One Drop Zen Website


January OSesshin with Harada Roshi in Hokuozan Sogenji

We are extremely grateful that Roshi sama travelled all the way to Hokuozan, bringing Sokyu Koji along with him. Thanks to our Roshi´s guidance and wisdom, the practice of everyone is deepening. The teishos are being given on the Blue Cliff Records , while the outer cold temperatures reflect the sharpness and brightness of the Dharma Talks.


 

January 13, 5th year of Reiwa

Diamond Sutra Setting forth Pure Lands

Closing Poem for the Snow Training Period

 

The great death is the best way to return to our pure root

Abiding no place from ancient times until today

our life is freely functioning within it 

Whether coming or going, to share Buddha´s grace is our obligation

 

Zazen keeps ripening until the self disappears, entering a pure state of mind.

Abiding nowhere, there are no thoughts and no obstructions anymore. Since ancient past this truth of the Buddha is passed on.

 

From the place of nothing, each moment, each situation it keeps appearing, functioning freely when encountering each and every person, in each and every moment, the truth is being taught. In this functioning of wanting to bring everyone to awakening the truth of the Buddha is found.

 


Teaching for the week #7

by Shodo Harada Roshi

 

We are all at different levels, some don´t even know where they stand, but we continue, and as we all know best for ourselves, we start with our physical body. How do we do that breathing? How do we keep our mind clear? Every single day is studying this, every single day is practice. Trying to figure out: why does our body hurt? Why does it not get settled? Why are we being pulled around by concepts? And for what are we doing this? We use our sharp awareness and keep looking at the central point of it all. And we continue to do this 24 hours a day, always being creative on how to continue.

 

No matter what it takes I will continue until I have realized my true nature directly. And from there the great doubt arises, why do my legs hurt? Why are my emotions so demanding? Why can I not keep my focusing going? To continue with creative investigation, we work on the problems in our sitting. We start to let go of the concepts which we are always moved around by, we have to stick firmly with it or our zazen will not work. And simply by staying with it, all starts to fall into place.

 


Domyo Koji drumming lightning, thunder, rain and wind

 

Please enjoy the play of long time student Domyo Koji from France who is playing the Hokku drum in a most exquiste way -

as Harada Roshi puts it: "This is true drum play !" 

Enjoy!


Saitan No Ge - New Year´s Poem

by Shodo Harada Roshi

 

the world is Disturbed by chaotic Wars

When will the day come that the people finally recieve peace?

The oyster bearing a rabbit-pearl is of deep deep meaning

Radiating complete Purity through heaven and earth 

 

The world is disturbed by many ongoing wars, when will the day finally come that the people of the world can encounter a quiet time?

The clam swallowed the light of the moon, that is how the pearl inside is being created. There is a deep deep meaning in this. The light radiating from the clam is making heaven and earth shine with purity.

From the old days it is said in China that there lives a rabbit in the moon. When it is full moon, the clam opens its shell and absorbs the light of the moon. The light entering the clam then brings forth a pearl. The light and the pearl are bringing brightness to the world.

This story appears in the 90th case of the Blue Cliff Records:
A monk asked Chimon, “What is the body of wisdom?” Chimon said, “An oyster swallowing the bright moon.”

The monk asked, “What is the function of wisdom?” Chimon said, “A rabbit getting pregnant.”

This is also a story from old China, saying that there are only female rabbits, no male rabbits are around. So how does a baby rabbit get born? The female rabbit quietly keeps gazing up to the full moon and becomes pregnant.

Yet here it comes, wisdom and the functioning of wisdom cannot be two separate aspects. For example, the light of the full moon is the base and the shining, the functioning happens simultaneously. There are not two worlds. The shining of the moon at the same time makes the world bright. Yet the monk is asking here about two aspects, as if there are separated. Chimon Osho is correcting the monk´s mistake.

A monk asked Chimon, “What is the body of wisdom?” Chimon said, “An oyster swallowing the bright moon.”

The monk asked, “What is the function of wisdom?” Chimon said, “A rabbit getting pregnant.”

