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Thread: May 1st-2nd, 2020 - OUR MONTHLY 4-hour Treeleaf ZAZENKAI - Commencing Spring Retreat!

  1. #1

    May 1st-2nd, 2020 - OUR MONTHLY 4-hour Treeleaf ZAZENKAI - Commencing Spring Retreat!

    This Zazenkai Commences our 1st Annual(?) Treeleaf SPRING RETREAT!

    Today's Talk is based on passages from
    Master Dogen's Shobogenzo-Shunjū (Spring and Autumn),
    a Zen lesson on passing through and right into hard times ...


    (text below in this thread)


    Please 'sit-a-long' with our MONTHLY 4-hour ZAZENKAI, netcast LIVE 8am to noon Japan time Saturday morning (that is New York 7pm to 11pm, Los Angeles 4pm to 8pm (Friday night), London midnight to 4am and Paris 1am to 5am (early Saturday morning)) ... and visible at the following link during those times ...

    ... and to be visible on the following screen during those times and sit-a-long-able any time thereafter ...

    LIVE ZAZENKAI NETCAST IS HERE:

    Video begins about -1- minute before the Zazenkai.



    Dharma Talk Audio / Podcast Episode:
    LINK TO BE POSTED HERE IN THE COMING DAYS


    FOR THOSE WHO WISH TO JOIN TO SIT LIVE WITH A CAMERA, A LINK TO JOIN IS POSTED BELOW IN THIS THREAD. JUST CLICK AND JOIN BEFORE START TIME. 'TWO WAY' REQUIRES INDIVIDUALS WITH CAMERAS, BUT ANYONE CAN WATCH LIVE 'ONE WAY' AND SIT-A-LONG VIA THE ABOVE SCREEN. IF JOINING WITH CAMERA, PLEASE MAKE SURE YOUR MICROPHONE IS MUTED:

    The Sitting Schedule is as follows:

    00:00 - 00:50 CEREMONY (HEART SUTRA IN JAPANESE / SANDOKAI IN ENGLISH) & ZAZEN
    00:50 - 01:00 KINHIN
    01:00 - 01:30 ZAZEN
    01:30 - 01:50 KINHIN

    01:50 - 02:30 DHARMA TALK & ZAZEN
    02:30 - 02:40 KINHIN & HOKEY-POKEY

    02:40 - 03:15 ZAZEN
    03:15 - 03:30 KINHIN
    03:30 - 04:00 METTA CHANT & ZAZEN, VERSE OF ATONEMENT, FOUR VOWS, & CLOSING



    Our Zazenkai consists of our chanting the 'Heart Sutra' in Japanese and the 'Identity of Relative and Absolute (Sandokai)' in English (please download our Chant Book at the link below), some full floor prostrations (please follow along with me ... or a simple Gassho can be substituted if you wish), a little talk by me ... and we close with the 'Metta Chant', followed at the end with the 'Verse of Atonement' and 'The Four Vows'. Oh, and lots and lots of Zazen and walkin' Kinhin in between!

    Please download and print out the Chants we will recite at the following link (PDF):
    HERE IS THE LINK TO THE ENTIRE RETREAT CHANT BOOK INCLUDING THIS WEEK'S FOUR HOUR ZAZENKAI:https://docs.google.com/document/d/e...BTxHsnBOGr/pub



    Not everyone realizes that they can join in the Chanting of the Heart Sutra, Identity of Relative & Absolute, Metta Verses, Verse of Atonement and Four Vows (although we ask that you keep your microphone down). Please follow along with the Chant Book, and let your voice ring!

    I STRONGLY SUGGEST THAT YOU POSITION YOUR ZAFU ON THE FLOOR IN A PLACE WHERE YOU ARE NOT STARING DIRECTLY AT THE COMPUTER SCREEN, BUT CAN GLANCE OVER AND SEE THE SCREEN WHEN NECESSARY. YOUR ZAFU SHOULD ALSO BE IN A POSITION WHERE YOU CAN SEE THE COMPUTER SCREEN WHILE STANDING IN FRONT OF THE ZAFU FOR THE CEREMONIES, AND HAVE ROOM FOR BOWING AND KINHIN.

