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Thread: Zen For Nothing

  1. #1

    Zen For Nothing

    Hi all

    I just noticed that this film is showing at Tricycle at July which features a Swiss actress staying at Antaiji for an extended period.

    https://zeitgeistfilms.com/film/zenfornothing

    Provocatively titled, this film is a masterly immersion into life at a Japanese Zen monastery over three seasons. Swiss novice Sabine arrives at Antaiji and, after a brief welcome, she begins to learn the monastery rules: how to bow, sit in the meditation hall, carry out movements with chopsticks, etc. There’s more to life there than meditation, farming, and maintenance, however—there are picnics, music, and Wi-Fi. And after the last snow has melted away, the nuns and monks travel to Osaka, where they recite sutras in front of subway entrances as they solicit offerings in their traditional monk’s robes. Quotes from renowned early twentieth-century Antaiji abbot Kodo Sawaki are interjected throughout. Simple and beautifully filmed, this is Into Great Silence meets Enlightenment Guaranteed, with composer Fred Frith performing the eclectic, elegant score.
    Have we talked about this before? Has anyone seen it?

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday/lah-
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Kokuu View Post
    Hi all

    I just noticed that this film is showing at Tricycle at July which features a Swiss actress staying at Antaiji for an extended period.

    https://zeitgeistfilms.com/film/zenfornothing



    Have we talked about this before? Has anyone seen it?

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday/lah-
    Yes, lovely film. It came up once before ...

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...l=1#post209089

    As you may know, Abbot Muho has retired effective this summer, so the culture there will change. The new Abbot is a Japanese woman who does not speak much English, so it may be harder for foreigners to access without Japanese language ability. As well, a few years ago, Muho began really insisting on long term residence (of a few years) with short term visitors allowed only a couple of times a year for a short retreat (we were very fortunate that Muho consented to our Kyonin coming there for a short Sesshin last year). Covid has also made things difficult for them, and I understand that there are only a few people in residence there now.

    Muho was one of the priests featured in the other documentary I posted about:

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...r-Zen-Practice

    Gassho, J

    STLah

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-11-2020 at 10:54 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  3. #3
    That looks really interesting. Thanks.

    Gassho

    Heiso
    StLah

    Sent from my E5823 using Tapatalk

  4. #4
    I've just watched this again thanks to Tricycle. I didn't know Abbot Muho was retiring so this is a fitting tribute to him, I'm even more surprised that the new Abbot is a woman, do we know anything more about her and how she came to arrive at this prestigious position?
    Gassho
    Meitou
    Sattoday
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  5. #5
    I watched this film yesterday. Thanks, Jundo for the heads up. I liked that it was a "fly on the wall" kind of approach with minimal narration and explanation. Just sit back and watch.

    Gassho
    ST-lah
    James

  6. #6
    I always wanted to watch it after watching a bunch of behind the scenes stuff on Antaijii's YouTube page while it was being filmed years ago. I just got my Tricycle subscription too! Yay

    Gassho
    Sat today, lah
    求道芸化 Kyudo Geika
    I am just a priest-in-training, please do not take anything I say as a teaching.

  7. #7
    I enjoyed this film. I thought the journey to the monastery and the leaving of the monastery scenes were very evocative.
    Would recommend.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Meitou View Post
    I've just watched this again thanks to Tricycle. I didn't know Abbot Muho was retiring so this is a fitting tribute to him, I'm even more surprised that the new Abbot is a woman, do we know anything more about her and how she came to arrive at this prestigious position?
    Gassho
    Meitou
    Sattoday
    Her name is Nakamura Eko (中村恵光), she is a long time student and resident at Antaiji. and she is featured in the film several places as the Tenzo cook and elsewhere.



    Antaiji is not really recognized as a training monastery by the Soto sect in Japan as a place where a young priest can come to train in order to someday assume their role as priest at their family's temple, so holds a kind of unique position as something of a "rogue" monastery. It also makes a problem for Antaiji that Japanese priests will not come there to train (unless particularly dedicated to Zazen and the Sawaki-Uchiyama Lineage) as they receive no official "credit" to their graduation.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-17-2020 at 01:00 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Her name is Nakamura Eko (中村恵光), she is a long time student and resident at Antaiji. and she is featured in the film several places as the Tenzo cook and elsewhere.



    Antaiji is not really recognized as a training monastery by the Soto sect in Japan as a place where a young priest can come to train in order to someday assume their role as priest at their family's temple, so holds a kind of unique position as something of a "rogue" monastery. It also makes a problem for Antaiji that Japanese priests will not come there to train (unless particularly dedicated to Zazen and the Sawaki-Uchiyama Lineage) as they receive no official "credit" to their graduation.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    I recognise her now. Thank you for this information, I had no idea about the status of Antaiji, I had always thought it was an important monastery in the SOto sect.
    Gassho
    Meitou
    sattoday
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Meitou View Post
    I recognise her now. Thank you for this information, I had no idea about the status of Antaiji, I had always thought it was an important monastery in the SOto sect.
    Gassho
    Meitou
    sattoday
    Oh, this Antaiji is very much an act of love and the personal creation of Muho and Muho's teacher, Miyaura Rōshi, who sadly died there in an accident overturning a bulldozer to clear its terrain. They wanted to create a place to embody the real heart and love of Zazen of the Sawaki-Uchiyama line, and the real spirit of Zen practice, so made this place that is bare bones, minimal ceremonies, but much Zazen and physical labor, which is not really what the Soto-shu church wants in its training for temple priests who must learn ceremonies to perform for parishioners.

    It is not actually the same incarnation of "Antaiji" where Sawaki and Uchiyama Roshis lived, which was a ramshackle temple in Kyoto City until Miyaura Roshi moved the temple to its current location in the isolated countryside, but is filled with the love of Zazen of Sawaki and Uchiyama.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-17-2020 at 07:31 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Oh, this Antaiji is very much an act of love and the personal creation of Muho and Muho's teacher, Miyaura Rōshi, who sadly died there in an accident overturning a bulldozer to clear its terrain. They wanted to create a place to embody the real heart and love of Zazen of the Sawaki-Uchiyama line, and the real spirit of Zen practice, so made this place that is bare bones, minimal ceremonies, but much Zazen and physical labor, which is not really what the Soto-shu church wants in its training for temple priests who must learn ceremonies to perform for parishioners.

    It is not actually the same incarnation of "Antaiji" where Sawaki and Uchiyama Roshis lived, which was a ramshackle temple in Kyoto City until Miyaura Roshi moved the temple to its current location in the isolated countryside, but is filled with the love of Zazen of Sawaki and Uchiyama.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Again, thank you
    Gassho
    Meitou
    Sattoday lah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  12. #12
    I loved the film, it seems a very special place.

    Gassho,

    Heiso

    StLah

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