eMirror Vol 25, No. 13 (2021-03-26)

"Teacher and Student", Photograph two birds in the snow by Ven. Fushin Comeau shramon
"Teacher and Student",
Photograph by Ven. Fushin Comeau shramon

eMirror Vol 25, No. 13

Friday, March 26th, 2021
Edited by Ven. Jinmyo Renge osho

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

[Keizan zenji continues:]

Now, about the koan of the "Teaching of the insentient." This began when a worker asked the National Teacher Nanyang, "I have heard that you say that insentient things teach. I don't understand this. Will you teach me about it?" The Teacher said, "If you are asking about the Teaching of the insentient, you must understand the insentient. Then you will be able to hear what I am Teaching. Just ask about the Teaching of the insentient."

The worker said, "Well, up until now I have been trying to understand the expedient methods for sentient beings. How are insentient beings related to this?"

The Teacher said, "When the twin streams of ‘common' and ‘holy' are not coming and going in all moment to moment activity, this is the subtle mind which is not caught in the realm of existence or non-existence. It is still clearly perceiving and knowing, but is not clouded by sentimentality or binding attachments. This is what the Sixth Ancestor meant when he said that ‘The mind which discerns sensory objects is not Awareness.'"

When the National Teacher spoke of the Teaching of the insentient he was saying that as long as the "common" and "holy" do not come up and go in the midst of activity this is the subtle mind which is not within the realms of existence or non-existence yet is completely aware. People think that "insentient" means things such as walls, stones, lanterns, and posts, but this is not what he was talking about. He means that there is a subtle mind in which the views of holiness and common are undivided and sentimental grasping at "delusions" and "enlightenments" does not arise. Thus it cannot be known through emotional judgements or discriminations. It is not the motion of coming and going, birth and death. This subtle mind is clearly perceiving and knowing but it is not attached to emotions or thoughts.

Thus Dongshan said that you must know it like this to merge with things as they are. If you know that, wherever you go, nothing goes along with you, and you will never be apart from suchness. Thus an ancient said, "There is nothing to know outside of suchness that can be proven by suchness, there is no suchness that can be known through accumulated knowledge." Suchness is unmoving and constantly clear knowing. Thus it is said, "Round and clear, knowing does not depend upon thinking." Fully aware is being without attachments.

Guishan said, "It cannot be explained in words."

Nanyang said, "If sentient beings hear it, they are not sentient beings."

Having thus received such guidance from these Teachers, Dongshan truly understood the "insentient" and became the founder of a school of Zen and brought it to flourish.

Look carefully and you will know this subtle mind which is called unmoving or insentient. Nanyang taught this point in detail, so when you hear about the "insentient" don't misunderstand and start thinking about fences or walls. If your thoughts and feelings are not confused or grasped after, and your perceptions are not scattered and random, then this subtle mind will shine unclouded and clearly aware. If you try to grab at this, you won't get it. It is without any form and so is not existent. If you try to escape it, you will never be able to seperate yourself from it. Since it is always with you, it is not non-existent. It is not knowledge or thoughts; it is not entangled within the elements of body or mind. This is why Zen Master Hongzhi said that, "There is a wisdom apart from conceptual judgement and discrimination; there is a body which is not the collection of elements." In other words, it is this subtle awareness.

"Always clearly Teaching," means that it is always expressing itself and this is called "Teaching." It makes you raise the eyebrows and blink, it makes you walk, stand, sit, and lie down. Running around, being born here and dying there, eating when hungry, sleeping when tired, are all this "Teaching." Talking and working, every activity is also "Teaching."

It is not just oral or silent Teaching. There is something completely obvious and clearly exposed. Everything, including the chirping of insects, is revealed. And so everything is always Teaching, clearly and ceaselessly.

Look into this closely and you will one day be an example for others as was our ancestor Dongshan.

Now what can I say about this point?

This subtle and mysterious mind has no grasping
and always teaches Suchness in every way.

-Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi, continuing the teisho "Subtle and Mysterious Mind", Tuesday, February 15th, 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 31st, April 14th and April 28th.

Hanamatsuri Two-day Sesshin:
The Hanamatsuri two-day sesshin will begin on Friday, April 9th at 8:00 p.m., and will end on Sunday, April 11th at 6:00 p.m. 

