" have lifted the hand. A sound is heard, and attention moves towards the sound, focuses on the sound, and we develop the sense that "we" are hearing the sound. What a pathetic fiction this is.

A story is alright as long as it's well-written, as long as it's interesting and entertaining. But there's nothing entertaining about this sense of self. This is why it's always looking for entertainment. This is why it's always looking for some way to escape from itself, and yet hold onto itself.

Studying the mystery of who we are, we realize that we are no one at all and we realize that we are everyone. This is truly not a paradox. Self-image attempting to escape from itself, escape from its own narrowness and yet hold onto itself – is a paradox. Its presumption that it can exist, when anything that exists as a self is itself known, and so cannot be the knower, cannot be the self – that is a paradox. It is only the limitations of our descriptions, the limitations of our words, and the limitations of how we use words and stories, that makes it sound as if saying that we are no one and that we are everyone, is a paradox.

-Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi, beginning teisho 2: "We Each Are Each Other" Saturday, July 20th, 1996 in the teisho series "Studying the Mystery", Commentaries on Shitou Xiqian's "Sandokai".

WWZC’s Response to Covid-19
(Zen and the Art of Washing Your Hands)

The first case of Covid-19 was recently reported in Ottawa. As this has now been declared a pandemic it is of crucial importance that we all do what we can to prevent the spread of the virus.  To prevent our healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed, we need to slow the rate of infection as much as possible and one way of doing this is to practice what is being called “social distancing”. This requires that you refrain from attending unnecessary social gatherings. 

Roshi and the Practice Council is monitoring the situation daily and following Health Canada and Ottawa Public Health advisories for public meeting spaces. They advise that “The best way to limit the spread of germs is by thorough, frequent hand washing (with soap or sanitizer); not touching the face, eyes or mouth; covering coughs and sneezes; getting your flu shot if you have not already received it; and staying home when sick.” 

At the monastery our over 30 years old daily practice of using lavender oil, which has antifungal and antibacterial properties for floor washing has been expanded and increased with the addition of a twice-daily disinfection of commonly handled or touched items and surfaces throughout the building. This includes disinfecting washrooms, handrails, doorknobs - any surface or item you might touch - with diluted bleach or a steramine solution. 

Use the opportunity to practise mindfulness in washrooms, by washing hands with soap for full 20 seconds. Make use of the bottles of hand sanitizer throughout the building. You could wash your hands before leaving home and then again at the monastery upon arrival and, of course, if you use the washrooms.

While the form for sneezing or coughing has been to simply cough against the back of a hand, the possibilities of infection are such that it is best to cough into the sleeve at the crook of the elbow. And of course, during kinhin or after the sitting ends, wash your hands again.

If you are sick, or decide that you want to avoid public spaces, please email us at schedule@wwzc.org to let us know you will not be attending at the monastery that particular day or week, and will be sitting zazen at home. If you have recently travelled internationally and feel at all unwell, it may be best to initially refrain from attending sittings at the monastery. If you do not come to the monastery for an extended period (more than three weeks), you can request to receive instruction through our Long-distance Training Program for the time being. We will arrange for email and/or telephone support of your practice, so that you will be able to receive instruction from practice advisors and Dharma Teachers during this time and your practice will not be interrupted. If you would like to do this, please send an email to schedule@wwzc.org.

While the Canadian situation with the Covid-19 pandemic is continually evolving, opening your attention will always allow you to respond most appropriately and see what needs to be done. 

Upcoming Events

March 25th, April 8th and 22nd.

March Two-day Sesshin
The March two-day sesshin will begin at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, March 13th and will end at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 15th. On Saturday, March 14th, associate and general students may attend a sitting held 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.

Keizan Ki
March 21st is the memorial for Keizan Jokin zenji.

The Roshi will begin a period of hermitage on Wednesday, April 1st, which will end at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 5th, when he leads monastics in Acalanatha Sadhana. 

Introduction to Zen Workshop
The next Introduction to Zen Workshop will take place at 1:45 p.m. on Saturday, April 4th. 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

Hanamatsuri Two-day Sesshin
The Hanamatsuri (Festival of Flowers) two-day sesshin begins on Friday, April 10th at 8:00 p.m., and will end at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 12th. On Saturday, April 11th, associate and general students may attend a sitting held 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.

