December Update, 2016
Just a quick reminder of several special events in December:
On the weekend of December 9–11 Taigen Dan Leighton will conduct a seminar called Cultivating the Empty Field, the teachings of Hongzhi Zhengjue. It is a rare opportunity to hear this famous dharma teacher and translator of Buddhist classics lecture on this important text. That same weekend Ingrid Ranka de Hullu will receive Shiho (dharma transmission) from Tenkei Roshi, during which Taigen will take on the position of Kyojushi (precept teacher). Ranka’s ‘coming out’ ceremony is scheduled on Sunday December 11, at 12:30, and will be followed by a festive lunch with ample opportunity to congratulate the new successor. If you had to miss out on Rohatsu and can’t make it for the New Year’s sesshin, this weekend would be a worthy alternative; there are still several places available. We will follow the regular daily schedule with the following additions:
9:30 – 12:30 h, Seminar part 1
14:30 – 17:00 h, Seminar part 2
9:30 – 12:00 h, Seminar part 3
12:30 h, Public ceremony for Shiho
On December 3, 10, and 17, at 5:00pm, Tenkei Roshi will give a series of Tele-courses, organized by Two Arrows Zen in Salt Lake City, under the title Bodhisattva Activity.
For more information about these events, please contact the office.
October Update, 2016
The funeral ceremony for Anjo Koren Sensei was a very moving event, attended by a great number of family and sangha members – she had obviously touched the hearts of many people. We will for sure remember Koren as a beautiful bodhisattva. And, of course, we wish Gakudo Sensei all the love and strength he needs to continue the work they started together with their friends in the Pyrenees. May her light shine on forever.
As for our programme here at Zen River, the fall Jukai sesshin will start this Saturday, October 22. For those with sudden inspiration, there is still room – so be quick to register. During this sesshin, Klaus Fadle – our faithful and reliable representative in Düsseldorf, Germany – will receive the precepts and a new name. Soon after, on November 3, Tenkei Roshi and Myoho Sensei will travel – together with Hojo-san and Shugetsu – to Lima, Peru, to inaugurate the new Zendo of Jorge Ryusho Sensei. Tenkei Roshi will also conduct a Zazenkai there and give Jukai to no fewer than eight inspired members of Zen River Peru. They will return on November 13. During their absence, the regular daily schedule continues as usual.
On November 17, there is a dharma talk scheduled at Kanzeon Zen Center in The Hague, and next on the calendar is the Rohatsu sesshin, which starts early this year, running from Saturday, November 19 to Saturday, November 26. We are happy to welcome, as a special guest lecturer from the Soto School, Sojun Watanabe Roshi, who will be accompanied by Rev. Togen Moss from the Paris office, and who will give a talk on Sunday, November 20. Our friend Hojun Szpunar will join too and translate for Watanabe Roshi.
A little further ahead, we look forward to the seminar of Taigen Leighton on the weekend of December 10/11. And – it is a secret that’s already gone public – Ingrid Ranka de Hullu will receive Shiho from Roshi during that very same weekend. Taigen-san has happily agreed to take on the position of Kyojushi during the ceremonies. It will be an interesting month, because on December 3, 10, and 17, Tenkei Roshi will also conduct internet courses for Two Arrows Zen in Salt Lake City, this time under the title “Bodhisattva Activity.”
More news about all these events will follow soon. The printed fall Newsletter is being prepared and will be mailed to you next month.
September Announcement 2016
Following our earlier announcement of the passing away of Anjo Koren Kasman Sensei, we would like to let you know that a Buddhist funeral will be held for her at Zen River Temple on Saturday October 8th at 14:30. Everybody is, of course, very welcome to attend.
Our deep sadness over her death is mixed with gratitude and a sense of celebration for a life that she lived so beautifully. Koren Sensei has very clearly been a great inspiration to many people, truly embodying her Dharma name of Shining Lotus.
It would be appreciated if you could inform the office if you are able to join.
Many thanks and gassho.
July Update, 2016
Summer is stormy up here in the north, with sudden downpours in between long stretches of glorious sunshine. Altogether it makes for a garden that is greener and lusher than ever. The programme is in full bloom too, with quite a few new bodhisattvas joining regularly. And we are about to start the Family Week which is always a very energetic affair!
The annual August month-long starts on Saturday July 30th and consists, as usual, of four consecutive sesshins culminating in the traditional Shuso Hossen ceremony. Joost Fushin Blom will take on the position of lay-shuso this time and will face you dragons and elephants in dharma combat on Saturday August 27th, at 11:00 am. Altogether a great opportunity to sharpen your Manjushri’s sword and stretch out your Kanzeon hands of compassion.
We are happy to welcome once again as a special guest Rev. Yusho Sasaki, the Sokan (president) of the European department of the Soto School in Paris. She was here already for the Shuso Hossen ceremony of Thijs Shinyu Roest last February and gave an inspiring talk the evening before. This time she will arrive on Saturday July 30th, the first day of the Month-long, and will deliver two lectures, one on Sunday 31st and one on Monday August 1st, under the title The Myth of the Sixth Patriarch. We would, of course, like to encourage everybody to attend.
We also look forward to welcoming other very special guests on Saturday August 27st: Rev. Jerry Hirano and his wife Carmela from the Buddhist Temple in Salt Lake City. They are good friends of Tenkei Roshi and Myoho Sensei from the time they lived there. A few weeks later, on September 12th, we expect Rev. Shunsei Amano and his mother to visit us. Shunsei-san is one of the young monks who stayed at Zen River for a few months last year. After the Month-long, the regular daily schedule continues until September 1st. Then there will be a so-called break week that gives the residents a chance to take some time off. The fall programme will start on September 10th.
As most of you know, Anjo Koren Sensei’s health has been declining seriously over the last few weeks. She decided to leave the Pyrenees where she has been helping her husband Peter Gakudo Sensei to set up the Keiryuji mountain retreat temple. It had become obvious that she needed to be closer to regular medical assistance. Koren Sensei is now living with her sister’s family in Middelburg, where she is very well taken care of, while Gakudo stays with her as often as possible. Tenkei Roshi and Myoho Sensei have already visited her there and stay in close contact. Please remember Koren in your prayers. For any more detailed information, please contact the office.
June Update, 2016
Just a quick and early June Update as we are preparing the printed Spring Newsletter which will come out in one or two weeks.
The Seminar Retreat of last week with our dear master Hojo-san, Yamamoto Roshi, and Azuma Roshi was a wonderful event. Hojo-san showed again his superb skill in arranging true meetings of hearts. The pictures on the Zen River website (http://zenrivertemple.org/news.html) and facebook (https://www.facebook.com/ZenRiverTemple/) speak volumes, and some of Yamamoto Roshi’s exhilarating Teisho will be included in the Newsletter.
The Calligraphy Weekend with Kaz Tanahashi is coming up soon. It is scheduled June 10-12, and if you would still like to sign up, contact the office a.s.a.p.
