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EkiZen - Newsletter of the Shinnyo-ji Sangha

Summer 2012 - n. 11 year III

Garden in bloom at Daijō-ji

Essay by Azuma Docho Roshi in the periodical publication by Daijō-ji Zen no kokoro, The Zen Heart, n. 89 in December 2011 entitled:

The gasshō tesu form:

One day last October, while flipping through the newspaper, my eyes focused on a photo of a couple of Western artists, video-artist Bill Viola and his wife,who is also his artistic director, Kira Pervo. They visited the Miyagi Prefecture that was devastated by the earthquake last March. They came to Japan to receive the International Culture Prize in rememberance of Prince Takamatsu, for their video-art opera. The day before the prize-giving, they went to visit where the earthquake happened and donated a part of the prize money to the Miyagi Prefecture.

In the article, there was a deeply touching picture of the two artists offering a bouquet of flowers on the beach where the tsunami occurred, praying for the victims with the gasshō tesu gesture. Recently in Japan, I’m not sure why, in similar cases the word mokuto is always used, this word means “meditation”, especially in when a moment of silence for the dead is being observed. This word is certainly appropriate, but in the past it wasn’t used as often. Am I the only one who feels embarrassed by the overuse of this word that has become popular? I recognized in their gasshō tesu a Japanese form passed down from an ancient past. Bill Viola said in an interview, “Man is subject to death; water is the origin of life. What can we do in the birth-death cycle?” From his words, I felt how the Way of the Buddha was present in his mind. Looking at the image of the two artists standing on the beach with tears in their eyes where there were many victims, the tears didn’t stop from my eyes either.

NdR
We respectfully recognize the Azuma Docho Roshi’s reflection on how often nowadays, our actions and words lose their most intimate significance, resulting in empty expressions, without content. In the words of the Teacher, the necessity to continuously testify in every action in our daily lives the “true” Zen, and not a Zen reduce into a mere form.

14 February 2012
Nehan-e a Daijō-ji

In the Daijō-ji monastery, the entrance of the Nirvana of Shakyamuni Buddha is celebrated on the day of Nehan, this is the only monastery where the ancient rite is still performed. The Abbot officiates the rule of Doshi and opens the Commemoration with a speech, afterwards follow the Ceremony and the distribution of the dangos, which are sweets that according to popular tradition, have the power to ward away evil, prevent misfortune and propitiate good health. The dangos are thrown amonsts the followers.

Azuma Docho Roshi distributes the dangos

To prepare the dangos, traditional sweets that represent the Shakymuni’s bones, 120 kg (264.5 lbs.) of cooked rice flour were used by 20 people, all volunteers that worked for four days from 11 to 13 February.

Preparation of the dangos at Daijō-ji

This year more than three hundred people participated at the Nehan- and during the Ceremony officiated by Azuma Docho Roshi.

10 December 2011
Hossenshiki di Hōjun san

Hōjun san during the Hossen Ceremony

Hōjun san is an Australian monk, taught directly by Azuma Docho Roshi who since the past two years lives at Daijō-ji for his teachings. In September 2010 he visited Shinnyo-ji, participating in the first Ordination officiated by our Teacher Shinnyo Roshi.

Immediately after the Rohatsu Sesshin, Hōjun san received the level of Shusso nella Cerimona di Hossen, at the end of the ceremony his words were, “I was very moved by the recitation in Japanese, everyone appreciated my effort and I was self-assured.”

During the winter Ango, beginning in November, he took the role of Shusso. From 6 January to 3 February he practiced Takuatsu (the search for the path) with another six monks from Daijō-ji.

Daijō-ji monks practicing Takuatsu

Grateful to hear the news, we wish him a happy return to Australia in April.

MESSAGE FROM OUR TEACHER SHINNYO ROSHI

I personally thank all of those who profusely expressed their testimonies in our Newsletter and that have contributed to Shinnyo-ji’s EkiZen Summer 2012.

Never before have the voices of the Sangha from our Temple come out like spiritual diaries. I invite each one who wrote a testimony to read each other’s contributions, welcoming the preciousness that emanates from them.

“Every testimony sings on its own”, every word is a moment upon the practitioners’ personal path, how she or he writes it. Noticing the mirror-effect, as an opportunity to verify the growth and alignment with the deepest themes of our practice.

Gasshō

ANNIVERSARY OF SHINNYO-JI AND TEMPLE OPEN DAY

SCHEDULE

09.00 a.m. – 1.00 p.m.

Zazen: There will be a practitioner seated in Meditation throughout the day

Reception and distribution of brochures about the Temple

Lesson on the Form for whoever desires to sit in Zazen

1.00p.m. – 2.00p.m.

Zazen: There will be a practitioner seated in Meditation throughout the day

Buffet lunch provided by the Sangha

2.00p.m. – 4.00p.m.

Zazen: There will be a practitioner seated in Meditation throughout the day

Reception and distribution of brochures about the Temple

Lesson on the Form for whoever desires to sit in Zazen

4.00p.m. – 4.30p.m.

Teisho by our Teacher on Shin jin mei

4.30p.m. – 5.00p.m.

Zazen: There will be a practitioner seated in Meditation throughout the day

5.00p.m. – 15.45p.m.

Zazen: There will be a practitioner seated in Meditation throughout the day

Tea and sweets provided by the Sangha

5.45p.m. – 6.00p.m.

Sutra and dedication

Clean up/Reorganization

Sunday, 25 April 2012, we participated in the Third Anniversary

Celebration of the current residence of the Shinnyo-ji Temple in Florence. Entering the Temple at the very beginning of the day and taking care of every detail for the sake of a successful celebration was an honor to our souls that vivaciously worked and welcomed the friends visited the Zen Center. We were an enormous amount of people, there were emotional moments.

Individual and continuous meditation was practiced throughout the entire day, beyond its profound value, is was also a way to learn and watch the time, marking it by ring the big bell. It always has a profound resonance within us, by the vibrations it produces within our thin bodies, in a way like when we through a rock into a pond and concentric waves that flow.

Our new friends were moved, they entered the Temple for the first time, and by receiving some basic teaching on Form, they were able to sit in Zazen, some perhaps for the first time in their lives. Some curious children even came, in their absolute silence, they participated trying to stay still in Zazen, some drew, and some played in the garden.

