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The 6th Paramita, The Virtue of Perfection of Great Wisdom

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The 6th Paramita – The Virtue of Perfection of Great Wisdom

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It is called Prajnāpāramitā « The bodhisattvas, since the appearance of the mind of Awakening, seek the Knowledge of all aspects in the course of which they know the true characteristics of the dharmas (of both phenomena and also beings.) This wisdom is the Prajnaparamita. Maka Hannya in Japanese. The only true virtue is wisdom obtained by the Buddha. But because of this virtue, the efforts of the bodhisattvas are also called virtues, as the effect is included in the cause (the fact of mobilising the mind of awakening leads the bodhisattva automatically to the realisation of the Great Wisdom, sooner or later.) …

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Dana: giving, considered as the first paramita

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Tenboring Flash News Special Number 7 – 21 June 2020

To the members of Tenborin … hello everyone! 

This newsletter, whose topic is the dana paramita puts an end to the teachings I have been doing  during these months of lockdown, in order to try to continue and deepen the practice of the Way of the Buddha.

The 6th paramita is wisdom ; the Great Wisdom !

This is going to be approached as a teisho, and form the basis of kusen and teachings during the July session ;  then you will all receive these teachings by mail.

Dana is giving

At the end of the lockdown when poor economic conditions have been the lot for all, many companies and associations are asking for financial support from their members. Of course you are welcome to help the Tenborin association and the zen Centre of Lanau with a donation, and we would be so grateful !

But the best help is to come and practise in Lanau to reinforce the practice and relatinoships with all the members of the sangha ; no doubt we’ll be able to share  great summer sesshins in the most favorable conditions.

See you soon then

With my best regards and friendship

Guy Mokuho

Dhyâna : Meditation, Contemplation, Concentration

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Dear friends of Tenbôrin,

After this period of lockdown when all the activities of the sangha were suspended, we’ll be happy to meet you again for the summer sesshin. Unless otherwise decided by the government, we’ll be able to organise sessions in July and August. The zen centre of Lanau is particularly well adapted to welcome you in the best conditions.

As indeed we have rooms with independent bathroom and toilets ; and  this year exceptionally,  we have decided that rooms will be assigned  to  people individually or to couples.

The centre is large enough to make it possible to maintain perfectly all rules of social distancing, so you’ll be able to benefit safely from your practise, the teachings and the nature around.

However, we have to restrict the number of participants, and we suggest you sign up as soon as possible, clicking on the following link.

We are looking forward to seeing you again and practising together.

Guy Mokuho and the Tenborin Team

Sīla – Ethical Conduct, Moral Rules, Discipline

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Dear Friends of Tenborin,

You regularly receive our Tenboring newsletter. Teachings on paramitas are probably a little too long. If you cannot read them now, please download them and keep them for later.

The situation is rather confusing in France and it is probably the same in England.

We do not know yet how and when we will be allowed to organise the July and August sessions in Lanau.

Tenborin committee members meet regularly to be ready to adapt to circumstances. Lanau building is spacious enough and we have many rooms and it will be rather easy to follow the health and safety rules. Maybe the July session will be postponed.

We keep being positive with the idea of seeing you soon.

Keep up your morale,

With friendly thoughts

Guy Mokuho

Virya: Energy

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Dear friends of the way and of Tenborin

The present circumstances plunge us in spite of ourselves into a “here-and-now ” we can choose to ignore by staying stuck to media, stress and endless commentaries, or feed with a consciousness which opens up to the beauty of nature (it’s springtime !!) and to the beauty of beings (so many generous daily actions !), that we can welcome anywhere in the silence of our own heart.

I am sure everyone one of us practices attention and generosity as well we can. We’ll have to be patient as the circumstances of the lockdown appear that they could last.

In order not to bounce back on usual media coverage, I have chosen to offer you teachings I am aware are a bit long. But one cannot talk in a few words about the teachings of the Buddha. It was a great pleasure for me to work and synthetize them.

The paramitas I haven chosen to comment upon are really relevant today, and must bring to everyone of you guidelines for reflection and behaviour. Download these “tenboring” and keep these « teihso » for quiet reading in the future.

On the other hand, we are doing our best to organise the future of our sangha and of the zen centre of Lanau. We will keep in touch with you any time things get clearer, and send you information and invitations to practise in respect with everyone‘s safety.