Also, please take note of the dates of the Family Week next month, July 16–21.
Meanwhile the construction of the new garden shed, financed with the November 2015 Fundraiser, has been completed. It looks beautiful and also totally natural – as if it has always been there, or needed to be there! The lawnmower and all garden tools fit in perfectly. Many thanks for all your contributions!
May Update, 2016
A quick update for now as the printed Spring Newsletter will come out by the end of this month. First of all, we would like to remind you of the Seminar Retreat of May 20-24. This retreat will feature a loose sesshin schedule of zazen, services and dharma talks by Yamamoto Roshi and Azuma Roshi, but will also include a generous amount of social time with these special guests and, of course, with our indefatigable Hojo-san who is the mastermind of the event.
Hojo-san and Yamamoto Roshi will be here already on Friday night, May 20, and participants are expected to arrive late afternoon as supper will be served at 6.00 pm. The retreat proper will start at 7.30 pm. On Saturday, after early-morning zazen, Hojo-san will officiate a nine-bow memorial service for Maezumi Roshi, and at 11.00 am Tenkei Roshi will conduct a Jukai ceremony for seven (!) of our members – this is a special request by Hojo-san – which will be followed by a festive lunch. Later that day, Yamamoto Roshi will start a series of dharma talks on the Mumonkan.
Azuma Roshi, in spite of his poor physical condition, will come over and join us with a number of his Japanese monks on Sunday May 22 and lecture on the life and work of Keizan Zenji – a rare opportunity to hear such a lecture by the number-one expert on the topic. On Monday and Tuesday, May 23-24, Yamamoto Roshi will continue his series of talks and may also offer dokusan to participants. Some of the details of the schedule still have to be filled in, but the whole seminar promises to be a very special event. If you would like to sign up, contact the office a.s.a.p.
Looking a little further ahead, the main event of next month will the Calligraphy Workshop by Kaz Tanahashi which is scheduled for June 10-12. We are very happy to welcome Kaz again and, needless to say, his workshops are very popular and fill up really fast. So be quick if you are considering attending. At the end of the month, June 24-26, we will have another Weekend Sesshin.
Somewhere in June we also expect a delegation from the Liuzu Temple in China to visit Zen River and, like last time, they will participate in a day-long programme. Interestingly enough, Werner Hogen Siemens, who is about to conclude his studies at South China Normal University on a nine-month scholarship from the Liuzu Temple, may just be back home again.
The dharma wheel keeps turning!
PS Tomorrow, May 3rd, it is exactly sixty years (!) ago that Maezumi Roshi left Japan to start a new life of Dharma in the West. May his vows extend endlessly!
April Update, 2016
April is the month of Buddha’s Birthday. In the Japanese tradition it is celebrated on the 8th but we will do so on Sunday the 10th during morning and evening services. Bathing a little statue of the baby Buddha is part of the ceremony. It is also a good opportunity to make a fresh start with practice, and our spring programme provides plenty of possibilities to that end, for example the Sakura Spring Sesshin, April 23-28. This sesshin will conclude with a Jukai ceremony for Kim Millenaar and Bart Oosting on Wednesday April 27 at 8:00 pm.
Travelling is in the air too. Jifu Sensei has already left for Japan on April 1st to attend her second and last three-month Ango. Before going to Toshoji, she will perform Zuise in Eiheiji and Sojiji (on April 5th and 6th, so please think of her!), and also visit Hojo-san in Tokyo. She will return to Zen River as a fully certified Soto priest on July 1st. Tenkei Roshi will fly to Madrid again on Thursday April 14th; he will give a public talk and conduct a Zazenkai there for our Spanish sangha and return the Monday after.
We are happy to announce that Roshis Chozen and Hogen from Great Vow Monastery in the U.S. will visit us again from Monday April 11th to Friday 15th. Like last time, they will fully participate in the daily schedule and will both give dharma talks, probably on Tuesday and Wednesday night. Everyone is very welcome to join: just contact the office for details of the schedule.
Looking a little further ahead, the big spring event is of course the visit of Azuma Roshi, Hojo-san and Yamamoto Roshi, from Saturday May 21st to Tuesday 24th. It is nothing short of a miracle that Azuma Roshi will come to see us here. He is one of the highest-ranking Soto masters in Japan and a specialist on Keizan Zenji. And although he is of age and rather frail, he is still full of vigour and has often expressed great interest in Zen River. We all very much look forward to welcoming him here, together with several of his monks. Yamamoto Roshi is a lay-successor of Koryu Roshi and regularly conducts sesshin in Poland. He honored Zen River with a visit a few years ago and treated us to a wonderfully inspiring dharma talk. Both masters will give lectures during this “Seminar Retreat”: Azuma Roshi on Saturday and Sunday, and Yamamoto Roshi on Monday and Tuesday; our dear Polish friend Hojun will be here to translate.
The details of the schedule of this Seminar Retreat have still to be worked out, so best stay flexible on that point. We will basically follow sesshin schedule but the atmosphere will be more informal to allow for discussion and sharing. For sure, Hojo-san will conduct a memorial service for Maezumi Roshi on Saturday morning. He asked Tenkei Roshi to give Jukai to a number of Zen River members a little later that day, at 11:00 am, especially to show our Japanese guests how this ceremony is performed here. So far four candidates have signed up for receiving the precepts on this special occasion. The contribution for the whole Seminar Retreat is €245.
Please also note the calligraphy workshop by Kaz Tanahashi, June 10 - 12. Over the years Kaz has already conducted several of these workshops at Zen River and they were hugely successful. So if you’re interested, let the office know a.s.a.p. Further ahead, let it be known that Joost Fushin Blom will be lay-Shuso during the August month-long sesshin – so all dragons and elephants better be prepared! Also, Two Arrows Zen in Salt Lake City will again present a telecourse with Daniel Taigen Leighton, on Dogen and the Lotus Sutra on May 14/21/28. If you would like to participate, please contact Two Arrows directly at http://twoarrowszen.org/events/d%C5%8Dgen-and-lotus-sutra and mention your affiliation with Zen River.
In the midst of all these activities there are a lot of renovation projects going on right now. All new-wing rooms and showers now have new radiators, while the new-wing outside doors and the Kaisando back window will be replaced soon. Meanwhile the new garden shed is on its way, thanks to our November fundraiser. Senko Sensei has already cleared the area where it will be installed. He also started working on a complete update of the roundabout at the front. In other words, lots of “new” –spring fever is contagious!
March Update, 2016
Spring is in the air, ready for new things to happen. Besides a fresh programme leading up to the Summer Ango, several renovation projects on the building have started. This past week, much-needed new radiators were installed in the new-wing rooms, hallways and showers – twenty in total. This is a great improvement both in heating capacity and in terms of looks! Next week the old and shaky double door to the back garden will be replaced, opening first on the right side, which will make walking back and forth from the new-wing hallway to the Zendo a lot easier.