He is saying it the other way around. When the oyster opens its shell and the light of the full moon enters then a pearl is being created. And the functioning of wisdom? A rabbit getting pregnant. The other way around. The base and function are not separated. The bright moon is shining onto this world. There are not two worlds, only one.

 

Yet people get so confused, believing that there are two worlds. We are all just human beings. The one who wins and the one who loses – just a human being. If this were to be understood, we would not fight, and then the whole world could become purified.

 


Teaching for the New Year

by Shodo Harada Roshi

 

Please take some time now to reflect upon the year that just passed, not just sitting in the form of zazen, but looking deeply within: 

"What supported me the most during the past year? Was I able to truly forget body and all those many challenges and problems in the outer world and dive deeply into the inner silence?" 

By reflecting upon this we can clarify for yourselves how to begin the New Year and what to take as most important in our life, envigorating our vow to clarify our mind. Stating to ourselves what we will base our life on and how to continue this path.


Impressions from Sogenji

These impressions were kindly send by Jakugen.

You can see the three clowns at Toji Toya, the sangha celebrating Christmas by watching a video on Mumon Roshi, who has his memorial day exactly then and finally the mochi tsuki, pounding the rice for the New Year offerings.

 


New Year Greetings by Harada Roshi

 

This year again we are lucky that Shodo Harada Roshi is willing to continue the sharing of his New Year greetings with the world wide sangha. This new tradition got established during the corona times when Japan was closed and we missed seeing the Roshi for months even years.
Now the borders are open and Sogenji kindly allows visitors again, yet the Roshi is willing to share this precious moment of greeting his local sangha in Sogenji with all of us.
Please note that because it is a Sunday, the greetings will be later than usual.
1st of January 2023 at 9 am Japan time
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83383872000
Meeting ID: 833 8387 2000
Passcode: 354115


Poem in memory of Tsuisendo Rodaishi 

by Shodo Harada Roshi

 

Year after year exploring the Budda's Path

Upon seeing the flower in the garden the true eye opens

Oh great all embracing mind - nothing can be said about it

In the four oceans all has been exhausted

Filling the blue sky

Memory
Yamada Mumon Roshi

Polish Sangha sitting Rohatsu Sesshin

For the 3rd year in a row, we celebrate Buddha's Enlightenment Day with local Sesshin Rohatsu. This year we had the opportunity to spend this wonderful time together in a small country house by the Baltic Sea. The sesshin schedule was enriched with daily one-hour kinhin by the sea, yoga classes led by Genyu, and breathing exercises led by Seigen, this allowed the release of body and respiratory muscles tensions that often appear during many hours of practice. The food was prepared by Wako and Dotai. Sesshin passed smoothly, as always ended with wanting, to sit some more, yet we all were called to go back to our social life and family duties.  I wanted to express my deep gratitude to everyone who took part in it MyoGen, Kasia, Gosia, Renata, Wako, Dotai, Genyu, Kando, and the Roshi for the wonderful commentary on Ten Oxherding Pictures from May 1998, what became our teishos for that time.


Poem by Shodo Harada Roshi for the Jodoe Ceremony honouring the awakening of Shakyamuni Buddha.

 

The zendo filled with copper and iron heads

Such excellent time for Training!!!!
From its base all darkness and doubts are torn away with light

 

In the sky the never changing moon shining quietly

 

 

The densu team did not make it on the group foto

since they were busy getting the Hondo ready for Sunday Zazenkai.


Rohatsu Sesshin in process.....

we are 30 people who have gathered for the Rohatsu Osesshin. Above you can see the Shusanbutsu scroll which will be hung during the ceremony on the day after Rohatsu Osesshin in memory of the Buddha`s great efforts and deep awakening.


Gathering in Sogenji for Rohatsu

 

With Rohatsu just around the corner and the border of Japan open again, many dedicated students are gathering in Sogenji to join their energies for the most intense practice of the year. The weather is mild and sunny, only the nights are getting fresh. Roshi sama is in high spirits to continue to pass on his wisdom and insights. Some impressions from Sogenji below.


Autumn Koyo in Sogenji

fotos by Domyo Koji


November Zoom Sesshin Memorial Foto

...only missing Quentin and Maja on it  Thank you all for your continued efforts.