    ALSO, REMEMBER TO SET YOUR COMPUTER (& SCREEN SAVER) SO THAT IT DOES NOT SHUT OFF DURING THE 4 HOURS.


    I hope you will join us ... an open Zafu is waiting. When we drop all thought of 'here' 'there' 'now' 'then' ... we are sitting all together!


    Gassho, Jundo

    SatTodayLAH

    PS - There is no "wrong" or "right" in Zazen ... yet here is a little explanation of the "right" times to Bow (A Koan) ...


    The other video I mention on Zendo decorum is this one, from our "Always Beginners" video Series:

    Sit-a-Long with Jundo: Zazen for Beginners (12) - Basic Zendo Decorum At Home
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...093#post189093

    HOW TO JOIN THE ZAZENKAI '2-WAY':


    You can join the Zazenkai two-way in the Scheduled Sitting Room using Zoom any one of the following ways:

    - Use this direct link: https://zoom.us/j/4834831244
    - Open Zoom and join with this meeting id: 483 483 1244
    - Go to Treeleaf NOW and select the Scheduled Sitting Room: treeleaf.org/ssr
    - If prompted for a password, use: dogen

    Notes:

    - When you first join, you'll need to choose an audio source (usually you can simply select "Join with Computer Audio" on desktop or "Call using Internet Audio" on mobile).

    - You can switch between the "speaker view" (the default view) and "gallery view" (a grid / tic-tac-toe style view):
    -- On desktop, click the "gallery view" / "speaker view" toggle button on the top right
    -- On mobile, swipe right for "gallery views" -- only 4 participants are shown at a time on mobile, so keep swiping right to go through different groups, swipe left to go back to the "gallery view"

    - You can mute, unmute, etc. with the control bar on the bottom of the screen
    -- On desktop, hover the mouse over the window and the control bar should pop up
    -- On mobile, tap the screen and the control bar should pop up
    -- On mobile, so that your own picture does not take up one of the four slots you see, you can tap for the control bar, then tap "... menu" and select "Remove myself from gallery view"

    - If you are on a slow Internet connection and are experiencing drop-outs, try turning off video (you can always turn it on for a bit at the beginning and end to say hi and bow to everyone)
    Last edited by Jundo; 05-02-2020 at 05:26 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    Today we will reflect on passages from Master Dogen's Shobogenzo-Shunjū (Spring and Autumn):

    Great Master Tōzan Gohon [Dongshan], the story goes, is asked by a monk, “When cold or heat come, how are we to avoid them?”
    The master says, “Why do you not go to the place without cold and heat?”
    The monk says, “What is the place without cold and heat?”
    The master says “When it is cold, kill the ācārya [monk/you] with cold. When it is hot, kill the ācārya with heat.”

    [Dogen comments:] ... Many Buddhist ancestors of the past and present, in the Western Heavens [India] and in the Eastern Lands [China], have seen this story as their real features [their real essence, the real deal]. ... That being so, we should clarify in detail. the monk’s question, “When cold or heat come, how are we to avoid them?” That means the study in experience of the very moment in which cold has come and of the very moment in which heat has come. Both the totality of cold and the totality of heat, in this “cold and heat,” are cold and heat themselves. Because they are cold and heat themselves, when they have come, they have come from the very [summit] of cold and heat themselves, and they are manifest from the very eye of cold and heat themselves. This eye is the place without cold and heat. In these very eyes is the place without cold and heat.

    The founding ancestor’s [Dongshan] words, “When it is cold, kill the ācārya with cold. When it is hot, kill the ācārya with heat” are about the situation just at the moment of having arrived. “When it is cold,” the expression is “killing with cold,” but “when it is hot,” “killing with heat” need not always be the expression. Cold is utterly cold, and heat is utterly hot. Even if you try millions of times to avoid cold and heat, it is like trying to put a tail where the head is. ...