The new wooden pavilion – for storing the lawnmower, scaffolding, garden tools, etc. – that can be financed thanks to last November’s fundraiser – has been ordered. Many thanks again for your generosity and support. The pavilion will be a great asset to our accommodation: five metres wide and three-and-a-half metres deep, it has big garage doors at the front to allow the lawnmower to get through easily. It will be delivered by the end of the month and put together a week or so later, after all wooden parts have been painted.
Looking ahead, the next Weekend Sesshin will take place on March 18-20 and the Sakura Spring Sesshin on April 23-28. And, of course, the event to really look forward to is the ‘Seminar Retreat’, organized by Hojo-san with Azuma Roshi and Yamamoto Roshi as special guests, on May 20-24. Details of this unique opportunity to meet and hear these great masters will be published soon. Besides several lectures a day, the schedule will also include a Jukai ceremony for a group of Zen River members on May 21, conducted by Tenkei Roshi.
The new teachers are also quite busy, leading workshops and retreats at different places – please see the schedule below. Helma Jifu Sensei will go to Japan again for her second and last three-month Ango training at Toshoji. She will first do Zuise at Eiheiji and Sojiji on April 5/6 and return to Zen River on July 1 as a fully qualified Soto priest. Meanwhile Koren and Gakudo Sensei are now more firmly established in the Spanish Pyrenees and have just launched a website. Everyone is welcome to visit them in what they describe as a “remote Soto Zen-Buddhist hermitage.”
February Update, 2016
Hard to believe, but Winter Ango is already heading towards its conclusion. It has been a few months of very intense practice and time seems to go faster than ever! The Ango Closing sesshin runs February 13-20 and there are only a few places left. So if you would like to join, be quick and contact the office a.s.a.p. Also, please let us know if you wish to attend the Hossenshiki (dharma combat ceremony) for Shuso (head monk) Thijs Shinyu Roest on Saturday, February 20, at 11:00 am, which promises to be a great happening. There will be quite a few guests from abroad, and Rev. Yusho Sasaki, the new (lady!) Sokan of the European Soto School, will come over to take on the position of Jokeshi (official witness). As usual, all dragons and elephants are cordially invited to come up with short and penetrating questions for the Shuso. And, they had better anticipate strong replies!
Meanwhile we are working on the schedule for a very exciting event in May, orchestrated once again by our great mentor and master of ceremonies, Hojo-san. Azuma Roshi, one of the highest-ranking masters of the Soto School and the number one specialist on the work of Keizan Zenji, will honour us with a visit on Saturday and Sunday, May 21-22, together with group of his monks and he will deliver several lectures. On Saturday they will all, together with Hojo-san, witness a Jukai Ceremony conducted by Tenkei Roshi. Yamamoto Roshi, one of last surviving direct lay-successors of Koryu Roshi, will be here the same weekend, together with our friend Hojun-san who will translate for both masters. Yamamoto Roshi visited Zen River a few years ago and we have always kept in close contact. He will arrive the same time as Azuma Roshi but will stay two days longer and will deliver lectures on both Monday, May 23 and Tuesday, May 24. Obviously, an event not to be missed!
January Update, 2016
After an inspiring New Year’s sesshin and a lively New Year’s Eve, we suddenly landed in 2016. Yet the transition has been rather smooth as the Winter Ango is steady-going and samadhi is ever-deepening. We are now looking forward to the weekend sesshin of January 22-24 and also to the first YOUNG RIVERS WEEKEND on January 30-31 – an event with a special programme for youngsters connected to Zen River. It starts on Saturday 30th with lunch and ends on Sunday 31st after lunch. For more details, please contact the office.
Looking further ahead, the Ango Closing Sesshin is scheduled for February 13-20 and will reach its traditional conclusion with Hossenshiki (Dharma Combat Ceremony) for Thijs Shin’yu Roest – definitely not to be missed! As most of you know, this ceremony includes a question-and-answer session that allows all of us to test not only the Shuso’s understanding but also – and perhaps more importantly – our own! This goes to show that compassion needs courage to flourish!
Lastly, the fundraiser for the construction of a much-needed new garden shed is gaining momentum. As already mentioned, we hope to collect €8,000 for this project. If you would still like to contribute, all donations great and small are highly appreciated!
December Update, 2015
Winter Ango got off to a flying start with a well-attended Rohatsu sesshin. Participants of seven different nationalities joined their samadhi power, and the Hokyozanmai text that Roshi used for his dharma talks gave the whole group wings. The presence of Dainin Procopio Sensei – a Zen teacher from France, who brought several of his students with him – definitely added to the atmosphere. And Shin'yu-san already shows the rugged steadiness of a real Shuso.
This month we will see lots of things happening before the New Year sesshin starts. Roshi has been invited to give a lecture at a new Chinese temple in Utrecht on December 9th, during a seminar that will also be attended by the famous Master Xuecheng from Beijing’s Longquan Monastery. The next day twenty-six students of Master Xuecheng – monks and lay-people from China and Indonesia – will travel by bus to Zen River and join our programme for two days.
Later this month we will again welcome two Japanese monks who will both stay for one month, Rev. Kogaku Tazawa and Rev. Seijai Kuki. Meanwhile, Werner Hogen Siemens is doing fine at South China Normal University in Guangzhou and sends his love to the whole sangha. Senko Sensei is about to conclude his second and last Ango training at Toshoji in Japan and will do Zuise in Eiheiji and Sojiji on December 12-13, before returning to Zen River on December 15.
Also this month, Tenkei Roshi will again conduct a three-part telecourse organised by Two Arrows Zen in Salt Lake City and hosted by Senseis Musho Hamilton and Mugaku Zimmerman. The theme will be "Ummon's Bright Light: How age-old koan training can illuminate Zen practice in modern times." It will take place on Saturdays December 5, 12, & 19, 9:00 - 10:15 am MST (5:00 – 6:15 pm CET), via Maestroconference. For more information visit Two Arrows Zen.
As was mentioned in the Fall Newsletter, this year’s annual fundraiser is for the construction of a new garden shed; the old one is too small and falling apart after long years of duty. We hope to collect €8,000 for this project. Needless to say, all donations great and small are highly appreciated!
The Fall Newsletter that was sent out last month can be downloaded here.
October Update, 2015
The three-month interim periods between Angos always seem to provide good opportunities for serious renovation work. With a slightly quieter schedule, more energy can be spent on maintenance. This time we have already made great progress in various departments, and the Winter Ango is not even in sight! The kitchen floor has been renovated beautifully, all the walls of the Zendo have received a fresh coat of paint, and the ladies toilet in the hallway has been completely re-modelled. Meanwhile, all windows in the new wing now feature double glazing, installed by our contractor and financed by last year’s fundraiser; only the windows on the West side of the Kodo still have to be done, which will probably happen next month. Hard to believe that we have also just had an intensive Jukai sesshin, with Bonella Kansho van Beusekom, Marjan Fumyo Lageweg, and Jan Kazan van den Berg receiving the precepts in a moving ceremony. Congratulations!
