eMirror Vol 24, No. 22 (2020-05-29)


Spider on Dogen portrait, photograph by Ven. Mishin godo
Spider on Dogen portrait, photograph by Ven. Mishin godo

eMirror Vol 24, No. 22

Friday, May 29th, 2020
Edited by Ven. Jinmyo Renge osho

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

Old Stonehead says:

The four elements return to their own nature like a child to its mother.
Fire is hot, wind moves, water is wet, earth hard, 
eye sees, ear hears, nose smells, tongue tastes salt and sour.

In Japanese, this is:

Shidai no shō onozukara fukusu,
kono sono haha o uru ga gotoshi.
Hi wa nesshi, kaze wa dōyō,
mizu wa uruoi, chi wa kengo,
Manako wa iro, mimi wa onjō,
hana wa ka, shita wa kanso.

So, shidai means four great, and is a reference to the four mahabhutas, the four elements. In the Abhidhamma, the mahabhutas are a way of speaking of how what appears to be solid is an interaction of activities that have different qualities to them.

For example, fire is hot but fire ripens and matures: hi wa nesshi. Wind moves, is the quality of vibration: kaze wa dōyō. Water is wet but water also coheres, it is a quality of integrity, of something maintaining itself through the process of developing and moving: mizu wa uruoi. And earth is hard, the quality of surface: chi wa kengo. So these are the shidai, which of course we have studied in the context of the Maharahulavada Sutta and so we know these well, and we know that when we feel the step, feel the fingertips, and open to how this moment comes from nowhere and goes nowhere, but shines forth vividly and brilliantly, the shidai can give us a way of articulating some of the nuances, some of the details, of what opens for us. Shidai no shō: so, "four great", no is "of" and shō is "nature". Onozukara means "naturally" or "spontaneously". Fukusu to "resume". Kono is "child", haha is "mother", uru means "to obtain", and also "home", "to come home". And gotoshi means "like" or "as".

So that these first two lines would actually read something like, "Four great of nature naturally to resume; child mother home like as." Now you'll notice that in our translation we simply say "the four elements return to their own nature". There's something missing: the onozukara, which means "naturally" or "spontaneously". When Joshu roshi and I were working on these lines I of course wanted to translate it as something like, "The four elements are spontaneously resolved into reality." And Roshi said, "NO! People are CRAZY! You can't say that. You can't say 'spontaneously'. You can't say 'naturally'. It's not that simple. It's not that easy. It's SO easy that it is difficult, and crazy people want trouble. So DON'T say 'naturally', don't say 'spontaneously', or they don't know what to do. So he would just say, "HOSSU! Try! Try! Exert yourself! HOSSU!"

There are all kinds of ways of working with craziness. Joshu roshi's way was to take one's sense of struggle, of poverty, of fear, of anger, and rub your nose in it until you realized that it tickled, until you developed a sense of humour about how you continually caused yourself trouble.

He would say, "People are crazy: they're Buddhas but think they're assholes. Or they're assholes, and think they're Buddhas." So we left out the word 'naturally' or 'spontaneously'. And it's implied in any case: "The four elements return to their own nature like a child to its mother".

All things, all appearances, all activity, are the presentation of that which never moves. Everything that is known is completely and utterly intimate with Knowing. This is closer than the relationship between child and mother. Closer than any relationship at all because it is not a matter of one thing being related to another thing. It is the fact that there is nothing at all, and it is this which presents itself as this measureless richness of our lives.

Although there is only one thing that is ever going on, it presents itself in so many different ways: as heat, as motion, as moisture, as surfaces. For the eye, there are colours, and actually, "Manako wa iro": iro means "colour and form". So really, "Manako wa iro" would mean something like, "for (and this is implied) the eyes (then the implication of "there are", and then) colour and form." And similarly, "for ears, sounds", "for nose, fragrances", "for tongue, salty and sour tastes". But we want to emphasise the activity of seeing rather than something being seen. So: "eye sees, ear hears, nose smells, tongue tastes salt and sour".

-Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi, beginning teisho 3: "Waking Up is Not a Matter of 'Up'", Saturday, August 24th, 1996 in the teisho series "Studying the Mystery", Commentaries on Shitou Xiqian's "Sandokai".

Upcoming Events

June 3rd, June 24th.

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

June 7th is a day traditionally dedicated to Manjusri, a reminder of prajnaparamita.

June Two-day Sesshin
The June two-day sesshin will begin at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, June 12th, and will end at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 14th. 