Teaching for the week #6

by Shodo Harada Roshi

 

We need to keep going nonstop, without a break, asking ”What is it?! What is it?! What is it?! Otherwise, we are wasting our precious time. Keep that question going to the point, where it becomes, what is seeing, and what is being seen, what is hearing, and what is being heard, what is smelling, and what is being smelled – all melted into one and merged completely to the point where you cannot even know, whether it is you sitting in the zendo, or if it is the zendo that is sitting. You have to let go of every single one of your mental concepts. And then you will realize that life energy, that fills your ears and fills your eyes and does the hearing and does the seeing, and you will know its deepest root not from your head but from your experience.

The blowing wind sounds, and you become the wind's sound. The bell rings, and you becomes its ringing. There is nothing beyond that. In one instant, any of these may come forth from our ears as hearing. There is no division between inner and outer, between the world of myself, the act of hearing, and that which is being heard. This place, where there is no separation at all, can only be spoken of as love. 

 


Teaching for the week #5

by Shodo Harada Roshi 

 

Our focus has to be on our essence, not on concepts of doing good and avoiding doing bad.

All of the seasons, all of the times of the day, are right in this very moment, where there is nothing but this absolute truth. In the spring we becomes one with the flowers; in the summer we becomes one with the breeze; in the autumn we becomes one with the moon; in the winter we are one with the snow. We transform with each of these. We transform with the morning, the afternoon, and the night, and in this way we know buddha nature directly.

 

 

What is it? Keep that question to the point, where it becomes, what is seeing and what is being seen, what is hearing, and what is being heard, what is smelling and what is being smelled - all melted into one and merged completely to the point, where you cannot even know, whether it is you sitting in the zendo, or if it is the zendo, that is sitting.


Teisho beginning procedures

 

Here you can see the traditional procedure of the beginning of a teisho in detail - enjoy !


Teaching for the week #4

 

by Shodo Harada Roshi 

 

look carefully, at what it is, that is seeing. What it is, that is hearing? What is is, that is smelling? What is is, that is tasting? What is the true base of what is happening? What is the true base of that which is sad? What is the true base of that which is happy? We have to dig into the source of all of it, until we can see, that originally, there is not a single thing.

If a mountain manifests, become the mountain. If a flower appears, become the flower. Our nature is, from the origin, infinite, and there is no reason to  add ideas by calling it this or that. When we just receive whatever comes exactly as it is, we have natural purity.

As you see, just see! As you hear, just hear! Do not add extra associations or connections; do not add extra thought of me or I.

What is most important is to see and hear clearly with no preconception. To become the eyes and see, to become the ears and hear - this is true wisdom, judgment has no place here.

We should be naturally and freely able to become morning, when it is morning, afternoon when it is afternoon, night when it is night; we become the winter when the winter comes, and the autumn when the autumn comes. When we are hungry, we eat. When we are tired, we sleep. This is our natural way of mind.

 


A lecture by Yamada Mumon Roshi

 

Shodo Harada Roshi appearing briefly at 9:01 as Mumon Roshi´s Inji

 


Latvian sangha on the Weekend sesshin in Myokan`s place

 

Here is short photo-report from Latvian sangha weekend sesshin.
This sesshin could be given the name - Latvian sangha recovery after Covid-time or
Riga and Daugavpils sangha meet in Slaidas, Vecumnieki (Myokan's place)


Teaching for the week #3

by Shodo Harada Roshi 

 

This clear human character, which is like a mirror, can accept and receive everything, but nothing that is reflected can get stuck to this mirror. It reflects everything exactly as it is, but the mirror itself stays untouched. This mirror-like Mind has no sense of “that’s me” or “that’s him, not me.” It has no dualism; it makes no distinctions like that. At that true base, there actually is no differentiation between self and others. The world that is reflected in—reflected by—that mirror is not one of self and other; it has no such separation, it accepts everything as one unified whole. From the origin there is only one world, with no division into “my” world and “your” world.

 In zazen we need to align our body so that our mind, like a great huge mirror the size of the universe, can better reflect the myriad things.