    ---

    Zen Master Jōin Kōboku ... says:
    “Some among the sangha interpret this as follows: “This monk’s question has fallen into the relative already. Dongshan’s answer returns to the absolute. ... ” Interpretations like this not only blaspheme the ancient saints but also daunt the perpetrators themselves. ... “A jeweled tower is a nest for a kingfisher, but a golden palace offers no shelter to a mandarin duck.”

    [Dogen comments:] If the Buddha-Dharma were transmitted and received on the basis of limited consideration of the relative and the absolute, how could it have reached the present day? Wild kittens, barnyard bumpkins, who have never explored Dongshan’s inner sanctum ... People who have not walked the threshold of the truth of the Buddha-Dharma, mistakenly assert that Dongshan teaches people with his five positions of the relative and the absolute ... We should not see or hear it. We should just investigate the fact that the founding ancestor possesses the right Dharma-eye treasury.

    ---

    Zen Master Wanshi [Hongzhi] says ... :
    “This episode, if we discuss it, is like a game of go between two players. If you do not respond to my move, I will fool you completely. If we experience it like this, we will begin to understand [Donghsan’s]’s intention.”

    [Dogen comments:] Not denying the “game of go,” for the present, how are the “two players”? [T]he game of go is one player and an opponent meeting each other. Even so, we should mindfully consider, and should physically master, the state now expressed by Wanshi as “you do not respond to my move.” “You do not respond to my move” says “you can never be me.” ... In mud there is mud [and covers us from heat to toe] ... In a pearl there is a pearl: when it shines it illuminates others and it illuminates itself.

    ---

    Zen Master Engo says:
    A bowl rolls around a pearl, and the pearl rolls around the bowl. The absolute in the relative, the relative in the absolute.
    Of the antelope, carrying its horns, there is no trace. Hunting hounds circle the forest and emptily skulk.

    [Dogen comments:] The present expression “a bowl rolls around a pearl” is unprecedented and inimitable, it has rarely been heard in eternity. Hitherto, [people] have spoken only as if the pearl rolling in the bowl were ceaseless. The antelope is now holding up its horns in the emptiness. And the forest is now circling the hunting hounds.

    ---

    Master Shutaku says:
    Amid the relative exists the absolute; amid the absolute, the relative.
    Thousands of centuries floating downstream in the human world.
    How many times I have hoped to return, but to return has been impossible.
    Before my gate, as ever, weeds are growing in abundance.

    [Dogen comments:] He also cannot help mentioning the absolute and the relative, and yet he has picked up something. Not denying that he has picked up something, what is it that, “in the middle of the relative, exists”

    ---

    Master Busshō says:
    Thanks to you, I have penetrated the place without cold or heat.
    A withered tree has bloomed again.
    Laughable people who mark their boat in looking for a sword,
    Still today are in cold ashes.

    [Dogen comments:] This expression has just enough power to [crush the fundamental point underfoot while raising it overhead]

    ---

    ... Zen Master Kazan Buttō says:
    “Dongshan spoke of the place without cold and heat. Numerous Zen people have lost their way there. When it is cold I get in front of a fire, and when it is hot I employ means of keeping cool. All my life I am able to avoid and escape cold and heat.”

    [Dogen comments:] [H]is words are like those of a small child. Even so, in “All my life I am able to avoid and escape cold and heat,” there may be a hint of future mature realization. In that case, “all my life” means “with my whole life,” and “escaping cold and heat” means getting free of body and mind.

