eMirror Vol 28, No. 13 (2024-03-29)


Astasahasrika Prajnaparamita sutra, thanka painting

Astasahasrika Prajnaparamita sutra

eMirror Vol 28, No. 13

Friday, March 29th, 2024
Edited by the Practice Council

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

The Buddhavacana, the voice and words of the Buddha, are recorded in a vast treasury of suttas, sutras, jing, and kyo. The word used in all of these languages means “thread” as in “thread of Discourse”. Threaded throughout all of the words of the various sutras, contradictory as they might sometimes seem and often are, runs the truth about who we are that can liberate ourselves and others.

It is never actually in the words. The words might speak of going into the forest, sitting down at the root of a tree, and attending to your experience as it is. Others might provide a detailed investigation of how attention functions and experiences constellate as the interaction of various mental factors. Others might speak of stripping away the layers of conventional thinking and looking into the naked essence of a thought itself. But the truth is not found in the words, but rather in following through on the instructions.

Yet the truth of the nature of experiences and of experiencing still run through the words of all of the sutras, even those that are clearly spurious or distortions of the Dharma. The words might speak of jewelled trees, about an orderly universe governed by a machine of morality that rewards those who are good and punishes the bad, even of the same kind of consolations and strategies of avoidance that self-image seeks.

After all, anyone could say “Thus Have I Heard” and write a sutra, attribute it to the Buddha, and “discover” it.

For example, here is a sutra which purports to be a translation into English from a 4th century Chinese translation made by Goonybadra from the Sanskrit original. I suspect a much different… origin. It begins with the setting typical of the Prajnaparamita class of texts but then begins to show other influences.

“Thus Have I Heard.

“Once the Generous One was dwelling on Rajagrha at Vulture Peak Mountain together with a gathering of bodhisattvas and arhats. Looking out over the Assembly, suddenly a burst of light emerged from the white hair curled between his brows and illuminated the ten directions and three worlds. Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva Mahasattva said to Manjusri Bodhisattva Mahasattva, “O Manjusri. What is the meaning of this sudden display of luminosity?” Manjusri said to Avalokitesvara, “O Avalokitesvara, this I do not know. Perhaps it portends a great Teaching event will occur.” 

“And then the Buddha spoke his lion’s roar and said, “Thus it is, O son of noble family, thus it is. In an as yet undiscovered land far to the west of Jambudvipa many hundreds of years from now there will be many marvellous things. Iron birds will fly. People will talk to each other and even see each other over vast distances. Yogurt will be fat free. But it will also be the dark times in which late night comedy shows will distract the people and they will not get up in time to make it to the Zen Centre to sit in the morning. For all of their magical conveyances and mechanisms the people will be unhappy for the Dharma will have withered and decayed. At that time, in the clan of Schmitz there will arise one called Anne. She will take refuge in the noble Three Jewels and receive the lay Precepts and the Dharma name Muryo from an addled monk whose only merit will have been this action. She will also be known by the people as Schmitzmuni, the sage of the Schmitz clan. Muryo Schmitzmuni will then give the Dharma Wheel a good new heave and set it spinning for the benefit of coming generations. All of you in this assembly should make firm aspirations to be reborn amongst her many disciples and in her Pure Land. Her Teaching will be simple and cut through the complexities of the self and that which belongs to the self. She will say to the people, ‘I like chocolate. Give me some chocolate.’ Those who even aspire to offer chocolate unto Schmitzmuni will surely be freed of rebirth in the three lower realms. How much more merit, then, would there be for those who offered some Belgian bittersweet? Is that so much to ask?” Having said this, the Buddha entered the harmonization of offering chocolate to Muryo Schmitzmuni. That whole assembly of bodhisattvas and arahants, devas, gandharvas, and so on were all overjoyed and vowed to copy, recite, and propagate this sutra.”

Some of the Mahayana sutras were like this. Texts were composed praising the role of kings and emperors, promising salvation through rebirth in a Pure Land or Field of awakening, promising the birth of male children if they were recited and propagated and so on.

Others of course articulated and expressed subtle instructions in the actual process of realized-practice. Some attempted to restore and renew the radical nature of the Dharma, such as the Heart sutra. Some were cobbled together from bits and pieces and contain jewels and pebbles in uneven mixtures.

-Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi, beginning Teisho 7: "Sutras Speaking”, February 15, 2001, in the series "Playing With Space: Commentaries on Eihei Dogen zenji's Koku”


The Hatto (for formal sittings)

The Hatto (for formal sittings)


The Zendo (for associate and general sittings)

The Zendo (for associate and general sittings)


Practice Schedule and Upcoming Events

Formal Sittings for WWZC Students: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday Mornings The formal sittings begin at 6:00 a.m. You would need to arrive by 5:45 in time for First Bell. The sitting ends at 7:25 with the Chants. Following that there is a Daruma-kata Aiki review which ends at about 7:50. If you need to leave before the kata, please let us know that in advance by sending an email to schedule@wwzc.org.
Saturday Morning General Sitting for WWZC Students: The general sitting begins at 9:30 a.m. You would need to arrive by 9:15 a.m., in time for First Bell. The sitting ends at 11:45 a.m. Some general students attend the 6:00 a.m. Saturday morning formal sitting, stay for breakfast and then attend the general sitting. If you stay for breakfast you will need to make a $5.00 dana contribution for the meal. Proceeds from meals go to White Wind Zen Community.
Monday and Thursday Evening Associate Sittings for WWZC Students: The associate sitting begins at 7:30 p.m. You would need to arrive by 7:15 p.m., in time for First Bell. The sitting ends at 9:10 p.m.
Friday (Hosan): There are no formal sittings scheduled at the monastery on Fridays, but you are expected to sit at home if you have committed to sitting zazen daily.
Sunday Formal Sitting: The Sunday morning formal sittings are reserved for monastics, formal students, and probationary formal students.

Fusatsu (Renewal of Vows):  April 10th and 24th.

Introduction to Zen Workshop Ottawa:
The next two Introduction to Zen Workshops will take place on Saturday, April 6th and May 4th at 1:45 p.m. To register: https://IntroductionToZenWorkshop.eventbrite.ca; for more information please see https://wwzc.org/introduction-zen-workshop-ottawa 

Hanamatsuri Sesshin:
The April Hanamatsuri (Festival of Flowers) Sesshin will begin on Friday, April 12th at 8:00 p.m. and will end at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday the 14th. 

On Saturday, April 13th, there will be a general sitting in the Zendo which will begin at 9:30 (please arrive by 9:15, in time for First Bell). The sitting will end at 11:30. Students attending are reminded to stay on the first floor.

The Roshi is continuing an extended period of hermitage due to underlying health issues until the COVID-19 situation clarifies.

Long Distance Training Program:
For students living an hour or more commuting distance from the monastery in Ottawa, please visit this Web Page: https://wwzc.org/long-distance-training-program

What to do if you Arrive After the Sitting Begins

If you arrive after the sitting starts and the door is locked, you don't need to turn around and go home. Ring the bell once and then sit on the bench on the front porch. If possible, we will come and unlock the door for you right away. If we are in the middle of the chants or listening to a teisho, we will come to let you in as soon as the teisho finishes.

Retreats and Training Sessions

Rev. Chiso anagarika sat a semi-retreat on Tuesday, March 26th at her home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Beth Buerkle sat a partial retreat on Tuesday, March 24th at her home in Chamcook, New Brunswick. 

If you are a student of Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi and  would like to sit a retreat at Dainen-ji, please email schedule@wwzc.org to register a week in advance. For further information please visit this page: https://wwzc.org/retreats

If you are a public student and would like to sit a retreat at home please follow the schedule outlined in this page: https://wwzc.org/retreat-schedule-public-students.  After your retreat, please send an email to schedule@wwzc.org to confirm that you sat a retreat and include the duration and location.

If you would like to engage in a training session either at the monastery or at home by aligning with the schedule of the monastery, please read the information on this page: 

Recorded Teachings Schedule

Saturday, March 30th to Saturday, April 6th

Saturday, March 30th general sitting: “Without Difficulty”: Zen Master Anzan Hoshin's commentaries on Jianzhi Sengcan's “Xinxin Ming: Words on Trusting Awareness”: “Wuwei” (teisho 11 of 24, 19 minutes)
Sunday, March 31st formal sitting: SAkN The Drift of Meaning by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi: “Knowing Is” (7 of 7, 25 minutes)
Monday, April 1st associate sitting: "Before Thinking: Foundations of Zen Practice" by Zen Master Anzan Hoshin: "Hear the World" (50 of 71, 5 minutes)
Thursday, April 4th associate sitting: "Before Thinking: Foundations of Zen Practice" by Zen Master Anzan Hoshin: "Hear the World" (50 of 71, 5 minutes)
Saturday, April 6th general sitting: “Without Difficulty”: Zen Master Anzan Hoshin's commentaries on Jianzhi Sengcan's “Xinxin Ming: Words on Trusting Awareness”: “Not Holding the Mind” (teisho 12 of 24, 20 minutes )


Samu Weekend report
By Ven. Saigyo ino

Over the weekend of Saturday, March 23rd and Sunday March 24th we held the first Samu Weekend of 2024. 27 students attended over the two days and joined the monastics in a wide variety of projects to improve and maintain the practice environment of Dainen-ji. Here are some of the “highlights”. 

