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Thread: March 17-18th Treeleaf Weekly Zazenkai -Earth Touching- DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME CHANGE!

  1. #1

    March 17-18th Treeleaf Weekly Zazenkai -Earth Touching- DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME CHANGE!

    ATTENTION: Due to Daylight Savings CHANGE in America (but not yet in UKEurope, Japan and elsewhere)
    please confirm new start times in America!

    Our little Talk touches on the Earth Touching Mudra
    (details below in this thread)

    Dear All,

    Please sit our Treeleaf Zazenkai for 90 minutes with Zazen, Heart Sutra and more:

    10am Japan Saturday morning, NY 9pm, LA 6pm Friday night, London 1am and Paris 2am Saturday morning, or any time thereafter here:

    However, "one way" live sitters are encouraged to come into the Zoom sitting, and just leave the camera and microphone turned off: Join live (with or without a camera & microphone) on Zoom at: TREELEAF Now OR at DIRECT ZOOM LINK, password (if needed): dogen

    00:00 – 00:15 CEREMONY (HEART SUTRA in English) and Dedication
    00:15 – 00:45 ZAZEN
    00:45 – 00:55 KINHIN
    00:55 – 01:25 ZAZEN
    01:25 – 01:30 VERSE OF ATONEMENT & FOUR VOWS
    01:30 - 01:45(?) Informal Tea Time (All Welcome)

    ATTENTION: Everyone, when rising for Kinhin or Ceremonies after Zazen, get up slowly, don't rush, hold something stable, you won't be "late," so TAKE YOUR TIME! Make sure you are careful getting up!

    Gassho, Jundo


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

    Chant Book is here for those who wish to join in: CHANT BOOK LINK

    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

    I also recommend a little Talk on why small rituals and procedures are so cherished in the Zendo:

    SIT-A-LONG with Jundo: Small Things in the Zendo

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    About the "Earth Touching (Bhumisparsha) Mudra"

    In traditional Buddhist iconography, the gesture represents the moment of Buddha's enlightenment ... here is a little back"ground" on this Mudra gesture ...

    One of the most common and popular mudras which are found depicted in Buddha statues is the Bhumisparsha mudra, translated as the earth touching gesture. Buddha statues with this mudra are commonly known as the "earth-witness" Buddha ...

    ... In Buddha statues with the Bhumisparsha mudra, the Buddha, more specifically, the historical Shakyamuni Buddha is seen seated with his right hand as a pendant over the right knee reaching toward the ground ... In the meantime, the left hand can be seen with the palm upright in his lap. This gesture represents the moment of the Buddha's awakening as he claims the earth as the witness of his enlightenment. Just before he realized enlightenment, it is believed that the demon Mara tried to frighten him with the armies of demons and monsters including his daughters who tried to tempt him to get out of meditation under the Bodhi tree. While the demon king Mara claimed the throne of enlightenment for himself, his demon army claimed to be the witness for Mara's enlightenment. Mara then challenged Siddhartha about the witness. Then the former prince reached out his right hand to touch the earth as it is believed that the earth itself roared "I bear you the witness!" Hearing the roar from the earth herself, the demon king disappeared. The following morning saw the first appearance of the one who is awakened, the Buddha. Hence, it is believed that the Bhumisparsha mudra, or "the earth witness" mudra commemorates the Buddha's victory over the temptation by the demon King Mara.
    ... So, one might say that the Buddha "held his ground" in the face of temptation ...

    ... it also represents the unwavering or firmness shown by the Buddha while he was in the pursuit of enlightenment by meditating under the Bodhi tree. ...
    ... So, one might say that the Buddha rests on "solid ground" ...

    ... Similarly, the Bhumisparsha mudra also signifies the union of skillful means or Upaya which is well represented by the right hand touching the earth, and wisdom or Prajna, which is represented by the left hand with its palm facing upward on the lap in the meditation position. ...
    ... So, one might say the Buddha brings these teachings "down to earth" ... and is "well grounded."

    (above quotes a composite from various sources)

    Gassho, J


    Mara Attacks with Fear
    Last edited by Jundo; 03-18-2023 at 06:06 AM.

  3. #3

    Sat timelessly (i.e. after swimming school!)

    Gassho, Tokan

    平道 島看 Heidou Tokan (Balanced Way Island Nurse)
    I enjoy learning from everyone, I simply hope to be a friend along the way

  4. #4
    As I said, most Zen monasteries in Japan have a small shrine to the "Earth Spirit." There are also ceremonies each year for the Earth Spirit. Not a bad idea in an earthquake country, I suppose. Here are some chants and dedications to the Earth Spirit found as part of Soto Zen ceremonies ...

