Leader Meeting report

ODZ Leaders meeting POLOAND SZCZECIN 04-06.08.2017

Leader meeting report, shortened version.

1) As the funds are lowering, and already we have almost visited all the countries, we will keep in mind idea of having again Leaders Meeting only during sesshin time in Hokuozan. But still Riga and Klaipeda meeting are planned, maybe it will be possible to go to Latvia and Lithuania both next year. Than we will decide what to do after.

2) While changes in Hokuozan more responsibility and time for taking care of sangha and residents, ShoE Zenshi has less time, so She has not so much time for taking care of website. We all agreed that ODZ website is important thing for our Sangha, so She will get some support from Seigen who every 1,2 weeks will put the calligraphy from “Moon by the Window” book and rewrite the commentary text, as a support for sangha members practice.

There was the discussion about facebook page of Sogenji, and we decided to ask the Roshi about keeping it running. If he wants that, then one of Sogenji resident could be asked to update it regularly. The situation is not clear, at one side the worldwide sangha would like to have fresh information about Sogenji to feel the connection, but also we know that Sogenji doesn’t need the advertising tool as facebook. – Daichi was asked about this question and she asked for the Sogenji account to be frozen.

3) It was mentioned that John from Ireland is starting a group of zazen in his town Dublin Ireland from October. He will attend Leaders Meetings, but it hasn’t been still decided when he well be given official ODZ status.

4) Deposit system for sesshin of 100 Euros was accepted by the Leaders as good, but the responsibility for collecting the money will be taken to local leaders.

5) Seigen Koji will prepare the layout for event Rollups and send it to ShoE Zenshi to confirm the English text on them, and then will order printing them. Local Sanghas for different events will make translations of the texts on separate sheetsof paper.

6) Local Zendo´s situation where given.

Basel- small but stable group, without will to increase the number, some people sit not regularly cause of being member of Jazz band and concerts.

Budapest-Taikyo Koji is putting more attention on the increasing the quality ( depth ) of zazen, there are lot of practitioners , 40 of them was full sesshin attendants, more than 60 was on short workshops with the Roshi, there is about 10 new people. They are interested in new people coming for practice, but it is also important that the would stay. The Retreat center that they are willing to build, will give possibility to stay for longer time. They already set the rule, that if You want to be at the Osesshin, first You have to be at least at 3 kosesshins, and know the forms.

Szczecin- small but stable group of 10-12 people and some more coming and going, Genyu Koji is constantly trying to reach the people through taking some zazen into yoga practice, and putting the attention of his students not only work on their body but also on the mind.

Vig/Copenhagen-  there is a stable group of people, that are offer more that they expect. There is possibility of zazen in Copenhage, retreats in Vig and Hokuozan sesshins. Daiko Koji finds his way as a bridge between Denmark practitioners and the Roshi in supporting Hokuozan. Developement of Vig place of practice is a matter of time, but also the developing the zazen of people and sesshin practice is main issue.

Ikko – Ikko Zenji is running His small zendo without the ODZ status, there are 5-7 regular practitioners, and some visitors. They sit everyday 645-730, having some chi-kung style exercises before zazen. All that is run in complete silence, and He can hear people laughing and talking after on the street after leaving the zendo. There is one person interested in meeting Shodo Harada Roshi. Ikko Zenji is giving people opportunity to practice, sometimes also reading Roshis texts while zazen rounds, but He doesn’t put himself on the place of teacher. He finds that people are teaching by themselves just in that process.

Odense Sottaku Koji is running small stable group of 3 person, open for other people but not opened for changes of form how they are doing it. They sit regularly once  a week, and will try to sit once o month while Sottaku absence. They changed the name into OneDrop Zendo, to show the integration with worldwide sangha, they are offering zazen without advertising it.

Klaipeda/Kahunas/Vilnus – there was many events aside Roshi’s visit in Lithuania. Kosesshin in Klaipeda, calligraphy show ibn Vilnus and miniseshin for 70 people in Kahunas, with 30 new people, jukai ceremony and 2 blessing ceremonies of new zendos. Books, videos, posters was made in accordance to that, we will see the impact of this things on local sangha development. Now there are 6-10 regularly sitting people in  Kahunas, at Genko’s place – there was short brake, but it will start again , the usual sittings are Sunday at 3p.m. , with choka and 4 sitting rounds.

Hokuozan – Roshi advice ShoE Zenshi do to whatever to reach people, so She has started lot of different workshops (Tea ceremony, working with body, karate, etc.)  to get people to know that Hokuozan exists. There are regular 10-15 people sitting on Monday , mostly from neighbourhood, and beside Basti Koji, for time of September-October there will come some more of residents ( Nick, brother of Till, Myorin, Michelle) keeping the meaning of Hokuozan as place directing practitioners to the Roshi, with ShoE Zenshi as a support. The schedule is updated to people needs, there is zazen but day schedule is with more breaks, there is no sanzen an everybody is treated as equal, trying to experiment more with schedule to achieve a training integrated more with daily life.

Gensei Zenji has finished his training in Shofukuji, now He is back in Sogenji, He will come to Hokuozan Sogenji with the Roshi for samu sesshin, and will travel to all sanghas to teach them about proper forms and structures of Zen.

7) Jukai issue-
The Roshi in his politeness doesn’t refuse to give Jukai to people being asked, but it is also important to set some regulations about giving Jukai, cause there is to many cases with people asking for it, not really understanding what is it about and treating it than commitment and obligation. Quick decision is often emotional and precepts are being not observed later.

After discussion Sangha members decided that :
There will be possibility to ask for and receive the Juikai after at least 3 years of practice with the Roshi, and positive recommendation from local leader. In ODZ Jukai is treat not only as commitment to Buddhist tradition, but also as an expression of connection to Roshi Shodo Harada lineage.
There are allowed some exceptions in very special situations.

8) Keisaku use in the zendo:
Leaders decided that during European sesshin and in the zendo Keisaku people will also have permission to tap into shoulder when seeing someone falling asleep, to suggest people to bow for Keisaku, but without obligatory bowing. It will be done only by leading Keisaku person.

Closing sentences by a sangha member: “What do we want to share with other people: WORDS? We can only share something that we have gained by experience. I think that silence is the most precious thing that we can share, because it is more creative than any analytical thinking. Through silence we empty ourselves and gain a deeper understanding than any words can achieve.  And this is why people want to sit. There are too many words and talking in the world and this causes more confusion and hardly any progress. As there is no system and no grammar to explain zen, everyone has to discover it for herself or himself. This is the wonder of zen. Our understanding depends on our own experience. So the most I can do is to bring people to experience silence for themselves.”

 Deep gratitude for the Polish ODZ leader for organizing this meeting and for their hospitality.

Deep gratitude also for all the leaders who made the efforts to join, and deep gratitude for those leaders who continue with their efforts in deepening and purification.

 Secretary: Seigen Koji



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