eMirror Vol 25, No. 19 (2021-05-07)

Spring in Dainen-ji's grounds, Photograph by Ven. Fushin Comeau shramon
Spring in Dainen-ji's grounds,
Photograph by Ven. Fushin Comeau shramon

eMirror Vol 25, No. 19

Friday, May 7th, 2021
Edited by Ven. Jinmyo Renge osho

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

Dogen zenji says,

We say "the old mind" because Awareness is primordial. Because the "mind Buddha" is always old, the old mind is "a chair," "bamboo and wood." It is "impossible to find a single person anywhere on this vast earth who understands the Dharma"; it is "What do you call this, Master?"

Dogen is referring here to a koan that appears as Sanbyakasoku Shobogenzo Case 112:

One day, Master Guichen of Dizeng temple was asked by Master Xuansha Shibei, "People say that the three worlds are only mind. How do you understand this?"

Master Guichen pointed to a chair and said, "What do you call this, Master?"

Master Xuansha said, "A chair."

Master Guichen said, "You, Master, do not understand that the three worlds are only mind."

Master Xuansha said, "I call this bamboo and wood. What do you call it?"

Master Guichen said, "I also call it bamboo and wood."

Master Xuansha said, "Throughout the vast earth it is impossible to find someone who understands the Buddha Dharma."

Dizeng Guichen lived from 869-928. He studied with Xuefeng Yicun but awoke under Xuefeng's heir Xuansha Shibei, who lived from 835-908. Xuansha asks Dizeng Guichen about the saying that three worlds of fixation, form, and formlessness are actually just aspects of mind, are only viewpoints. Dizeng's response is a good one. He points to something actual and asks his Master what he would call it, if everything is after all only mind. Xuansha of course calls it a chair because that is what one calls old Buddha mind when it does this. Dizeng Guichen doesn't understand and thinks he has beaten Xuansha. Xuansha presses further saying, "I call this bamboo and wood. What do you call it?" What can be called a chair, can also be called by the materials it is composed of. Each thing is always composed of many things and is also often involved in the composition of many other things. Many schools of Buddhist logic and debate have a strategy of pointing out the insubstantiality of what is often viewed as a solid thing by looking at the components. Following along after Xuansha, Dizeng looks at the thing and says, "Me too." Master Xuansha said, "Throughout the vast earth it is impossible to find someone who understands the Buddha Dharma."

This was not only a chiding of Dizeng. Xuansha is also saying that understanding the Buddha Dharma involves knowing more intimately than mere knowledge about something allows and that the Dharma is not understood when there is someone being knowledgeable. And so Dogen ends his citation by returning to the question, "What do you call this, Master?"

-Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi, continuing the teisho "The Buddha Old", Wednesday, February 16th, 2005, at Dainen-ji, in the series "The Primordially Awakened Way: commentaries on Eihei Dogen zenji's Kobutsushin: The Old Buddha Mind".

Upcoming Events

May 12th and May 26th. 

Sogakuki O-sesshin
The Sogakuki seven-day O-sesshin will begin on Friday, May 14th, at 8:00 p.m. and will end on Friday, May 21st at noon. Students who will be participating and those who will align with the schedule of the O-sesshin while sitting at home are asked to send their schedules as soon as possible to facilitate the planning of dokusan and daisan as well as meal preparation.

May 18th is the memorial for the death of Sogaku Myoshin Hakukaze daiosho.

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

Inka For Jinmyo Renge

On the evening of Thursday, May 20th, during the May Sogakuki O-sesshin, Ven. Jinmyo Renge osho-ajari will receive Inka, or the Seal of Authenticity, as a Zen Teacher from Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi, to become his first Dharma-heir. As one who has received mind to mind transmission from the Roshi and holds the Lineage, she will thus be able to transmit this Lineage at all stages of practice, including transmitting monastic vows and passing on the transmission herself.

Jinmyo Renge received Shiho Transmission as a Dharma-successor from the Roshi on December 8th, 2001 after having practised as a student and then a monastic since 1990. She presented the monthly Introduction to Zen Workshops for 17 years. As well as bearing a vast range of responsibilities within the Sangha, she trained in the time-honoured post of Tenzo since 1991 and has trained students in oryoki practice since 1992. While serving in the training posts of Shuso, Ino and Godo and Osho, her responsibilities have included overseeing Great Matter Publications and White Wind Zen Community Archives, as well as the duplication, preservation and transcription of our extensive collection of recorded teisho, Dharma Talks, and classes. She has also assisted the Roshi in training other monastics in their training posts of Shuso, Ino and Godo, as well as practice advisors. She worked with Anzan Hoshin roshi on the translation of the Bonmokyo (Bramajala sutra), on the Ten Grave and 48 Supporting Precepts.  She has produced weekly issues of the Sangha electronic newsletter, "The eMirror" since 1998. 