From the beginning we all have a clear nature; we dont gain it because we train, but it may take some time to awaken to it.

Altthough people have different names and different histories, there is a place within each of us, that is before all that, identical in each of us and uniting all of us; it is that place in each person, that hears the dog  barking and sees the red flowers in the same way. The sound, that the buddha hears, is the same sound that we hear. We all have the same mind.... This mind, that every person has from birth, is what we call buddhanature.

 

 

When we see in this way, we love everything directly, not because we think we should, but because there is no way to see anything as apart from ourselves. When what is seen and what is seeing are one, that is prajna, and a spontaneous love for all beings is born from there.


Memorial fotos of the Osesshin with Harada Roshi

 

and below the memorial foto of the October zoom sesshin


Memorial sutra for Taino Engaku Osho at Scaramuccia Zenshinji 


 

Teaching for the week #2

by Shodo Harada Roshi 

 

 

"We are not in any way different from that ability of the Buddha. The Buddha’s ability of mind is the same as ours and that is called “Buddha-nature”, or a mirror, or a jewel. However, these are meaningless words: the truth of these words is what matters and that is what needs to be experienced.
An ancient poem says: “Where do these cherry blossoms come from?” They are beautiful, pink in color, bringing us the joy of spring. Yet where do these flowers come forth from? Even if we were to split the wood of a cherry tree, we will not find the flowers. So, where do they come forth from? It only happens when the spring wind blows and the buds open. The tree, of course, is the cherry tree but it can only bring forth those flowers through the grace of spring. Only then it shows the ability to blossom. This is the same with our mind.
It is like this jewel, this person of no rank, this high state of mind. We cannot search for it—we will not find it anywhere because it is of no form, of no shape. If we make efforts, we will not be able to reach it, yet without efforts, neither will we understand. So, we settle our busy mind to taste this quiet state of mind a little bit. And from this quiet state of mind—which deepens even further—we can bring forth actions which match each situation completely."


Full monks Ordination on the special occasion of the Bodhidharuma Memorial day


Bodhidharuma Poem

Bodhidharuma came from India to China

This morning he recieves his new students

which was the purpose of his teaching of truth

He is still now passing in on right here in Sogenji

 

by Shodo Harada Roshi 5th September 2022


Teaching for the week #1 

by Shodo Harada Roshi

 

"Make your own mind quiet, stop being so excited about the things outside. Become like the surface of a lake that has calmed down, like the quiet air in the morning. That is that state of mind which is not complicated at all.

Do not go on about those ego ideas.

When the first light in the morning comes up from utter darkness not all can be seen clearly yet. Slowly it is getting light, just after the morning sutras we go out for kinhin and cannot perceive the world clearly yet. But slowly slowly it arises clear and pure. That state of mind is precious. Take that as being something of great importance. It is that mind before dualism is being inserted. But everyone is still stuck in the darkness of the night. That state of mind in the morning when the first light is touching your spirit. The noisy thoughts have been spit out during the morning sutras, your mind has become purified. And during that first kinhin you can perceive everything clearly.

Not in a dualistic way because nothing can be perceived clearly yet. But the world simply as is perceived through our senses. That state of mind is important. We may have all kinds of ideas but they are all just gathered from the outside.

We need to spit all of them out and only then can we take in that new world completely."


Time is standing still...

Now that Zen students can enter Japan again, it can be noticed that in Sogenji time is standing still. No outer noise seems to pass the gate, while the old pine is still greeting all guests at the entrance.

Some small changes can be noticed though... Fans have been installed in the Itaten entrance as well as in the kitchen... for a bit of cooling wind, while there is an airconditioner now in the library ( women's zendo). A memorial stone with a Haiku from Aiseiin has been installed near the gate. And since the wild boars are coming down the mountains, Domyo is protecting his vege garden from them and around the shiitake grove as well bamboos have been set up to not let them in. All over the grounds you cans see where they have been scratching for earth worms. In the kitchen there is an extra step and hand rail for the elderly and one room of the higashi zendo is now dedicated to clothes drying with a dehumidifyer. A beautfiul frame with Mumon Roshi`s writing has been donated by Masuda san and installed in the Hondo. Zen style repair (kufu) of the small roof... Nekko-chan is still around as well.....


