eMirror Vol 24, No. 18 (2020-05-01)


Roshi's gong in the Hatto, photograph by Ven. Fushin Comeau shramon
Photograph by Ven. Fushin Comeau shramon

eMirror Vol 24, No. 18

Friday, May 1st, 2020
Edited by Ven. Jinmyo Renge osho

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

The next lines begin to adopt another kind of terminology – this time, Buddhist in origin but a way of speaking that originated in China rather than in India. He says:

Grasping at things is delusion;
even "merging with the absolute" misses the point.

The term for "things" here is ji. Or in Chinese, shih. And the term "absolute" translates ri, or in Chinese, li. These terms were developed by Chengguan, the second ancestor of the Huayan school. There were already translations of Sanskrit terms such as fa, which translated the Sanskrit term dharma. But it was felt that the term "dharma" had a certain limitation to it. A dharma describes a component of what through our habitual modes of compressed perception and cognition we construe to be an entity, and so it means a fairly subtle aspect of experience. Ji, on the other hand, can mean a fairly subtle aspect of experience, but it can also mean a cup, it can mean an event, it can mean a name, it can mean a person, and so it plays much the same kind of function as my use of the term "content".

So, grasping at things is mayoi, delusion. Even satori, or merging with the absolute, misses the point. If we believe that there are things that can be grasped at, we are not attending to how our experience actually is. If we think that freedom comes from turning away from things, from forms, from experiences – then we are deluded by the same delusion that makes it seem as if there are things, objects, entities. Because we can speak in general terms, in abstractions, such as "stick", "stone", "room", "person", we tend to experience what we have named in this way as if they are examples of the abstraction that we have named them. If we believe that the absolute exists as some abstraction that stands apart and away from what arises as each and every one of us, then we've missed the point.

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

Upcoming Events

May 6th, May 20th.

The Roshi is currently in an extended period of "self-isolation" due to underlying health issues until the COVID-19 situation clarifies.

Beginning Instruction in Zen Practice:
For information concerning our Long-distance Training Program, please visit this Web Page: https://wwzc.org/long-distance-training-program

Sogaku-ki O-sesshin
The Sogaku-ki O-sesshin begins at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, May 15th and ends at noon on Friday, May 22nd. 

May 18th is the memorial for the death of Sogaku Myoshin Hakukaze daiosho, the 80th Lineage Ancestor and, it is said, the author of “Scattered Notes On The Daruma-kata”. Sogaku Hakukaze daisho lived during the Tokugawa era.  He received transmission from Manzan Dohaku daiosho and gave transmission to Anzan Daiko daiosho.

Fudo ennichi
May 26th is a day traditionally dedicated to Fudo Myo-o. Fudo Myo-o (J) Acala Vidyaraja (S) A manifestation of “Mahavairocana” or all pervading Awareness as a wrathful guardian figure; a symbol of boundless energy, determination and compassion. Used as a symbol of the Teacher’s mind in this Lineage. Fudo stands glaring and snarling like a demon; it holds the sword of insight in one hand and the cord of the Precepts in the other; it has chained itself to a rock in the midst of the raging flames of the deepest hell to work for the liberation of all beings there.


Tracey Parker sat a half-day retreat on Monday, April 27th at her home in Perth, Ontario. 
Beth Buerkle sat a one-day retreat in her home in Chamcook, New Brunswick on April 30th. 

Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, it is not possible at this time to schedule retreats in the monastery. If you would like to sit a retreat at home please follow the schedule outlined in this page:  https://wwzc.org/retreat-schedule-public-students. We can arrange for a telephone interview or daisan providing this does not conflict with the sesshin or O-sesshin schedule listed above, under “Upcoming Events”. 

Listening to Teisho

​Associate and general students should continue to follow the recorded Teachings schedule for the sitting you were attending at the monastery, and listen to that during your home practice. 

You can access the online Recorded Teachings Library at wwzc.org/recorded-teachings-schedule.