The Roshi will begin a period of hermitage on Wednesday, April 29th, which will end at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 3rd, when he leads monastics in Acalanatha Sadhana. 


Beth Buerkle sat a one-day retreat on Thursday, March 5th at her home in Chamcook, New Brunswick. Thach Huang sat a two-day retreat from Thursday, March 5th to Saturday, March 7th at his home in Laval, Quebec. Mohamed Zakzouk sat a two-day retreat on Saturday, March 7th and Sunday, March 8th. Alex Bourne Sat a partial retreat on Tuesday, March 10th. 

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.


Congratulations and deep gassho to Jennifer McKnight, Carol Hodgson and Loic-Alexandre Ouellette who have been accepted as associate students by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi. Jennifer, Carol and Loic-Alexandre are all residents of Ottawa.

Congratulations and deep gassho to Aaron Ford of Calgary, Alberta on being accepted as a general public student by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi.

Recorded Teachings Schedule

Saturday, March 14th: "Every Breath You Take" by Ven. Shikai Zuiko o-sensei: "Putting on Lower Garments" (Dharma Talk 36)
Monday, March 16th: "The Dragon in His Waters, The Tiger in Her Mountains, Part 3" by Ven. Jinmyo Renge osho-ajari (3 of 3)
Thursday, March 19th: "Before Thinking: Foundations of Zen Practice" by Zen Master Anzan Hoshin: "Welcome" (42 of 71)
Saturday, March 21st: "Birth and Death: The Works": Zen Master Anzan Hoshin's Commentaries on Eihei Dogen zenji's "Zenki: Complete Activity" and "Shoji: Birth and Death": "Not a Problem" (3 of 9)

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 January 2020 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”:
          January 11th: “Rujing's Broken Broom of Mu”.
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

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
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

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

Hojo renovation funds raised to date: $13,035
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.

Shinjin datsuraku (J): “ Dropping through the bodymind” Completely beyond reference point. One of Dogen’s most important phrases. Refer to The Way of the Bodymind and other sources.

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


Japanese teapot on coals

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. 

Meals Prepared During the Week Prior to the Evening Sittings:

Monday Yakuseki:
Udon noodles with puffed deep-fried tofu and strips of red bell peppers in a sate sauce (blended caramelized Spanish onion, diced carrots, lime juice, tomato paste, peanut butter, cumin seeds, coriander, Madras curry powder); bok choy soup (vegetable stock, ginger, shoyu, sesame oil, sliced bok choy); chunks of Asian pear with lime juice and chili flakes. 

Tuesday Yakuseki:
Crusty rolls; roasted back bacon sliced and then finished on the griddle; tomato salad. Retreatant meal: Crusty roll, hummus, cheese and a tomato salad (sliced tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion, salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar.

Thursday Yakuseki:
Toasted naan with butter; black bean soup (cooked turtle beans, cubed potatoes, diced onion, minced garlic, chopped coriander, lots of black pepper, red balsamic vinegar, chipotle adobo); Napa cabbage salad (thinly sliced Napa cabbage, carrots, daikon, red onion) with a choice of white balsamic vinegar or sriracha mayonnaise.

Monk in gassho with begging hat

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 godo:
Thank you to Jinmyo osho for looking into the disinfecting and cleaning protocols that the monastery should undertake for Covid-19, and for sourcing the needed supplies.

From Endai shuso:
Thank you to Jinmyo osho for instruction on chanting and for leading Fusatsu, the Renewal of  the Precepts, this past Wednesday (and approximately every two weeks).  Thank you to Mishin godo for leading an introduction to Zen class for students from the University of Ottawa law school. Thank you to Fushin shramon for refinishing the handles of inkin bells and keisu gong strikers so that they can be used for many more years.

From Claude Schryer:
Thank you to Mishin godo for an insightful and humourful practice interview. I appreciated the corrections to my posture while sitting on a bench and the story about not driving, over and over, into a ditch... I  was also happy to be reminded that associate students can wear a kunsu at sittings.


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.