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


Thach Hoang sat a retreat from 7:25p.m. on Friday, May 8th to 6:00p.m. on Sunday, May 10th at his home in Laval, Quebec. Tracey Parker sat a half-day retreat on Wednesday, May 27th at  her home in Perth, Ontario.

Carol Hodgon sat a one-day retreat on Thursday, May 14th at her home in Ottawa. Tracey Parker sat a half-day retreat on Saturday, May 16th and a partial retreat on Monday, May 18th at her home in Perth, Ontario.

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 30th to Saturday, June 6th

Saturday, May 30th: “Bowing and Receiving”: Zen Master Anzan Hoshin's Commentaries on Dogen zenji's "Raihai Tokuzui: Bowing and Acquiring the Essence": "The Right Teacher"(3 of 13)
Sunday, May 31st: SAkN "The Anatomy of Awakening" by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi "Feeling into Knowing: Sagara Mudra Samadhi" (9 of 9)
Monday, June 1st: "All Around, All At Once": part 3 "Unfabricated" by Ven. JinmyoRenge osho-ajari
Thursday, May 14th: “Before Thinking: Foundations of Zen Practice” by Zen Master Anzan Hoshin: “Waters Original Sound" (52 of 71)
Saturday, June 6th: “Bowing and Receiving”: Zen Master Anzan Hoshin's Commentaries on Dogen zenji's "Raihai Tokuzui: Bowing and Acquiring the Essence": Sincerity and the 'Worldly'" (4 of 13)

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.

Hiyayakko Tofu

Hiyayakko Tofu

This is a very simple dish that we have often prepared for retreatants during the summer months.

For the base, we use grated daikon. You will need to squeeze the water out of it with your hands if it’s very fresh. Make a slight indentation in the daikon and place a square of silken (soft) tofu in the middle of it. Top with sliced scallions. 

For the dressing, whisk together:
¼ cup shoyu (soy sauce)
⅛ cup mirin
Two tablespoons of lime juice (you can use rice vinegar if you don’t have lime juice)
A teaspoon of wasabi paste
Taste and add more mirin if you want it sweeter. 
Use a teaspoon to drizzle the dressing over the block of tofu so that it runs down the sides into the daikon. 

That dressing can also be used as a sauce for noodles or a dipping sauce.

Hands in gassho, black and white drawing

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 Shikai sensei for pieces of 100 percent cotton fabric she dyed and made available to make masks with. Thank you to Saigyo ino and Mishin godo for providing telephone instruction for associate and general students living in Ottawa and for public students (students who live at a distance from the monastery); to Saigyo ino for squirrel-proofing vegetables we have planted; to Mishin godo for researching container gardening and the work she has been doing to organize the basement pantry; to Endai shuso for picking up supplies for the monastery; to Fushin shramon for mixing a lot of soil with peat moss and for picking up supplies.

From Mishin godo:
Thank you to Anzan Hoshin roshi for the Lineage of Luminosity teisho on our Ancestor Shitou Zhiqian. To Jinmyo osho for leading the Sogaku-ki O-sesshin, and showing monastics how to maintain the integrity of practice with the flexibility to respond to the pandemic situation. To Saigyo ino for overseeing construction of a squirrel-proof chicken wire cage for the vegetable container garden. To Endai shuso for a trip to Richie's to pick up supplies. To Fushin shramon for drilling holes in five gallon pots for growing vegetables.

From Endai shuso:
Thank you to Jinmyo osho for instruction in daisan, for preparing meals for residents, and for shopping trips to buy food and supplies for the monastery.  Thank you to Mishin godo for researching the best ways to grow various vegetables and for tending them. Thank you to Saigyo ino for overseeing the construction of a protective barrier for the plants to keep them safe from squirrels, racoons and birds, and for doing most of the work to build it. Thank you to Fushin shramon for keeping bird feeders filled, and for samu to keep the monastery clean.

From Fushin shramon: 
Thank you to the Roshi for the Sogaku-ki O-Sesshin. Thank you to Jinmyo osho for extra and really great meals for residents. Thank you to Mishin godo for clearly broadcasting the forms so that is is easy to align.

From the Office of the Treasurer:
Thank you to Chunen angya for a donation to plants, flowers, and vegetables; to Saigyo ino and David Gallant for donations to shissui equipment; to Matt Broda for a donation to the Hojo renovation fund; to Bruce O'Roak and Julie Bechard for donations.