Delicious plates prepared by the practitioners, emphasized the tie between Japanese and European culture.

The garden held an important role in the Anniversary. Yumiko san gave the Temple a Japanese Maple, it was planted in a corner of this beautiful space with an inaugural Ceremony with hopes that it will grow strong.

This Maple testifies the union with a daughter of the Temple, seeing how Yumiko san was born in Japan in the Tōchiku-in temple where first her father, and then her brother are now Abbots. Reciting together the Sutra selected by our Teacher and the Abbot of Tōchiku-in in the Temple’s garden created strong emotions and unity.

The circular image that everyone formed together with the Maple and other plants is indelible, strong, and will remain in those minutes, as if following it through its growth, season after season.

The Shinnyo-ji Sangha is rich and energetic – eager to renew itself, and strengthen with every new arrival that our Teacher always receives with love.

Valentina

I thank on my behalf, my parents, little Bruno, the Teacher and all of the warm-welcoming and sincere Sangha at the Temple this morning. Thanks again.

Gasshō,

Leonardo

It was absolutely wonderful to see so many new faces at the Temple, even if not everyone will return, I hope that their experience left them a pleasant feeling about our practice. There were so many people that at times I didn’t know where to put myself. Sorry to everyone whose foot I stepped on!

Lisa

The chest is sealing, inside the buds the contents push amongst themselves. Outside only ash pilfers.

Gregorio G

A bright and beautiful day of celebration. Many people entered and wanted to learn. To learn about Zen, the Temple, the Teacher, we the practitioners. We couldn’t believe that in a short time, more and more people arrived. Many listened to the Lesson on the Form and sat down, others were curious and asked for information, almost everyone ate the delicious buffet created by the Sangha and by Japanese friends.

Everything ran smoothly, despite the small space and friendly organization.

The atmosphere was relaxing and enjoyable like the sun that illuminated the garden, the proactive Sangha, collaborative and serene, the respectful guests, interested and joyous. The Teacher’s presence was supportive, even when unseen, it was felt everywhere.

We are thankful for this day and for these three years.

Ben-shin

I didn’t stay long enough to entirely see everyone who came to the Temple for this occasion, I’m sorry that I had to leave early. However, I did have the opportunity to participate in two Zazen sessions before leaving and to see some people hanging around the Temple: curious and shy at the same time. Regarding the Zazen, I admit that it was a little strange to do it without the usual silence throughout the Temple and it was strange to hear the many questions about the practice and object about the Temple. With incredible patience, Dai-Shin explained everything to them: from the very entrance of the Zendo. It was an important day, open to the outside world, think about the children who, along with their parents, came and watched around themselves full of wonder… Who know what they thought! Maybe some came to see the Temple, and we will see them at an evening Zazen session, other may never return at Shinnyo-ji, but this is the right way, it was a good informal way to meet others and to overcome certain barriers, above all, mental barriers that some may have had.

Margherita

Today the Temple was occupied by a beautiful chaos, a subdued chaos. The meditation was different and pleasurable. It was nice knowing that the other two Gregorios were in the next room.

Gasshō

Gregorio P

Dear Teacher,
The days have gone by so quickly since the 25th of April, only now do I find the time to thank you.

Thank you for the beautiful day, sunny, joyous, chaotic and above and beyond everything, thank you for giving me the possibility to practice, even if only a few minutes, with Linda and Michele. I have few memories as deep and full as this one.

Maybe this what is meant when one speaks about fully living in each moment:

Zazen, my children, my closest friends, the Sangha, you...

Forgive me, I don’t know if I’m explaining myself well, but thank you, thanks again

Gasshō

Shin-nen

I enjoyed my visit at Shinnyo-ji Temple very much, just I enjoy meditating.

The Teacher’s lesson was very interesting and I really liked it.

Michele Gabrielli

Many faces and colors in the Temple: Its doors are open to visitors.

As a guest, as I have been for a few months, I am a part of the third anniversary celebration for the opening of the new location.

From the Zendo I hear different sounds: doors that open and close quickly, voices louder than usual, swift movements, conversations.

In front of the wall I try to separate myself for the sounds, the Teacher’s words echo within myself: “be with whatever there is”. The celebration is also those noises, those movements: I open up and am warmed by their presence.

A tree was planted, a rite was made.

The dishes were washed and put away while the rooms slowly empty.

The Temple returns to its usual space and its intensity.

Lucia

The 25th of April.

The day our Temple was established.

The Sangha reunited to celebrate this event.

We listen to the Dharma.

The Buddha watches over us with patient and compassionate eyes.

We trust.

We practice the Three Treasures.

Gasshō.

Furio

POETRY

By Kahlil Gibran born in Bsharri, a city in northern Lebanon on January 6th, 1883 and died of Cirrhosis and Tuberculosis in New York on April 10th, 1931.

The poems that we will read (On Love and On Marriage) are from the collection “The Prophet” published in 1923:

ON LOVE

Then Almitra asked: Speak to us about love. He raised his head and watched the people and peacefully came down amongst them. In a great voice he said:

When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God's sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say, "God is in my heart," but rather, "I am in the heart of God."
And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

On Marriage

Then Almitra spoke again, she said: What is marriage, Teacher?

His reply:
You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.

REPORT

Commemoration of the 30th anniversary since death of the Teacher Taisen Deshimaru

The departure from my house is set for 5:40 a.m., the sun begins to break through the sky that seems very cloudy. Once I arrive at the Pisa airport waiting for the teacher, who arrives with Gregorio, we board the plane.

The plane takes little over two hours to land at Paris Bouvais airport, also here the weather is cloudy and very windy, so we make our way towards Paris, travelling towards the Gendronnière. After another hour in the bus, we arrive in front of the Congress building of Paris in Porte Maillot. Following the Teacher’s sixth sense, which I learned to trust while we travel together, we follow some people who lead us to the Metro stop. There we are warmly welcomed by a man who knows any European languages telling people to use the automatic machines to buy a ticket at the correct entrance for Line 1, I must say that the graciousness and energy of his gesture particularly impressed the Teacher and I.

