Genzo-e Sesshin

Led by Kokyo Henkel

Genzo-e sesshin is an opportunity for a deep exploration of the teachings of Dogen Zenji. Taught by Kokyo Henkel, Jikoji and Santa Cruz Zen Center will gather together in the tradition of the ancient monastics to delve into the Shobogenzo as text and as experience.

$50 / night / meals included.

The Text:
Kajo - Everyday Activity

Everyday Activity
Shōbōgenzō Kajō, translated by Arnold Kotler and Kazuaki Tanahashi


In the domain of buddhas and ancestors, drinking tea and eating rice is everyday activity. This having tea and rice has been transmitted over many years and is present right now. Thus the buddhas and ancestors' vital activity of having tea and rice comes to us.
Priest Daokai of Mt. Dayang asked Touzi [Yiqing], "It is said that the thoughts and words of buddhas and ancestors are everyday tea and rice. Besides this, are there any words or phrases for teaching?" Touzi said, "Tell me, when the emperor issues a decree in his territory, does he need Emperor Yu, Tang, Yao, or Shun?" As Dayang was about to open his mouth, Touzi covered it with his whisk. "While you were thinking, you've already received thirty blows." Dayang was then awakened. He bowed deeply and began to leave. Touzi said, "Wait, reverend." Dayang did not turn around, and Touzi said, "Have you reached the ground of no doubt?" Dayang covered his cars with his hands and left.
   From this you should clearly understand that the thoughts and words of buddhas and ancestors are their everyday tea and rice. Ordinary coarse tea and plain rice are buddhas' thoughts-ancestors' words. Because buddhas and ancestors prepare tea and rice, tea and rice maintain buddhas and ancestors. Accordingly, they need no powers other than this tea and rice, and they have no need to use powers as buddhas and ancestors.
   You should investigate and study the expression "Does he need Emperor Yu, Tang, Yao, or Shun?" You should leap over the summit of the question "Besides tea and rice are there any words or phrases for teaching?" You should try to see whether leaping is possible or not.
Great Master Wuji of Shitou Hut, Mt. Nanyue, said: "I have built a grass hut where no coins are kept. Having had rice, I am ready for a leisurely nap." "Having had rice"––words come, words go, words come and go––filled with buddhas and ancestors' thoughts and words. Not to have rice is not to be filled. Yet, the point of "having had rice" and "a leisurely nap" is actualized before having rice, while having rice, and after having rice. To understand that having rice lies only in the domain of "having had rice" is the mere study of four or five sho of rice.
My late master, old buddha, taught the assembly: “I heard that a monk asked Baizhang, 'What is an extraordinary thing?' Baizhang said, 'Sitting alone on Daxiong Peak. The assembly cannot move him. For now let him totally sit.'" 
   Today if someone were to ask me, "What is an extraordinary thing?" I would say, "Is anything extraordinary? Do you know what it means? The bowl of Jingci has moved––I'm having rice in Tiantong."
   In the domain of buddhas and ancestors there is always something extraordinary: sitting alone on Daxiong Peak. Being allowed to totally sit is itself an extraordinary thing. Even more extraordinary is "The bowl of Jingci has moved––I'm having rice in Tiantong."
   Each and every extraordinary activity is simply having rice. Thus, sitting alone on Daxiong Peak is just having rice. The monk's bowl is used for having rice, and what is used for having rice is the monk's bowl. Therefore it is "the bowl of Jingci" and it is "having rice in Tiantong." Being filled is to know rice. Eating rice is to be filled. To know is to be filled with rice, to be filled is to continue eating. Now what is the monk's bowl? I say it is not wood and it is not black lacquer. Is it an immovable rock? Is it an iron person? It is bottomless. It has no nostrils. One mouth swallows the empty sky. The empty sky is received with palms together.
My late master, old buddha, once taught the assembly at the buddha hall of Ruiyan Jingtu Monastery of Tai Region: "When hunger comes, have rice. When fatigue comes, steep. Furnace and bellows, each covers the entire sky."
   "When hunger comes" is the vital activity of a person who has had rice. A person who has not had rice cannot have hunger. Since this is so, a person who gets hungry every day is someone who has had rice. You should understand this completely.
   "When fatigue comes" means that there is fatigue in the midst of fatigue; it springs forth complete from the summit of fatigue. Accordingly, the entire body is completely turned immediately by the activity of the entire body. To "sleep" is to sleep using the buddha eye, dharma eye, wisdom eye, ancestor eye, and pillar-and-lantern eye.
