Spring Letter – 6th April, 2016

Hello dear friends of Tenbôrin,

What a consolation!
The beginning of the year forgotten.
Moving forward on light feet,
As if drunk
The wind of Spring.


The seasons go by and the years go by, and we forget them in the continual outpouring of life! Impermanence jumps before our eyes in these first days of spring, in the light of day, the fresh buds, softness rediscovered! And yet many beings suffer from this inability to seize time, which passes with no resolution of the fundamental question of identity and the meaning of existence. Ignorance seems everywhere in this world, which is violent and so confused.

However, right in front of our eyes, in every moment and situation, the Great Way is open and the answer bursts in the very heart of impermanence. The enormity is there, already there, and we can contemplate the unceasing miracle of the seasons, of births and deaths, of life. The evidence of the present moment reveals what words cannot explain and speaks in the very heart of each being. To be! It is in oneself that the path to freedom must be found! A direct path, instant, which goes from here to here and unfolds in Presence.

The present moment reveals itself to each of us, ungraspable and full. But have we truly accepted to look at it, listen to it , taste it , to love it however it presents itself, whatever comes, with everything it contains, whether it suits us or not?

The Way of zen is a path of contemplation, of welcome and letting go. Buddha teaches us a luminous path, generous, but also sometimes painful for our ‘me.’ It’s a path of generosity, love and compassion, which is made with all beings, which necessitates effort, patience, trust and which brings us back to peace and the truth of our eternal nature.

The path of the ‘bodhisattva’ was the subject of a three day workshop at the Zen centre of Lanau from the 18th to the 20 the March. To become a bodhisattva in an ordination ceremony in front of the members of the sangha, means that one knows what one is linking with, the ideal and the practice, which many practitioners do not always take the time to study! The success of this meeting, both in terms of the number of participants (35) and the quality of the teachings and exchanges is due to a simple reason: people who attend a dojo regularly have a real need to learn, to discover and to follow the path which the zazen of the buddhas and the patriarchs teaches. Doesn’t this concern the manifestation itself of the mind of awakening?

This real need to practise the ideal of the ‘bodhisattva’ explained in the March workshop, will be the subject of a new workshop in the autumn (probably the end of October).

The subject is vast and fascinating. It will be taught via the Prajnaparamita sutras, with one or several teachers over three or four days.

But before the Autumn we have many activities at the Zen Centre of Lanau.

  • A week of ‘samu’ from 11-14 April followed by a sesshin 15,16,17.
  • A seminar on the Shôbôgenzô with Yoko Orimo from the 1st to 5th May on the theme of temporality. Don’t miss this chance to discover, with her, the key work of Master Dôgen, set out in a clear and understandable way.
  • The Shôbôgenzô seminar will finish with a sesshin from 6-8 May open to all.
  • Two Summer sessions, from the 8-16 July for the first and the 13-21 August for the second, which will welcome children as well, and offer them a programme of activities based around the values taught by the Buddha. I hope many of you will come to these meetings where practising together takes us all into the benevolence and the heart of the Buddha’s teachings.
  • We will also have some outside groups for which we need some help, (weeks 19, 29, 32.)

The Zen Centre of Lanau continues to respond to its purpose of welcoming all who wish to practise and replenish themselves in the company of the 10 residents. The way of zen is maintained in a simple and benevolent way. Many visitors, all the sanghas mixed together, have had this experience during the past year. Their presence is a gift to our project of having a multi generational centre.

We also need your generosity, as the building at Lanau needs renovations and much maintenance. We have also now to organise a programme of adaptation for handicapped visitors, whilst continuing the improvements to the private and public parts. Thanks in advance for whatever you can offer us to improve this place for the good of the sangha.

AZI is organising a great ceremony at La Gendronniere from June 7-12, called Ojukai. ‘Receiving the precepts.’ This event has been brought up many times in AZI’s publication ,’Sangha’. The ceremonies and teachings which will be given, all concern the commitment of the ‘bodhisattva’ as transmitted in the Soto Zen school. A large delegation of Japanese monks with the presence of Minamizawa Roshi, vice Zenji of Eiheiji will lead this event, in liaison with the leaders of the European sanghas.

On behalf of AZI, I am asking for help from those who are available to come and do samu at La Gendronniere in the week before or during the week of Ojukai. Please contact me via the Tenborin site if you are able to come and help.

Those of us who have had the luck of finding the Way of Buddha and have faith in the practice of zazen, should not waste the precious time that is our human life. Practise, deepen the teachings and follow their meaning are the indispensable aids that we have need of for ourselves and others. The Treasury of the Eye (Shôbôgenzô) which is the fine point of our attention, the heart of our consciousness of things and beings should flourish in our mind. A profound vision which transforms, heals and gives the joy of finding oneself in all beings.

That which we receive, we should give again without keeping anything for ourselves. What we give we offer without expecting anything in return. This is the meaning of transmission in our Zen School and that is what fills our hearts with joy and love.

With all my friendship to accompany you on the way

Guy Mokuhô

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