We go towards Chateau de Vincennes, but instead of getting off at Gare de Lyon as planned, the Teacher asks me if I would like to see the Champes Elysee and I enthusiastically accept.

Back on the Metro, we finally arrive at Gare de Lyon and walk to Gare de Austerlitz, the two stations are very close, situated on opposite sides of the Seine. The train finally arrives and we get on for another half and half long trip. We then take a ferry that takes us to a castle. On board, I break the ice with a young monk who asks me where I come from and if it’s the first time that I’ve been to the Gendronnière. The trip is short and after fifteen minutes we are upon a dirt path that leads us first through a woods and then to a great opening from which the castle arises, it is made of red brick, just as Ben-shin described in her report. We gather at the reception greeting and meeting each other. We take our bed sheets and head towards our rooms. The Teacher’s room is on the top floor of the building with the refectory, my room is in the Sodo building behind the castle. I enter and am immediately amazed by the reproduction of Japanese style throughout the building: the stalls of the highest monks, the central altar with Manjushri, outside the typical instruments such as the Moppan and the “fish”. It is a truly beautiful place, immersed in nature and in peace, despite its different energy in comparison to that of our Temple. The Umpa sounds and we meet in the refectory for dinner.

At the end of dinner, the Teacher tells me that there is no particular schedule, I follow a small group of newcomers for a kind of lesson on the Form. The Zendo is striking, and in the dark of night it glows from within. Before entering, I see the big bell that Ben-shin had photographed, it is kept in on small shelf and as it is mentioned in books, I imagine what it sounds like. At the end of the monk’s lesson, I go back to the refectory to meet up with the Teacher and take her had to her room, it’s getting late and tomorrow morning the bell will ring at 6:30 a.m.

I take my place in the Zendo just before the end of the Moppan, I notice that it is played much faster here than in our Temple. During the first Zazen session, the sound of the big bell keeps the time, it reminds me of the Teacher’s story about the sounds at Daijo-ji, where a monk rings the bell from a tower in the mornings to begin Zazen.

The Sutra ceremony opens with the recitation of Hannya Shingyo and at the end of the Sutra a long procession of monks and practitioners go toward the founder, Deshimaru Roshi’s tomb then we reenter into our rooms to change clothes for breakfast and Samu. At the end of Samu I change again and go to fetch the Teacher for the second Zazen and lunch.

There are couple hours of free time after lunch and before the conferences. I take this time to take walk in the park. The conferences are translated in English, so I have the possibility to understand better what was said, I followed the second presentation the best. It was titled, “Buddhism and Dharma”. It was very interesting, it was about the problem of political recognition of the Buddhist movement in France and the difficult consultation between European Zen and Japanese Zen.

Later that evening, some photos were projected about the life and mission of the Teacher Deshimaru. Dinner was served at 7:30 p.m. and at 10:20 p.m. I was already in bed, trying to rest up for next day’s departure. My thoughts are concerning mostly the trip, we will not be able to attend some of the programmed ceremonies and commemorations and due to the postponement of our return flight.

The morning after began with a Zazen session and the recitation of the Sutra. After breakfast, we prepared for our return to Italy.

I thank our Teacher for this opportunity to broaden my view on the Practice and to encounter an important event in my personal growth. She patiently guided me, I think the Patriarchs, through them all is possible. I also thank all living beings with which I follow the Way.

Gasshō

Yū-shin

TESTIMONIES

Presence and absence

I have been absent from Shinnyo-ji for awhile. Oftentimes I don’t even think about Shinnyo-ji. Although I know that Shinnyo-ji thinks about me. Every time I come back, with either my thoughts or in person, I know that I will be welcomed with love and compassion. I know that my Teacher will be there and she waits for me with loving open arms.

When one encounters the storms of life, having a safe refuge is a great thing.

We don’t need words or concepts like Zen, Buddha, Dharma, Sangha. It is enough just see Shinnyo Roshi’s welcoming look to brighten your dark times. And to fill them with trust and religious strength.

Shin-kai

3 2 1

Joyously swimming and disinterested in the putrid sea of misery of which our lives are made,

Going beyond the squalor without becoming a part of it, going through without stopping in an aimless game with no end,

contemptuous of the possession that reduces us to slaves, without taking or keeping anything,

worldliness, but in essence indifferent

to its clamor,

with silly senseless nonchalance weighing, going beyond, the calm gaze

that from everything is clearer

rigid

free and proud beautiful like the rising sun that illuminates, with joyful

detachment,

each motion, far from personal

with nameless activity and consciousness.

Gregorio G

In the shade and in silence

an implacable silent march, rhythmic recitations and reverberating

buzzing sounds of the bells break the emptiness of the nothingness that awaits us at our threshold.

‘Yes’ insinuates and takes power of being, while we kneel, we reorder what must be.

Gregorio G

Dear Teacher Shinnyo, dear Sangha of Shinnyo-ji, I think about you very often. I hope that all of you are well and that your lives and practice are going well. I have you in my heart every time I bow in front of the little altar in my home.

The days are long in the North

But the swallows haven’t come yet.

I am waiting for them.

Gasshō,

Ismo Shin-kō

Gregorio P

It is within the continuous and infinite flow of Dharma that we joyously published a writing that Pierpaolo sent to our Teacher:

Gasshō. A piece of the moon appears from the clouds while the wind ripples the sea.

It was difficult for me to follow the “theme” for this year: to be constant in our practice.

Fortunately however, by following the activities at the Temple I can still continue a part of my work. I feel the need to thank everyone, Teacher and Sangha for simply: supporting me, guiding me and sharing (and within) Zazen and the Sutra readings. Best wishes for your path.

Gasshō

Margherita

Dear Teacher, you feel close.

Thank you for everything you are transmitting to me.

Your words are dense, full, they go beyond themselves.

Every syllable contains another hundred,

Every accent encloses a life experience.

And it’s true that sense exists even if we can’t see it;

I don’t want to forget this when chaos wipes out every light within me

The same strength, and no more, it is just as important.

Gasshō.

Laura B

Being called to do something goes way beyond my capacity of understanding and acceptance, where does the strength to respond and the courage to do what needs to be done, without judgment and without preferences, but present along with fear, from pain to exertion, never conquered and never overcome?