” Continue zazen eternally » used to say our Master Deshimaru when he would leave us to travel to Japan  for a few months. « Authentic practise has no beginning nor end ”

I do hope with all my heart to see you soon.

– Guy Mokuho

Ksanti: Patience

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Ksanti : Patience (Nin in japonais) by Guy Mokuhô Mercier

All the difficulties and sufferings of beings have one cause. To resolve them or free oneself from them, we need to take the time to examine ourselves, study ourselves. This is Buddhist practice explained by Buddha in his first sermon at Benares, on  the Four Noble Truths.

The practice of the paramitas is inseparable from the fourth Noble Truth, which describes the stages of an eightfold path leading to the end of suffering.

Vimalakirti and the sickness of all beings

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Sickness is present everywhere in the world, this is a fact. We all know about so  many sufferings which result from it, and feel ourselves to be totally powerless in such a situation. At this moment, we see true acts of generosity appear spontaneously, and exemplary conduct just like that of bodhisattvas, who  symbolise the Buddhist ideal, but at the same timeme, really horrible attitudes and an inextinguishable thirst in some who try to profit from this suffering.

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Editorial by Guy Mokuhô – Ko Shin

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Editorial Guy Mokuhô – October 2019

Ko shin is the attitude of the mind we must attest in zen.

Ko shin opens up from the sincerity of our meditation practise and from our real understanding of the bodhisattva ideal and Buddhist values.

Ko shin is the spirit parents and grand parents have towards their children and grand-children. It’ s a spirit of kindness and benevolence which gives without searching for profit and restricting oneself. Whether they are poor or rich, parents have the same feeling of love towards their children. They are careful and patient ; they give, teach, transmit the best of themselves. They are protective, keep danger away and willingly make sacrifices without even mentioning it.

Without Ko shin there is no authentic practise, and the bodhisattva realization cannot be separated from it.The Buddha put this virtue ahead off all others as it lightens up the entire universe :

« Benevolence is this freedom of the heart which embraces all paths in the brilliance of its splendour. In the same way that at the end of the rainy season the sun rises in a clear cloudless sky and let its brilliant light absorbs all darkness, in the same way that at the end of a dark night the morning star shines in its glory, no practise which permits spiritual progress has the sixteenth part of the value of benevolence, as it embraces them all and bursts into light ».

Let’s learn and practise together this primordial virtue. It completes and impregnates Ogu •

The meaning of OGU – by Guy Mokuhô Mercier

By Teachings / Resources

The Meaning of OGU – By Guy Mokuhô Mercier

Ōgu expresses the “transmission”.

We transmit through our practice this same form and rituals that have been transmitted and taught by teachers for centuries. They are still practiced today in the temples of our Sôtô school. This transmission allows us to preserve and protect what the Buddha taught : keep one’s own attention steady and continuous, whatever the circumstances, to see and understand the truth of impermanence and emptiness. We learn this directly during zazen : to remain motionless and to see the impermanence of things, to remain in the Consciousness-Presence that sees the world appear and disappear.

One of the most delicate and profound practices transmitted in Zen Soto is the one we do while eating in the Öryoki.

To keep this stable and calm mind that observes and contemplates is a difficult practice that requires us to seek the advice, recommendations and experience of our masters. Our mind is accustomed to divide itself by identifying itself with the things it perceives, by projecting onto them to try to seize them to gain a satisfaction that it cannot manage to see as useless and even perverse. To identify oneself with something impermanent can only produce in us a feeling of total insecurity, while creating in us the fear of missing something. We spend our life in the contradiction of wanting to grasp what makes us suffer and simultaneously trying in vain to escape this suffering.

Keeping the attention steady is really the basis of the Buddha’s teaching (expressed very explicitly in the Satipatthana sutra) to learn through meditation and the practice of the paramitas, to dwell in this gaze that contemplates the appearance and disappearance of things. In meditation, we realize this, without even being aware of it. Unfortunately, it is difficult and even impossible to contemplate 24 hours a day. Life and energy push us to undertake things, to act, to create, and so the difficulty is to keep this stability of consciousness perceiving things themselves, equally in activity and in meditation. This is what Zen teaches in the care given to the details of everyday life, in the spirit of gesture, these ways which are the foundation of spiritual and monastic life, to make us reach the other bank. The other bank qualifies the spirit that dwells in stability, motionless within the very heart of the movements of impermanence.

