eMirror Vol 24, No. 27 (2020-07-03)


Young purple tamarack cones
Photograph by Nicolas Senbo Pham-Dinh

eMirror Vol 24, No. 27

Friday, July 3rd, 2020
Edited by Ven. Jinmyo Renge osho

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

In his Sandōkai he wrote:

Ultimate and relative: a box and its lid.
Ultimate and relative: two arrows meet in midair.

Bringing together what is seamlessly whole, we unfold ourselves as all beings and as no one at all. The ultimate, or the Aware Space which is active as all that is, is not opposed to that which arises within it. And that which arises within it is completely intimate with that Aware Space. They fit together.

Now actually I was somewhat confused about these lines when Roshi and I were translating them. In Japanese, they are: "Jison sureba kangai gasshi". Jison means "thing" or "event", "relative" or "content"; and sureba kangai gasshi means "box and lid". So it doesn't say "ultimate" at all anywhere. So I thought it meant something like, "As for things, they work together like a box and its lid: everything's okay, there's no problem. Everything fits together". And as for the next line: "Ri ōzureba senpō sasō". Again, it doesn't say ji or "relative", and so I thought it meant something like, "As for the ultimate, strike it in midair with…", and, it could be any kind of pointed thing. To understand the ultimate, it's right here at every point in space: just reach out. Any place that you strike with the sharp edge of insight opens and reveals that in which everything arises.

But Joshu roshi said that in the first line ri or "ultimate" is implied and in the second line ji or "relative" is implied. And so the lines actually mean: "Ultimate and relative: a box and its lid. Ultimate and relative: two arrows meet in midair."

The phrase "two arrows meeting in midair" is itself quite striking. It's a reference that Shitou is making to a phrase from a Daoist classic known as the Leizi 列子 in the Tang Wen 汤问 chapter. In there there is a story about a teacher and student. The teacher's name was Feiwei, or, in the Japanese translation, Higi; and the student was Jichang and in Japanese Kisho. Now Hige was a teacher of archery. Kisho studied with him, mastered his techniques, and then decided that if you were to only get rid of his teacher then there'd be no one that could compete with him. So one day, as Higi was strolling about the countryside, near a crossroads Kisho let loose an arrow. Hige instantly drew his bow and shot off another arrow, which struck Kisho's arrow from the air. The student had mastered the technique, but for the teacher there was no technique: it was simply an expression of spontaneous activity.

And of course everything is an expression of spontaneous activity – there is no “thing” that “does” anything at all. Everything is much more intimate than the relationship between a box and a lid. And this Intimacy is what we are and it is what this practice is.

-Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi, beginning teisho 4: "The Root of Your Life", Saturday, September 18th, 1996 in the teisho series "Studying the Mystery", Commentaries on Shitou Xiqian's "Sandokai".

Monastery Maintenance

The monastery requires a lot of maintenance because it is a very large 150 year-old building. Most of this is done by residents, but local students are really needed as well. Currently, no one other than residents is spending any time doing samu. 

For example, there are three porches that need scraping and painting before winter. Jinmyo osho (67 years of age) has started on this, but it’s too strenuous for her and needs someone much younger to work on it. There are also three large wooden benches that need scraping and painting. We need help with weeding, picking up trash and sweeping. We need help with watering the grounds and wiping off cobwebs, sills and railings. This is all outdoors work and we would organize it so that students are working alone in different areas of the grounds. If you can help, please send an email to schedule@wwzc.org and we will write to you to schedule a time that is convenient for you.

Your help would be very much appreciated as the monastics are working ‘overtime’ to provide the Sangha with instruction as well as corresponding with a growing number of people around the world whose local Buddhist centers have shut down, to provide them with long-distance training. The more time spent scraping and painting porches, the less time there is to provide instruction.

Upcoming Events

July 8th and 22nd

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

Yaza (all night sitting) will take place on Saturday, July 11th from 10 p.m. until Sunday July 12th at 8 a.m. 

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


Congratulations and deep gassho to Neil Faught of Oakville, Ontario on being accepted as a general public student by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi.


Rev. Chiso anagarika sat her weekly semi-retreat on Tuesday, June 30th in the Berkshires. Tracey Parker sat a one-day retreat on Thursday, June 25th and a half-day retreat on Wednesday, July 1st at her home in Perth, Ontario. Loic-Alexandre Ouellette sat a half-day retreat on Thursday, June 26th at his home in Gatineau, Ontario. Hannah Kent sat a partial retreat on Friday, June 25th at her home in Ottawa, Ontario. Thach Houang sat a half-day retreat on Sunday, June 28th at his home in Laval, Quebec. 