In the Temple’s garden, one Friday evening,

The Teacher wears a Samu-e

In silence, she takes care of the lawn and the flowerbeds.

Yō-shin

SHODŌ A SHINNYO-JI

Day of Calligraphy

It amazes me how much Zen practice and calligraphy coincide: difficult and simple at the same time, requiring a lot of attention, but also the willingness to let it go. A process of small steps that will never end, like when I play the flute and when I practice Zen.

Lisa

Holding the brush in my hand and meeting a new spiritual practice but at the same time very material and creative like calligraphy, allowed me to see extreme clarity the obstacles that our minds object to the natural energy flow. The fear of not knowing how to control properly the brush,

something very obvious within itself (it was the first time) and without noticing (remember that learning something requires error), became in that moment, clearly an obstacle that within my silence, I could observe and feel with clarity like never before. I felt like the simplicity of the natural flow was blocked by my fear, an attachment that the more I observed, the more I recognized its nonsense, and even if completely empty, it is very crucial and difficult to abandon: a wonderful experience in impermanence.

Gasshō

Yū-shin

I would have never thought that Japanese writing would have so much meaning. Today at Shinnyo-ji I underwent a vibrant trial. For this Zazenkai, our Teacher organized a meeting with two expert teachers of Shodō, Japanese writing using the kanji. She asked the teachers to focus the lesson upon one particular kanji: the word Ten, which in Japanese means sky, because it is a kanji present in all of the Order, in this way, everyone can begin to know to how write a part of their Dharma name, it is also a powerful kanji and it’s structure is not too complex. The calligraphy teachers showed us the kanji Ten in four different variants that refer to the development and variations that time and culture have formed. Writing with the brush in a traditional way allowed us to dive into thousand-year old Japanese history and tradition that helped us comprehend how much of ourselves we can transfer from the brush onto the paper. The pressure, the quantity of space taken on the sheet, the lines more or less secure reveal a lot about ourselves and the teachers knew how to interpret parts of our personalities from those brief lines. It was very emotional. Great thanks to the Shodō teachers and in particular, to Shinnyo Roshi, my Teacher.

Shin-kai

During the day of Zazen on May 13th, we had the opportunity to learn about Shodō, the Calligraphy Way. It was an enjoyable and strange experience at the same time, at least for myself, who never properly holds a pencil in my hand, let alone a brush. The teachers were thorough and patient, I enjoyed meeting them and to see them again.

My impressions more or less contrast each other, this practice struck me for its complexness and at the same time, its simplicity.

The first exercise was to perceive the brush (clean), explore it, feel it and know what we will have to do. Then we had to hold the brush in a vertical position above the white paper sheet and let go. Here was the first contrasting feeling: letting the brush go, which seems like simple stuff, useless, who would want it? You take the brush between your fingers in a vertical position and just let go. But why did I have so much trouble doing so? Letting go, I perceived that there was something missing, a strange empty feeling, an emptiness that made me nervous. It went a little better the second time. Maybe we fear letting things go because doing so would make something disappear deep into a pit and will never be seen again. This made me think of a famous quote by Oscar Wilde:

Forse perché temiamo il lasciare andare le cose, quasi che queste possano sparire sprofondando in un baratro dal quale non potremmo più recuperarle, mi ha fatto venire in mente una famosa frase di Oscar Wilde: "There are many things that we would throw away if we were not afraid that others might pick them up".

We then tried to reproduce the ideogram that represents the sky, Ten, beginning with the most archaic character then finishing up the most current one, it was a great challenge. I understood that I still have a lot to do and to learn, a long road to take, so much that perhaps a life isn0t long enough. Take for example the last type of character drawn, it was cursive, very, very simple… But I drew the exact opposite!

Typical. I’ve always been told that I am and that I do the very “opposite” thing than I’m supposed to be or do, it’s clearer this way!

It was interesting to see how the writing reflects our way of being: one simple character, many difference between them. I would like to thank the teachers again for what they taught us, and thanks again to our Teacher for this opportunity.

Margherita

Dear Teacher,

Thank you for the writing experience together on Sunday, May 13th at the Temple.

I’m sorry that I was not diligent and did not immediately write my impressions, but perhaps this was because I had to let my essential impressions from the black lines permeating upon the white rice paper pass through me. Essentiality and purity, together with balance and precision.

A few days went by without thinking about what I did on Sunday and today seeing the sky ideogram, I felt the necessity to reclaim and recompose the space within and without myself.

I feel centered, today in this sunny day, as if everything were in place.

I feel more or less in peace, important like breathing.

Gasshō

Valentina

The first calligraphy lesson. There are eight sheets of paper on the table, eight brushes, eight small bowls with black ink. Fear and curiosity. The instructors speak about relaxation, I know that I will stiff. It’s normal for the first time, but I look for that free-flow, that grace that we could find in the movement. It is in life.

We begin with some exercises to loosen up and to understand how to use the brush. It’s true, we can feel the brush as if it were one with our hands. When they first told us to drop it, it was hard, I didn’t want to just let it go. Then they gave us sheets of light evanescent paper, like butterfly wings.

We started with a dot. Putting a black dot on a white sheet of paper is an important action. They showed us. I carefully watched. The ink flows smoothly from the brush leaving black marks, intense and at the same time light. When we made our first marks, I felt tense, I was afraid of making a mistake.

The sky ideogram is drawn upon our sheets in many different ways. The simplest and most stylized archaic form introduces us to the magic of the following forms that were more fluid and free. I perceive what the instructors told us: the creativity and beauty of the art blooms from the dark and elegant lines of the kanji.

Time went quickly and I didn’t want to stop, not yet. I wanted to keep trying new signs that were introduced to us. Following with my eyes, full of amazement, the ink that flows from the brush lightly permeating the sheet. But now it’s lunchtime I we must cook.

Only after the lesson, reflecting upon what I experience, I realized how much of Benshin was there, confused, stiff, and even a little worried, there was a strong feeling. I didn’t understand it at the moment. So, dear calligraphy instructors, come back!

Ben-shin

"To do calligraphy... you must present yourself as if in front of an extremely important person."

The calligraphy teacher guided my hand on the paper to transmit the movement and intensity of the ideogram that I must imitate: Ten, Sky.

