eMirror Vol 25, No. 45 (2021-11-05)

Enso by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi
Enso by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi

eMirror Vol 25, No. 45

Friday, November 5th
Edited by the Practice Council

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

Another dilemma that we might have about Zen and the arts is the relationship between our likes and dislikes and the open attention of zazen. We might say that we don’t know art but we know what we like; or perhaps we might dislike Chopin but adore Mahler. Any art form is always involved with likes and dislikes, decisions, choices. Why choose this shade of blue over that? Why repeat this musical phrase here before deconstructing it? In the arts, likes and dislikes should never be simple-minded. They must be based upon what works and what does not. Instead they must be informed by the process of the work and the work as it is forming. And so what kinds of aesthetics are present in Zen art?

I should say that I have a particular cultural background. I was born in Ontario, Canada in the twentieth century but am utterly comfortable with traditions that formed in twelfth century Japan and before. I have particular likes and dislikes. But for me these are not really derived from culture as a way of viewing things but culture as a way of doing things. For example there are better and worse ways of making coffee or miso shiru. I live at a time and in a place where many cultures interact and inform each other. I listen to honkyoku shakuhachi music but also to Pakistani Qawali chants, Bach, Mahler, Schoenberg, and jazz. I like sake, eighteen year old scotch, and red wines. I like togarashi but I also like chipotle and ancho chiles. I drink Pu erh but also English Breakfast tea. I eat congee and risotto and polenta. I like all of these ways of doing things. But in the end and in the beginning and all the way through, I am interested only in what works and doesn’t work in the process of Transmitting this practice and of helping you to receive it. While it is certainly not necessary for you to follow all of my likes and dislikes, it is necessary for you to understand them and use them as a way of understanding the basis of them and the basis of your own likes and dislikes.

Mahakasyapa awoke to Reality when the Buddha held aloft a flower through seeing himself, seeing the Buddha, seeing the flower and what was present as all of these. I would like to hold up for you the flowering of the senses so that you can see who you are. In the environment of Dainen-ji you are surrounded by works of art: sho, statuary, arrangements of stones and wood and flowers. The placement of the zabuton, the height of the Butsudan, the food that is served formally, how we move and interact, the sounds of the umpan, the gongs, the kaishaku, the proportional relationships between the floor and ceiling and the framed portraits of Bodhidharma and Dogen, all of these are part of how I am trying to show you who you are and for you to be able to receive the Transmission of the Buddhas. I write poetry, I design cuisine, I paint and do brush calligraphy and practise and appreciate many other arts. But I would not think of myself as an artist because these things are not done in order to be the kind of person who does them or because I think that any particular work is the point or for any other reason than to help you to open to what is painting you, rice cakes, and hunger. I consider these activities to be much like a teisho. Perhaps less direct but also more pervasive.

-Ven Anzan Hoshin roshi, continuing Class One: "Flowering of the Senses" in the series "Zen Arts: The Flowering of the Senses", October 1999 Daruma-ki O-sesshin, Dainen-ji.

Upcoming Events

November 17th, December 1st.

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

November 18th is the Memorial for the death of Anzan Daiko 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, November 2nd at her home in the Berkshires. Elizabeth Eve sat a one-day retreat on Wednesday, November 3rd at her home in Halifax, Nova Scotia. 

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.

Recorded Teachings Schedule

Saturday, November 6th to Saturday, November 13th

Saturday, November 6th: "Drawn In, Moving Forth": Zen Master Anzan Hoshin's Commentaries on Eihei Dogen zenji's “Bendowa: A Talk on Exerting the Way”: "Simple Wonder" (5 of 28)
Sunday, November 7th: SAkN “Root Cycle One” by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi: “Working with SAkN” (teisho 5 of 6)
Monday, November 8th: “Every Breath You Take” by Ven. Shikai Zuiko o-sensei: “Seeing Trees Heavy with Leaves" (Dharma Talk 62)
Thursday, November 11th: "Virya: Exertion" by Ven. Jinmyo Renge sensei  
Saturday, November 13th: "Drawn In, Moving Forth": Zen Master Anzan Hoshin's Commentaries on Eihei Dogen zenji's “Bendowa: A Talk on Exerting the Way”: "Receive and Use" (6 of 28)

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.

Recorded Teachings for Public Access

While most of the online Recorded Teachings library is password-protected and only accessible to students of the Lineage of Zen Master Anzan Hoshin, a small selection of MP3 recordings of teisho are accessible to the public at wwzc.org/recorded-teachings Additional recordings will be uploaded periodically. MP3 recordings of four recorded teisho by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi 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

Repairs to the Wolfville Zazenkai's Knowlan Mountain Zendo

This summer and autumn Rev. Zenki Hope-Simpson anagarika took time off work to do much needed maintenance and upgrades to the Wolfville Zazenkai Knowlan Mountain Zendo. The outside siding and trim are being repaired, and the outside of the building has now received 2 coats of paint. Planning for the long term, and inspired in part by the need to physically distance during the pandemic, a large outdoor practice deck is being built, suitable for doing kinhin and the Daruma Kata-aiki outdoors.

About 25 years ago, the then Shikai godo visited Wolfville and did a series of workshops in Nova Scotia. During that visit, a densho, made from cutting an acetylene tank in half, was installed outside the Zendo. That densho now hangs in the main stairway at Dainen-ji. The other half of the tank remained here at the Wolfville Zendo. To mark continuity and commemorate the one-year anniversary of Shikai sensei’s death, Jinen and Zenki anagarika made a new post for the densho this week, and it is being incorporated into the new deck. Updates and more pictures will follow.

Outdoor densho (hanging bell) in Wolfville, NS


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.



Painted Cakes
(do not satisfy hunger)

Begun by Ven. Shikai Zuiko o-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.

Shusho ichinyo (J): The oneness of practice and Awakening.

Posted October 29th, 2021. New entries are posted every two weeks.


Vegetables on the dining hall counter

Office of the Tenzo

Dogen zenji taught in the Tenzo kyokun: Instructions for the Tenzo (https://wwzc.org/dharma-text/tenzo-kyokun-instructions-tenzo) 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 sensei 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.

Monday Yakuseki:
Frittata (sliced sauteed potatoes, caramelized onion, eggs, topped with sliced tomatoes and Friulano cheese); tomato soup (white onion, garlic, tomato juice, mushroom stock, thyme, basil, lots of black pepper, red wine vinegar); salad of Romaine lettuce, leaf lettuce, celery, chopped tomatoes, finely sliced red onion, radishes; dressed with white balsamic vinegar, bran oil, black pepper.

Tuesday Yakuseki:
Crusty rolls with butter; split pea soup (split peas, vegetable stock, chopped onions, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, cumin, cayenne; salad of Romaine lettuce, leaf lettuce, celery, chopped tomatoes, finely sliced red onion, radishes; dressed with white balsamic vinegar, bran oil, black pepper.

“Shepherd’s Pie” (Beyond Beef ‘ground meat’, reconstituted shitake mushrooms, finely chopped carrot, chopped onion, garlic, mushroom stock from the shitake mushrooms, gravy made from roux, mushroom stock, thyme, shoyu, red wine, Dijon mustard, lots of black pepper, topped with Yukon gold mashed potatoes; sauteed greens (dai gai choy, bok choy and kale); cubed Friulano cheese and gherkins.


Saigyo Ino bowing

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 sensei:
Thank you to Mishin godo for her work as treasurer and as tenzo-anja.