Tenkei Roshi and Myoho Sensei also try to ensure that any travel they need to do takes place during these interim times. They just left for Japan and have a busy programme ahead of them. First, they’ll visit Hojo-san in Kirigayaji, Tokyo, and participate in a Zazenkai in his temple near Mt Fuji. Then they will go on to Mantokuji, where they were invited to the Shinsanshiki (abbot installation ceremony) of the step-father of Shunsei, one of the monks who stayed with us last year. Shuhō, one of the other monks who was here at the same time, will welcome them right after at his teacher’s temple close by. Roshi and Sensei will also meet up with Azuma Roshi in Tokyo and with our dear friend Jushō. On October 22/23 they will attend the grand memorial service for Gasan Joseki in Sojiji and may have a chance to meet up with Koichi. They hope to also see Senko Sensei there, who might be able to join Seido Suzuki Roshi for the occasion.
While Roshi and Sensei are away (until October 25), Senseis Doin, Jifu and Daishin, and also Ranka, will be in charge, giving dharma talks, offering daisan, and leading the Right Speech Class. So, in principle, the programme continues as usual.
Looking ahead, the Winter Ango will start with a seven-day Rohatsu sesshin on November 21–28, celebrating the enlightenment of the Buddha – perhaps the most important sesshin of the year. A few weeks later, the popular New Year sesshin takes place on December 27–January 1, 2016. If you would like to attend any of these events, please contact the office a.s.a.p.
September Update, 2015
The Summer Month-long was very well attended this year, particularly the first three weeks, and samadhi stayed on high voltage up to the very end. As you may have seen on the website or on Facebook, it all came to a beautiful conclusion with the Hossenshiki for Stephen Fuha Prosser. Fuha gave a clear and inspiring talk on Baso’s Sun Face Buddha, Moon Face Buddha and bravely faced the dragons and elephants in the Hatto in dharma combat. Congratulations!
As we are preparing for a “free week” (Sep. 5-12) - meaning a week without any schedule which allows residents to take, alternately, some time off - there are still a few interesting news-bits. First of all, Werner Hogen Siemens, who has lived at Zen River for one year, just left for China. Via our connections with the Liuzu Temple he received a nine-month scholarship for Chinese language and Buddhism studies, first at the University of Guangzhou and then later at the Liuzu Temple itself. While our primary link with the tradition is with Japan, Hogen is the first of our sangha to explore our Chinese roots and to become more familiar with the Chinese vision for the Buddhist future. We wish him all the best!
Additionally, Simon Senko de Boer Sensei will be leaving for Japan on September 17 to do his second three-month Ango in Toshoji. Like Gakudo and Koren, he will perform Zuise in Eiheiji and Sojiji right after. Altogether this means that he will also be a fully certified Soto priest/teacher by the end of the year. Good luck, Senko!
Please note that the Fall Jukai sesshin at Zen River will be a full seven days this year, from October 3 – 10. If you would like to attend, please contact the office a.s.a.p.
Zen River activities at other locations:
The weekend of 12-13 September, Helma Jifu Vulink Sensei will lead a weekend sesshin for 'Zengroep Oshida' in Nijmegen. For more information please contact email@example.com or call Joseph Wijsmuller at 024-3541668.
On Saturday September 26 Robert Doin van de Roer Sensei will lead a zazenkai in Hengelo (see www.zenintwente.nl).
On Saturday October 3 there will be a Zazenkai in Düsseldorf led by Daishin Sensei (see www.kanzeon.de).
On Sunday October 11 Helma Jifu Vulink Sensei will lead a zazenkai at 'Zen River groep Haarlem' (see www.zenrivergroephaarlem.com).
August Update, 2015
The August Month-long is in full swing. More than half of the participants do all four weeks which means that the atmosphere is very steady. Those who join for just a week dive into a warm Samadhi bath. Roshi uses the mysterious Ten Verses of Unfathomable Depths of the 10th Century Chinese master Changcha of Tong’an for his teishos and they are a great inspiration. Meanwhile, new teachers Senko, Doin, Jifu and Daishin Sensei are given the opportunity to each give a dharma talk and do daisan in the afternoon and evening on that same day.
The big event is of course the publication of Myoho Sensei’s Zen River Cookbook; an exciting collection of mouthwatering vegetarian recipes. As you may have seen on our website or Facebook page, we decided to self-publish a first edition and have it printed at a local shop. The result has far exceeded our expectations. The book looks beautiful and the pictures come out brilliantly. If you would like to order a copy, just contact the office for details. The price is 45 Euro plus mailing costs. We are also looking at ways for it to printed by an international publisher.
As announced earlier, the third week of the Month-long will start on Saturday August 15 and will include the all-day outdoor island retreat on Wednesday August 19. It is also possible to just come over for the day to attend this retreat. We’ll leave Zen River at 11:00 am and return around 12:00 pm; if you would like to stay overnight at the temple, accommodations can be arranged. Call or mail the office for what to bring, like special outdoor gear etc. We’ll land on the eastern tip of Ameland and will have some 7 hours of meditation on the endless beaches there. Not to be missed!
The Month-long will conclude with the traditional Hossenshiki ceremony for Shuso Stephen Fuha Prosser. Fuha is an Englishman who started practicing with Genpo Roshi in 1985 and works now closely with Genshin Roshi in Bilsborrow. Over the years he and his dear wife Hilary have also often joined the Zen River training program. It has been a joy to see his commitment and diligence. He is now preparing to challenge all dragons and elephants in dharma combat on Saturday August 29, at 11:30 am. Everybody is more than welcome to attend this auspicious event.
Meanwhile, Senseis Gakudo and Koren are settling into their new situation in the Pyrenees. They moved into a home on the property of Pascal Tetsuko van der Knokke and Emke Gyoen Jutte; the four have started a daily schedule and are working together towards establishing a mountain retreat center. Quite some people have already shown interest in participating in their program. Gakudo and Koren will soon publish a website with all the details. We’ll keep you updated.
July Update, 2015
Summer temperatures are exceptionally high even here in these northern regions. But the garden is a small paradise with lovely shady corners. While the program has enjoyed a brief respite, a lot of renovating has been done on the building by the wonder workers of contractor de Boer. All the double-pane windows on the east side of the new wing have been installed; the window frames still need painting and some of them will need to be replaced, but the major job is finished. Peter & Peter (Gakudo and Shoryu) are fixing up the ladies toilet in the Hatto hallway. And meanwhile, preparation for Family Week is in full swing. This special week is always a very energetic affair with lots of young inspiration.
