Saturday, 29 May 2010

A strange sitting indeed.

I went to Eiheiji Nagoya Betsuin (永平寺名古屋別院) today in the hope that I could join their zazenkai, but I got the timing wrong, again, and there was no sitting. However, the monk at my usual temple told me that the zendo at Eiheiji Nagoya Betsuin is always open, so I asked if I could sit alone, but the monk I spoke to told me that I couldn't use the zendo and offered to let me sit in the hatto, the main temple. Well, I had arranged a meeting for two hours afterwards so I was happy to be able to sit, rather than find a coffee shop and sit around twiddling my thumbs, so I accepted the offer.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Some photos of the uni zendo

I finally managed to get into the university zendo by myself today after my class finished. Now that I've done it, it seems that it won't be a problem to go every week. I brought my phone in to use as a timer, and I used it to take the photos, so they're not the best quality, but you'll get an idea of what the place looks like. What's really cool about it is that it's quite far from any roads, so there's virtually no traffic noise, or any noise for that matter, apart from the trees blowing in the wind and the distant voices of the students moving around the campus.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

University zazenkai yesterday.

There is a zazenkai open to the public on the second Tuesday of every month at the Soto Zen university I teach at, and I went there yesterday. It was the second time I've been, the first time being well over a year ago, maybe two. I should point out that I don't teach in the Zen faculty, but in the English language faculty. It is a standard university, with history, maths, computer and language faculties amongst others. It just happens to be run by the Soto Zen sect.

Monday, 10 May 2010

A definition of Zen.

This is the definition of Zen offered by the Aichi Gakuin University's Institute of Zen Studies in their introductory pamphlet. I liked it so much that I immediately thought of posting it here. It is as follows:

'Our daily life is under the complete influence of thoughts, ideas and conceptions, which are nothing but the outcome of the self-consciousness caused by various desires. The real life-to-be, or the real "I" cannot be anything conceived in our brain, but can be the real fact that "We are living". Needless to say, it comprises the personal building up of other's selves as well as one's own self. To attain this state, one should be devoted to the practice of "Zazen" with a pure motive and firm a determination.'

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Got a job at a Zen university.

There's a Sotoshu university not too far from my house, just on the outskirts of Nagoya, and I've been lucky enough to secure a class there. I'll be teaching every Friday morning and then I'll be free for the rest of the day, which means I can make use of the zendo. If you follow the above link you'll see that there's in Institute of Zen Studies at the university. So far I've not met anyone involved directly in the Zen faculty, but I have asked the woman who is in the zendo office if I can use it and she said I can, and that I just need to get the key from her.

On another note, I've found out about a satellite temple of Eiheiji in Nagoya, about an hour from my house in Nagoya, less if I take the train. It's called Eiheiji Nagoya Betsuin (永平寺名古屋別院) and there are zazenkai every second and fourth Saturday of each month. I'll be joining the next one. 

Apparently they have a jukai ceremony every year, but I've also heard that it costs as much as $300 to participate. Certainly, between the university and this temple, I should be able to finally find a teacher and, I hope, gain some of the motivation I've been lacking this last while.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Can't make it to a retreat.

I was hoping to join the Dogen Sangha retreat in Shizouka this weekend but life has conspired to keep me away from it. That's OK though, I'll be spending the time with my wife and kids, including a 7 hour return trip on Sunday, so it'll be a retreat in itself. If I can keep calm for the whole time I'll be proclaiming my achievement of Buddhahood to the world.