Hanamatsuri, the "Festival of Flowers" commemorating the birth of Sakyamuni Buddha is on April 14th.

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 23rd at her home in the Berkshires. Chantal Maheu sat a one-day retreats on Friday, March 19th and Monday, March 22nd at her home in Alymer, Quebec. Tarik Kaya sat a half-day retreat on Saturday, March 20th at his home in Ottawa, Ontario. Mario Delilse sat a half-day retreat on Friday, March 19th at his home in Val-des-Monts, 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”.

Recorded Teachings Schedule

Saturday, March 27th to Saturday, April 3rd

Saturday, March 27th: “Turning the Wheel of the Way” by Zen Master Anzan Hoshin: “Your Hair's On Fire" (teisho 18 of 44)
Sunday, March 28th: SAkN: Infinite Infinities by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi: "Practising Infinite Infinities: Sagara Mudra Instruction" (6 of 7)
Monday, March 29th: “Every Breath You Take” by Ven. Shikai Zuiko o-sensei: “When Entering a Hall" (Dharma Talk 27)
Thursday, April 1st: "Mind the Gap" by Ven. Shikai Zuiko o-sensei 
Saturday, April 3rd: “Turning the Wheel of the Way” by Zen Master Anzan Hoshin: “This Intimate Place" (teisho 19 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.

Shinrei (J) The sequence of morning bells signaling the beginning of the day at a Zen temple.

Posted March 19th, 2021. New entries are posted every two weeks.

Chard, photograph by Ven. Mishin godo
Chard, photograph by Ven. Mishin 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 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:
Penne with garlic/butter sauce and baby green peas; large portobello mushrooms seasoned and then topped with friulano cheese, roasted; salad of frisee and red leaf lettuce, tomatoes, celery, radishes and pitted black olives; apple cider vinegar dressing (apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, mayonnaise, salt and black pepper). 

Tuesday Yakuseki:
Fried rice (Chinese and basmati rice, chopped onion, scallions, ginger and garlic, scrambled egg, vegetarian oyster sauce and hoisin sauce, shoyu), Hot and sour soup (Chinese dried black mushrooms, dried tree ear mushrooms, dried lily buds, cooked lotus root, water chestnuts, Chinese dried white fungus, dark shoyu, black vinegar, light shoyu, brown sugar, sesame oil, lots of white pepper, chopped scallions, chopped fresh coriander, thickened with cornstarch); baechu kimchi.

Thursday Yakuseki:
Garlic noodles (lo mein noodles with lots of minced garlic and ginger, sambal oelek, dark shoyu, light shoyu, pinch of sugar); deep-fried tofu triangles with seared poblano and red bell peppers in a tamarind sauce (tamarind extract, HP sauce, and tomato paste, minced garlic and ginger); assorted Asian greens cooked with butter and Memmi sauce.


Monk in gassho - 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 Mishin godo:
Thank you to Anzan Hoshin roshi for the teisho series "Luminosity (On Dogen zenji's 'Komyo') and the many hundreds of Dharma texts by our Indian, Chinese and Japanese Lineage Ancestors that he has translated so that Teachings from the past 2600 years are available to us now. Thank you to George Donovan for picking up an order of archiving supplies from Staples and to Daryl David for picking up the monastery's Bulk Barn order. 

From Fushin shramon:
Thank you to the Roshi for the March sesshin. Thank you to Mishin godo for experimenting with meals and preparing them on Sundays for residents.

From David Gallant:
Thank you to Jinmyo osho for extensive and illuminating instruction on a variety of topics this week in daisan. Thank you to Mishin godo for her ongoing efforts as Treasurer. Thank you to Saigyo ino for leading the Sunday afternoon samu periods.

From Alex Bourne:
Thank you to Mishin godo and Saigyo ino for regular telephone practice interviews during the pandemic. 

From Marc Valade:
Thank you to the Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi, and all those who contributed to its publication, for The Straight Path. Zen Teachings On the Foundations of Mindfulness. Thank you to Mishin godo and Saigyo ino for periodic phone practice interviews that help me maintain my practice and clarify my misunderstandings. 

From the Office of the Treasurer: 
Thank you to Adda Hernandez for a donation.