    In conclusion, although masters from many districts and in many ages have devoted themselves to flapping their lips like this, offering their eulogies to the ancients, they have never glimpsed the periphery of the founding ancestor [Dongshan]. The reason, if asked, is that they do not know what cold and heat are in the everyday life of a Buddhist ancestor, and so they randomly speak, for example, of “employing means of keeping cool and getting in front of a fire.” It is especially pitiful that you [Shujun], though in the vicinity of venerable ancestors, have not heard what “cold and heat” means. We should regret that the ancestral master’s truth has died out. Knowing the form and stages of this “cold and heat,” having passed instantaneously through periods of cold and heat and having utilized cold and heat, we should praise over again, with eulogies of the ancients and discussions of the ancients, the truth that the founding ancestor taught. Until we are at that level, the best thing for us is to know our own faults. ... Do not misunderstand that cold and heat in the Buddha’s truth are the same as the cold and heat of stupid fellows. Just be diligent in practice at once.

    Preached to the assembly ... 1244 ... ““Though there are many horns in the herd, one kirin is enough.” [The quotation means “To have just one outstanding student is enough.”]

    JUNDO NOTE on DONGSHAN'S "FIVE RANKS" or "FIVE POSITIONS"

    Although sometimes layered with all manner of esoteric symbolism and strange interpretations, the "FIVE RANKS" of Ancestor Dongshan is basically a formulaic interpretation of the relationship and inter-identity of the world of "Relative" things and events, and the "Absolute" in which all separation is swept away. Zen folks have been debating, and finding different meanings in the "5 Ranks" or "5 Positions" for centuries and centuries.

    I am rather a simpleton on the "5 positions," which I believe just try to convey a bit of the dance of the "relative" world of this and that, me and you, and the "absolute" beyond all categories and divisions, whereby the relative is the relative, the relative is absolute, the absolute is the relative and the absolute is the absolute, all seen and experienced to various depths (sometimes both with a prevalence of absolute or a prevalence of experience of the relative, sometimes just relative alone or absolute alone), and yet we leap beyond even those categories too. Dogen very much upheld such a view, as did about all Mahayana Buddhists. Dogen's criticism of the 5 Ranks was probably both because it was being turned too much into a formula, as well as too much of a fetish on to which folks were loading all manner of esoteric interpretations.

    If you would like to read a short essay on Dongshan's "Five Positions," Soto Teacher Judith Ragir has this ...

    http://www.judithragir.org/2012/06/d...ns-five-ranks/

    Wiki Roshi is also not too bad in describing some of the varied interpretations and symbolism that was later added on ...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Ranks
    Last edited by Jundo; 04-30-2020 at 08:14 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  3. #3
    And our "Hokey Pokey" this time just had to be ...


    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 04-30-2020 at 08:31 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  4. #4
    Thank you Jundo!

    I'll be there live!

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Sat/LAH
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  5. #5
    w00t!

    Will be there with bells to kick off our Zazenathon.

    Gassho
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH
    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
    I am a novice priest. Any resemblance my posts may have to actual teachings about the Dharma, living or dead, is purely coincidental (and just my attempt to be helpful).

  6. #6
    Treeleaf Unsui / Engineer Sekishi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Virginia, USA
    Hi everyone,

    I'll be there, but am running around doing last minute prep for the retreat so I didn't get a chance to do my usual monthly Zazenkai clean up -- the beard will be longer than is strictly allowed under the Vinaya.

    Gassho,
    Sekishi
    #sat #fuzzy
    sekishi
    石志

    As a novice priest-in-training, this is simply an expression of my opinion. Please take it with a grain of salt.

  7. #7
    Thank you Jundo, Jakuden and all. I saw the heat and the cold. Have to leave to help with a bath and bedtime. Catch up with you on the week end.

    gassho, Shokai
    stlah
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    May we all grow together in our knowledge of the Dharma

  8. #8
    Thank you Jundo, Sekishi, Jakuden and all priests and fellow sangha members for today's zazenkai and this weekend's retreat.
    I will now have to sleep (midnight here in Brazil). Tomorrow morning I will join you all for the rest of the retreat.
    Gassho,
    Mateus
    Sat/LAH

  9. #9
    Glad to join you all. I left during the sitting after the dance due to a growing headache, upset stomach, and general tiredness. After a bite to eat and a 20 minute nap I feel better. Wasn'tsure about the timing of kinhin and I didn't want to reenter during zazen, so I sat outside of the room. After a few errands and a proper meal, I will be back on zoom as a part of retreat.