Peter (Gakudo) and Anjo (Koren) came back from Japan enthusiastically and told us all about their adventures in Toshoji, Eiheiji and Sojiji. Now they are preparing for their departure for the Pyrenees. Hard to believe that they will actually leave, and it is not without sadness that we’ll say goodbye. Their contribution to the development of Zen River has been invaluable. Yet it is clear that the Spanish Pyrenees are their next calling. Gakudo and Koren will join Pascal and Emke in realizing a mountain temple that will primarily accommodate solitary retreats; they will also connect with Les Gavatxes, a Zen place close by. A farewell party will be held on Thursday evening, July 30, starting with a festive dinner at 6:30 pm and everyone is heartily invited to attend; just let us know ahead of time.
For those who would like to keep in touch personally with Gakudo and Koren, their email addresses are: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
One week after Family Week, the August Month-long will start. The Hossenshiki for Lay Shuso, Stephen Fuha Prosser, will be held at its conclusion on Saturday August 29, at 11:30 am. If you are considering participating and haven’t registered yet, please do so a.s.a.p. The traditional all-day outdoor retreat on the Waddensea will take place during the last day of the third sesshin of the Month-long, on Wednesday August 19. We’ll leave Zen River at 11:00 am and return around midnight. For detailed information about this exciting event, please contact the office.
To peek ahead a little further, please note that there is a slight change in the September/October schedule. The Fall Jukai sesshin will last a full week, from October 3–10, with the Jukai ceremony on Saturday October 10, at 11:30 am.
June Update, 2015
As you may already have seen on our website, the European White Plum Conference and the Maezumi Roshi Memorial Service that were held on the weekend of June 12-14 turned out to be very special events. Not only did the majority of European successors in our lineage attend, but also all members of the Maezumi family. So besides Hojo-san who officiated the ceremony, also present were Ekyo, Maezumi Roshi’s widow, daughters Mimi and Yoshi with their respective partners, son Yuri with his wife and two-year old boy, niece Kumi and her family, and Ekyo’s close friends Jinen and Hobai, the mother of Genpo Roshi’s children. Altogether, the weekend was a very joyous meeting of minds, as well as a wonderful opportunity for sharing old memories and developing new perspectives for the future. It will take some time to digest all the impressions.
Meanwhile, we received good news from Anjo Koren Kasman and Peter Gakudo den Hollander in Japan. They are about to conclude their second three-month Ango at Toshoji, will do Zuise at Eiheiji in the early morning of Thursday July 2nd (please think of them on Wednesday night July 1st at 9:00 pm Dutch time!!!) and return to Zen River the next day. For both of them it has really been a wonderful learning experience. Moreover, by the end of next week they will have met all requirements to be officially certified by the Soto School. Congratulations! We are curious to hear the stories.
And now the programme allows a little breather: regular daily schedule for more than three weeks! During this time, contractor Klaas de Boer will install double-pane windows on the east side of the new wing — all thanks to your generous donations toward last November’s Fundraiser. These windows will surely make a great difference in insulation and lower heating bills. Again, many thanks!
The annual Family Week will be held July 18-23 with a full house of parents and their children, some of whom return every year and are now in their late teens and early twenties! We are already preparing for the theater performance...!
And then, of course, there will be the August Month-long that will conclude Summer Ango. As usual, this Month-long consists of four sesshins; the first three last five days each and the fourth one lasts seven days. If you would like to attend one, two, three, or all of these sesshins, please contact the office a.s.a.p. For sure, Lay-Shuso Stephen Fuha Prosser is getting ready for the job. He looks forward to confronting all dragons and elephants in dharma combat on Saturday August 29, at 11:30 am. Everybody is more than welcome to attend his Hossenshiki.
This year the much anticipated all-day outdoor retreat on the Waddensea will take place on Wednesday August 19th. We’ll leave Zen River at 11:00 am and return around 12:00 pm. If you would like to join, please contact the office a.s.a.p
May Update, 2015
We would like to heartily invite you to attend the Maezumi Roshi Memorial Service at Zen River Temple on Sunday, June 14. This service will commemorate the 20th year of his passing away and will start at 11:30 am. Everyone is welcome to arrive anytime from 9:00 am on, and to enjoy coffee or tea with home-made cakes before the actual ceremony begins. A festive lunch will be served afterwards. If you wish to participate in this very special event, could you please let us know a.s.a.p?
Needless to say, Taizan Maezumi Roshi is one of the founding masters of Western Zen. And although he spent most of his life in the US, many members of the European sangha were fortunate enough to meet him when he joined Genpo Roshi three times on sesshin tours on this side of the Atlantic. Maezumi Roshi left an indelible impression on everyone who witnessed his dharma mastery and felt his warm-hearted presence. He really is our great Ancestor and his legacy lives on.
We are also happy to celebrate the life and work of Maezumi Roshi because of our special link with Junyu Kuroda Roshi (Hojo-san). With tireless support of his brother's vision and matchless enthusiasm, Hojo-san has helped shape Zen River Temple over the years. So again, he will come over and take the lead in the Memorial Service. Other special guests include Ekyo Maezumi (the widow of Maezumi Roshi) and her friends Jinen Phillips and Hobai Liu (the mother of Genpo Roshi’s children), Kumi Hoffmann (Hojo-san’s niece), and possibly several other Japanese family members and friends.
The ceremony on Sunday will also serve as a conclusion to the first European White Plum Conference which starts on Friday evening, June 12. This conference is envisioned as an informal “regional” meeting of minds for European successors in the lineage of Maezumi Roshi, who are often unable to travel to the US to attend the official White Plum meetings. We expect to welcome some twenty-five successors from various European countries.
So with all these teachers and our American and Japanese guests present, we’ll make an interesting and colorful assembly for the Memorial Service!
Many greetings and gassho,
Tenkei and Myoho
March Update, 2015
After an intensive Winter Ango and a very festive Hossenshiki we have suddenly entered quieter waters again. And as always, returning to the daily grind of the regular schedule is almost a relief as it gives us a chance to digest all the teaching and training of the previous months. The Interim schedule is actually pretty much the same as the one maintained during Ango, except that Zazen has been substituted for the Sutra Reading class on Saturday afternoons and for the Right Speech class on Tuesday afternoons. During the Interim the momentum continues strongly, however, especially since the number of residents only seems to grow, oscillating between 15 and 20. Please note that the Weekend Sesshin of March 27–29 is approaching rapidly. So if you would like to attend, please contact the office a.s.a.p.
There will be some coming and going during this three-month Interim. Like last year around this time, Myoho Sensei has been invited to co-lead a sesshin with Diane Musho Hamilton and Michael Mugaku Zimmerman for Two Arrows Zen in Salt Lake City, Utah. Before going there she will visit Liz Seiki Fox and Gerhard Ryuko Nicklas again in Taos, New Mexico, and also give a dharma talk at Walking Mountain Zendo of Kando Green Sensei in Santa Fe. Myoho Sensei will be gone from March 27–April 15. Two days later, Tenkei Roshi will leave for Madrid to conduct a Zazenkai on April 17–19. Right after he returns, Chozen Bays Roshi and Hogen Bays Roshi from Great Vow Monastery in Clatskanie, Oregon, USA, will visit Zen River for a few days. Details of their visit will be announced in the next Update.