My late master, old buddha, once accepted an invitation and went to Jingci Monastery of Linan Prefecture from Ruiyan Monastery of Tai Region, ascended the seat and said: "Half a year––just having rice and sitting on Wan Peak. This sitting cuts through thousands of layers of misty clouds. One sudden clap of roaring thunder. Spring in the mystic village––apricot blossoms are red." The teaching of Buddha ancestors who transmit the buddha's lifelong practice is entirely "having rice and sitting on Wan Peak." To study and practice the inheritance of the buddha is ancestral wisdom is to bring forth the vital activity of having rice. "Half a year . . . sitting on Wan Peak" is called having rice. You cannot tell how many layers of misty clouds this sitting cuts through. However sudden the roar of thunder, spring apricot blossoms are just red. "Mystic village" means red through and through right now. This is having rice. Wan Peak is the name of a peak that represents Ruiyan Monastery. 
My late master, old buddha, once taught the assembly at the buddha hall of Ruiyan Monastery, Qingyuan Prefecture, Ming Region: "Inconceivable golden form wears a robe and has rice. So I bow to you; go to sleep early and wake up late. Hah! Discussing the profound, expounding the inconceivable––endless. What I completely avoid is the self-deception of holding up a flower."
   You should immediately penetrate this. “Inconceivable golden form" means wearing a robe and having rice. Wearing a robe and having rice is inconceivable golden form. Do not wonder who is wearing a robe and having rice. Do not say whose inconceivable golden form it is. Speaking in this way is complete expression. This is the meaning of "So I bow to you" and "I have already had rice. You have just bowed to the rice." This is because "I completely avoid holding up a flower."
Priest Daan, Zen Master Yuanzhi, of Changqing Monastery, Fu Region, ascended the seat and taught the assembly: "I have been at Mt. Gui for thirty years and have been eating Mt. Gui's rice and shitting Mt. Gui's shit. I have not studied Guishan's Zen but just see a single water buffalo. When it wanders off the road and begins grazing, I yank it back. When it trespasses onto other people's rice fields, I whip it––In this way, I have been taming it for a long time. Such an adorable one! It understands human speech, and now has transformed into a white ox. All day long it is walking round and round in front of us. Even if we try to drive it away, it does not leave."
   Clearly you should accept this teaching. Thirty years of pursuit in the assembly of buddhas and ancestors is having rice. There are no other pursuits. If you bring forth this activity of having rice, invariably you will be able to see one buffalo.
Zhaozhou, Great Master Zhenji, asked a newly arrived monk, "Have you been here before?" The monk said, "Yes, I have been here." The master said, "Have some tea." Again, he asked another monk, "Have you been here before?" The monk said, "No, I haven't been here." The master said, "Have some tea." The temple director then asked the master, "Why do you say, 'Have some tea,' to someone who has been here, and 'Have some tea,' to someone who has not?" The master said, "Director." When the director responded, the master said, "Have some tea."
   Zhaozhou's word "here" does not mean the top of the head, the nostrils, or Zhaozhou. Since "here" leaps off "here," a monk said, "I have been here," and another said, "I have not been here." It means, "What is now?" I only say, "I have been here, I have not been here."
   Therefore my late master said: "In your picture of the wineshop, who faces you, drinking Zhaozhou's tea?"
   Thus, the everyday activity of buddhas and ancestors is nothing but having tea and rice. 

On the seventeenth day, twelfth month, first year of Kangen [1243], this was taught to the assembly at the foot of Yamashi Peak, Echizen Province.




4–6 pm    Registration
6:00        Dinner
6:45        Clean-Up
7:30        Zazen
8:10        Opening Remarks

Friday - Saturday   

5:30 am    Wake-up Bell
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6:40        Kinhin
6:50        Zazen
7:20        Service
7:35        Breakfast
8:30        Break & Kitchen Clean-up
9:20        Zazen
10:00     Kinhin
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11:10       Kinhin
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1:40         Work Period
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5:55        Dinner
6:40        Break & Kitchen Clean-up
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6:00        Zazen
6:40        Kinhin
6:50        Zazen
7:20        Service
7:35        Breakfast
8:30        Break & Kitchen Clean-up
9:10         Zazen
9:40        Kinhin / Break
10:00      Zazen
10:40       Kinhin
10:50       Zazen
11:30        Service
11:45Talk & Closing Remarks
12:30       Social Lunch