Work continued on the first floor guest room renovation, with the installation of the remainder of the plasterboard installed. The room is now ready for the mudding and sanding to begin. In the storage room next to the Shuryo, the old window insulation was replaced, the shelving unit that houses the zafu and zabuton was repainted and the black and blue areas of wall were painted with a colour covering paint which will simplify the application of further coats of paint in the future. All of the zafu and zabuton covers in the practice halls were laundered and ironed over the two days and more cataloguing was completed of the Dharma books in the Shuryo. Outside the Hatto rear door lots of work was completed to improve the area. This included patching and painting the walls of the 2nd floor washroom, installing new plywood walls inside the broom closet, repairs and repainting to the windows and repairs to an area of water damaged ceiling. A great deal of painting was done though the public areas of the building, a repair was made to a damaged area of ceiling in the attic common room and new quarter round trim was added to the baseboard in the Sando.  

Thank you to Jinmyo sensei for designing and preparing the wonderful meals enjoyed by those students who stayed through the day and to Mishin godo for her work to assist Jinmyo sensei. 

Thank you to the following students for offering their time over the Samu Weekend:

Senbo, David Gallant, Chantal Maheu, Stacey Loyer, Rana Annous, Challian Christ, Mario Delisle, Danial Roach, Jean-Francois, Glenn Murphy, David Alexander, Tarik Kaya, Denise Beaudot, Christian Hansen, Shannon Morphew, Luis Fumero, Carl Anderson, Sophia Stevenson, Kelly Babcock, Sam McFarlane, Kathleen Johnson, Artik Chauhan, Hannah Kent, Don Charette, Ian Richard, Greg Parker and Helen Jelich.

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

Translations and Texts

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. Annotation details and successfully conveying them across various document formats are the issue at this point.

Work on Bussho: Buddha Nature, a very long and nuanced text by Dogen zenji, is ongoing.

Roshi is also finishing an update to the Saijo Shingi: The Deportment of Radiance, our manual of monastic training standards which is a supplement to the ancient Eihei Shingi and Keizan Shingi.

White Wind Zen Community Website Update

“Kwannon”: A teisho by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi, transcript of a teisho presented on May 6, 1986, at River Road Zendo

“Cultivation of the Ground of Mind”: transcript of a teisho Presented by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi at Zazen-ji, on June 4, 1989 

The Practice of Boards and Stones” teisho presented by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi at Zazen-ji, on June 18, 1989

"Difficulty, Strangeness, Beauty": transcript of a Dharma Talk presented by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi at Zazen-ji, December 13, 1988: https://wwzc.org/dharma-text/difficulty-strangeness-beauty

"Standing in the Rain (Tangaryo)": transcript of Dharma Talk presented by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi at Zazen-ji, December 15th, 1988: https://wwzc.org/dharma-text/standing-rain-tangaryo

"Snow": transcript of Dharma Talk presented by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi at Zazen-ji, November 18, 1989: https://wwzc.org/dharma-text/snow


Oryoki drawing

Office of the Tenzo

Dogen zenji taught in the Tenzo Kyokun: Instructions for the Tenzo (Tenzo kyokun: Instructions for the Tenzo | White Wind Zen Community) 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 WWZC does not advocate any particular diet. However all meals prepared during practice events, such as Dharma Assemblies, sesshin, or retreats are vegetarian as most people can eat this. On Tuesday evenings there is an optional meat dish, as some people find that a purely vegetarian diet, especially as they get older, is not sufficient for their health. If you are adhering to a strictly vegan diet, you can write to the tenzo, Jinmyo Renge sensei, at jinmyo.renge@wwzc.org a week prior to attending an event to request vegan foods. If you are lactose intolerant or have allergies to foods, you should write to the tenzo about dietary restrictions a week before attending events. 