Meanwhile, the new teachers (the successors of Tenkei Roshi) are quite busy. They are often invited to give talks, and to lead workshops and weekend sesshins at various locations. Also, the classes they conduct on the house boat “De Grote Gele Kwik” in the center of Groningen are very well attended. Interestingly enough, these classes seem to attract primarily young participants, quite often foreign university students. The classes will have to miss out on Gakudo Sensei and Koren Sensei for three months, as they will be going to Toshoji in Japan for their second, and last, Ango training. While in Japan they will also do Zuise, the official ceremonies at Sojiji and Eiheiji that confirm their status as Soto priests. We look forward to seeing the pictures!
There is actually some more very interesting news concerning Gakudo and Koren. Pascal Tetsuko van der Knokke and Emke Gyoen Jutte have invited the two to come to their beautiful property on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees, not far from Barcelona, to set up a mountain retreat center and conduct a Zen program there. Establishing such a center has been a long-time dream of Gakudo, and suddenly things seem to fall into place. This will be the first “branch temple” of Zen River. There is room for group activities, but the accommodations primarily suit those who wish to practice alone for some time under Gakudo’s guidance. Besides two larger stone buildings, the property features a number of wooden cabins and trailers for personal retreats. Koren is planning to offer meditation classes in the nearby historic town of Camprodon. After coming back from Japan Gakudo and Koren will start working on this project, travelling back and forth between the Pyrenees and Zen River. If you are interested and/or would like to help out in any way, contact Pascal at firstname.lastname@example.org and don’t forget to check out the mesmerizing pictures on the website http://lamaso.nl
Last but not least, we are happy to announce that Zen River is preparing a Memorial Service for Maezumi Roshi on Sunday, June 14, to commemorate the 20th year of his passing away. This Memorial Service will be officiated by Junyu Kuroda Roshi (Hojo-san) and attended by several special guests, most notably Martha Ekyo Maezumi, the widow of Maezumi Roshi. This event will take place at the conclusion of the first conference for European successors in the White Plum lineage, to be held at Zen River, June 12–13. More news will follow soon.
PS brand-new Dharma Note can be found on www.zenrivertemple.org/dharmanotes.html
Quick Reminder, February 20, 2015
We are happy to remind you of our very special guest later this month, Rev. Hoitsu Suzuki Roshi, son of the famous Shunryu Suzuki and former head of training at Eiheiji. Hoitsu Roshi is also good friends with Hojo-san and Seido Suzuki Roshi of Toshoji, where he often goes to deliver Teisho. He is well-known for a spontaneous style and great sense humor. Translating his words on the spot is a challenge though, and we are very happy that Rev. Hojun Szpunar, who has been here before as an interpreter for Yamamoto Roshi and Otani Roshi, is coming over from Japan to do the job.
Hoitsu Suzuki Roshi will take on the position of Jokeshi (special witness of the Soto School) for head-monk Gert Zen'etsu's Hossenshiki, but he will also offer Teisho the evening before, on Friday February 20, at 8:00 PM. Everyone is welcome to attend this event, even if you are not participating in sesshin; it will be a unique opportunity to hear the dharma from this great master. Small donations are welcome to help cover his travel expenses. Of course, you are also heartily invited to attend the Hossenshiki itself on Saturday February 21, at 11:00 AM, and to enjoy a festive lunch afterwards.
Lama Pelbar, a Buddhist master from Bhutan, will arrive on Wednesday, February 18, together with Hojun, and will join sesshin. He will stay on for some time after and give talk(s) on date(s) to be announced. Kando Green Sensei from Santa Fe, USA, and Ryusho López-Dóriga Sensei from Bangkok, Thailand, will arrive February 12 and join sesshin too.
Needless to say, if you would still like to register for this Ango Closing Sesshin please contact the office a.s.a.p.
January Update 2015
Forty-two Bodhisattvas in a bath! That's how it felt during the New Year's sesshin, a Zen River variation on the theme of Hekiganroku, case 78. A full pool, for sure, and certainly no shortage of samadhi. All in all, a strong start of 2015. And now the Ango is heading quickly towards the Weekend Sesshin of January 23-25. If you would like to attend and haven't signed up yet, please contact the office a.s.a.p. to avoid landing on the waiting list.
This Winter Ango we're fortunate to welcome many dignitaries and friends from abroad. Rev. Hoitsu Suzuki Roshi (son of the famous Shunryu Suzuki) will come over from Japan to take on the position of Jokeshi (witness for the Soto School) during Hossenshiki. He will be accompanied by Rev. Taibun Terumoto from the European Soto Office in Paris. Suzuki Roshi will deliver a Teisho on the evening before the ceremony, at 8:00 pm on Friday, February 20. Lama Pelbar, a Buddhist master from Bhutan, who Tenkei and Myoho befriended at Kirigayaji last October, will join us and stay on for two weeks. Kando Green Sensei from Santa Fe, USA, successor of Musai Roshi, will also attend; he will, in fact, participate in the whole Ango Closing Sesshin.
Last Tuesday Tenkei Roshi introduced a novel way of reading the sutras. By means of a beamer, graciously given as a donation, pages of the Lotus Sutra were projected six feet tall(!) onto the wall of the Kodo. We all sat in zazen facing the text (a new twist on Bodhidharma's wall-gazing) and took turns reading two stanzas out loud. The common focus made for a great atmosphere and, as you can imagine, the parable of the burning house really came alive. Sutra recitation will be part of the program from now on.
We are very happy to let you know that the November Fundraiser for the renovation of the new wing windows has already collected €7,200; only €1,800 short of the estimate amount. Many, many thanks to all our generous donors.
The grand finale of this Winter Ango is, of course, the traditional Hossenshiki, which is scheduled for February 21, at 11:00 am. Needless to say, all dragons and elephants are more than welcome to test their mettle and face Shuso Zen'etsu Klopman in dharma combat!
Looking a little further ahead, please take note of a small change in our calendar. The weekend sesshin that was scheduled for April 3-5 will instead take place a week earlier, on March 27-29.
For those who receive the Zen River Newsletter and Fundraiser via email, it is now available for download via the home page.
December Update 2014
Winter Ango started with a bang. Rohatsu sesshin was strong and right away seems to have set the tone for the next few months. With fifteen residents and more sign-ups for all or part of the Ango, the community is maturing and practice naturally deepens. The New Year's sesshin will of course give it an extra push and allow for a renewal of commitment. Shuso Gert Zen'etsu Klopman is happily cruising along, and, together with his Shoki (assistant) Thijs Shin'yu Roest, helps out wherever he can. We were all excited to hear that Hoitsu Suzuki Roshi (the son of the famous Shunryu Suzuki) will come over from Japan to take on the position of Jokeshi (witness of the Soto School) during Zen'etsu's Hossenshiki on February 21, 2015.
