Monthly Archives: January 2014

Moving snow with the power shovel, January 31st 2014

Jijuyuzanmai runs out of battery, Januar 29th 2014

The round of talks on the Gakudoyojinshu has finishes, and since yesterday we take turns lecturing on Bendowa. Here is today’s talk by Gusho. He tries to explain “jijuyuzanmai”, a central term that is translated as “self-joyous meditation” in the text below. Unfortunately the battery ran out before Gusho could give his final answer…

Translation by Prof. Masunaga Reiho (original found here:

The various Buddhas and Tathagatas have a most enlightened way of realizing superior wisdom and transmitting the supreme law. When transmitted from Buddha to Buddha, its mark is self-joyous meditation. To enter this meditation naturally, right sitting is the true gate. Though each man has Buddha-nature in abundance, he cannot make it appear without practice or live it without enlightenment. If you let it go, it fills your hand; it transcends the one and many. If you talk about it, it fills your mouth; it is beyond measurement by height and width. All Buddhas eternally have their abode here without becoming attached to one-sided recognition. All beings are working here without attachment to sides in each recognition. The devices and training that I teach now manifest all things in original enlightenment and express unity in action. And when you thoroughly understand, why cling to such trifles as these?

On awakening of the desire to seek the way, I visited Buddhist masters in all parts of the country. Finally I met Zenko (Myozen, disciple of Eisai) at Kennin temple. The nine years that If served as his follower passed quickly. From him I heard about the Rinzai style. Zenko, as the leading disciple of Eisai, truly transmitted the highest Buddhism. Other disciples could not compare with him. I […]

Yudai gives dharma talk on chapter 8 of the Gakudoyojinshu, January 24th 2014

Today was Yudai’s turn. First he reads in Japanese:

Next the English translation from “Heart of Zen”:

Yudai used a lot of examples from the life at Antaiji to explain about the “activities of a Zen monk”. Like walking in the snow, or washing dishes…

At last, as always, discussion with everyone. Eko asks about the exact way of taking steps in the snow:

“Buppou ha nan desu ka (What is dharma)?”, January 23rd 2014

Today it was Tsukan’s turn to read and talk about Dogen’s Gakudoyojinshu, chapter 7.
First he read the original in Japanese:

Next the translation by Shohaku Okumura roshi, published by Soto-shu:

And here the first minutes of his talk in mixed Japanese and English, staring out with a question: “Buppou ha nan desu ka (What is dharma)?”

Muho discusses some recent Japanese books, January 21st 2014

A walk in the snow and strange sounds from the barn, January 19th 2014

After today’s dharma talk on Gakudoyojinshu, I took a walk with the camera around the main hall. When I took some steps in the deep snow in front of the kitchen, I could hear strange sounds coming from the blue barn…

Start of the winter practice period, January 16th 2014

How are you all doing? I hope you had a good start into the new year!
As every year around this time, the mountains around Antaiji are covered with snow.
Last year, on December 16th, everyone except me and my family left Antaiji to go begging or visit with family and friends. December 21st should have been the last school day for Megumi and Hikaru, my two older children who go to 4th and 3rd grade in Hamsaka’s East Elementary school. But as it had been storming and snowing a lot since the early morning hours, we received a call just before the school bus left, that school would be cancelled. The kids were happy about the early winter holidays, bu my wife Tomomi and me on the other hand were busy transporting stuff from the monastery to the empty house in front of Hamasaka station, where she will spent the winter with the children. As it is not possible to reach the school from here during the winter, my children attend Hamasaka North Elementary school during the third trimester each year. I left Antaiji with them on the 21st, and gave some last talks in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka, the three biggest cities in Japan:

After New Year’s, I went begging myself for 5 days.
Yesterday, we met in Hamasaka to take the bus to the “Ike-ga-naru” bus stop, from where we climbed the mountain.

Packed with lots of mochi (rice cakes) and wearing snow shoes, it took us from 9am until 1pm to walk the 4 kilometers up the mountain.

Not only our back packs were heavy, but also the snow we had to walk in, […]