One of the most delicate and profound practices transmitted in Zen Soto is the one we do while eating in the Öryoki. It is a practice that symbolizes the gift and the non-attachment. For those who do not know our tradition, the Oryoki are the set of bowls, five bowls, sometimes even seven, in which the Zen monks take the meals. This ritual is extremely precise and requires us to maintain constant attention throughout our meal.

The word ” Ōryoki ” is composed of three ideograms (kanji) :” Ō ” means the response of the recipient to the food offering. ” Ryō “, is the quantity that we receive in our bowl.” Ki “, is the bowl itself.

Let’s start with the bowl – Ki.t is in itself a symbol. It is the bowl that receives and contains the life that nourishes our existence. The largest of the bowls, the one that contains all the others, is called hatsu.u. and it symbolizes the transmission of life, of the Dharma, and also of the teaching of Buddha. Dogen writes that it is «the unimaginable, extraordinary, incomparable, wonderful, miraculous utensil in which this extraordinary event is realised, the gift of food, this exchange with others and with nature. And for this event to take on its dharmic, extraordinary dimension, it takes place in Presence «. Eating in this bowl is an act of presence, Consciousness-Presence. This is the very place of enlightenment. The bowl transcends the idea of the bowl itself, its material form. It becomes by the attentive presence the place where practice and awakening are realized. In the Buddhist tradition, this bowl is also used as a bowl of alms. At the time of the Buddha the monks went to the villages to beg for food. This practice is still ongoing, although rare today.

Ryō “,is the measure, the quantity we receive in the bowl, the quantity given to us. Whether small or large, it is not for granted or by right. We must learn contentment and truly consider that it is a gift made to us. The contents of our bowl, “Ryõ”, is the life that presents itself to us at this very moment and invites us to consciously consider eating, the pleasure of tasting the universe in flavors and colors. Our greed often turns this food into something banal, by the carelessness we bring to it and by the judgments we make in our minds about the contents of our bowl. This very quantity of food, “Ryo”, reveals to us the power of our attachments and our dependence on the world of our sensation of taste.

ClauqettesRyō, is not only the food itself in our bowls, but it is also the abilities, skills, qualities that each of us has received and that we must put at the service of others. As the Buddha teaches us, there is nothing that belongs to us. As a result, we can consider our body itself as a bowl that receives food and restores it to others in the relationship of love and sharing. The bowl receives food and it transmits life! We also receive, transform and return this food. It disappears in us and turns into an activity that we must transmit and put at the service of all beings.

Ō “, is the response of the one who receives, to the food offering. We can always complain about what’s in our bowl! The spirit with which we receive food can either make us sick or wake up and nourish our spirituality. Whatever is in our bowl, we can taste it and discover the flavors, the textures and see the colors and go beyond the judgment of thoughts, to study this and see if we can take the time to enjoy, to chew, to be conscious with food. This is the teaching of Õryokis. Our attitude of mind determines how this food will be transformed and used by our body. The response to the food offering is a quality of care devoid of judgment and greed and is the expression of our gratitude. Zen expresses the relationship between the one who gives, the one who receives and what is given by the term “Ogu”. We have already seen what» O «means. The response of the monk who receives his food in his bowl is to give back to beings by teaching and transmitting the Dharma. This is his «task» in the play of interdependence between all beings. ”

Gu “, is the offering itself that fills the bowl, the action that the donor accomplishes, the action of giving, the gift itself, without a mind of profit. The true gift does not wait for a reward. “Ogu” really corresponds to «Dana», the gift, the first of the paramita practices of perfection. The lay person gives the food and the monk gives the Dharma, the teaching, of which it is said that, of all the gifts, it is the most important.

Ōgu “, is also the perfect uniqueness that is created in the action between the one who gives and the one who receives. It is the heart of Zen to give and receive. They are synonymous, one does not go without the other. We do not come to the dojo to get something for ourselves. We come to discover who we are and restore this truth to all beings. The practice of “Ogu” therefore includes ourselves and others.

Ōgu ” is the name we have chosen for the seminar we will be doing in Lanau at the end of October 2019, followed by a sesshin (we could also say Ö-sesshin). The idea contained in this term is to transmit generously what we have received. It is the transmission that continues to live beyond the form, the body and the things that pass. The way of the Buddha is a way of humanity for all beings. As his disciples we must through our practice convey the path that allows the return to That which we are.