|Morning in Zuigakuin Meditation Hall|
- 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)