“Zazen is the only thing that is good for anything!” – English talk (with some Japanese) during the summer retreat & Antaiji’s kitchen, July 9th & 10th 2019
Muho talks about the meaning of life, quitting the game, monkhood & practice in daily life, what it takes to be an adult, dealing with pain & suffering, dying on the cushion, teaching those who do not want to hear about Buddhism, making others happy, rebirth, mystical powers, compassion and the here and now.
Our Ancestor Dōkai of Mount Fuyō manifested a pure wellspring of ceaseless practice. When the ruler of the nation tried to bestow upon him the title of Meditation Master Jōshō along with a purple kesa, our Ancestor would not accept them and wrote a letter to the emperor politely declining his offer. Although the ruler of the nation censured him for this, the Master, to the end, did not accept them. His rice broth has passed down to us the taste of the Dharma. When he built his hermitage on Mount Fuyō, the monks and laity streamed to his refuge by the hundreds. Because he served them only one bowl of gruel as a day’s rations, many of them left. The Master, upon a vow, did not partake of any meals offered by donors. One day he pointed out the Matter to his assembly, saying the following:
To begin with, those who have left home behind to become monks have a distaste for the dust and troubles stirred up by defiling passions and seek to rise above birth and death. And they do so in order to give their hearts and minds a rest, to abandon discriminatory thinking, and to eradicate entanglements, which is why it is called ‘leaving home’. So, how can it possibly be all right for monks to indulge in conventional ways of living by being neglectful and greedy?
Straight off, you should discard all dualistic notions and let neutral ones drop off as well. Then, whenever you encounter any sights or sounds, it will be as if you were trying to plant a flower atop a stone, and whenever you encounter gain or fame, it will resemble […]
My Teacher’s House
Shinyu Miyaura and the History of Antaiji in Hyogo According to Muho Noelke
(by Edward Moore)
IV – Protector of Antaiji (2)
Edward: How would you describe Miyaura compared to the other abbots?
Muho: He was someone very loyal to his cause; somebody who follows through on things. What Watanabe did here 40 years ago, move Antaiji from Kyoto, my teacher would never have done. Miyaura disliked change. He was very conservative. He devoted his life to protecting the place. He wasn’t a very intellectual guy either.
For instance, he would only give one teisho a year. And when he gave a talk, it was usually the same. It was never like, wow this is something I couldn’t find in the Uchiyama or Sawaki books; this is a revelation.
On the intellectual side, he wasn’t overwhelming. But he would always give me an example of how to do things. One thing I remember when I first came here was that I was put in charge of the goats. There was this female goat, which needed to be milked. And there was a male goat that was only here to fertilize the female goat so she could produce the milk. The female would be kept in the shed, while the male would often run wild and break free from the rope. The male goat was called Taro. The female was called Yuki, she was nice. Taro was kind of aggressive. If he escaped he wouldn’t allow people to catch him. If he got tangled in something and you tried to catch him, he would attack you.
One day, Yuki got free this time. Between the two rice fields there used to be a pond, and […]