eMirror Vol 25, No. 10 (2021-03-05)

Zhaozhou Congshen, scroll painting
Zhaozhou Congshen, scroll painting

eMirror Vol 25, No. 10

Friday, March 5th, 2021
Edited by Ven. Jinmyo Renge osho

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

And now Dogen comments on both Xuedou and Zhaozhou:

You should know that, while Zhaozhou may be an old Buddha, if Xuefeng were not endowed with the power of an old Buddha, it would have been hard for him to realize the secret of an audience with an old Buddha. Relying on the old Buddha and studying the old Buddha, there is the concentrated effort that is "beyond speech."1 This is the old man Xuefeng, a great person. One who is not an old Buddha cannot be compared and is not the same as the everyday style of an old Buddha and the deportment of an old Buddha. And so in studying through practice Zhaozhou's attainment which is "good at the beginning, middle, and end,"2 we should study the lifespan3 of the old Buddha.

Zhaozhou Congshen lived from 778-897 and so was 119 when he died. Xuedou Zhongxian lived from 982-1052 and was the one who made the collection of one hundred cases and capping verses that Yuanwu made into the Blue Cliff Records, as mentioned earlier. I have already described many aspects of their vast teaching activities in Turning the Wheel of the Way and other series so I will not go into much here except to discuss the last line of Dogen's text.

The phrase "good at the beginning, middle, and end," is a reference to the Lotus sutra as is studying the lifespan of the old Buddha. Nyorai Juryo or the Lifetime of the Tathagata is the sixteenth chapter of the Lotus sutra. In this chapter Sakyamuni Buddha, or at least the character Sakyamuni in the text, says that, "it has been immeasurable boundless hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of nayutas of kalpas since I in fact attained Buddhahood." Sakyamuni is revealed to be not quite eternal but to be of unfathomable longevity, appearing as a human being, but all the while transcending the birth, life, and death of the man called Sakyamuni.

Zhaozhou's lifespan of 119 years is nothing compared to immeasurable boundless hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of nayutas of kalpas. But throughout his life, this old Buddha maintained the way of the old Buddhas. From when he was eighteen until he was fifty-seven he stayed with his Master Nanquan Puyuan until Nanquan's death. After three years of mourning he set off on a pilgrimage of twenty years, meeting with other Dharma-heirs of Nanquan and other Masters. When he was eighty he became the abbot of a small monastery and taught there for forty years. What is extraordinary about this is not just his longevity but the sheer continuity of Zhaozhou's realized-practice. Although he was an ordinary person who became tired and had stiff joints and lived a real life he was inexhaustible in his efforts to maintain and express the way of the old Buddhas. Even though, like an ordinary person, he died and then his Lineage died out after another generation during the Tang dynasty's decay into feudal warfare and government purges against Buddhism we still speak of him and can learn from him. This is the kind of old Buddha that I can venerate.

And like all true Buddhas, the only way to venerate them is to do as they did and realize what they realized.
Please, this evening, enjoy yourselves.

1 Futowa.
2 Shochugo-zen. A reference to the Lotus sutra.
3 Juryo. Another reference to the Lotus sutra, chapter sixteen, the Nyorai Juryo or Lifetime of the Thus Come One.

-Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi, concluding 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

March 10th and 31st.

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

March 21st is the memorial for Keizan Jokin zenji.

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, March 2nd at her home in the Berkshires. Probationary Deshi Leonardo Nobrega sat a two day retreat on Saturday, February 27th and Sunday, February 28th. Elizabeth Eve sat a one-day retreat on Thursday, February 25th at her home in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Chantal Maheu sat a two-day retreat on Friday, February 26th and Saturday, February 27th at her home in Alymer, Quebec. Tarik Kaya sat a half-day retreat on Saturday, February 27th at his home in Ottawa, Ontario. Brian Lakeman sat a one-day retreat on Sunday, February 28th at his home in Brampton, Ontario. Marc Valade sat a half-day retreat on Monday, March 1st 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, March 6th to Saturday, March 13th

Saturday, March 6th: “Turning the Wheel of the Way” by Zen Master Anzan Hoshin: “Fachang's Stupa” (teisho 15 of 44)
Sunday, March 7th: SAkN: Infinite Infinities by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi: "Huntun's Faceless Face" (4 of 7)
Monday, March 8th: “Every Breath You Take” by Ven. Shikai Zuiko o-sensei: “Receiving Guidance from a Practice Advisor" (Dharma Talk 24)
Thursday, March 11th: "Freedom and Tyranny" by Ven. Shikai Zuiko o-sensei: "Mondo (Discussion)" (2 of 4)
Saturday, March 13th: “Turning the Wheel of the Way” by Zen Master Anzan Hoshin: “Hard Luck Stories” (teisho 16 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.

Shinsõ o totonu (J) Harmonize the mind.

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

Japanese Teapot on flames

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:
Lo mein noodles with garlic sauce (reduced sodium soy sauce, lots of garlic, sambal oelek, vegetarian oyster sauce, grated ginger, sesame oil); strips of deep-fried tofu with sliced shitake, crimini and oyster mushrooms in a mild chili sauce; salad of frisee, Romaine lettuce, radishes, celery, thinly sliced red onion and chopped tomatoes with apple cider vinegar dressing (Apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, mayonnaise, salt and black pepper.)

Tuesday Yakuseki:
Mixed grain (Lundberg Farms short-grain brown rice, arborio rice, calrose medium-grain white rice, Chinese rice); tonkatsu (pork loin slices dipped in flour, beaten egg and panko, deep-fried to a golden brown), served with tonkatsu sauce (Asian pears, Spanish onion, shoyu, Worcestershire sauce, sesame oil); shredded green cabbage.

Thursday Yakuseki:
Korean short-grain white rice; Miso/gojuchang soup (sliced Napa cabbage and white onion, minced ginger and garlic, vegetable stock, lime juice, sliced deep-fried tofu, and chopped green chard; sauteed strips of poblano, green beans and snow peas with garlic, salt and pepper; baechu kimchi.

Drawing of a monk alms bowl, bell, and 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 Tracey Parker for transcribing the teisho series "Luminosity (On Dogen zenji's Komyo)".

From the Office of the Treasurer:
Thank you to Graham Mayeda, Adda Hernandez, and Pablo Esteve for donations.