Dharma in October 2019

Dear zen friend
1)      November sesshin     from   11/08   to  11/12
         December sesshin     from   12/06   to  12/08
         Year end sesshin        from   12/27   to  12/31
2)     Shobogenzo in winter
        We have new study group during winter. A chapter of Shobogenzo is translated, read, and discussed in a snow season. Genjokoan, the first chapter of Shobogenzo,  is picked up this season.
        The presentation and discussion starts at 11 am on Sundays. The event is scheduled on 1st, 15th, and 22nd in December. Dates in later months will be announced in this column.
3)      A national ceremony on new emperor took place on 22nd of October in Tokyo. It was raining in the morning.  (There were floods by typhoon 19 few days before.)
         When the ceremony started rain ended. And a rainbow appeared on the palace. Dust in air cleansed, Mt. Fuji was seen with first snow fall on its top. Twitters and YouTubes were filled with messages that heaven celebrated the ceremony by auspicious signs.
          All is accidental, ceremonies are not essential, we say. Essence is scientific matter, ceremony is meaningless. I agreed these views as  Uchiyama Roshi did.
          One day about 10 years ago, I became aware that life is full of ceremonies. What is presidential inauguration, an address by both a winner and a loser after election, national anthem at a baseball game, a birthday party, and a funeral service?
          In West Side Story, George Chakiris refused handshake ceremony before a fighting. The fight resulted in two dead, and another victim later.  Is ceremony really meaningless?
          An answer may lie in Genjokoan.
Eishin Ikeda
Valley Zendo
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