Posted on 16 November 2013 by Buddhism Now
In front of the Patriarch’s room
The road is smooth
A thousand years pass in vain
Shines like snow
The Second Patriarch
His arm severed
Still hasn’t arrived.
A Quiet Room:
The Poetry of
Zen Master Jakushitsu
by Arthur Braverman
More articles by Arthur Braverman here.
Filed under: Art, Arthur Braverman, Books, Buddhism, Ch'an / Seon / Zen, History | Tagged: Buddhist blog, Photo by @KyotoDailyPhoto, Second Patriarch, Zen Buddhism, Zen Master Jakushitsu, Zen Poetry | Leave a Comment »
Posted on 31 August 2013 by Buddhism Now
Do you call a female Zen teacher a Zen master or a Zen mistress? In Japan, this isn’t a problem, at least, not in ‘orthodox’ Zen institutions. There are abbesses of Zen nunneries, but they don’t really get to be considered Zen teachers in the formal sense. Women with spiritual power in Japan can become mediums, astrologers and spiritual advisors, but not, as far as I know, Zen masters.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t find female Zen teachers in Japan outside of the ‘orthodox’ Zen circles. When Japanese people feel some kind of spiritual prowess in a person, they don’t care whether it is a he or a she; they will turn to that person for advice. (more…)
Filed under: Arthur Braverman, Biography, Ch'an / Seon / Zen, Encyclopedia, History | Tagged: Dogen, Himiko (or Pimiko), Ippen, Meiji constitution, Nakayama Shinsaku, Photos by @KyotoDailyPhoto, Shobogenzo, Shunjusha publishing house, Shushôji, Zazen | 4 Comments »
Posted on 22 January 2012 by Buddhism Now
An interview with Jôkô Shibata by Arthur Braverman
Jôkô Shibata lives alone in a suburb of Komoro, a town in northern Japan, known as the Japan Alps. He moved to Komoro over twenty-five years ago in order to be with his teacher, the late Yokoyama Sodô Roshi, otherwise known as ‘the grass flute Zen master’. Jôkô is of average height and build, wears horn rimmed glasses and samue (work clothes worn by Zen Buddhist monks). He welcomes me into his home with a reserve that drops away quickly as we get to know each other.
I had first seen Jôkô (we hadn’t really met) in 1971 when he accompanied his teacher to Antaiji, a small temple in Kyoto, where we both attended the yearly memorial service for Sawaki Kôdô Roshi. Jôkô leads me through a corridor lined with pictures of his teacher to a small chanoma (tea room) where we have tea. On one side of the chanoma is a kitchen, on the other a balcony with a view of Mount Yatsugatake. Across from where we sit is a newly built Zen meditation room, or zendo, with the distinct smell of fresh wood and new tatami straw mats. At the far end of the zendo is a small altar with pictures of Jôkô’s teacher, Yokoyama Sodô Roshi, and his teacher, Sawaki Kôdô, both sitting in the zazen [formal sitting] posture. Jôkô’s life attests to his devotion to these two teachers. (more…)
Filed under: Arthur Braverman, Buddhist meditation, Ch'an / Seon / Zen, History, Mahayana | Tagged: Antaiji, Jôkô Shibata, Sawaki Roshi, Yokoyama Roshi | 5 Comments »
Posted on 18 October 2011 by Buddhism Now
I’m sitting on my cushion in the morning before going to work and that feeling of openness comes, — not a thought-free feeling but one of awareness of being there, on the cushion, and of being content with just that. Then there is a feeling of gratitude for being taught a zazen with no strings attached—no elaborate initiation, no progress reports, and no conclusions. But there is a personal mystery that shrouds my feeling of gratitude. Why have I felt such ambivalence for the man who introduced me to and guided me through this practice? I feel that I must contact him again and work through these feelings and put some kind of closure to our relationship. The man is Uchiyama Kôshô Roshi and he was abbot of Antaiji from the time of his teacher’s death in 1965 until his own retirement in 1975. During his ten years as abbot of Antaiji, Uchiyama set up a temple where clergy and lay people, Japanese and westerners, men and women, could practise zazen together in as accommodating an atmosphere for practice as one can imagine in a temple in Japan. (more…)
Filed under: Arthur Braverman, Ch'an / Seon / Zen, Encyclopedia, History, Mahayana | Tagged: Antaiji, Sawaki Roshi, Sodô san, Uchiyama Kôshô Roshi | 1 Comment »