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Sogenji monastery

KIKAN 龜鑑- Exemplars of Training

The words below are traditionally being read at the beginning of each training period. Today is the Kokuho for the first Osesshin of the snow training period in Sogenji. The story of Jimyo hangs on the wall in the kohojo, where the sangha waits before entering for sanzen. The translation can be found below.

"Long ago, Jimyo was among the six or seven disciples practicing under Master Funnyo Zensho, together with Taigu and Goya. There, east of the village, it was so bitterly cold, that the students were unable to bear it. Only Jimyo sat awake through the night, saying to himself: With strenuous efforts of the ancients always resulted in great illumination. What of me? Useless while alive, quickly forgotten when dead. Of what benefit have I been to the Dharma? To spur himself on he kept an awl and jabbed himself in the thigh with it. Later he succeeded Master Funnyo Zensho and greatly revitalized the Zen school. We was called the lion of West River. One morning not so many years ago, master Hakuin came across the story and after reading it he sighed deeply and said: How true this is. If one doesn`t practice in thisway, he cannot be called a genuine person of training. Spiring his determination, he investigated perfectly day and night, never stopping to rest. He persevered till he penetrated to the very limits of the way. Later he hastened the dragon and the elephant of the world along the way, and its virtue inspired emperors, nobles and virtuous people everywhere. He thoroughly revived the teachings of our school. It is said that in 500 years only one like him appears. If we arouse the same spirit and practice in the same way, what path can we not complete, what virtue can we not realize? Students, do your best. Iwill not trouble you with further words. I have described these two exemplars. Let us make of them our models. If the assembly is guided in accordance with their spirit, then it is well lead indeed. If someone turns again these, they must be expelled. There is an old saying: the law is without bias. Consider this well, consider this well. As it is read according to tradition, we have now finished reading the exemplars of training."




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