Message from Roshi

I hope you are all doing fine.

Since last year in February the news about the new corona virus went around the world. Difficult situations in most countries came about, now we are already in the second year. The numbers of infected and those who died with corona are high.

In the middle of this, vaccination is taking place in many countries. This may seem to bring some relief yet the challenges also seem to continue.

Many people still live in a situation of Lockdowns, being squeezed into restrictions during their daily life as well.

It was good to hear from the leaders of the One Drop Zendos in Europe how they are managing. Thank you for responding to my concern and request.

It seems that some countries are moving ahead quickly with vaccinating their people. At the same time, some countries are loosening the restrictions while others again tighten and enter yet another lockdown.

What truly matters during these times, is that daily practice. Most groups were able to support one another using gatherings via zoom, thus the karmic connection was being kept vibrant. Only very few places were meeting in person even though it was lockdown.

We need to look carefully at the question: What is it that is important right now !

Now is the time that we reflect upon how we can continue our practice and support one another, even if this outer challenge continues.

I was able to join for sesshin in Europe in September and October of 2020, even though the situation was not easy. Right now the regulations are even more strict, that traveling has become difficult, hopefully the travel restrictions will be lifted due to many people taking the vaccine.

The situation is serious. The number of children trying to commit suicide is high as never before. The elder are suffering in loneliness. Now being in the second year of the corona pandemic, being under mental pressure and fear for such a long time, many cannot bear this any longer. People in the city are stuck in their apartments, they suffer and are in deep mental pain.

How can we be of support to those around us? This is where we need to focus on. As for myself, I will continue to be of support. Even university lectures in Japan I am now giving via zoom, so this would be yet another possible way to stay in touch.

How does the vaccine effect us? I heard that in the USA many people are against taking the vaccine. Saying that the vaccine is being tested on human beings. And actually no one knows anything about the long terms effects. Even professional doctors say, that even though one is vaccinated, one may still get sick with the corona virus. All the vaccine can do is make the course of the sickness less strong.

The sickness shows in fewer, coughing, weakness for two weeks or even longer. Old people or those with other sicknesses are seriously being challenged by this sickness. Each person needs to carefully decide for themselves, whether they are challenged and whether for them the vaccine will be needed since their general health is already weaker.

During March-April of last year I gave the guidance on how to strengthen one´s breathing and health. I did hear from many that it helped them through those difficult days.

The most important points are the TANDEN ENEGRY and the BREATHING. The depth of the breathing, which brings about a stable state of mind. Now even Western doctors speak about the importance of the breath.

Of course, this has been know for a long time in many aspects, like the training of opera singers. Yet now for doctors to speak up about it is of great value to all.

This continues to be the place we need to focus on, so that we can keep our immune system strong. And if our breathing is not settled enough, it will rise up high whenever we feel mentally under pressure. For those who have a strong tanden energy and deep breathing, the corona virus will be more easily faced than someone who has not strengthened their energy. Taking in even a bit more oxygen is of great importance. This shows how important our zazen is.

Zazen is not only about the form of sitting but about deepening our breathing. If you do not use your tanden, the deepening is weak. In our lungs the air is being exchanged, so that all 6 trillion cells of the body receive enough oxygen, pumped by the heart. The heart is not enough – since the lungs do not move by themselves, the diaphragm is moving them, yet this is difficult without the support of the skeletal muscles.

During Zazen if we use our tanden, the skeletal muscles are also being invigorated, and the absorption of oxygen become more constant and stable. This is the essence we work on in our zazen.

This breathing was taught by the Buddha, who did not know about corona but knew about uncertainty in society, about unsettled mind, and was sharing his wisdom on how to settle one´s mind.

2600 years ago this breathing method was taught by the Buddha to his student. Even nowadays we can use this wisdom, give life to it and thus support our state of mind.

The vaccine alone cannot be the path to peace of mind. Please look at this carefully. If the purpose of the vaccine is to strengthen us against the corona virus, we can support ourselves as well by strengthening our immune system.

Please use your zazen to deepen your breathing which then can bring stability to your daily life. With this, I hope that we all can pass together through this hardship.


Due to Roshi's busy schedule this year, we are currently not accepting any new questions at this time

Your question to Harada Roshi

Characters remaining 1000

Please check previous questions before submitting to avoid duplication

Submit question