The following meals were prepared during the Samu Weekend:

: Rice and eggs.
Lunch: Warm naan served with butter; deep-fried red lentil patties (red lentils, bran oil, grated carrots, finely chopped onion, minced garlic, eggs, Madras curry powder and garam masala, finely chopped coriander), served with tamarind dipping sauce; tamarind-peanut curry (chopped red onion, diced rutabaga, parsnips, turnips and carrots, minced garlic, chopped daikon, chopped green cabbage, Thai red curry paste, tamarind paste, peanut butter, light and dark soy sauce, small amount of maple syrup, coconut milk, served with toasted peanuts and slices of lime); sliced fresh pineapple. 

: Spaghettini mixed with seared strips of white onion, poblano, and red bell peppers with a sauce of light shoyu, sambal oelek, oyster sauce, minced garlic, sugar; scrambled eggs.
Lunch: Brown calrose rice cooked with coconut milk, garnished with chopped scallions; chickpea stew (minced garlic, chopped red onion, chopped red bell peppers and poblano peppers, cherry tomatoes, chickpeas, smoked paprika, red balsamic vinegar, vegetable stock, lots of black pepper, chipotle adobo and ground cumin); Napa cabbage salad (thinly sliced Napa cabbage with slivers of carrot, daikon and red onion, served with a dressing made with mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, black pepper, sweetened with mango chutney and mixed with toasted yellow mustard seeds and cumin seeds. 

The following meals were prepared on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings: 

Monday Yakuseki (lots of leftovers from the weekend to use up)
Rice cakes (leftover brown rice and calrose rice, mixed with a small amount of all-purpose flour, Madras curry powder and some garam masala, formed into ‘cakes’ and cooked on the griddle until golden-brown; a soup made from one that was served during the Samu Weekend (minced garlic, chopped red onion, chopped red bell peppers and poblano peppers, cherry tomatoes, chickpeas, smoked paprika, red balsamic vinegar, vegetable stock, lots of black pepper); Napa cabbage salad (thinly sliced Napa cabbage with slivers of carrot, daikon and red onion, served with a dressing made with mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, black pepper, sweetened with honey and mixed with toasted yellow mustard seeds and cumin seeds. 

Tuesday Yakuseki:
“Rumbledethumps” - a Scottish dish otherwise known as “colcannon” (caramelised green cabbage and Spanish onions, mixed with mashed Yukon gold potatoes in a ‘pie’, topped with grated friulano cheese; for those who wished to supplement their diet with meat, optional sausages (bangers and hot Italian sausages served with Dijon mustard); blackened sliced tomatoes (tomatoes sliced and laid on a very hot griddle with some butter to blacken both sides but leave the centre firm). 

Thursday Yakuseki:
Rigatoni pasta with garlic-butter sauce; tomato soup (blended cooked carrots, celery, onion, minced garlic, San Marzano tomatoes, tomato juice, thyme, black pepper, red wine); ‘greens and beans’ (assorted green leafy vegetables cooked with red and white kidney beans, seasoned with Parmesan cheese. 


Monk holding a gong

Thank You

If you would like to thank someone for a contribution they have made, please feel free to send an email to Jinmyo sensei at rengezo@gmail dot com, but be sure to type "eMirror” in the subject line.

From Saigyo ino:
Thank you to Challian Christ and David Alexander for samu on Monday morning to complete some tasks that we were not able to complete over the Samu Weekend. 

From David Gallant:
Thank you to Roshi for many years of overseeing my practice, and the practice of all students in the Sangha. Thank you to Jinmyo sensei for the immense gift of many years of face-to-face instruction and for accepting me as a formal student. I am immeasurably grateful to Roshi and Jinmyo sensei for showing me how to practice with the many states that can and do arise. In practising basic mindfulness more continually and learning how to open more and more around these states, I have gained a large measure of freedom and a sense of unshakability - it has become easier to simply do whatever needs to be done, no matter what thoughts or feelings are coming and going. Gaining this level of steadiness, balance, and grounding in my life was one of the main reasons I first stepped through the front gate at Dainen-ji in 2009.

From Challian Christ:
Thank you Jinmyo sensei and Mishin godo for my most recent Daisan and practice interview. I found these exchanges deeply helpful. Thank you Saigyo ino for overseeing the recent Samu weekend, and for giving me countless opportunities to develop various skills related to carpentry and renovations. Thank you Jinmyo sensei and the Office of the Tenzo for the delicious and nourishing lunch I enjoyed during the Samu weekend. 

From Ian Richard: 
Thank you to Jinmyo sensei for helpful instruction and for the delicious lunch on Sunday. Thank you to Saigyo ino for leading the Samu Weekend and overseeing assignments, and to Fushin shuso for eminently clear explanations and demonstrations of tools and techniques. I am inspired by and appreciate all of the students who participated in this Samu Weekend.



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