You can also use the streaming site at app.wwzc.org to live stream recordings from the online Library. If you have forgotten your password or need assistance with accessing the recorded Teachings, please email schedule@wwzc.org.

Please note that teisho should be listened to in the correct order and with none missed out as themes, metaphors, questions raised and answered evolve in spirals throughout the series.

Recorded Teachings Schedule

Saturday, May 2nd: "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 Over or After or Under or Inner" (8 of 9)
Sunday, May 3rd: SAkN: "The Anatomy of Awakening" by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi "Mudra" (7 of 9)
Monday, May 4th: “The Tiny Book of Stopping and Looking” by Ven. Shikai Zuiko o-sensei: “Vipashyana” (Dharma Talk 2 of 3)
Thursday, May 7th: “Before Thinking: Foundations of Zen Practice” by Zen Master Anzan Hoshin: “Saying the Word Fire Does Not Burn the Mouth" (48 of 71)
Saturday, May 9th: "Birth and Death: The Works": Zen Master Anzan Hoshin's Commentaries on Eihei Dogen zenji's “Zenki: Complete Activity” and “Shoji: Birth and Death”: "Simply Be Awake" (9 of 9)

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

Newly Posted Transcript on the WWZC Website

"Zen is Not Kidding" by Shikai Zuiko sensei https://wwzc.org/dharma-text/zen-not-kidding

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



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.

Shinnen (J) “Truly human” or “true person”.

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

Office of the Tenzo

We will discontinue the list of meals prepared prior to evening sittings and instead post recipes or information about food that we hope you will find useful during this period of social distancing.

Creamy Chickpea Soup (non-dairy)

To make four servings you will need:
One tin chickpeas
Vegetable stock (or water if you don’t have stock)
One medium-sized onion (red, white or Spanish)
One clove of garlic
Salt and black pepper to taste
⅓ teaspoon ground cumin
A pinch of cayenne
½ teaspoon dried thyme
⅓ teaspoon dried Rosemary
½ teaspoon red wine vinegar or whatever vinegar you have on hand.
Cooking oil of your choice

Chop the onion into chunks. Add a little oil to a pan and on medium-high heat, cook the onions with a pinch of salt until they become golden-brown (lightly caramelized).
Tip the onions, chickpeas (and the liquid they’re packed in) and 4 cups of vegetable stock or water into a blender. 
Whir, whir, whir, until very smooth.
Place a mesh sieve on top of a pot that has a heavy bottom and pour the blended chickpea/onion mixture through the sieve.
Heat on medium high and then add the seasonings (cumin, thyme, rosemary, cayenne black pepper).
Add the vinegar, give it a good stir and then taste. You’ll most likely need to adjust the salt level. Add a little at a time and taste as you go. If you want to increase the heat level, add more cayenne.

Serve with a garnish of chopped parsley or add some finely chopped scallions for colour.
Bread would complete the protein. And for more colour, you could also serve it with a tomato salad (chopped tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion, capers, salt, pepper, a drizzle of olive oil and some white balsamic vinegar).

I didn’t consider myself to be a proficient cook until I learned how to use less than ‘choice’ ingredients, including leftovers, in keeping with this passage from the  “Tenzo kyokun: Instructions for the Tenzo by Eihei Dogen zenji” (translated by Anzan Hoshin roshi and Yasuda Joshu Dainen roshi). 

“In preparing food never view it from the perspective of usual mind or on the basis of feeling-tones. Taking up a blade of grass erect magnificent monasteries, (Hoo-setsu; Buddha-ksetra. This term could be used for the Field of Awakening of a Buddha or the temple of a Buddha),  turn the Wheel of Reality within a grain of dust. If you only have wild grasses with which to make a broth, do not disdain them. If you have ingredients for a creamy soup do not be delighted. Where there is no attachment, there can be no aversion. Do not be careless with poor ingredients and do not depend on fine ingredients to do your work for you but work with everything with the same sincerity. If you do not do so then it is like changing your behaviour according to the status of the person you meet; this is not how a student of the Way is”.