    This months talk was particularly helpful to me, thank you for that Jundo.

    Gassho,

    Nanrin

    Sat today

    Picture of one of the sentient beings that joined in zazenkai, not sure if he was visible on camera or not.

  10. #10
    Thanks all for your practice.

    I was outside for awhile sitting Zazen and heard birds in Japan and birds in New Mexico at the same time. Don’t get much better than that.

    Doshin
    St

  11. #11
    Treeleaf Unsui / Engineer Sekishi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Virginia, USA
    Hi all,

    Thank you for practicing together. How lucky we are to have each other, globe spanning communications, and the Buddhadharma!

    Quick bit of background for the digital Kannon that was on screen sometimes (the Buddha-Tron-1000 as Jundo called it): that is my son's contribution to the Nehan-E ceremony tomorrow. He was soldering the last bits and debugging code up into the first Zazen tonight, and then sat the rest of the Zazenkai with us. In early April we lost a great mathematician named John Conway to COVID-19. Owen (my son) and I are both huge fans of his, and one of his inventions / discovery - a simple cellular automata called "Game of Life" (or sometimes "Conway's Game of Life" -- not that John ever called it that). I'll post more about the Game of Life rules sometime (it has ramifications in mathematics, computer science, emergence, and even the Dharma).

    Anyhow, long story short, Owen built this little tiny computer that can display an 8x8 "Game of Life" pattern (and the number of "generations" it has been running) as a memorial to John Conway so we could have it on the alter for the Nehan-E ceremony. I'm leaving it there until the end of the retreat (sort of like Jundo's candle).

    So thats the story.

    John Conway:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Horton_Conway

    Conway's Game of Life:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conway%27s_Game_of_Life

    Gassho,
    Sekishi
    #sat
    sekishi
    石志

    As a novice priest-in-training, this is simply an expression of my opinion. Please take it with a grain of salt.

  12. #12
    "there are more possible moves playing Go (chess too) than there are atoms in the universe"

    To anyone who has ever complained that a game of chess is boring, we can at least guarantee you this: Every game you play will be different. How do we know? Well, it's estimated that there are more possible iterations of a game of chess than there are atoms in the known universe. In fact, the number of possible moves is so vast that no one has ever been able to calculate it exactly.

    In the 1950s, mathematician Claude Shannon wrote a paper about how one could program a computer to play chess. In it, he made a quick calculation to determine how many different games of chess were possible, and came up with the number 10^120. This is a very, very large number — the number of atoms in the observable universe, by comparison, is only estimated to be around 10^80.
    https://curiosity.com/topics/there-a...rse-curiosity/
    [In Go] Since each location on the board can be either empty, black, or white, there are a total of 3n2 possible board positions on a square board with length n; however only part of them are legal. Tromp and Farnebäck derived a recursive formula for legal positions {\displaystyle L(m,n)}{\displaystyle L(m,n)} of a rectangle board with length m and n.[9] The exact number of {\displaystyle L(19,19)}{\displaystyle L(19,19)} is obtained in 2016[10]. They also find an asymptotic formula {\displaystyle L\approx AB^{m+n}C^{mn}}{\displaystyle L\approx AB^{m+n}C^{mn}}, where {\displaystyle A\approx 0.8506399258457145}{\displaystyle A\approx 0.8506399258457145}, {\displaystyle B\approx 0.96553505933837387}{\displaystyle B\approx 0.96553505933837387} and {\displaystyle C\approx 2.975734192043357249381}{\displaystyle C\approx 2.975734192043357249381}. It has been estimated that the observable universe contains around 1080 atoms, far fewer than the number of possible legal positions of regular board size (m=n=19).
    https://link.springer.com/chapter/10...-540-75538-8_8
    https://tromp.github.io/go/legal.html
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Go_and...egal_positions

