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Harada Roshi

Yin exhausted - yang appears

Gun'in hakujin shite ichiyo shozu
With yin fully exhausted. yang begins to appear


This line, from the Katai Futéroku, perfectly expresses the winter solstice. In far northern countries, the sun appears in the December sky for only a short time each day. People living there wait for the Completion of the yin, the darkest part of the year, and for the return of the yang, when minutes of daylight increase each day.

In Buddhism, when desires are extinguished, it is also a case of “with yin fully exhausted, yang begins to appear.” When we act based on our egos, our desires spread infinitely in every direction. In our hearts we are greedy and grumbling, ignorant and blind; in our minds we create our own misery with nonstop thoughts. When those desires and attachments are over and done with, how refreshing and clear everything is! 

On the eighth of December the Buddha saw the morning star and said, “How wondrous! How wondrous! All beings from the origin are endowed with this same bright clear Mind to which I have just awakened!” Just as he realized that the whole universe is our body, too can know the wonder and amazement of this huge, all—embracing self. It is our responsibility as humans to open this eye of wisdom.

The Rohatsu osesshin culminates on December 8, in accordance to the deep awakening of the Buddha. For the Dharma to be kept alive, people of training go beyond the hardships and struggles of this sesshin and, when it is finished, celebrate the winter solstice, offering all that we receive so abundantly from nature. 

Following the solstice, the lengthening days of winter will lead to spring. Our mind’s spring must also come, or we will not fulfill our value as humans.


" MOON BY THE WINDOW "
Roshi Shodo Harada


   


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