eMirror Vol 25, No. 07 (2021-02-12)

Mountain zenga by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi
Snow covered rupa on Dainen-ji's front porch,
Photograph by Ven. Mishin Roelofs godo

eMirror Vol 25, No. 7

Friday, February 12th, 2021
Edited by Ven. Jinmyo Renge osho

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

Dogen says,

Sushan said, "There's an old Buddha on Dayu Peak and his radiance penetrates even here." We should know that Sushan has already met the old Buddha and should not seek him elsewhere. Dayu Peak is where the old Buddha is. One who is not themselves an old Buddha cannot know where the old Buddha is. To know where an old Buddha is you must be an old Buddha.

Sushan Guangren lived from 837-909. He was a Dharma-heir of Dongshan Liangjie but also studied with Guishan Da'an after Dongshan's death. He was often known as Uncle Dwarf and he is a major character in Rhythm and Song. The Jingde Chuandenglu says:

Amongst all of Dongshan's students Guangren had a natural power in displaying the innermost mystery. His fellow students were as impressed by him as if he could chew the iron tip of an arrow. Whenever they wanted to clarify a question about the various depths of practice they said, "Let's just go and ask Uncle Dwarf."

Sushan was certainly an old Buddha.

The phrase "There's an old Buddha on Dayu Peak and his radiance penetrates even here" is wonderful. However it is drawn from a koan that is not particularly interesting. Here it is as Sanbyakusoku Shobogenzo Case 97:

There was a monk who was planning to build a monument to Master Sushan Guangren. Having finished his plan, he went to tell his master.

Master Sushan asked the monk, "How much money will you pay the builder?"

The monk said, "It is entirely up to you."

The master replied, "Should you pay him three coins, two coins, or only one? If you can answer me, you can start to build the monument immediately."

The monk didn't have an answer.

At this time Master Luoshan Daoxian was living in a hut on Dayu Peak. The monk went to Master Luoshan and told him the story.

Master Luoshan asked, "Was anyone able to answer the Master?"

The monk said, "No one could answer him."

Master Luoshan said, "Go back to Master Sushan and say, ‘If you give three coins to the builder, the Master will surely not see the monument during his lifetime. If you pay the builder two coins, the Master and the builder will be able to join hands. If you pay the builder only one coin, the builder will work reluctantly and the Master's eyebrows and beard will fall out before it is finished.'"

The monk went straight back to Master Sushan and repeated these words. When Master Sushan heard this, he drew himself together in a dignified manner and prostrated in the direction of Dayu Peak, saying, "I had thought there was no one around who realized the truth, but in fact there is an old Buddha on Dayu Peak, and his radiance penetrates even here.'"

Master Sushan told the monk, "Go back to Dayu Peak and say this, ‘The Master's words are like finding a lotus blossom in December.'"

The monk went back to Master Luoshan and reported those words to him.

Master Luoshan said, "I spoke my words and his response was lightening-quick. The hair on the tortoise has sprung out three feet!"

So, this is not really much of a koan. If you pay the builder too excessively, he will just run off with the cash. If you pay too little, the builder will work grudgingly. So, as with most things, it is best to find the right balance. Luoshan's remark about the tortoise is just a Chinese folk-saying. A tortoise is of course slow and hairless, and yet here it suddenly grows a three foot long hair.

-Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi, beginning the teisho "Assorted Old Buddhas", Monday, February 14th, 1990, at Dainen-ji, in the series "The Primordially Awakened Way: commentaries on Eihei Dogen zenji's Kobutsushin: The Old Buddha Mind".

Upcoming Events

February 24th.

Nehan O-sesshin
The Nehan 7-day O-sesshin will begin at 8 p.m. on Friday, February 12th, and will end at noon on Friday, February 19th.