In addition to providing instruction to Sangha members practising at the monastery in Ottawa, she provides training to her own probationary formal and formal students (deshi) and corresponds by email with a large number of students practising in other parts of the world. She is responsible for presenting and organizing many resources such as the Retreat Handbook and other materials.

As well as presenting the foundations of mindfulness and insight, for many years she has also received from the Roshi authorizations to give instruction in koan practice and study, various aspects of kaji and Mikkyo, and the monastic ritsu and shingi. While there are some areas yet to be realized, the Roshi has decided that now would be a good time to acknowledge Jinmyo Renge as Sensei so that our Sangha can ripen further as a result. 

With Shiho ceremonies, as with Shukke-tokudo, these have always been open to all students who have registered to attend. However, given these times of the Covid-19 virus and isolation, the ceremony will be conducted privately in the Hojo. This will then be followed by a Dharma talk by Ven. Jinmyo Renge sensei in the Hatto.

All students are welcome to sit in their home or personal practice rooms on the evening of Thursday, May 20th, during the May Sogakuki O-sesshin, to align with this important event.


Rev. Chiso anagarika sat her weekly semi-retreat on Tuesday, May 4th at her home in the Berkshires. Tracey Parker sat a half-day retreat on Wednesday, April 28th at her home in Perth, Ontario. Chantal Maheu sat a one-day retreat on Thursday, April 29th and a one-day retreat on Monday, May 3rd at her home in Alymer, Quebec. Tarik Kaya sat a half-day retreat on Saturday, May 1st at his home in Ottawa, Ontario. Brian Lakeman sat a half-day retreat on Sunday, May 2nd at his home in Brampton, 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, May 8th to Saturday, May 15th

Saturday, May 8th: “Turning the Wheel of the Way” by Zen Master Anzan Hoshin: “Emperor Xuan and Huangbo's Slap” (teisho 24 of 44) 
Sunday, May 9th: SAkN: Dimensions of Space by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi: "Dimensions of Bodily Space" (3 of 8)
Monday, May 10th: “Every Breath You Take” by Ven. Shikai Zuiko o-sensei: “Lowering the Feet and Resting" (Dharma Talk 34)
Thursday, May 13th: "Vain and Vanished" by Ven. Shikai Zuiko o-sensei. Mondo, part 1 
Saturday, May 15th: “Turning the Wheel of the Way” by Zen Master Anzan Hoshin:  “Xuefeng's Rousing the Mind” (teisho 25 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



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.

Shõbõgenzõ (J) "True Eye of Reality", the Transmission of Reality. Also used by Dogen zenji as the title for a collection of his major essays and teisho transcripts.

Posted April 16th, 2021. New entries are posted every two weeks.


Fuming Japanese tea pot on coals

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:
Mixed grain (arborio, Calrose, Korean short-grain, and basmati rice); semi-firm tofu cut into cubes, sauteed and then braised in a kalbi sauce; braised daikon (daikon cut into rings, simmered for an hour in a shoyu-ginger broth; soup made from the daikon braising liquid. 
Tuesday Yakuseki:
Calrose rice; tsukune (ground chicken, minced onion and ginger, egg yolks, potato starch, formed into oval patties, fried and then braised in a sauce made with shoyu, mirin and ginger); kimchi. Vegetarian option - ‘pancakes’ made with reconstituted soy chunks, minced onion, ginger, cabbage cut into small squares, mixed with cake flour, corn starch and a small amount of potato starch, seasoned with salt, pepper and mustard powder, fried and then served on top of rice and drizzled with okonomiyaki sauce.

Thursday Yakuseki:
Mixed grain (Arborio, Thai Jasmine rice, and Calrose rice); Kung Pao tofu (sauce made from minced scallions, ginger, and garlic, vegetable stock, black vinegar, shoyu, Chinese cooking wine, pinch of sugar, cubed semi firm and silken tofu, coated in potato starch and cooked until firm with chopped Spanish onions, Green and red peppers, and cremini mushrooms, garnished with roasted peanuts); baechu kimchi.


Monk with hands in gassho wearing a begging 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 the Roshi for recommending a wide variety of books and documentaries, such as Netflix' "Coded Bias". Thank you to Jinmyo osho for exploring Japanese cuisine and the preparation of delicious dishes such ganmodoki and tsukune, that make the most of tofu, chicken and other ingredients. Thank you to Jinmyo osho and Fushin shramon for daily care of Kitsune and Shindo and making sure they get the nourishment, treats, and brushes they need. Thank you to Tarik Kaya for picking up an order of Lundberg rice from Herb and Spice and donating the cost.