Enso as bowl
By Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi, early 1990s
eMirror Vol 27, No. 14
Friday, April 7th, 2023
Edited by the Practice Council
The White Wind Zen Community:
An international community practising and teaching Dogen’s Zen since 1985.
For example, the Buddha picks up his begging bowl and his robe, walks towards Savatthi, to gather alms, to get something to eat, and each step on the way to Savatthi there was just this step on the way to Savatthi. When he arrived there, as patrons put some cooked rice and perhaps some curry in his bowl, he stood there, seeing them, hearing the sounds, smelling the food, feeling his stomach rumble, noticing a bird’s flicking flash of wings overhead. Once the bowl was full enough he probably left the town, went past the outskirts, and then perhaps he sat underneath a tree or by a river, rolled the rice into a little ball, dipped it into curry, and ate it. Now, when Rahula was walking to Savatthi, he was already in Savatthi, smacking his lips, because Rahula did not understand very much about eating, about walking, about being alive.
We are so confused about such basic issues such as food. We eat this or that food because it reminds us of something in our childhood, we eat food as entertainment, we eat food to socialize. And we tend to see no relationship whatsoever between a candlelit dinner for two and taking a shit some hours later.
It seems somewhat shocking or improper to even mention taking a shit, because we don’t understand that the entirety of the life of the worm is about: getting, chewing, swallowing, digesting, excreting. That’s what the eyes and nose and ears are for: to find the food and to avoid becoming food. These are the activities which formed the basis for the development and emergence of these senses, what in evolutionary terms are known as the bases for the “selection” of these senses from various evolutionary possibilities for carbon-based, mammalian life-forms on this planet. That’s what the legs are for, that’s what the fingers are for, to mobilize the digestive system, to make it ambulatory and to articulate it so that it can obtain food and try to avoid becoming food.
Yesterday we were talking about Mr. or Ms. (or some combination thereof) single-cell. And that is of course what Mr. or Ms. or whatever single cell’s life is all about: obtaining food, consuming food, digesting food, excreting food. And as cells began to cluster together and more complex organizations of systems of knowing emerged as various other life-forms, that’s what their lives were about. When they became fish, that’s what their lives were about. Lizards, birds, trees, flowers are all basically worms: tubes for consumption, digestion, excretion.
And of course there is nothing at all wrong with that, there is nothing wrong with recognizing that the life of the body mind is a cycle of feeding. But when we glorify and tart up this cycle of feeding, disguise it under storylines so thoroughly that we don’t recognize its dominance, then we don’t recognize that that is what we are working for, that is what our career is really about, that is what our house is for: the kitchen, the bathroom. That’s why we have a car, that’s why we have that nice pair of shoes. We can pretend that all of this means something else, like silk worms we can weave threads of meanings that form a cocoon that shelters us from ourselves and our wormhood. There is a great deal of worm talk that we generate about the meaning of life, the “grand design of the universe”, about human beings created in the image of the “creator” of the universe, all of which serves to hide us from the real meaning of these bodies and minds: they eat and shit and breed more bodies and minds that do the same. We eat other beings as food and are ourselves eventually eaten, whether by a tiger, a virus, or the eating away of the strength of our cardio-vascular systems.
The meaning of the bodymind, in its own terms, is just its functioning. There is no reason for it. It does what it does because this is what it does. This is what it is for. The meaning of the universe in its own terms is just its functioning. It is not for something else. It was not designed as a test, a place to go to heaven from if we are good or hell if we are bad. It just does what it does and that is what it is for.
-Ven Anzan Hoshin roshi, continuing Teisho Four: "The Functioning of the Elements" in the series "Flowers and Worms", Hanamatsuri sesshin, April 11th to 14th, 1991, Zazen-ji.
The Hatto (for formal 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 email@example.com.
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 19th, May 3rd, 17th, and 31st.
Introduction to Zen Workshop Ottawa:
The next Introduction to Zen Workshop will take place on Saturday, May 6th, at 1:45 p.m. To register: https://IntroductionToZenWorkshop.eventbrite.ca; for more information please see https://wwzc.org/introduction-zen-workshop-ottawa
Hanamatsuri Two-day Sesshin:
The April Hannamatsuri two-day sesshin began at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, April 7th, and will end at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 9th.