The rice dish, photographed above, is an Indian-style fried rice and complete protein that I put together from leftover brown rice with butter and peas, leftover white rice with daikon topping made with hot sauce, some wilted bell peppers, a tin of green lentils, a rubbery carrot, some ageing onions, and a few other ingredients. And there are never any leftovers from these leftovers because everybody really likes fried rice. You can prepare rice for this or start with leftover rice. Any kind of rice is fine, but it shouldn’t be too wet or ‘claggy’. 

Ingredients (new or leftover, wilted or pristine)
Chop lots of onion into spoon-sized pieces
Cube a couple of potatoes.
Dice a carrot.
Mince some ginger and garlic (not a lot - maybe ½ teaspoon of each).
If you have other vegetables to use up, go ahead - chop them up into spoon-sized pieces.
A tin of lentils or a tin of chickpeas (whatever you have on hand).
You will also need:
Curry powder (you could make it yourself or use store-bought. It really doesn’t matter for this dish).
Garam masala.  
Butter (or a butter substitute).
A light oil such as bran oil or canola.

Start by melting some butter in a wok or large frying pan. Add a bit of oil to the butter to stop it from burning.
Sautee the potatoes and carrots with a little salt until about half-cooked and then add the chopped onion, ginger and garlic. Continue cooking until the mixture is cooked through and golden brown. 
Turn the heat down.
Add a teaspoon of curry powder.
Add a teaspoon of garam masala.
You may need to add more butter or oil to stop the spices from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
When the spices cook enough that you can smell them very clearly, add the rice.
Drain and add the lentils or chickpeas.
Add chopped red bell pepper and continue to cook for two or three minutes.
Add raisins, stir well.

Now taste it. Does it taste good? Yes? Okay, leave it alone.
Does it need more salt? More butter? Add a little at a time, mix and taste. 
Does it need more spicing? Add curry powder and/or garam masala until it tastes good to you. 
Now go away and do the dishes. Come back and taste it again. Add more salt or spices as needed and serve.
You could serve this as a one-bowl meal. Or pair it with a soup or salad. Fresh coriander makes a nice garnish.


Hands in gassho, photograph

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 the Roshi for telephone dokusan; to Shikai sensei for baking advice; to Mishin godo for treasurer’s work, administration, helping with food preparation, with planting crops for our rooftop garden, and for helping me to organize the basement pantry. Thank you to Saigyo ino, Fushin shramon and Endai shuso for all of the work they have done to build a deck on the flat roof so that we can grow some vegetables. 

From Saigyo ino:
Thank you to the Roshi for the teisho series "Birth and Death: The Works'' which general students are listening to as part of their home practice during this time of self-isolation. It's a wonderful series. Thank you to Shikai sensei for sewing repairs to a favorite pair of trousers. Thank you to Jinmyo osho for leading the morning sittings during this lock-down period and for extensive organization in the monastery kitchen. Thank you to Mishin godo for sourcing protective covering for seedlings during the colder nights. Thank you to Endai shuso for trips to pick up monastery supplies and for tidying in the grounds. Thank you to Fushin shramon for organization in the attic which makes stored items so easy to find.

From Endai shuso
Thank you to the Roshi for refining the traditional Zen forms used in practice halls that are such important tools for practice. Thank you to Jinmyo osho for sprouting and transplanting seedlings of all kinds for the monastery vegetable garden and for instructions on baking. Thank you to Saigyo ino for designing and building a new deck. Thank you to Fushin shramon for samu on Monday and Thursday evenings and in the late morning on Saturday to keep Dainen-ji and the grounds clean and bright.

From Deshi Frank Tettsu Woods:
Thank you to the Roshi who designed and visualized the Harrow Zazenkai zendo, creating a strong practice environment that is light and spacious. Thank you to Saigyo ino who constructed and lacquered the Butsudan during a short weekend. And thank you to Kail Shanker for shopping online for much needed groceries to be delivered, for his patience and kindness in working with a sometimes grumpy old man.

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.