This Saturday, December 13, Hojo-san (Junyu Kuroda Roshi) will visit us again, together with Shugetsu Appels. He has a short stop-over in Amsterdam while on his way to Brazil. He arrives here late morning and at 3:00 p.m will perform the Eye-opening Ceremony for the beautiful statue of Ususama Myo (traditional protector of the lavatory) that he recently donated to Zen River. This statue is placed in a newly created altar in the hallway of the new wing. At 4:00 p.m. we will enjoy a 'high tea' together, and needless to say, everybody is very welcome to attend the event! The rest of the weekend follows the regular schedule, except that the study class on Sunday morning will take place at 9:30 a.m. instead of 11:15 a.m.
Meanwhile we are very sad to inform you that Jelle Kyosei Seidel, one of our faithful and diligent sangha members, passed away on Sunday November 30, suddenly and unexpectedly, while sitting at his desk at home. He had completed Rohatsu sesshin the day before and returned home in great spirits. Kyosei has been practicing with Kees Kongo van de Bunt in The Hague, joined Zen River as soon as it was established and was one of the guarantors for the purchase of the property. He was also one of the first to receive Jukai from Tenkei Roshi. A moving funeral ceremony was held on December 6 in Ockenburg, which included a service by Zen River members and other sangha friends. We wish him a swift passage to the other shore and his family and friends our sincere condolences.
For those who receive the Zen River Newsletter and Fundraiser via email, it is now available for download via the home page of this website.
September Update 2014
We are all set for the Fall program, refreshed by a sunny 'free week' after the conclusion of Summer Ango. Tenkei finally managed to enjoy his birthday holiday with Tammy on the rocky coast of Wales. While in England they were also able to help Genshin welcome Genpo Roshi who came all the way over to her home-base Bilsborrow to give her Inka - the final seal of approval as a Zen master. Genshin, now Genshin Roshi, accepted it all very gracefully in spite of her frail condition, happily surrounded by family and sangha friends.
The Fall program started with a Zazenkai at Zen River led by Anjo Koren Sensei, and a weekend sesshin at Oshida in Nijmegen led by Simon Senko Sensei. Hans Daishin Sensei will soon go to Düsseldorf to conduct a Zazenkai. It is great to see that, in addition to the weekly classes on the house-boat in Groningen, there are plenty of opportunities for the new teachers to test their mettle in spreading the dharma.
Helma Jifu Sensei is preparing for her turn of three-month Ango training at Toshoji. Interestingly enough, while she is in Japan, we'll welcome three Japanese monks at Zen River: Rev. Go Shuho, Rev. Amano Shunsho and Rev. Jusho Iwakami. Shunsho-san, who lives at Toshoji and met Tammy and Senko during their visits there, got curious about our style of training. Roshi and Tammy met Jusho-san at Kirigayaji last year, and he decided to come over a for half-year. It is wonderful to see such an exchange of students; it will enrich everybody's experience.
Looking ahead, the programme includes a weekend sesshin on September 26-28, and a Jukai Fall sesshin on October 11-17. The annual Madrid programme will take place on October 4-6. Also, Roshi received again an invitation to lecture at an international Buddhist conference at Tiantong temple in China, held during the last week of October. Shuso of the Winter Ango will be Gert Zen'etsu Klopman and there is a chance that Hoitsu Suzuki Roshi, son of the famous Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, will take on the position of Jokeshi during his Hossenshiki!!!
August Update 2014
The summer Month-long sesshin has been building up to a great momentum and is now about to reach its finale. The theme of the dharma talks by Tenkei Roshi and some of the new teachers was the 'Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma', a brilliant overview of the Buddhist path by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Amongst other things, this clarifies how the various practices of Hinayana, Mayana and Tantra complement and actually need each other like the foundation, the walls and the roof of a building.
Now we are getting ready for the Hossenshiki for our Spanish head-trainee Marisa Emyo González. We are very happy that Hojo-san will come over again from Japan and take on the postion of Jokeshi (official witness) during the ceremony. He will arrive with Shugetsu Appels at Zen River on Friday afternoon and join the tail end of the Month-long program. The Hossenshiki will be held on Saturday starting at 11:00 am. All dragons and elephants are welcome and heartily invited to confront Emyo in dharma combat!
Looking ahead to the following week, we will follow the regular daily schedule from Monday night and the week's program will, as usual, conclude on Wednesday night with a dharma talk. The first week of September is a 'free week', meaning that there is no fixed schedule so residents can take some time off. Tenkei and Tammy will go to England during that time to attend the Inka that Genpo Roshi will confer on Genshin Sensei. The fall program starts again on Sunday night September 7 with the public service.
On Saturday September 13 there will be an all-day introductory Zazenkai led by Anjo Koren Sensei; so any new-comers or those who would like to brush up their meditation skills, please contact the office a.s.a.p. for details. Also, on September 13–14, one of the other new teachers, Simon Senko Sensei, will conduct a weekend sesshin for Zen group Oshida in Nijmegen; exciting times! For more information on this event contact the office or Janet de Kort: email@example.com
A little further ahead, there will be a weekend sesshin on September 26–28, and a Jukai sesshin from October 11 until 16. On the weekend of October 5–6, there will be a workshop held in Madrid. Practice, practice, practice...
July Update 2014
Last Wednesday night, during the theater performance of the Family Week, the pilgrim Sudhana entered the Tower of Vairochana Buddha and came out completely transformed. The event was based on the last chapter of the Avatamsaka Sutra, a playful way to get the youngsters acquainted with the profound wisdom of this Sutra. Tenkei Roshi had engineered a striking tower that shone like a lantern, using the drawings with cut-outs that he had worked on with everybody during the week, while Jifu Sensei edited the original script and directed the play.
Other highlight was the Rite of Passage for Michiel van den Berge and Reyhan Lonsdale who were, in an official ceremony, initiated in the world of the Three Treasures and were handed over a certificate and a gift from Roshi. For preparation they had served as Jisha and Jiko during morning service and had made every day 108 full bows in front of Maezumi Roshi's altar. The program further included daily zazen, services, study classes, yoga, walks, an exciting table tennis competition, and a musical performance podium on the last evening.
Next is the Summer Month-long (three 5-day and one 7-day sesshin) with Marisa Emyo Gonzales from Madrid as Lay-Shuso. Every week will have its very own characteristic. At the end of the first sesshin, on July 30, we will all go to the eastern beach of Ameland for the annual one day outdoor retreat. At the end of the second sesshin, on Wednesday night August 6, Jorge Lopez Doriga will receive Lay-Transmission. At the end of the third sesshin, on Wednesday night August 13, Hans Daishin Fisher will also receive Lay-Transmission. And at the end of the fourth sesshin, on Saturday morning August 23, Emyo will challenge all participants in dharma combat during the tradtional Hossenshiki. You dragons and elephants, this is not the time to hold back!
