Empathy

Oscar talked about empathy.

With the current state of the world and our country, I find myself feeling angry at myself and feeling useless and powerless for nothing being able to make any changes. Through meditation I found out that the difference I can do is to reduce hate in the world. But how do we do that? While meditating I told myself that through empathy I could achieve that. Meditation taught me that separation is the biggest illusion we tell ourselves as humans. Since we are raised and taught different cultures, religions, and politics, but we are all one species who are trying to strive through nature and the communities we build. Ultimately we all bleed red and we all share similar emotions.

Shujinko 主人公 : True Self

In zen teaching, shujinko means “true self.” So how can we find our “true self”?

無想 Muso:  Don’t think anything, get rid of all thoughts

無念 Munen: Let go of desires,  don’t get distracted by the stimulus from the outside world 

無住 Muju: Let go of your attachment to material things

What remains is the “true self.” Zazen is the practice to help remove these noises and find “true self.”

wa kei sei jaku 和敬清寂

This sign used to hang outside of our gate to the zendo. “Wa, Kei, Sei, Jaku,” famous Sado (tea ceremony ) word describing four essential elements of Sado.

和(Wa) Harmony

敬(Kei) Respect

清(Sei) Purity

寂(Jaku) Tranquility

So why this word for tea ceremony relates to zen?

It is believed that Eisai, who established the Rinzai Zen, brought green tea seeds from China and promoted tea culture in Japan. As a result, at many zen temples, sarei (茶礼) is offered, after morning zazen, after meals during the break, and before going to sleep.

We can apply these principles to our zen practice

When we enter our zendo, we can

-Open up our minds (Wa),

-Respect each other, and be compassionate (Kei)

-Clean up surroundings. Also, we can purify our minds by leaving  any biases (Sei)

-Keep ourselves calm (Jaku), which we try to archive through zazen meditation.

We can apply this to our daily life.

New Year Eve 2021

Dear Students of Hakone Zendo,
There is an interesting tension in me as I write to you on this last day of 2021.  One part wants to say something wise and positive, while the other part does not want this email to be just another pat comment with well wishes and Happy New Year!’s that tend to be everywhere on this day.
So, instead, I will ask that you participate in an email request/assignment which will take all of 5 minutes at the most….but on 2 separate days…..today and tomorrow.
Go outside, or to a quiet place where you can notice something in our natural world, and just breathe and BE for a few minutes.  Notice the beauty and goodness of this time,and as you breathe in allow yourself to feel your own beauty and goodness.  There is no one like you.  There is only THIS.…the world, the breath, and yourself in this moment. 
Do this on the last day of 2021 and the first day of 2022 please.  (And maybe start now so that you don’t forget today).  And repeat again tomorrow, January 1, 2022.
You are cared for.

Ann Kugyo