Shunryu Suzuki Roshi's book "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind" is translated to Japanese

In 1970, Moriyama Roshi traveled San Francisco to assist Shunryu Suzuki Roshi in Soko-ji temple. At that time, Suzuki Roshi was also teaching American practitioners in San Francisco Zen Center.

Suzuki Roshi moved to United State in 1959 at the age of 55 to become the abbot of Soko-ji temple, a Soto Temple in San Francisco. Then, to accommodate growing number of American practitioners in 1960's, he established San Francisco Zen Center. "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind" is the most popular book among English Zen Buddhism books written by Japanese Zen Masters, and is like one of Zen text books among western practitioners.  Because of the great popularity in United State, the book was translated into Japanese many years ago. Unfortunately, the book didn't receive similar popularity in Japan.

In this August 2010, 40th year since the publication of the original book, new version of Japanese translation of "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind" was published. The translated book uses more plain daily Japanese words and much less special terms of Zen Buddhism. Some Japanese practioners or poeple who are used to read sutras and traditional Zen books may feel odd when reading the book with simple and plain words. On the other hand, for beginners, it is an excellent book.  The book helps reader to feel Zen Buddhism closer, and that Zen is not something far away from reader's daily life. Particularly, because of having less special terms of Zen Buddhism, readers can learn Zen Buddhism in a purer form, without introducing any prejudice and misunderstanding many Japanese have on Zen Buddhism.

Here is a video of Suzuki Roshi's Dharma talk in 1970 (San Francisco Zen Center). It is English version with plain English. Suzuki Roshi was occasionally mistaken for the Zen scholar D.T. Suzuki, to which Suzuki Roshi replied, "No, he is the big Suzuki, I'm the little Suzuki."


Moriyama Roshi's Dharma Talk in July Sesshin: What we can learn from practicing Bendo-ho?

Morning in Zuigakuin Meditation Hall
In June 17th to 19th, July Sesshin was held in Zuigakuin.  In the Sesshin, Roshi gave a Dharma talk.  It is the best to listen Roshi's talk on live.  However, for people who could not attend the talk, I (Tessan Abe) will post some of major topics as much as I could understand.  Your comments and questions are always welcome.  

  • Moriyama Roshi said, "Zuigakuin is a place to practice Bendo-ho. I hope all practitioners can practice together to familiarlize yourselves with the ancient traditional practice method, Bendo-ho.  The Bendo-ho was created by Zen Master Dogen 800 years ago.  Practicing such things may be like you are experiencing a totally different culture even if you are Japanese.  But, I want you to learn something from your experience in Zuigakuin and bring them back to your daily life.

Bendo-ho is formed with sets of directions and rules set by Zen Master Dogen with respect to each of activities to be conducted in life of Sodo (Monk hall) or temple. Here, the activities include not only manners of Zazen (sitting meditation) and chanting sutras, but also include manners on how to enter the monk hall, how to eat a meal, how to wash your face, how to sleep, etc. The directions and rules were set to concretely illustrate how you should behave or act in each of the activities in order to practice the Buddha way without any misunderstanding and without any delay.

Indeed, the practicing in Zuigakuin without electricity and modern convenience is like the experiencing a different culture.  However, at the same time, the experience of a different culture also provides a chance to revisit your own daily life. Think about a trip to a foreign country. You must surprise to see life style or culture different than yours.  And, at the same time, many of you must aware your own present culture more and more.  In Zuigakuin, the different culture you are experiencing is nothing but the ancient traditional practice of Buddha way.  It is like you are chanting sutras to familiarize yourself with Buddha's teachings.  By practicing Bendo-ho or living under it, whether you are aware or not, you are familiarizing (not just learning as knowledge) yourself with the teachings of Zen master Dogen through your actions to body and mind.

"Learn something through the experience of practicing Bedo-ho", said Moriyama Roshi. Roshi didn't say you should practice the same Bendo-ho in your home. The experience of Bendo-ho provides an opportunity to revisit your own daily life under light of the ancient traditional practice method of Buddha way.  The practice of Buddha way is never limited in Zazen or chanting of sutras.  Every action in your daily life is the practice of Buddha way. The important point is to devise a way to use or adopt spirits of Bendo-ho in each one's own daily life beyond difference in a culture or life style.

