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Let go of the separate version of who we think we are...
Harada Roshi

Message 2 from Roshi

How are you all doing today?

During the corona pandemic, I responded in my last words according to the reports which I have received from the One Drop Zendos.

Now I would like to talk about how we can continue during this year 2021. This direction is what I would like to talk about now.

We all are doing training to awaken to our true mind. This is the point of us sitting, this is the base of the sangha and of everyone making efforts in their daily life as well.

In the midst of this, the corona virus spread all around, infecting many, this is the reality we all are facing right in front of us. It is understandable that people will feel unsettled and fearful.

How can we as people of training not lose sight of our goal of awakening while being in this unsettling corona situation? The governments in most countries are putting restrictions on people who feels squeezed and challenged after so many months. Some have been lifted, yet some restrictions may continue for all of this year.

We are told that to not gather, yet to gather means to support and help one another. To deepen in mind is very difficult if we try to do it alone. That is why friends of the path and a teacher are of greatest importance. Thanks to their support, we do not lose sight of our goal. We can reflect together on how we should live and continue to practice.

From last year in February 26 people continued to train in Sogenji. Some people still wanted to join yet because Japan had its borders closed, they are not able to enter and join for training. Many of the people training in Sogenji are young, many events were canceled and only few guests came to visit.

This is how the situation is still in Sogenji. In the world people are confused and moved around by the corona restrictions, on the other hand, for people of training, the situation has become a huge support for their training. I join for the sittings in the zendo, that makes me able to perceive the state of mind my students are in. If the sittings become lackadaisical, I can right away reprimand and correct the student. This is how training has been continued now over a year. Now we are already over the middle of the rainy training season.

At the beginning even those who had difficulty concentrating, coming to sanzen twice a day even up to four times a day, that is why everyone has become serious. Zazen becomes riper and filled with huge energy. The students also learn how to use the time of the day well, so that while they are sitting in the zendo, not the slightest bit of tiredness arises. Rather sharp and focused zazen has been developed.

This is only possible thanks to the corona situation. During usual times, the students would maybe even go to town, but now this is not possible, so the focus has become even stronger on sitting zazen.

Only one person is allowed to go shopping and will buy all things which are needed for everyone. Staying only in Sogenji surrounded by nature, the mind can settle well.

As long as I am in Sogenji, there are no free days for everyone. 24 hours a day is all about zazen and sanzen. Some of them have become extremely sharp in their concentration and it is not a surprise if they were to break through anytime. If the focus on the inner essence is sharp, awakening is the natural outcome of these efforts made.

Just by seeing the eyes of the student, since I have much experience with this, I can know their state of mind. Not paying attention to the surroundings but feeling as if only I exist between heaven and earth. It may seem to be self centered, butu if this state of mind is not being experienced, then we cannot know the mind of the Buddha.

When our eyes look around, our essence becomes thinned down. We need to face only within, not looking at anything else, then we can arrive at the essence. We will not know when our mind opens up, but we need to dig in that deeply. Thanks to the surroundings this is possible.

Taking the tanden energy, letting it becomes stronger, our posture is naturally straight, our sight settles on one point. Only with this actual experience is awakening possible. Our breathing becomes deep and our state of mind is settled.

Not only in the zendo, but our voice fills the hondo. This is not about one person but only by people joining their energies and working together is this possible.

When we break through, we are alone, or else this experience is not possible. But the surroundings need to be of support or else this is not possible.

That is the value of a monastery. The surroundings of a monastery are made to support the practice. We cannot just go about it by having mental idea and hopes.

The world is confused by the corona virus, yet a person of training needs to use this situation to not look away from the present moment.

Our purpose to be alive is to be one with heaven and earth, for subject and object to melt into oneness. If this true experience does not arise, then we cannot reach our goal since it is not just mental imaginations. The tanden needs to be filled with energy and the breathing needs to be sharp. This can vitalize our state of mind. This is greater protection than any vaccine. If the light can shine through us, that is our immune strength.

Even if we do not go all the way, it still depends on the level of full and taught energy, how we can function and live, strengthening our immune system.

I am not sure that the vaccine will actually help, but we can deepen our essence and staying immovable, staying settled in mind, that is our natural immune system at work.

We all need to use our training well now, wherever we are right, with the friends of the path, please deepen your essence.

Roshi 


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