Welcoming the Sangha

Here is the core sangha which made it through the intense 2-3 years of Corona, using this time well to deepen intensely. Now that Zen students can enter Japan again, the Roshi is asking the sangha to share and give life to their well developed energy and continue practice with the students that come from far.

Sogenji is expecting over 20 students from the world wide sangha to join for this autumn training period.

All the guests are asked to be well prepared and blend in well into the intense training of Sogenji. As preparation for your stay, please read the rules below carefully.


Water Moon Music

 

Here you can find the newest edition of beautiful shakuhachi music played by long term student Domyo Koji from Sogenji. He is inviting the world wide sangha into the acoustic space of his play. Please feel free to check out his channel "Water Moon Music" and subscribe, since he will continue to add new pieces.


Celebration of our Teacher

 

On the last day of the August Osesshin we celebrated Roshi's 82th birthday.

ShoE made some delicious cheese cake for all of us.

After blowing the candles out on the cake, our Roshi gave us his precious words about his vision and our practice.

He told us that he will come continuously to Hokuozan Monastery to teach us in the following 18 years.

Next year in 2023, after 3 years of delay, there will be a big ceremony to celebrate his next birthday and the inauguration of ShoE Roshi. We are all invited to celebrate together in Hokuozan.

He was telling us, that Hokuozan Sogenji is in very good hands led by ShoE Roshi, in Indosan Sogenji it is Bodharuma Osho, in Tahoma Sogenji  it is Sozui Zenni who are responsible for the local community. And all three centers are doing well.

He also said that after a long time there will be the ifull monk ordination of three new monks in Sogenji, Sodo Koji from Germany, Bunshu Koji from Lithuania and Ryotatsu Koji from the United Kingdom.

The Roshi emphasized the importance of the practice of each and every of us, even if we are just lay practitioners. He said that any of us can become a Roshi, if we have the realization of the final truth as the main focus point of our life.

However just sitting halfheartedly is not the way we should go about it, but putting our whole life on the line will surely lead us to the true meaning of Zen, from where we will be able to liberate all sentient beings.

It is his aim as a teacher to pass his wisdom onto his disciples - onto us- to all human beings in society. Therefore it is our utmost duty to practice in that way so he can fulfill this mission. Otherwise he can not die peacefully.

He assured us once more, just like he is doing it often when he gives us Teishos, that when we really put our focus on the realisation of the truth, we should not doubt for a single minute that life will support us in all kinds of ways and everything just falls into the right place, so we need not to be afraid, just go on restlessly.

He will be here for us, coming to Europe five times a year and we can also connect via Zoom sesshins and as the circumstances allow, he is happy to guide sesshin in our home countries as well.

 

(kindly transcribed from memory by Fukuden Daishi, ODZ Hungary)

 


 

 

 

 

Swallows resting on the shoes of Harada Roshi

in the entrance of Sogenji monastery

 

(foto kindly send by Hori Koji from Sogenji)


Just finished mini sesshin in Klaipeda that was held on 9-11th of September.

22 participants from Klaipeda, Vilnius, Kaunas and Riga (Latvija) took part - it was very good practice - everyone enlisted it. Genko Koji ODZ Lithuania


The memorial service for Chiko Daishi could take place during the Osesshin in Tahoma monastery, where 33 people participated. The husband and children of long time practicioner Chiko also joined for the ceremony. Roshi gave a poem:

When you see a flower, you think of a flower
When you do zazen, you think of zazen

when you think of Chiko, the tears are still wet

what has gone on here?
So suddenly!

And yet, three years have already passed - Chiko - the light of wisdom

Whenever I think of you, I think of a person of wisdom


Please note that Sogenji Japan also has its own website now, hosted by Sokyu Koji, where you can find the Information about sesshin dates. Here is the address: 

www.Sogenji.com


We will be sending out information from Hokuozan to the world wide ODZ sangha again.

The old webpage had some troubles, so that we needed to start all over again, as it happens, with a different design and slightly simplified.
All information from the old website will be posted here eventually, but it may take some time.