    Humbly gathering the present pure assembly ... we dedicate the great blessings accumulated thereby to the earth spirit and protecting spirits of this monastery, and to all dharma-protecting devas and benevolent deities. May it increase their majestic light and their virtues, immeasurable as the ocean. We pray for tranquility within the monastery, practice of the way without hindrance, peace in the land, harmony among all nations, and that donors and believers may take refuge and worship.


    May the earth spirit and monastery-protecting spirits engage in various sagely creations; may beings in the three painful destinies and eight difficulties all be separated from their sufferings; may the four benefactors and three classes of existences be thoroughly steeped in blessings; may the national borders be peaceful and the armies disbanded; may the winds be tamed, the rains favorable, and the people peaceful and happy; may the entire assembly be transformed by cultivation, its rare excellence progressing; may the earth spirit immediately transcend, without hindrance, all affairs; may the monastery be tranquil and sever evils and anxieties; may donors and believers take refuge and worship and increase in happiness and wisdom. All buddhas of the ten directions and three times; all honored bodhisattvas, those great beings; great perfection of wisdom.
    That will give you a taste.

    The Soto-Shu and Prof. Foulk explain:

    earth spirit (dojijin 土地神, doji 土地). All Zen monasteries and temples enshrine the image or spirit tablet of a “god” (kami, shin, jin 神) of the “earth” (tochi, doji 土地), meaning the ground on which the buildings stand, who is supplicated as a protector of the facility. This custom derives from medieval China, where every Buddhist monastery had its own earth spirit, conceived as a deity who held sway over the land occupied by the monastery even before it was built. Since that deity was not originally a follower of Buddha, he needed to be propitiated and converted into a supporter of the dharma, to ensure that he would use his power to protect the monastery rather than destroy it. A similar dynamic had taken place in India, where the native devas had to be turned from potential enemies into protectors of the dharma. In Soto Zen today, the figure of Jōhō Shichirō Daigen Shuri Bodhisattva (Jōhō Shichirō Daigen Shuri Bosatsu 招寶七郎大權修理菩薩) is enshrined in the earth spirit hall of every monastery and temple as a monastery-protecting spirit (gogaranjin 護伽藍神). He was originally the earth spirit of King Ashoka Mountain (Aikuōzan 阿育王山), a large monastery that Dōgen visited in China. He was adopted by Dōgen as a protector of Eiheiji. In Japan, the earth spirits of Zen temples are often local Shinto kami, who are revered as tutelary deities (chinju 鎭守).

    earth spirit hall (dojidō 土地堂). In the large Buddhist monasteries of Song China and the medieval Japanese Zen monasteries that were modeled after them, the “hall” (dō 堂) for the “earth spirit” (dojijin 土地神, doji 土地) was a small building located on the east side of the dharma hall. In present day Zen temples, however, it is just a shelf situated on one side of the Sumeru altar inside the main hall (hondō 本堂), on which spirit tablets for the earth spirit, tutelary deities (chinju 鎭守), monastery protecting spirits (gogaranjin 護伽藍神), dharma-protecting devas and benevolent deities (gohō shoten zenjin 護法諸天善神) are enshrined.
    A statue of the Earth Protecting Deity, Daigon Shuri Bodhisattva, at a Soto Zen Temple in Japan, very Chinese in costume and appearance:

    Gassho, J


    Last edited by Jundo; 03-18-2023 at 05:46 AM.

  5. #5
    Thank you everyone!
    Gassho, Kiri
    希 rare
    理 principle

  6. #6
    Thank you everyone!

    Kotei sat/lah today.

    義道 冴庭 / Gidō Kotei.
    Being a novice priest doesn't mean my writing about the Dharma is more substantial than yours. Actually, it might well be the other way round.

  7. #7
    Beautiful session today. I like the scene from the little Buddha where it shows Keanu resisting all the temptations sent by Mara. In a BBC documentary, it was mentioned by scholars that realizing Mara was part of himself, led to Sakyamuni's enlightenment.


    Sent from my M2101K7BNY using Tapatalk
    Has been known as Guish since 2017 on the forum here.

  8. #8
    Sat this zazenkai with you all just now. Thank you, Treeleaf


  9. #9
    Beautiful lesson today. My Shakyamuni plaque features a colorfully painted image of Shakyamuni doing the Earth Touching Mudra and I had always wondered about it. Now I know!


  10. #10
    Beautiful! Thank you all!

    Lovely talk. The portrayal of the earth rising up to attest to the Buddha is usually depicted as a goddess rather than a god. In some portayals she shakes her hair and rivers of water issue forth and sweep away Mara's minions.

    The earth is always there, and we are not separate from it, formed from her very rocks and soil.


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