May Sogaku-ki O-sesshin:
The May Sogaku-ki Seven-day O-sesshin begins at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, May 12th, and will end on Friday, May 19th, at noon. Probationary formal students and formal students are reminded to send their schedules as soon as possible.
Formal sittings During the Week of O-sesshin are reserved for participants of the O-sesshin.
The Saturday, May 18th general sitting will take place in the Zendo. The sitting begins at 9:30. Please arrive by 9:15 in time for First Bell. Students attending are reminded to stay on the first floor.
The Monday, May 15th and Thursday, May 18th associate sittings are cancelled due to O-sesshin.
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
Congratulations and deep Gassho to Selina Wamsley of Halifax, Nova Scotia on being accepted as an associate public student by the Roshi. Congratulations and deep Gassho to Tristan Hopkins of Ottawa, Ontario on being accepted as an associate student by the Roshi.
White Wind Zen Community Website Update
“River of Memory”: transcript of teisho presented by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi at Zazen-ji, on March 21st, 1991:
Rev. Chiso anagarika sat her weekly semi-retreat on Tuesday, April 4th at her home in the Berkshires. Aaron Ford sat a two-day retreat on Saturday, April 1st and Sunday, April 2nd at his home in Calgary, Alberta. Charlane Bishop sat a half-day retreat on Monday, April 3rd at her home in Newtonville, Nova Scotia. Tracey Parker sat a half-day retreat on Saturday, April 1st at her home in Perth, Ontario. Thach Hoang sat a one and a half-day retreat from Saturday, April 1st to Sunday, April 2nd at his home in Laval, Quebec.
If you are a student of Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi and would like to sit a retreat at Dainen-ji,, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to register a week in advance. For further information please visit this page: https://wwzc.org/retreats
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. After your retreat, please send an email to email@example.com to confirm that you sat a retreat and include the duration and location.
Recorded Teachings Schedule
Saturday, April 8th to Saturday, April 15th
Saturday, April 8th general sitting: “Bowing and Receiving”: Zen Master Anzan Hoshin's Commentaries on Dogen zenji's "Raihai Tokuzui: Bowing and Acquiring the Essence": "Sincerity and the 'Worldly'" (4 of 13, 21 minutes)
Monday, April 10th associate sitting: “The Touchstone" by Ven. Jinmyo Renge sensei: "The Touchstone 22, Mahavairocana Part 2" (teisho 22 of 22, 13 minutes)
Thursday, April 13th associate sitting: “The Touchstone" by Ven. Jinmyo Renge sensei: "The Touchstone 22, Mahavairocana Part 2" (teisho 22 of 22, 13 minutes)
Saturday, April 15th general sitting: “Bowing and Receiving”: Zen Master Anzan Hoshin's Commentaries on Dogen zenji's "Raihai Tokuzui: Bowing and Acquiring the Essence": "Do Not Be Petty" (5 of 13)
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 firstname.lastname@example.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
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
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.
(do not satisfy hunger)
Begun by Ven. Shikai Zuiko o-sensei
Finished by Ven. Fushin Comeau shuso following her death
UPAYA (S) —skillful means— wisdom of adapting action to circumstances.
Posted April 7th, 2023. New entries are posted every two weeks.
Samu Weekend report
by Saigyo ino
Over the weekend of Saturday, March 25th and Sunday, March 26th we held our first Samu Weekend of 2023 and a total of 24 students attended over the two days. A great deal of work was completed inside the building and here are some of the "highlights".
In the unfinished room next to the Shuryo a plywood floor was installed and painted ‘heron blue’. On the third floor work continued on building a new guest room by dividing the common room in half. The walls were sanded and painted and the baseboards and door casing were made and painted. Once the trim is installed this project will be complete. On the back stairs the handrails were sanded, primed and painted. A lot of reorganisation was completed in the furnace room including adding additional storage and clarifying the supplies cupboards. Cataloguing of the CD collection of the recorded teisho and Dharma Talks was completed and the final hard copies of the eMirror archives were printed and added. A repair was made to the floor outside the Hatto entrance and some work was done to continue sanding and preparing the window trim from the first floor guest room which is under construction. A new set of kaishaku for the Zendo was completed, the black ceiling in the basement was cleaned, the electrical room window was insulated, a grounds watering plan drawn up for use in the spring and summer, a new samu notice board was created and hung, the oven cleaned and new hashi cleaned of tenacious sticky labels.