A Note to Preliminary and Public Students Concerning O-sesshin
During an O-sesshin the schedule is such that there is no time to reply to email correspondence sent by public students. Public students are asked to send their weekly practice journals, as they will be reviewed. But unless there is something that needs an immediate reply, you will not receive an email reply until the week following the O-sesshin.

Commemoration of the Buddha’s Death (Nehan-e) February 15th.

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


Rev. Chiso anagarika sat her weekly semi-retreat on Tuesday, February 9th at her home in the Berkshires. Beth Buerkle sat a one-day retreat on Thursday, February 4th at her home in Chamcook, New Brunswick. Thach Huang sat a two-day retreat from Friday, February 5th to Sunday, February 7th at his home in Laval, Quebec. Tarik Kaya sat a one-day retreat on Saturday, February 6th at his home in Ottawa, 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”.

Recorded Teachings Schedule

Saturday, February 13th to Saturday, February 20th

Saturday, February 13rd: “Turning the Wheel of the Way” by Zen Master Anzan Hoshin: “Giving and Receiving Tracelessness” (teisho 12 of 44)
Monday, February 15th: “Every Breath You Take” by Ven. Shikai Zuiko o-sensei: “Taking Refuge in the Teachings" (Dharma Talk 21)
Thursday, February 18th: “The Tiny Book of Stopping and Looking” by Ven. Shikai Zuiko o-sensei: “Vipashyana” (Dharma Talk 2 of 3)
Saturday, February 20th: “Turning the Wheel of the Way” by Zen Master Anzan Hoshin: “The Old Buddhas” (teisho 13 of 44)

Listening to Teisho and Dharma Talks

​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.


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


Ma Ka Hannya Ha Ra Mitta Shin Gyo, Japanese characters

Painted Cakes
(do not satisfy hunger)

Begun by Ven. Shikai Zuiko sensei
Finished by Rev. Fushin Comeau shramon following her death

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.

Shinfukatoku (J): Ungraspable Knowing. Also an essay by Dogen zenji in his Shobogenzo.

Posted February 5th, 2021. New entries are posted every two weeks.

"Tenzo" sho by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi
"Tenzo" sho by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi

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. The following meals were prepared for residents on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings this week:

Monday Yakuseki:
Baked polenta (cornmeal mixed with milk, water, parmesan, olive oil then baked and cut into squares); mushroom ragu (sliced cremini mushrooms, diced tomatoes, minced garlic, olive oil, dried thyme, black pepper, mushroom stock); salad (green leaf lettuce, chopped tomatoes, celery, and radishes) with dressing (canola oil, apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, honey, salt, pepper).

Tuesday Yakuseki:
Mashed potatoes (yukon gold potatoes, butter, broth, whipping cream, salt, pepper). Sauteed kale with red wine vinegar. Meat option: roasted sliced mild and hot Italian sausages with sliced onions and red bell peppers, oregano. Vegetarian option: Beyond Beef vegetarian sausages sauteed with sliced spanish onion, poblano, and red bell pepper, rice bran oil, oregano, minced garlic, salt, pepper. 

Thursday Yakuseki:
Mixed grain (Korean rice, pearl barley, Thai short grain rice); bulgogi tofu (deep fried tofu, chopped spanish onion, poblano and red bell peppers, minced garlic and ginger, bulgogi sauce, shoyu, black vinegar, sesame seeds, black pepper); sauteed greens (dai gai choy, swiss chard, thinly sliced garlic, sesame oil, shoyu, lime juice, cornstarch, water); pickled daikon, carrots, and red onions (matchsticks of daikon, carrots, and red onion pickled with minced jalapeno, water, vinegar, salt, sugar).

Animated drawing of a monk striking the han, a hanging wooden block

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 overseeing the practice of the entire Sangha (monastics included); for thousands of Dharma Talks and teisho that present Teachings for beginning, intermediate and advanced students, and for the countless hours he spent translating texts and researching historical data concerning the Teachers of our Lineage. Only a fraction of these are currently available on our Media Site.