Dharma for the year of Hare, 2023

Dear zen friend

1) January Mini Sesshin:   from  01/20  to  01/22 

February Mini Sesshin:  from  02/10  to  02/12

2)  Once upon a time Uchiyama Roshi mentioned that Sawaki Roshi did not fully grasp zen until the age of 65.  Uchiyama Roshi was under 60 at that time. 

I was stunned at hearing such words. Sawaki Roshi was a hero and a saint forever to me. Sawaki Roshi must have been enlightened in his twentieth since he was  genius. And his enlightenment must not have been defiled ever. 

Those days I only was concerned about spontaneous enlightenment, which has nothing to do with time nor aging. Enlightenment was supposed to solve all the problems once for all. I was desperate to look for clues to get enlightened. It must have been eternal and instant.  I was young. 

As sitting practice went on, i learned that  things are connected with time. For example young people tend to ask who I am. Usually teachers try to explain what the self is. When they think about self, time is often excluded. Their answers are hardly found.  

My answer?  I, the self is established and reinforced in time. Lionel Mecci or Tom Brady have established their self after long time efforts. Without hard work in length their self was not made up. 

In zen there is gradual enlightenment as well as instant accomplishment. While I worshiped  instant enlightenment due to my preference,  Soto zen has regarded gradual enlightenment as key teachings. So Sawaki Roshi became wiser as he continued zen practice while aging.    

Today I chainsawed a tree for saving baby maples in snow. These actions may reinforce self of mine a little. Such small cumulative efforts would contribute bringing a beautiful forest. 

In this new year I wish all would leap and jump around like a hare.  


Eishin Ikeda

Valley Zendo

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