On this thin paper, I draw an imperfect sky covered by shyness.

Lucia

Doing Calligraphy, at Shinnyo-ji

The Calligraphy teachers sat with the Sangha in Zazen, afterwards they transmitted the first instructions on how to use the ink brush and paper, allowing each one of us to respectfully approach the ancient Art they practice.

Respect and fear surrounding the ink, pen and papr.

I apprehend the relevance of this moment, the presence of how many people have already done and do this practice.

I begin drawing and leave a line, in a space that I created and defined within itself.

Simplicity in the contact with the wooden handle, while I let the brush oscillate between my fingers; warmth comes from the stalk, while holding it vertically.

I am the instrumental motor of the brush. I don’t feel like “here is my brush”… I feel more precise describing myself as “me, the brush”. After following the instruction to drop the brush on the clean white paper, I felt embarrassed by the evident interferences due to gravity: the brush seemed to “fling” outside from the paper. Its improbable landing point shows how much I interfere with everything simple thing, complicating even the taste of fresh water, going beyond my energy field and my range of duties.

I dip the brush too far into the ink bowl, I squeeze out the excess ink by pressing the brush along the white surface inside the reciprocal… it incarnates my innate oscillation between too much and too little, an intersection between the avidity and indecision or regret that is always within me.

I feel embarrassed by this disordered mix of white and black, that suffocates the round ink pond and covers the whiteness of its cup, erasing and confusing the clean line between them.

I carefully put the brush’s tip upon the paper and give it my weight: I exist!

I start my movement, overturned, in the flow of this movement I collect and reconnect the dual filaments that come along with every thought I have and every action that I make in the world.

The line is born, dense, it emits peace and pieces of listening, the pulsions, and judgment within my thoughts… do, do, finally, do!

The shiny, wet, black line possibly wouldn’t stop, if it weren’t subject to socialization, and making agreements with a need to communicate and involve itself with other lines, with other signs and direction that I have already seen, that I already know, have always known or recently shown.

A task found between listening, innateness, ancestry, and the imitation of a model, a culture that has only recently been instilled within me, which I am taking the and experiencing.

An ideogram. Kanji

Sign.

Concentrated on the software that weighs down my body, in my heart, in my senses.

It symbolizes the sky. Ten, its pronunciation giving it sound.

The figure of a man, a primordial sketch, spatial, alien and human at once.

Centuries of culture, actions, observation, resonance, between the heart, mind and nature.

If you must to create a sign illustrating an alien, that we humans are on this Earth, you would choose, compose, and give this Kanji its curious eyes.

Emotion, and more responsibility, like a child crawling, preparing itself to walk, one day who knows… Raising my head upon my body, and my body upon my legs, my legs upon the ground and watching the line above the vast herbal sea of a primordial savanna.

The mind is curious and has fun.

But beyond the line, the emotions for this movement comes compressed from the stomach, chest and heart, it transmits traces of the most hidden feeling, fear: fear of something new, fear of falling, and above all, fear of making a mistake.

Fear that dwells within the legs, in laying the roots of plants and feet upon the ground, towards the center of the Earth, and still not trusting oneself.

The mind blooms, the mind of fear and the body fill with emotions.

And the brush, loyal and traitor, in its magic sensitivity, transmits in the flow of the ink a tiny and massive vibration that interrupts throughout the thousand “here and nows” of our continuous path.

An infinite vibration, dreary, tiring, that breaks the movement, and agitates once again, the ink molecules, making my hand quiver, which on its own, would be innocent, and only a mediator, impulse does not begin in the hand.

The hand is innocent, innocent like the Universe of the clean sheet of paper.

The Kanji, finished, it is what it is.

It is nothing other than what it is, and nothing more than the conditions of here and now.

My Kanji, Unity between myself and the ink, the brush, the paper, and the Universe.

The I- Kanji

The perfect, micrometerical representation of perfumed ink upon paper, that corporal and energetic bundle, identified now as Dai-shin.

Fabio Dai-shin.

I am happy for this.

I am bothered by ths.

This is the most intense and surprising experience I felt with calligraphy.

Recognizing the power of this amazing instrument, this refined art, the unveiling and analyzing through the flow and the pictorial global mark, with which each one of us paints a slight difference, in that instantly precise place.

The teachers comment on what has happened, the pictorial designs, the various calligraphies made, and even on their part, they emphasize and conferm this powerful characteristic of the Art of Calligraphy that has profoundly amazed me.

They comment, one by one, analyze and decode through their experience, what we have created upon the paper.

Even Compassion is suddenly manifested in this moment through their words.

I heard positive comments upon the feelings and underlying compressed emotions that, often expressed by the quivering brush, make a discovery, giving our calligraphic movement intrinsic richness: encouragement not to judge myself in my first steps, and I feel a little more secure.

My quiver is probably richness, and not the Parkingson quiver of a sixty-year-old.

I will try my hand again in Calligraphy.

Thanks and Gasshō.

Dai-shin

The following is a message sent from the calligraphy teachers:

The calligraphy from the Far East is a profound spiritual experience that is used to elevate the nature of art and to cultivate morals. Practicing calligraphy for Buddhist monks is an “appropriate way” to get in touch with the deepest part of ourselves in search of the Buddha Nature. The calligraphy made by the Zen monks, called “ink lines, bokuseki” are the testimonies of their deep spiritual and religious experience upon theie path. In the meditative stillness of the charming Temple Shinnyo-ji in Florence, directed by Teacher and spiritual guide Anna Maria Iten Shinnyo, we had a unique experience and work between our inner and outer selves, in search of the interior living spirit through calligraphy! Thanks again for this lovely experience,

Paola and Nicola.

REPORT

Annual General Assembly of the Association “European Center for Sōtō Zen Buddhism” General Assembly of the Association “European Center for Sōtō Zen Buddhism” for the year 2012 took place at Assemblea Generale Annuale della Associazione “Centro Europeo di La Gendronnière, Zen Temple in Blois, France, from Friday 25 – 27 May. Our Teacher, Rev. Shinnyo Roshi was present at La Gendronnière and participated in the General Assembly.