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, July 4th to Saturday, July 10th

Saturday, July 4th: “Bowing and Receiving”: Zen Master Anzan Hoshin's Commentaries on Dogen zenji's "Raihai Tokuzui: Bowing and Acquiring the Essence": "The Dragon Maiden" (8 of 13)
Sunday, July 5th: SAkN "Questioning the Enigma" by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi: "Dukkha is Bad Space" (4 of 4) 
Monday, July 6th: "The Sky Around the Clouds" by Ven. Jinmyo Renge osho-ajari: "The Sky Sits Up Straight" (1 of 2)
Thursday, July 8th: Before Thinking: Foundations of Zen Practice" by Zen Master Anzan Hoshin: "Samu" (57 of 71)
Saturday, July 10th: “Bowing and Receiving”: Zen Master Anzan Hoshin's Commentaries on Dogen zenji's "Raihai Tokuzui: Bowing and Acquiring the Essence": "Socks and Rice Cakes" (9 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.


Part of the monastery roof garden, photograph by Ven. Mishin Roelofs godo
Part of the monastery roof garden,
photograph by Ven. Mishin Roelofs godo

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. 


(Roughly four servings) 
Mujadara is a rice, lentil and onion dish that is Middle Eastern in origin. The lentil dish is served with a yogurt sauce and a green cabbage salad called “Malfouf”. 

Ingredients for the lentil dish:
½ cup of raisins or currants 
1 lemon (zest the lemon and set aside. Squeeze the lemon juice into another small bowl and set aside)
4 medium onions diced
1 cup green lentils washed
1 cup basmati rice washed
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 tsp. ground cumin
½ cup parsley 
Black pepper
Kosher salt

For the Yogurt sauce:
1 cup plain Greek yogurt (or Vegan yogurt)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ cup of coarsely chopped fresh parsley
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Black pepper

     Add the half cup of raisins or currants to the lemon juice and let them absorb it and plump up while you’re doing the following:
     You need to caramelize the onions so add some olive oil to a frying pan and heat over medium heat. Add the onions and a dash of salt. Stir frequently and cook until they are a caramel colour (golden brown).
     While the onions are cooking bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and add the lentils. Stir well, and then cook the lentils until they are al-dente (firm, but not ‘crunchy’) They will take about 20 minutes. If you soak them for a few hours first, they take less than 10 minutes, but you really need to keep an eye on them to stop them from over-cooking. Don’t let them over-cook or they’ll fall apart and turn to mush.
     Drain and then run cold water over them to stop them from cooking further. 
     Cook the rice in 1 ¼ cups of water and ½ a teaspoon of kosher salt. If you have a rice cooker, use that. If not, bring the salted water to a boil in a small pot. Add the rice, and then immediately put the lid on and turn the heat down to minimum. It will take about 25 minutes to cook pot rice.
     In a large, heavy bottom pan, heat 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil at medium-high. Add the spices (2 teaspoons of ground coriander and 2 teaspoons of ground cumin and cook until you can smell the spices (less than a minute). Don’t burn them. 
     Add the cooked rice to the spice mixture and stir. Add the lentils and stir. Add the caramelized onion and lemon zest and stir. Add the raisins and any remaining lemon juice. Add as much salt and pepper as you think it needs.

To make the yogurt sauce:
Mix 1 cup of plain yogurt (dairy or non-dairy) with about half a cup of roughly chopped fresh parsley. Mix in one tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil, half a teaspoon of coriander, and half a teaspoon of ground cumin. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer mujadara to a serving bowl and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve with the yogurt sauce on the side.



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 Mishin godo for the care and attention she has given the monastery roof garden thus far; to Saigyo ino for arranging for a repair to oven racks that didn’t fit properly and kept collapsing if anything heavy was placed on them; to Endai shuso for looking into ways to remove a pile of bricks from the monastery; to Fushin shramon for fine-tuning the repairs on the oven racks. Thank you to David Gallant for watering hedges and the plants in the rooftop garden.

From Endai shuso:
Thank you to the Roshi for presenting so many teisho over the past 35 years: a fabulous resource for all students. Thank you to Jinmyo osho, Mishin godo and Saigyo ino who provide distance instruction to an ever-increasing number of Sangha members. Thank you to Jinmyo osho for preparing many meals in addition to yakuseki on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday nights and Sunday brunch: in addition to being delicious, they make it much easier to work from the monastery. Thank you to Mishin godo for baking sourdough bread.