eMirror Vol 27, No. 51 (2023-12-22)


"Koku: Emptiness", sho by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi

"Koku: Emptiness", sho by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi

eMirror Vol 27, No. 51

Friday, December 22nd, 2023
Edited by the Practice Council

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

The sutra says that forms are empty, that this emptiness is what is found as forms, that forms are no other than this emptiness, that emptiness and forms are intimately each other.

Knowing this is called “perfect knowing” or prajna.

In the Makahannyaharamitsu, Dogen says,

The moment of Avalokitesvara’s practice of vast and perfect knowing is the clear seeing with the whole body that the five aggregates are all empty. Existence is the forming of the five aggregates of form, basic reactivity, symbolization, habitual patterning, and consciousness. These are five aspects of perfect knowing because clearly seeing these is perfect knowing.

If you understand this, then you can understand the teaching that “form is emptiness, emptiness is only form”. Form is form. Emptiness is emptiness. It is the hundred grasses, it is all forms.

Dogen is saying that form is so utterly empty and emptiness is so "utter" that what we encounter as forms that when we say something is “form” we are saying  “emptiness”, and when we say “emptiness” we are saying “form”.

Call them what you will, but the hundred grasses, the numberless things are all different ways of speaking the Dharma. For Dogen, prajna or perfect knowing is not an occasional or intermittent realization of emptiness. It is not a matter of knowing something about things, of having acquired some kind of knowledge or secret or inside information. It is knowing that is completely nondual and utterly intimate.

-Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi, Teisho 4: "OW!" February 12, 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):  December 27th, January 10th, January 24th.

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

Joya (New Year’s Celebration)
On S​u​nday, December 31st at 10 p.m. until ​Monday, January 1st at 12:00 a.m., we will celebrate Joya (New Year’s) by ringing in the New Year with 108 recitations of the Mahaprajnaparamita Hridaya sutra mantra. Registration for Joya is now complete.

January Two-day Sesshin:
The January two-day sesshin will begin at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, January 12th and will end at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 14th. On Saturday, January 12th, there will be a combined associate and general sitting in the Zendo which will begin at 9:30 (please arrive by 9:15 in time for First Bell). The sitting ends at 11:45 a.m. Students 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

David Alexander began a two-day retreat on Thursday, December 21st at Dainen-ji.

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, December 23rd to Saturday, December 30th

Saturday, December 23rd general sitting: "Without Difficulty": Zen Master Anzan Hoshin's commentaries on Jianzhi Sengcan's "Xinxin Ming: Words on Trusting Awareness"; reading of the text. (1 of 26, 11 minutes)
Sunday, December 24th formal sitting: SAkN Releasing by Zen Master Anzan Hoshin: "Unobstructed" (2 of 5, 22 minutes)
Monday, December 25th associate sitting: “Before Thinking: Foundations of Zen Practice” by Zen Master Anzan Hoshin: “Confusion” (37 of 71, 9 minutes)
Thursday, December 28th associate sitting: “Before Thinking: Foundations of Zen Practice” by Zen Master Anzan Hoshin: “Confusion” (37 of 71, 9 minutes)
Saturday, December 30th general sitting: "Without Difficulty": Zen Master Anzan Hoshin's commentaries on Jianzhi Sengcan's "Xinxin Ming: Words on Trusting Awareness": "It Wasn't Sengcan" (2 of 26, 24 minutes)

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

Fundraising 2023: Roofs

Total donated to date: $17,459

After receiving several estimates for the repairs to the remaining areas of the roof, we now know that the total cost will be between $30,000 and $35,000 (depending on when the work begins, as estimates are only good for three to six months and costs keep increasing). All of the other (grey) sections of roof have already been taken care of. We have needed to redo the roofs a section at a time because the costs of replacing them, given the size and extreme angle of our roofs is very high. 

Any contribution that you can make will be gratefully received. 

Thank you and Gassho

Roof Sketch


Drawing of someone carrying a large heavy steaming pot

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 on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings:

Monday Yakuseki:
Calrose brown rice with butter and and baby green peas; creamy leek soup (leeks, onion, carrot, celery, one small potato, lots of black pepper, white wine, all purpose flour, heavy cream, chopped parsley); cheese and pickles

Tuesday Yakuseki:
White and brown Thai jasmine rice;
Chicken curry (chopped chicken thighs, thinly sliced carrots and celery, chopped poblano peppers and green cabbage, coconut milk, slivered ginger, Thai curry paste, chopped coriander, lime juice);  Napa cabbage salad (Napa cabbage, thinly sliced white onion, julienned daikon and carrots) with white balsamic vinegar; chopped fresh pineapple.

Thursday Yakuseki:
Sweet potato fries (thickly cut sweet potato batons seasoned with bran oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder and smoked paprika and oven roasted); caramelized onion frittata topped with friulano cheese and sliced tomatoes; roasted mushrooms cooked with butter and chilli sauce; 
Napa cabbage salad (Napa cabbage, thinly sliced white onion, julienned daikon and carrots) with white balsamic vinegar.

Hands in gassho - minimalist 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 sensei at rengezo@gmail dot com, but be sure to type "eMirror” in the subject line.

From Jinmyo sensei:
Thank you to the Roshi for books and for two beautiful Japanese kitchen knives; to Mishin godo for many errands and for preparing food for residents on Sunday evenings as well as some retreatants’ meals. Thank you to Saigyo ino for installing shelves in the Sensei-ryo and for helping me with a variety of tasks; to Fushin shuso for planting cat grass regularly for the three monastery cats; to Senbo for Bánh Cuốn (Vietnamese Rice Rolls); to David Gallant for picking up birdseed and for maintaining Dainen-ji’s server equipment and connectivity. Thank you to Sophia Stevenson for bringing back stones she collected from Wadi Rum, Petra, and the Dead Sea.

From David Gallant:
Thank you to Jinmyo sensei for an unceasing variety of nutritious meals each week, which make it possible for me to do a wide range of activities and also have a profound stabilizing effect on the bodymind.

From Rowan Russell:
“Thank you to Anzan Hoshin roshi for the many teisho that have been presented over the years, in which the Teachings are beautifully communicated with humour, tact, and sincere wisdom. Thank you to the Office of the Tenzo for the delicious meals during my retreat on Saturday. Thank you to Saigyo ino for a practice interview and helpful instruction throughout my retreat. Thank you to David Alexander for always acting with kindness.”

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