THE ZEN TEACHINGS OF BODHIDHARMA
Chapter III – The Wake-up Sermon

The essence of the Way is detachment. And the goal of those who practice is freedom from appearances. The sutras say, Detachment is enlightenment because it negates appearances. Buddhahood means awareness Mortals whose minds are aware reach the Way of Enlightenment and are therefore called Buddhas. The sutras say, "Those who free themselves from all appearances are called Buddhas." The appearance of appearance as no appearance can’t be seen visually but can only be known by means of wisdom. Whoever hears and believes this teaching embarks on the Great Vehicle" and leaves the three realms. The three realms are greed, anger, and delusion. To leave the three realms means to go from greed, anger, and delusion back to morality, meditation, and wisdom. Greed, anger, and delusion have no nature of their own. They depend on mortals. And anyone capable of reflection is bound to see that the nature of greed, anger, and delusion is the buddha-nature. Beyond greed, anger, and delusion there is no other buddha-nature. The sutras say, "Bu as have only become buddhas while living with the three poisons and nourishing themselves on the pure Dharma." The three poisons are greed, anger, and delusion.

The Great Vehicle is the greatest of all vehicles. It’s the conveyance of bodhisattvas, who use everything wit out using anything and who travel all day without traveling. Such is the vehicle of Buddhas.The sutras say, "No vehicle is the vehicle of Buddhas."Whoever realizes that the six senses aren’t real, that the five aggregates are fictions, that no such things can be located anywhere in the body, understands the language of Buddhas. The sutras say, "The cave of five aggregates is the hall of Zen. The opening of the inner eye is the door of the Great Vehicle." What could be clearer?Not thinking about anything is Zen. Once you know this, walking, standing, sitting, or lying down, everything you do is Zen. To know that the mind is empty is to see the Buddha. The Buddhas of the ten directions" have no mind. To see no mind is to see the Buddha.

To give up yourself without regret is the greatest charity. To transcend motion and stillness is the highest meditation. Mortals keep moving, and Arhats stay still." But the highest meditation surpasses both that of mortals and that of Arhats. People who reach such understanding free themselves from all appearances without effort and cure all illnesses without treatment. Such is the power of great Zen.

Using the mind to look for reality is delusion. Not using the mind to took for reality is awareness. Freeing oneself from words is liberation. Remaining unblemished by the dust of sensation is guarding the Dharma. Transcending life and death is leaving home."

Not suffering another existence is reaching the Way. Not creating delusions is enlightenment. Not engaging in ignorance is wisdom. No affliction is nirvana. And no appearance of the mind is the other shore.

When you’re deluded, this shore exists. When you wake tip, it doesn’t exist. Mortals stay on this shore. But those who discover the greatest of all vehicles stay on neither this shore nor the other shore. They’re able to leave both shores. Those who see the other shore as different from this shore don’t understand Zen.

Delusion means mortality. And awareness means Buddhahood. They’re not the same. And they’re not different. It’s ‘List that people distinguish delusion from awareness. When we’re deluded there’s a world to escape. When we’re aware, there’s nothing to escape.

In the light of the impartial Dharma, mortals look no different from sages. The sutras say that the impartial Dharma is something that mortals can’t penetrate and sages can’t practice. The impartial Dharma is only practiced by great bodhisattvas and Buddhas. To look on life as different from death or on motion as different from stillness is to be partial. To be impartial means to look on suffering as no different from nirvana,, because the nature of both is emptiness. By

imagining they’re putting an end to Suffering and entering nirvana Arhats end up trapped by nirvana. But bodhisattvas know that suffering is essentially empty. And by remaining in emptiness they remain in nirvana. Nirvana means no birth and no death. It’s beyond birth and death and beyond nirvana. When the mind stops moving, it enters nirvana. Nirvana is an empty mind. When delusions dont exist, Buddhas reach nirvana. Where afflictions don’t exist, bodhisattvas enter the place of enlightenment An uninhabited place is one without greed, anger, or delusion. Greed is the realm of desire, anger the realm of form, and delusion the formless realm. When a thought begins, you enter the three realms. When a thought ends, you leave the three realms. The beginning or end of the three realms, the existence or nonexistence of anything, depends on the mind. This applies to everything, even to such inanimate objects as rocks and sticks.

Whoever knows that the mind is a fiction and devoid of anything real knows that his own mind neither exists nor doesn’t exist. Mortals keep creating the mind, claiming it exists. And Arhats keep negating the mind, claiming it doesn’t exist. But bodhisattvas and Buddhas neither create nor negate the mind. This is what’s meant by the mind that neither exists nor doesn’t exist. The mind that neither exists nor doesn’t exist is called the Middle Way.

If you use your mind to study reality, you won’t understand either your mind or reality. If you study reality without using your mind, you’ll understand both. Those who don’t understand don’t understand understanding. And those who understand, understand not understanding. People capable of true vision know that the mind is empty. They transcend both understanding and not understanding. The absence of both understanding and not understanding is true understanding Seen with true vision, form isn’t simply form, because form depends on mind. And mind isn’t simply mind, because mind depends on form. Mind and form create and negate each other. That which exists exists in relation to that which doesn’t exist. And that which doesn’t exist doesn’t exist in relation to that which exists. This is true vision. By means of such vision nothing is seen and nothing is not seen. Such vision reaches throughout the ten directions without seeing: because nothing is seen; because not seeing is seen; because seeing isn’t seeing. What mortals see are delusions. True vision is detached from seeing. The mind and the world are opposites, and vision arises where they meet. When your mind doesn’t stir inside, the world doesn’t arise outside. When the world and the mind are both transparent, this is true vision. And such understanding is true understanding.

To see nothing is to perceive the Way, and to understand nothing is to know the Dharma, because seeing is neither seeing nor not seeing and because understanding is neither understanding nor not understanding. Seeing without seeing is true vision. Understanding without understanding is true understanding.

True vision isn’t just seeing seeing. It’s also seeing not seeing. And true understanding isn’t just understanding understanding. It’s also understanding not understanding. If you understand anything, you don’t understand. Only when you understand nothing is it true understanding. Understanding is neither understanding nor not understanding.