    This computer program can beat humans at Go—with no human instruction

    The artificial intelligence (AI) program that last year smacked down the best human player in the ancient board game Go has gotten even better. AlphaGo bested South Korean Go master Lee Sedol in part by learning from a vast catalog of example moves by humans. Now, the latest version of the program, AlphaGo Zero, has mastered the game entirely on its own, researchers at DeepMind, the company that developed the program, announced in a press briefing Monday in London. The novel self-teaching techniques used by the new program might also find uses in other domains, such as traffic planning or drug discovery.
    https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017...an-instruction
    Gassho, J

    stlah



    A Go (or Igo) match in Japan, in with English subs ... and it is still all beyond me ...

    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  13. #13
    Thank you everyone, that was great, and my very first monthly Zazenkai to sit! About the halfway mark I wasn't sure I was going to make it, but then I realized that the time would take care of itself, and then I was free to sit and it was absolutely gorgeous. Thank you all for your practice.

    Gassho,

    Joshua
    SatToday

    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk

  14. #14
    This Igo match has me completely fascinated.

    I never understood chess, but I was good at regular checkers, and I was also good at "Chinese checkers" (what's the real name?), which I liked better but no one ever wanted to play that game. Wonder if i still have it?

    I saved this video, I find it highly entertaining and informative.

    Gassho, meian, st

    Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
    Not all who wander are lost. (Tolkien)
    Underestimating a warrior, serves the warrior's advantage.
    迷安 - Mei An - Wandering At Rest

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Meian View Post
    I saved this video, I find it highly entertaining and informative.
    It is an amazing video to watch. It says a lot about Japanese strategic thinking.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  16. #16
    Thank you Jundo and everyone. I will be sitting with this Zazenkai soon.



    Ghasso
    Bobby
    SatToday


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    "When you do something, you should burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself."
    Shunryu Suzuki

  17. #17
    So, after having been a member here for quite a while, and lurking in the background but not really participating much, this whole covid
    Pandemic has forced me to become more comfortable with Zoom and other such technology. Last night was my first participation in a Zazenkai and I have to say, it was a wonderful experience, even if I was a fidgety distracted, sore mess by the end of the last zazen period. Thanks Jundo and company! That won’t be my last.

    Gassho,
    Sat today, Jason


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  18. #18
    Thank you, Jundo, Jakuden, Sekishi, and everyone. It was a wonderful zazenkai. I sat with it over two days. The talk was especially helpful.

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    Sat Today
    On (Warm)
    Kai (Sea)

  19. #19
    Thank you everyone.
    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.

    edit: oh, and thank you Sekishi for the Conway memorial, the kinhin 'walker' is beautiful.
    Last edited by Kotei; 05-03-2020 at 05:04 PM.
    古庭 KoTei / Ralf

  20. #20
    Thank you Jundo, Jakuden, Sekishi. This was so wonderful and much needed. Wasn't sure what to expect on the Hokey-Pokey... what fun! It was my first monthly four-hour Zazenkai. Still learning, but I feel more and more comfortable with following along (however, I do need to watch the video on the "right times" to bow again ).

    Gassho,

    Ryan S
    Sat Today
    Last edited by Ryan-S; 05-03-2020 at 05:23 PM.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan-S View Post
    Thank you Jundo, Jakuden, Sekishi. This was so wonderful and much needed. Wasn't sure what to expect on the Hokey-Pokey... what fun! It was my first monthly four-hour Zazenkai. Still learning, but I feel more and more comfortable with following along (however, I do need to watch the video on the "right times" to bow again ).

    Gassho,

    Ryan S
    Sat Today
    I'm in the exact same boat! I do need to go back and figure out exactly when to bow and all that good stuff as well

    Gassho,

    Joshua
    SatToday/LaH

    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk

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