Monthly Archives: September 2013

No blog update until October 6th, September 30th 2013

Tonight I will give a tallk on “Fukanzazengi”.
Tomorrow starts the 5 day sesshni, and on the last day of sesshin Jinen-san (J), Yoshin-san (AUS) and Hakue-san (Mexico) will receive lay ordination. In the evening, if the waether is fine, we will have a camp fire. See you again on the 6th!

Strolling through Antaiji, September 30th 2013

Today is the free day before the next 5 day sesshin. I am taking a walk with my son Izumi, who is one and a half years old now. We end up in the empty Zen hall, where Izumi is drawn to the bell which signals the beginning and end of zazen. Maybe one day he will make a good Jikido:

After the “jikido rehearsal”, we strolled around the hall and found Shoko and Jisui working as always in the Northern garden.

Shoko, who designed the garden, explains something about planting Camelias in German.

Planning the activities of the “Antaiji Forest Group” for the next three years, September 30th 2013

Discussing the area and content of the activities of the group with group leader Eko-san. For the neaxt three years, we will tryt o clean up the forest surrounding Antaiji but cutting dead trees and removing the spreading bamboo.

Trying to decide what needs to be done first and which our preferences are for the tools we buy.

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    Collecting 8 bags of nuka at the automatic rice polishing machine in Iwami, September 29th 2013

Collecting 8 bags of nuka at the automatic rice polishing machine in Iwami, September 29th 2013

Last day of the yoga event in Hakone. In the morning, I sat zazen with two ladies from Germany at the lake in Hakone, and from 10:30 I gave a talk on bodhi-mind with about 15 Japanese participants attending. Because it was done on a pier on the lake, the right side of my face was burned like a toasted bread.
At around half past 5, I was back at the airport in Tottori and drove the light truck back to Antaiji. Whenever I am in Tottori, I check for nuka (rice powder) at the automatic rice polishing machine in Iwami. If you insert coins in it, this machine will remove the rice husk and polish it. You can choose between “50%”, “70%”, “normal” and “super white”. As Japanese normally do not eat unpolished rice, you do not have the choice of “brown rice”. Therefore, when we have to remove the husk of the Antaiji rice, we have to visit a special store in Hamasaka that will not polish the rice. When you polish rice, you loose the outer part of the rice corns, which is collected in the “nuka house” on the left side of the machine. Because it is harvesting season, I was able to collect 8 full bags, which will be used for fertilizing the fields as well as food for the chicken.

Zazen on top of Mt. Koma-ga-take, September 28th 2013

I led two courses today, “Introduction to kinhin” held at a local shrine in the early morning, and “Just sitting” in the evening. Thanks to the sponsorship by MINI, the event could take place at the top of the mountain. Here I am talking to Andreas from Germany, who introduces their new model (in English!):

From the gondola we got our first glimpses of Mt. Fuji. How great must it be to see him in the evening sun, from the top of the mountain?
There were about 60 participants in the gondola, among them yoga teachers like Sayaka Shibuki or Mae Yoshikawa. Everyone is excited…

The second we reach the mountain top, we are in a thick mist. It is cold and a strong wind is blowing from the East. Without MINI’s support, people would have asked for their money back. as it was a free vent, people even got a free yoga mat.
Anyway, you do not always get want you want. Especially not from your Zen practice. Today was a good opportunity to accept things as they are, rather than tayloring them according to our wishes.

They say that this place has been a “power spot” for 2400 years. Actually, I do not really believe in “power spots”. Or rather, for me any place where zazen is done is a power spot. Even today, in this weather, the mountain top was a power spot.

Tomorrow I will give my last talk on Bodhimind on this pier. After that I will fly back to Antaiji.

Lakeside sitting, September 27th 2013

This morning I spoke about my encounter with zazen at 8am inside. Tomorrow we will be sitting on a mountain to at 4pm. Mae Yoshikawa, a Japanese yogini, introduces the course for me:

From the mountain top, tomorrow we will have a great view of the sun setting behind Mt. Fuji.

Thanks to the sponsorship of MINI COOPER, not only will the participation in the course be free, but also the ride in the gondola. And as an extra, the first three hundred participants will receive a yoga mat as a present. The view from the made-in-Switzerland gondola is nice as well:

In the afternoon, we had the opportunity to site by the lakeside.

Schedule of the yoga event, September 27th 2013

Got up early than the sun, as always. Following the Antaiji schedule, I did a little zazen and then went out to the lake, where Mt. Fuji was lit up by the sun. Today will be the first day of the three day “True Nature” yoga event.

No-one yet in the lobby of the Prince Hotel in Hakone. People should arrive here for their classes in two hours or so. Information about the classes and schedule can be found on a board in the lobby
(or on the Internet:

The hot springs open at 6am. After I had my eaerly morning bath (breakfastt starts not before 7am), I went out to the lake again:

Leaving Antaiji again, September 26th 2013

I will be leading zazen workshops at a yoga event in Hakone on the 27th, 28th and 29th.
More information can be found here:

The true “TRUE NATURE” event takes place in a hotel close to a beautiful lake. Starting from tomorrow, we will be sitting at the shore of this lake. On a clear day, you can see Mt. Fuji from here.

Free day, September 26th 2013

It started to rain yesterday and poured all night, but today is another sunny free day:

Takeo official starts to train as tenzo in the kitchen. His plan for the first day is – pound cake!

Jikido, September 25th 2013

Today was another one day sesshin. The day begins with the jikido, who is responsible for the meditation hall, waking up everyone in the sangha at 3:45. He strikes the drum three times, followed by three strikes of the unpan (metal board). After this, he will run down the corridors with a bell.
Not only is he to wake up everyone, but his vigor is to motivate the rest of the community. What the hidden camera in Antaiji caught this morning was not exactly a good example.