The sutras say, "Not to let go of wisdom is stupidity." When the mind doesn’t exist, understanding and not understanding are both true. When the mind exists, understanding and not understanding are both false. When you understand, reality depends on you. When you don’t understand, you depend on reality. When reality depends on you, that which isn’t real becomes real. When you depend on reality, that which is real becomes false. When you depend on reality, everything is false. When reality depends on you, everything is true. Thus, the sage doesn’t use his mind to look for reality, or reality to look for his mind, or his mind to look for his mind, or reality to look for reality. His mind doesn’t give rise to reality. And reality doesn’t give rise to his mind. And because both his mind and reality are still, he’s always in samadhi.

When the mortal mind appears, buddhahood disappears. When the mortal mind disappears, buddhahood appears. When the mind appears, reality disappears. When the mind disappears, reality appears. Whoever knows that nothing depends on anything has found the Way. And whoever knows that the mind depends on nothing is always at the place of enlightenment.

When you don’t understand, your wrong. When you understand, you re not wrong. This is because the nature of wrong is empty. When you don’t understand right seems wrong. When you understand, wrong isn’t wrong, because wrong doesn’t exist. The sutras say, "Nothing has a nature of its own." Act. Don’t question. When you question, you’re wrong. Wrong is the result of questioning. When you reach such an understanding, the wrong deeds of your past lives are wiped away. When you’re deluded, the six senses and five shades are constructs of suffering and mortality When you wake up, the six senses and five shades are constructs of nirvana and immortality.

Someone who seeks the Way doesn’t look beyond himself. He knows that the mind is the Way. But when he finds the mind, he finds nothing. And when he finds the Way, he finds nothing. If you think you can use the mind to find the Way, you’re deluded. When you, re deluded, buddhahood exists. When you’re aware, it doesn’t exist. This is because awareness is buddhahood.

If you’re looking for the Way, the Way won’t appear until your body’ disappears. It’s like stripping bark from a tree. This karmic body undergoes constant change. It has no fixed reality. Practice according to your thoughts. Don’t hate life and death or love life and death. Keep your every thought free of delusion, and in life you’ll witness the beg- inning of nirvana and in death you’ll experience the assurance of no rebirth.

To see form but not be corrupted by form or to hear sound but not to be corrupted by sound is liberation. Eyes that aren’t attached to form are the gates of Zen. In short, those who perceive the existence and nature of phenomena and remain unattached are liberated. Those who perceive the external appearance of phenomena are at their mercy. Not to be subject to afflictions is what’s meant by liberation. There’s no other liberation. When you know how to look at form, form doesn’t give rise to mind and mind doesn’t give rise to form. Form and mind are both pure.

When delusions are absent, the mind is the land of Buddhas. When delusions are present, the mind is hell. Mortals create delusions. And by using the mind to give birth to mind they always find themselves in hell. Bodhisattvas see through delusions. And by not using the mind to give birth to mind they always find themselves in the land of Buddhas. If you don’t use your mind to create mind, every state of mind is empty and every thought is still. You go from one buddhaland to another. If you use your mind to create mind, every state of mind is disturbed and every thought is in motion. You go from one hell to the next. When a thought arises, there’s good karma and bad karma, heaven and hell. When no thought arises, there’s no good karma or bad karma, no heaven or hell.

The body neither exists nor doesn’t exist. Hence existence as a mortal and nonexistence as a sage are conceptions with which a sage has nothing to do. His heart is empty and spacious as the sky. That which follows is witnessed on the Way. It’s beyond the ken of Arhats and mortals.

When the mind reaches nirvana, you don’t see nirvana, because the mind is nirvana. If you see nirvana somewhere outside the mind, you’re deluding yourself.

Every suffering is a buddha-seed, because suffering impels mortals to seek wisdom. But you can only say that suffering gives rise to Buddhahood. You can’t say that suffering is Buddhahood. Your body and mind are the field. Suffering is the seed, wisdom the sprout, and Buddhahood the grain. The Buddha in the mind is like a fragrance in a tree. The Buddha comes from a mind free of suffering, just as a fragrance comes from a tree free of decay. There’s no fragrance without the tree and no Buddha without the mind. If there’s a fragrance without a tree, it’s a different fragrance. If there’s a Buddha without your mind, it’s a different Buddha.

When the three poisons are present in your mind, you live in a land of filth.

When the three poisons are absent from your mind, you live in a land of purity.

The sutras say, "if you fill a land with impurity and filth, no Buddha will ever appear." Impurity and filth refer to on and the other poisons. A Buddha refers to a pure and awakened mind. There’s no language that, isn’t the Dharma. To talk all day without saying anything is the Way. To be silent all day and still say something isn’t the Way. Hence neither does a Tathagata speech depend on silence, nor does his silence depend on speech, nor does his speech exist apart from his silence. Those who understand both speech and silence are in samadhi. If you speak when you know, Your speech is free. If you’re silent when you don’t know, your silence is tied. If speech isn’t attached to appearances its free. If silence is attached to appearances, it’s tied. Language is essentially free. It has nothing to do with attachment. And attachment has nothing to do with language. Reality has no high or low. If you see high or low, It isn’t real. A raft isn’t real. But a passenger raft is. A person who rides such a raft can cross that which isn’t real. That’s why it’s real.

According to the world there’s male and female, rich and poor. According to the Way there’s no male or female, no rich or poor. When the goddess realized the Way, she didn’t change her sex. When the stable boy" awakened to the Truth, he

didn’t change his status. Free of sex and status, they shared the same basic appearance. The goddess searched twelve years for her womanhood without success. To search twelve years for ones manhood would likewise be fruitless. The twelve years refer to the twelve entrances. Without the mind there s no Buddha. Without the Buddha there is no mind.

Likewise, without water there’s no ice, and without ice there is no water. Whoever talks about leaving the mind doesn’t get very far. Don’t become attached to appearances of the mind. The sutras say, "When you see no appearance, you see the Buddha." This is what’s meant by being free from appearances of the mind. Without the mind there’s no Buddha means that the-buddha comes from the mind. The mind gives birth to the Buddha. But although the Buddha comes from the mind, the mind doesn’t come from the Buddha, just as fish come from water, but water doesn’t come from fish. Whoever wants to see a fish sees the water before lie sees the fish. And whoever wants to see a Buddha sees the mind before he sees the Buddha. Once you’ve seen the fish, You forget about the water. And once you’ve seen the Buddha, you forget about the mind. If you don’t forget about the mind, the mind will confuse you, just as the water will confuse you if you don’t forget about it.