The following topics from Moriyama Roshi's talk will be posted soon.
  • Spiritual foundation of modern Japanese
  • Important point in practicing Zen
  • Depth of Zazen (sitting meditation)


ロバートエイトキン老師逝去 The passing of Robert Aitken Roshi

Robert Aitken Roshi (1917-2010)



エイトキン老師は、禅仏教に関する多数の著作を残しました。残念ながら日本語に翻訳されたものはありませんが、なかでも禅仏教の基本的な教えや修行方法の基礎をまとめたThe Taking the Path of Zenや、仏教徒の戒律、利他行、倫理に関するThe Mind of Clover等はアメリカに限らず世界中で広く読まれています。



Robert Aitken, one of the first Americans fully authorized as a master of Zen Buddhism and the author of thirteen books on that subject, died August 5 in Honolulu at the age of 93. The memorial service will be held at Palolo Zen Center on Sunday, August 22nd at 10:00 AM.

At the outbreak of war in the Pacific he was captured by Japanese army on Guam, where he had been working as a civilian. His introduction to Zen came during his ensuing years of internment in Japan, through a fellow internee, the British writer R.H. Blyth.

After his release, Aitken resumed his interrupted studies at the University of Hawaii, graduating in 1947 with a degree in English literature. He returned to the University for a master’s degree in Japanese studies, which he received in 1950, and his thesis, concerning Zen’s influence on the work of the great haiku poet Basho, later became the basis of his first book, A Zen Wave.

With his late wife Anne Hopkins Aitken, he founded the Diamond Sangha in 1959 as a community supporting formal practice of Zen, bringing a succession of Japanese masters, Soen Nakagawa and Hakuun Yasutani to the islands to instruct the group. It flourished, especially after he received sanction to teach independently in 1974, and today the Diamond Sangha is a network of affiliated groups in Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Argentina, and Chile as well as the United States. Its main temple in Hawaii is Palolo Zen Center in Honolulu; Maui Zendo and Hilo Zen Circle offer venues for practice on the neighbor islands.

After World War II, Aitken maintained a steady involvement in organizations dedicated to peace, social justice, and civil rights. He helped establish both the American Friends Service Committee program in Hawaii and the local office of the American Civil Liberties Union and continued to take an active part in the latter into his eighties. He also was a co-founder of the nationwide Buddhist Peace Fellowship, whose offices are in Berkeley.

His numerous publications include Taking the Path of Zen, The Mind of Clover, The Gateless Barrier, Zen Master Raven, and The Morning Star. The most recent of them — Miniatures of a Zen Master —appeared in 2008, after he turned 90. Many of these books have also been published in translation.

Aitken’s first marriage, in 1947, was to the late Mary Laune of Honolulu, and he is survived by their son, Thomas Laune Aitken, and three granddaughters. His death came suddenly and peacefully, following a long period of declining health, mostly spent in residence at the Honolulu temple.

For further information on his life, consult a brief 2003 autobiography on the website of the University of Hawai'i library, whose Special Collections hold his papers: http://libweb.hawaii.edu/libdept/speccoll/aitken/autobiography.html. A colorful account of his Zen background is available in "Willy-Nilly Zen," an appendix to Taking the Path of Zen. Additional material can also be found at the Honolulu Diamond Sangha website, http://www.diamond-sangha.org, and at his blog, http://robertaitken.blogspot.com.




  • 森山老師のお話(その1):「瑞岳院は弁道法を実践する場所です。参禅者の皆さんには、瑞岳院で一緒に修行し、道元禅師が伝える古来伝統の弁道法に親しんでいただきたいと思います。弁道法は800年前に道元禅師が作られたものです。これを現代の皆さんが実践するのは、まるで異文化を体験しているようなものでしょう。しかし、ここでの体験をきっかけにして、何かを学んでほしいと思います。」




  • 現代人の精神的基盤
  • 禅の修行で重要なポイント
  • 坐禅の深さ


龍門寺はアメリカ北西部アイオワ州の小さな村にある曹洞宗のお寺です。片桐老師の弟子の一人、Shoken Wincoff 先生とそのお弟子さんたちが自ら建設されました。お寺の周りには、文字通り地平線まで続くトウモロコシ畑、大豆畑、牧場が広がっています。冬は寒さが非常に厳しいのですが、夏は美しく自然の豊かさを実感できるところです。

片桐老師は30年も前から、このアメリカ中西部で禅仏教を広めてきました。ここでは同時期のサンフランシスコやニューヨークで起こっていたような爆発的な禅ブームはおきませんでしたが、それでも確実に根付いていったようです。龍門寺にくるアメリカ人参禅者の中には、20‐30年も坐禅を続けているという人たちも少なくありません。このような人たちにとって禅は、アジアから伝わってきたエキゾチックな教えではけっしてなく、確実に日常生活の一部となっています。 在家仏教の理想的な姿をみたような気がしました。