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Thread: May 12 -13th Treeleaf Weekly Zazenkai - Abhaya? Varada? Kannon? Miroku (Maitreya)?

  1. #1

    May 12 -13th Treeleaf Weekly Zazenkai - Abhaya? Varada? Kannon? Miroku (Maitreya)?

    Our Zendo in Tsukuba has been gifted with a statue
    which seems to be based on this 1200 year old national treasure ...
    but there is some mystery to it.
    Also, the posture and hand Mudra are filled with meaning ...
    (see below in this thread for details)

    Also, note that we will be dancing our Heart Sutra/Hannya Shingyo today ...
    (see below for details too)

    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 2am and Paris 3am 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
    01:30 - 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
    Last edited by Jundo; 05-19-2023 at 02:15 AM.

  2. #2
    About our new friend ...

    Our Zendo in Tsukuba, Japan has been gifted with a new statue of wood. And there is some mystery to it.

    Based on the uniqueness of the design, very rare in several ways, and the similarities, I have come to the conclusion that it is a much more recent piece vaguely based on a 1200 year old national treasure from the Tendai Gantokuji temple in the ancient capital of Kyoto (both shown here) ...

    Treeleaf Treasure:

    Japan National Treasure:

    The rare way the legs are crossed, the not so common hand mudra for this kind of statue, similar size, clothing with matching folds and lines, and many other small points are very close, unique and rare in design in several ways. Of course, our statue is not to be a national treasure, but we will treasure it nonetheless ... a Treeleaf Treasure.

    The statue in Kyoto is traditionally identified as a Kannon (Guan-yin), the Bodhisattva of Compassion. However, experts have doubts about that.

    One reason is that Miroku (Maitreya) Bodhisattva is usually depicted in the seated, one leg dangling, Pensive Posture (Hanka Shiyuizō 半跏思惟像), however even then, notice that the legs are typically the opposite way ...

    Maitreya, by happenstance, happens to be the Bodhisattva set to become the next "Future Buddha" that I speak about in the Sangha recently. So, it is very nice that we may now have Maitreya in our Zendo for the first time, and that this Future Buddha is also somehow filled with Kannon's great Compassion to rescue all the suffering beings. Very meaningful to me.

    But what of the posture and hands, the Mudra which also have so much meaning?

    There are many traditional explanations for this so-called Pensive Posture, which is also called a "Half Lotus" posture (Hankazō 半跏像). The one which appeals to me is that it is a posture with one leg in Zazen, one leg out in the world. It also reminds me that we have many folks who sit cross-legged in our Sangha, but also many folks who must sit Zazen in chairs and other ways, so this expresses that.

    Another reason that our statue is likely Maitreya is that the hands form the Fear Not Mudra and Welcome/Charity Mudra, which are gestures sometimes for a Bodhisattva, but usually seen only in depictions of a Buddha, not a Bodhisattva, for Maitreya is the future heir to the Buddha of the Present. What do those signify?

    The Abhaya/Semui-in/施無畏印, or "Fear Not" Mudra, is a gesture of fearlessness and the granting of protection. It is said to be the gesture of Shaka Nyorai (the Historical Buddha) immediately after attaining enlightenment, but another traditional explanation is that it is the gesture which the Buddha in legend is said to have used to calm an angry, rampaging elephant, patting it on its head. In our statue, the left hand is lifted above left thigh with palm facing out, fingers pointing up, but it can be the right hand sometimes.

    I like to think of it too as just the Buddha just sayin' "Hi, How are you, Howdy" ...

    The Varada/Yogan-in/与願印, sometimes called in English the "Welcome" or "Wish Granting" or "Charity" Mudra, is said primarily to represent the granting of wishes or something invaluable to those who welcome the teachings of Buddhism. The hand points downward, with palm facing outward, and it is often found as the left hand when together with the "Fear Not" Mudra.

    I like to think of this as the Buddha sayin', "Slap Me Five" or "Here, take a candy." ...

    So, we welcome our new friend to the Zendo today, who combines Compassion for the Suffering, hope for the future, yesterday, today, tomorrow, fearlessness and welcome and charity, male and female, crossed legs and other postures, Zazen and life in the world.

    Gassho, J

    Last edited by Jundo; 05-12-2023 at 01:15 PM.

  3. #3
    I will not be wearing Kesa or Rakusu today, for reasons I have previously explained here, but please, everyone else, do wear yours if you have received one ...

    Taking Off the Priest's Robe, the Kesa (for Awhile)

    I will dance along with everyone, however, as our Ceremony will feature this rendition of the Heart Sutra/Hannya Shingyo by the three Okyo (Sutra) Girls. We have danced with them before, but I recently found this new version of one of their practice sesshions ...

    I like very much the energy, enjoyment and spirit of their full video, with a touch of fantasy and cosplay ...

    They are sponsored by a temple and a woman Shingon Buddhist priest, Genju, who is also a dance teacher. She wrote us the following, when I shared our ceremony video with her the last time we danced along.

    Thank you for your inviting and share our song  Your zazen session is awesome, I respect your activities.

    Gassho, J

    Last edited by Jundo; 05-12-2023 at 04:09 AM.

  4. #4
    Our member Slav had a picture of the Byodo-in behind him during Zazen, so I said I would post this. I last visited Byodoin when our Rev. Kyonin came to Japan a few years ago. Byodoin is one of the very early Buddhist temples in Japan. It is a world heritage site, so beautiful that it is featured on the Japanese 10 Yen coin. The structure is one of the few surviving from Japan's Heian period, around the year 1000, so about the same age as the old statue I tell about above. Dogen early temple before he founded Eiheiji, named Koshoji, is in the same little town.

    There are many Buddha and Bodhisattva statues, some over 1000 years old, in the temple museum. A small sample:

    Gassho, J


  5. #5
    Thank you all for today's sitting

    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

  6. #6
    Thank you, Jundo.
    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
    Sat with you all on this one just now. Thank you, all

    Gassho, Michael

  8. #8
    I love this version of the Heart Sutra so much!!! Thank you for sharing it with us.



  9. #9
    Finally got to sit with this today. And, yea, I love that version of the Heart Sutra.

    Gassho, Shinshi

    空道 心志 Kudo Shinshi
    I am just a priest-in-training, any resemblance between what I post and actual teachings is purely coincidental.
    E84I - JAJ

  10. #10
    I am very glad to sit with you all today. And that statue is very pretty!


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