Mortality and Buddhahood are like water and ice. To be afflicted by the three poisons is mortality. To be purified by the three releases" is Buddhahood. That which freezes into ice in the winter melts into water in summer. Eliminate ice

and there’s no more water. Get rid of mortality and there’s no more Buddhahood. Clearly, the nature of ice is the nature of water. And the nature of water is the nature of ice. And the nature of mortality is the nature of Buddhahood. Mortality and Buddhahood share the same nature, just as Wutou and Futzu share the same root but not the same season. It’s only because of the delusion of differences that we have the words mortality and buddhahood. When a snake becomes a dragon, it doesn’t change its scales. And when a mortal becomes a sage, he doesn’t change his face. He knows his mind through internal wisdom and takes care of his body through external discipline.

Mortals liberate Buddhas and Buddhas liberate mortals. This is what’s meant by impartiality. Mortals liberate Buddhas because affliction creates awareness. And Buddhas liberate mortals because awareness negates affliction. There can’t help but be affliction. And there can’t help but be awareness. If it weren’t for affliction, there would be nothing to create awareness. And if it weren’t for awareness, there would be nothing to negate affliction. When you’re deluded, Buddhas liberate mortals. When you’re aware, mortals liberate Buddhas. Buddhas don’t become Buddhas on their own. They’re liberated by mortals. Buddhas regard delusion as their father and greed as their mother. Delusion and greed are different names for mortality. Delusion and mortality are like the left hand and the right hand. There’s no other difference.

When you’re deluded, you’re on this shore. When you’re aware, you’re on the other shore. But once you know your mind is empty and you see no appearances, you’re beyond delusion and awareness. And once you’re beyond delusion and awareness, the other shore doesn’t exist. The tathagata isn’t on this shore or the other shore. And he isn’t in midstream. Arhats are in midstream and mortals are on this shore. On the other shore is Buddhahood. Buddhas have three bodies: a transformation body a reward body, and a real body. The transformation body is also called the incarnation body. The transformation body appears when mortals do good deeds, the reward body when they cultivate wisdom, and the real body when they become aware of the sublime. The transformation body is the one you see flying in all directions rescuing others wherever it can. The reward body puts an end to doubts. The Great Enlightenment occurred in the Himalayas suddenly becomes true. The real body doesn’t do or say anything. It remains perfectly still. But actually, there’s not even one buddha-body, much less three. This talk of three bodies is simply based on human understanding, which can be shallow, moderate, or deep. People of shallow understanding imagine they’re piling up blessings and mistake the transformation body for the Buddha. People of moderate understanding imagine they’re putting an end to Suffering and mistake the reward body for the Buddha.

And people of deep understanding imagine they’re experiencing Buddhahood and mistake the real body for the Buddha. But people of the deepest understanding took within, distracted by nothing. Since a clear mind is the Buddha they attain

the understanding of a Buddha without using the mind. The three bodies, like all other things, are unattainable and indescribable. The unimpeded mind reaches the Way. The sutras say, " Buddhas don’t preach the Dharma. They don’t liberate mortals. And they don’t experience Buddhahood." This is what I mean. Individuals create karma; karma doesn’t create individuals. They create karma in this life and receive their reward in the next. They never escape. Only someone who’s perfect creates no karma in this life and receives no reward. The sutras say, "Who creates no karma obtains the Dharma." This isn’t an empty saying. You can create karma but you can’t create a person. When you create karma, you’re reborn along with your karma. When you don’t create karma, you vanish along with your karma. Hence, wit karma dependent on the individual and the individual dependent on karma, if an individual doesn’t create karma, karma has no hold on him. In the same manner, "A person can enlarge the Way. The Way can’t enlarge a person."

Mortals keep creating karma and mistakenly insist that there’s no retribution. But can they deny suffering? Can they deny that what the present state of mind sows the next state of mind reaps? How can they escape? But if the present state of mind sows nothing, the next state of mind reaps nothing. Don’t misconceive karma.

The sutras say, "Despite believing in Buddhas, people who imagine that Buddhas practice austerities aren’t Buddhists. The same holds for those who imagine that Buddhas are subject to rewards of wealth or poverty. They’re icchantikas. They’re incapable of belief." Someone who understands the teaching of sages is a sage. Someone who understands the teaching of mortals is a mortal. A mortal who can give up the teaching of mortals and follow the teaching of sages becomes a sage. But the fools of this world prefer to look for sage a away. They don’t believe that the wisdom of their own mind is the sage. The sutras say, "Among men of no understanding, don’t preach this sutra. And the sutras say, "Mind is the teaching." But people of no understanding don’t believe their own mind or that by understanding this teaching they can become a sage. They prefer to look for distant knowledge and long for things in space, buddha-images, light, incense, and colors. They fall prey to falsehood and lose their minds to Insanity.

The sutras say, "When you see that all appearances are not appearances, you see the tathagata." The myriad doors to the truth all come from the mind. When appearances of the mind are as transparent as space, they’re gone. Our endless sufferings are the roots of illness. When mortals are alive, they worry about death. When they’re full, they worry about hunger. Theirs is the Great Uncertainty. But sages don’t consider the past. And they don’t worry about the future. Nor do they cling to the present. And from moment to moment they follow the Way. If you haven’t awakened to this great truth, you’d better look for a teacher on earth or in the heavens. Don’t compound your own deficiency.

You can find on our site, the fifth chapter of the Sutra of the Original Vows and obtainment of the gifts of the Bodhisttva Ksitigarbha, translated into Italian from English by Shin-nen.

Thanks to Fabio Dai shin for the photos.

We hope you visit the next issue of EkiZen

Gasshō

Calendar for Zen Practice at the Shinnyo-ji Sōtō Zen Temple of Florence:

Every Monday evening from 8.00 to 10.00
Every Tuesday morning from 6.30 to 7.30
Every Friday evening from 8.00 to 9.30
One Sunday per month from 9.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m.
The schedule for Practice retreats can be found on our website.
The temple is open every Wednesday evening from 6:00- 8:00 for further information.

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