Nine-Headed Dragon River: Zen Journals 1969-1982 (Shambhala Dragon Editions)

By Peter Matthiessen

In August 1968, naturalist-explorer Peter Matthiessen lower back from Africa to his domestic in Sagaponack, new york, to discover 3 Zen masters in his driveway—guests of his spouse, a brand new scholar of Zen. 13 years later, Matthiessen was once ordained a Buddhist monk. Written within the related structure as his best-selling The Snow Leopard, Nine-Headed Dragon River unearths Matthiessen's such a lot bold event of all: the hunt for his religious roots.

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The small wooded area dojo, or meditation corridor, often called Antai-ji, the place we went for first light zazen each morning, was once the only Soto temple I visited in Kyoto, which has continuously been a stronghold of Rinzai Zen. each day for ten years, it truly is acknowledged, one might even see a distinct temple with no hard the temples of Kyoto. Few of those are part as attention-grabbing because the public baths, old retailers, and bazaars, and the chaos of the downtown glossy urban, to not converse of such harmonious areas because the historical Tawaraya resort, the romantic state retreat at Shisen-do Hermitage within the hills east of the town, and the Katsura Villa in its ten-acre pond-garden, which required 40 years to construct and is tended at the present time through fifteen gardeners and a squad of ten fast girl weeders.

In Japan, Rinzai scholars sit down day and evening for the total 8 or ten days of Rohatsu, even supposing they're accepted to doze on their cushions among 1:00 and 3:00 A. M. Our American agenda is way much less strict, notwithstanding we sit down in zazen fourteen hours an afternoon, no longer counting nutrition, on our black cushions within the zendo. every one afternoon we recite from the Diamond Sutra. every one night at 6:30, Monk Do-san reads from the Hakuin Jishu, the zazen exhortations of the nice Rinzai grasp Hakuin Ekaku, who was once honorary founding father of Ryutaku-ji within the comparable approach that Soen-roshi is honorary founding father of his disciple’s temples in the US.

Reside within the deep mountains and valleys to achieve the real nature of guy. ” at the least, he accredited Lord Hatano’s invitation to relocate himself within the some distance north, the place Hatano proposed to construct him a brand new temple. Leaving Kosho-ji within the care of his pupil Gijun, he departed in 1243 for the distant Snow state at the Sea of Japan. now not lengthy thereafter, Kosho-Horin-ji used to be destroyed by means of fireplace, even if accidentally or through ill-wishers isn't recognized. 17 vacancy is certain to bloom, like countless numbers of grasses blossoming.

Etc. Hakuin easily placed out one hand and acknowledged, ‘Hear this! ’ this can be actually positioned on to us, thoroughly except the entire trappings of ‘Buddhism. ’ to listen to the sound of 1 hand, our primary nature needs to essentially come forth. with no utilizing the observe ‘Buddha,’ with no utilizing the be aware ‘Zen,’ we throw ourselves at once into the recesses of the brain. ”5 Obeying the injunction of his instructor, Joko-roshi, Koryu hasn't ever joined the Rinzai priesthood. He has the same opinion with different nonsectarian academics that the japanese priesthood, despite sect, has performed its most sensible to kill the genuine Zen spirit.

Thomas Cleary, undying Spring (San Francisco: Wheelwright Press/Weatherhill), p. 35. 12. it seems that Dogen’s strictures opposed to prejudice opposed to ladies (see Bowing, Penetrating the Marrow [Shobogenzo Raihai Tokuzui]) aren't but heeded, due to the fact nuns are few. thirteen. In Soto culture, the identify zenji is reserved for earlier or current abbots of Eihei-ji or Soji-ji, the top temples or “mountains” of the Soto sect, and in addition for deceased patriarchs or significant figures within the lineage, equivalent to Sekito and Tozan; no different Soto instructor might presume to take advantage of this honorific identify.

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