With Emyo as Lay-Shuso and Ryusho and Daishin receiving Lay Transmission this whole Ango is not only very much lay-oriented but also decidely Spanish-oriented! Quite a few members from the Madrid Sangha will join, and even some of Ryusho's group in Lima, Peru. Also, Frederico Dainin Procopio from France will participate during the last two weeks. He is a student of Pierre Taigu Turlur Sensei, a friend of Roshi's who lives in Japan. Dainin-san is scheduled to do a special Hossenshiki at Zen River at the end of Rohatsu sesshin and wants to get acquainted with the style of practice here. Welcome!
June Update 2014
Summer is glorious with trees, bushes and flowers in full bloom, making the Zendo feel like a grand garden house. The doors behind the Manjushri altar can often be left open, which offers a lush backdrop of green. And with the myriad voices of birds, ducks and frogs filling the morning air, we almost feel like sitting outside.
Still, our summer training programme has only just begun, and we look forward to the Family Week, the Summer Ango Month-long sesshin and the Transmission Ceremonies in July and August. But first there is the Weekend Sesshin of June 20–22 and if you would like to attend but haven't registered yet, please contact the office ASAP.
In the meantime you may want to have a look at the delightful report Rev. Shundo Suyama wrote about his stay at Zen River last winter. It was included in a larger article on his adventures in Europe, that was published in the Eihei-ji magazine in Japan, much to Hojo-san's happy surprise. Hojo-san asked one of his successors, our Polish friend Hojun-san who is in Daiyuzan Saijoji at the moment, to translate the text into English. So here it is, simply click here and enjoy!
May Update 2014
This is just a quick update in anticipation of the printed Spring Newsletter that will be sent to you next week. First of all, congratulations to Ingrid Ranka de Hullu, who received Hoshi on April 20, and to Mieke Jyokun Eijkmans, Ide Keijo Hejlskov and Pieter Fumon Bosman, who all received Jukai on May 1. Looking ahead, The Summer Ango is coming up soon with the Weekend Sesshin of May 23 - 25 as an early sampling; if you would still like to register, please contact the office ASAP. Also, the Family Week of July 12 - 17 is filling up fast so register promptly if you would like to join.
On Saturday May 31 Banthe Seelagawesi, a meditation teacher from Sri Lanka who visited us two years ago, will come over again and stay for the weekend. Tenkei Roshi will ask him to give a dharma talk on Sunday morning June 1.
Roshi has been invited to conduct three teleconferences on Tozan's Five Ranks, organized by Senseis Musho and Mugaku of Two Arrows Zen in SLC (Saturday late afternoon on May 31, June 7 and June 14); for more details visit Two Arrows, for registration please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Through a connection made during the Vesak celebrations in Vietnam, Zen River is now recommended as a practice center by an international Buddhist internet college: . This may have interesting consequences for future developments. Obviously, contemporary Buddhism has a far reach!
March Update 2014
Spring is early this year, and after an intense Winter Ango the attention has suddenly shifted. Practice continues as usual, but the atmosphere is more relaxed and there is quite a bit of travelling in the air. Like the many birds that are flying in and out of the garden right now, there is more coming and going of participating members, and the new Senseis are finding interesting opportunities to spread their wings too.
Gakudo den Hollander Sensei went to the south of France to conduct a Zen week at the practice center of Jikai Elichalt–Roesink, and Jifu Vulink Sensei went to Kanshoji, also in France, to attend sesshin and a weekend organized by the European department of the Soto School. Doin van de Roer Sensei will leave soon for a three-month Ango training in Toshoji, Japan. For sure Zen River will benefit from all their international experiences.
Meanwhile, Myoho Sensei is preparing for a visit to the USA. She was invited by Musho Hamilton Sensei to assist her at a sesshin in Salt Lake City (!), particularly to address ritual forms. Last year Musho came over to Zen River with a group of her newly-ordained monks to introduce them to the residential model of training at Zen River. It turned out to be a success and, in a way, Myoho’s visit is a follow-up to that event. She will also go to New Mexico to see Liz Seiki Fox and the sangha of Musai Roshi and Kando Sensei.
Tenkei Roshi has been invited again to the annual international VESAK (Buddha Day) celebrations that will take place in Vietnam this year from May 7 to 11. Hans Daishin Fischer will join him and so will Jorge Ryusho López-Dóriga, who will fly in from Bangkok. It is auspicious that the three of them will be together in Vietnam since Roshi will be giving both Ryusho and Daishin lay transmission during the upcoming “Summer Month-long.”
This summer’s month-long sesshin will be primarily lay oriented with Marisa Emyo González from Madrid as the head trainee. One of the objectives of the Zen River training model is that monks and laypeople engage in the same program—with appreciation of their obvious differences. The input and relevance of lay practice will be clearly addressed in this Summer Month-long, which will also include actual lay transmissions. A nice detail, of course, is that the atmosphere will be decidedly Spanish!
Please note the upcoming Weekend Sesshin of April 4–6 and the Open House event on April 30. A bit further ahead, the Sakura Spring Sesshin, which will include a Jukai ceremony for several of our members, is scheduled from April 26 to May 1. Hope to see you soon!
February Update 2014
The Grand Celebration on February 1st was an unforgettable event. Two months of Ango training, five weeks of Shiho ceremonies, and the occasion of Roshi’s 65th birthday altogether built up a festive momentum that lasted the whole day from morning till night. It started with a coming-out ceremony at 11:00 am during which Roshi introduced his first five successors and elaborated on the new names he had given to them. Then the over one hundred guests all went to the picturesque restaurant ‘t Schathoes Menkemaborg for a three-course buffet lunch. A slide-show that detailed many surprise moments from the lives of Tenkei Roshi and Tammy Sensei and of the development of Zen River captivated the audience, as did a puppet show and a premiere performance of the Zen River choir (!) conducted by Pieter Bosma. The party continued at Zen River home-base and found its conclusion in an evening buffet and a series of in-house performances. Many guests stayed overnight, and morning service brought everybody back to the concentrated atmosphere of the Hatto. The whole event really had a touch of magic and will stay with us for a long time to come.
Meanwhile, the regular training program has already resumed, and the 7-day Ango Closing Sesshin (February 15–22) is coming up fast. If you would still like to register, please contact the office ASAP. Shuso Hossenshiki for head-monk Renate Jishin Schmidt is scheduled on Saturday, February 22, at 11:00 am. Jishin has done a great job navigating through these very intense training months, and we all look forward to seeing her address the sangha in this important rite of passage. You dragons and elephants, please confront her in dharma combat!
After the Hossenshiki, we’ll continue the regular daily schedule for a few more days. Then, from March 1 to 9, there is Spring Break without a fixed schedule. Also, don’t forget the Intro Zazenkai this Saturday, February 8, from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm.
And finally, a quick reminder about the Family Week this summer; after discussing the dates with most of the parents involved, this popular event will be held from July 12 to 17. If you consider participating, please let us know in time!
Last but not least, we are very happy to let you know that the total sum collected by the November fundraiser perfectly covered the cost of the new heater. Many, many thanks.