Monthly Archives: September 2013

Second day threshing, September 24th 2013

Most of the work at Antaiji is done by hand, but for threshing the rice we use a machine. the one that we used yesterday was presented to us by the Kubota store in Hamasaka ten years ago. Although it started without problems yesterday morning, the engine seems to have not enough power to thresh the rice anymore.
Therefore we changed the torn belt in a different machine this morning. this one we bought about five years ago on Yahoo Auctions (for about 100 dollars), and it is not exactly reliable either, but hopefully it will serve us well today.

Samu in early autumn, September 23rd 2013

Eko-san and Ellie started threshing today. They will be busy with their job tomorrow as well.


In the vegetable field, Yudai-kund and Hirukawa-kun are digging sweet potatoes. It makes them hungry for tempura they say.


We had lots (more than 100) of new strawberry offshoots from the 12 plants that we planted in May in the herb garden. Here, Hiromi from Mexico and German Steffi can be seen making beds for a new strawberry field.


These guys seem to be just sitting around, but actually it is them who are doing the “real work” today: Building a new stone wall in the area where we plan to extend the rice field next year. the finished wall will be about 4 meters high, so they need to do a good job to prevent it from crumbling. Tsukan from Oregon, Daniel from Germany, and Gusho-san and Takeo-kun do their best.


Behind the main hall, East German Shoko is supposed to be working as well. Here, he can be seen walking around with a camera. What is he aiming at? Me?


Today, JIsui from Singapore is standing in the kitchen. Did she read Yudai’s mind?

Seikan from Melbourne visits, September 22nd 2013

Seikan was the first monk ordain after I became the abbot 12 years ago. It was his first visit in four years, and he could stay for only one night. Let him talk for himself:

After returning to Australia nine years ago, he started a Zen group and is also running a “Zen Hospice” in Melbourne. When I visited there two years ago, he asked me to bring kapok for stuffing meditation cushions from Japan, but it was confiscated by the otherwise very friendly customs stuff at the airport. When Seikan left, he again took some kapok with him. Let’s hope he is more successful smuggling than I was.

Melbourne Zen Hospice

Official Melbourne Zen Centre Site

Facebook: Melbourne Zen Centre

He also has a lot of videos on Youtube. This is just a small selection:

Breakfast chant, September 22nd 2013

Breakfast is called “shukuza” in Japanese Zen monastery, which can loosely be translated as the “gruel session”. In Antaiji though, we have brown rice, miso soup and two side dishes for breakfast, to give us the strength necessary for samu. Here you can see us recite part of the morning chant:

Hitotsu ni wa ko no tasho o hakari kano raisho o hakaru.
Futatsu ni wa onore ga tokugyo no zenketto hakatte ku ni ozu.
Mitsu ni wa shin o fusegi toga o hanaruru ko to wa tonto o shu to su.
Yotsu ni wa masa ni ryoyaku o koto to suru wa gyoko o ryozen ga tame nari.
Itsutsu ni wa jodo no tame no yue ni ima kono jiki o uku.

Jiten kijinshu, gokin suji kyu
suji hen jiho, ishi kijin kyu

Jo bun san bo, chu bun shion
gekyu roku do, kai do kuyo
ik-ku idan is-sai aku
niku ishu is-sai zen
sanku ido shoshu jo
kaigu jo butsu do

More info at:

Breakfast chants and Rules for eating

High noon on a free day at Antaiji, September 21st 2013

Back in Antaiji, September 21st

Back in Antaiji, the first rice field has been harvested. The sounds that you can hear at the beginning of the video are the voices of dear that can be heared a lot in autumn, especially in the morning hours. They are in heat during this time of the year.

Meeting Shinto priest Florian Wiltschko in Shibuya, September 20th 2013

9:30 am in Shinagawa. I avoided the rush hour.

Even funnier than watching the monkeys at the zoo is observing these humans on the loose (Kodo Sawaki)

Today I visited an Austrian Shinto priest in Shibuya, Florian Wiltschko:

They finished harvesting rice in Shibuya as well.

Could make out Antaiji from the plane on the way to Tottori.

Back in the country side. You can park your car for free here as long as you like.

Rice harvest and panel discussion, September 19th 2013

To make the best use of the nice weather we have these days, we got up and started with the harvest first thing this morning at 5am, before sun rise.. The plan is to finish the first field by tonight, allowing us to do a one day sesshin tomorrow. The other two fields still need time for the rice to ripen.

Ante from Australia is leaving Antaiji today. After dropping him off at Tottori station, I am checking in at the airport to go to Tokyo.

Quite a different atmosphere at Shinagawa:

A couple of minute of zazen in my hotel room:

The panel discussion took place from 6am to 8am. I will be uploaded on the channel during the next days.

Soji (wiping the floor), September 18th 2013

Cleaning is done every morning, right after breakfast:

Four of us went to help with the rice harvest at a different temple in Tottori prefecture today. Therefore, Antaiji’s harvest will have to wait for another day. Yesterday we harvested only about 20% of the southern rice field. The rest is planned foo tomorrow.

Shoko from Germany, who can be seen wiping the floor in the video above, has a Google+ account with many Antaiji pictures:

Also, a radio crew came today for an interview. It will be broadcast in the Kansai area on October 12th and 19th, 7am to 7:15 (558Khz). Some pictures might be uploaded shortly on the interviewers FB page:

Fine weather, lots of work, September 17th 2013

Another typhoon has passed, and we have good weather again.

The rice in the southern field has fallen over again, wo we decided to start harvesting today.

The soil in the field is still swampy, therefore we tie the rice on a plastic sheet outside the field. from there it will be transported to the haza construction to dry in the sun.

In the vegetable garden, the weather is just right to plow.

In another area, we are planting the Chinese cabbage for winter food.

And in the Zen garden, Shoko shows where a hole needs to be dug to plant lotus flowers next spring.