Thank you to Jinmyo sensei for designing and preparing two fabulous meals for those students who stayed through each day of samu.
Thank you to the following students for samu over the two days to assist the monastics in maintaining and improving Dainen-ji its resources for students:
Deshi Senbo, David Gallant, Chantal Maheu, Shigemi Ichino, Ian Richard, Rowan Russell, Matt Broda, Loïc-Alexandre Ouellette, Shannon Morphew, Robert Carew, Sam MacFarlane, Mario Delisle, Jean-Francois St-Louis, Greg Parker, Hannah Kent, Christian Hansen, Kathleen Johnson, Don Charette, Artik Chauhan, Stacey Loyer and Challian Christ.
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.
The following meals were prepared on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings:
Brown calrose rice with butter and baby peas; chickpea croquettes (chickpeas, fresh coriander, chickpea flour, sauteed finely chopped onions and minced garlic, turmeric, cumin, coriander powder, cayenne, garam masala ground together, formed into croquettes, dipped in a thin batter and then rolled in panko). Salad of Romaine lettuce, leaf lettuce, radicchio, chopped celery, chopped tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion. Dressing for the salad - lactose-free yogurt mixed with Dijon mustard, lime juice, a tiny amount of maple syrup and lots of black pepper. A soup made from vegetable stock, chopped zucchini, white onion, thinly sliced carrots, chopped green cabbage, thyme, black pepper, white balsamic vinegar. The croquettes were served with the salad.
Warm naan with butter; soup made from blended, cooked carrots, onions, zucchini, celery, garam masala, cumin, coriander powder, chopped fresh coriander, turmeric, cayenne, with a little cream, served with red and white kidney beans; coleslaw made from green cabbage, carrots, daikon, white onion, dressing made from equal parts mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, honey, black pepper, lime pickle, toasted mustard and cumin seeds. For those who wished to supplement their diet with meat: chicken thighs tossed in a spice mixture of onion powder, garlic powder, Madras curry powder, garlic powder, cumin and coriander powders, sea salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, bran oil and then sprinkled with some of the same spices without oil.
Mixed grain (Chinese white rice and brown jasmine rice); bulgogi tofu (chopped yellow onion, poblano and red bell pepper, minced jalapeno, ginger, and garlic, seared cubes of medium-firm tofu seasoned with salt, black pepper, and garlic powder, bulgogi sauce, shoyu, sesame oil); baechu kimchi.
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 Jinmyo sensei:
Thank you to Leonardo (and his mother) for two kinds of chilies brought from Brazil.
From David Gallant:
Thank you to Jinmyo sensei for presenting 'The Touchstone' series of Dharma Talks, which I am enjoying hearing and understanding in brand new ways.
From Sarah Goul:
Thank you to the Roshi for establishing the monastery as a place to practice. It is a privilege to practice there. Thank you to the Sensei for a wonderful daisan in the Shuryo and amazing nut cheeses. Thank you to Godo for fixing my sitting posture, what a difference, and for those morning eggs and rice that I love. Thank you to Ino for a really fun and enjoyable Introduction to Zen Workshop. Thank you to Ino and Godo for Practice Interviews and various directions and support during my retreat. Thank you to the Office of the Tenzo for delicious meals.
From Julien Jefferson:
As a public student I am extremely grateful for the ability to listen to recorded teachings in my home. Thank you to Roshi for the immense quantity of recorded teisho, Dharma talks and classes presented over the past almost 40 years. Thank you to the students who copied the recordings from cassettes to CD, and from CD to MP3 so that they could be uploaded to the WWZC website and made available to public students everywhere. I am also grateful for the Teachings left by the late Ven. Shikai Zuiko O-sensei, such as the mondo she led called "Vain and Vanished", a recording of which I listened to recently. Thank you to Jinmyo sensei for all of her Dharma Talks, in particular "Is There a Problem?". Thank you to Mishin godo for instruction given in a telephone practice interview. Thank you to Saigyo ino for leading the recent Samu Weekend.