may 15 - 19, 2020
Shobogenzo Shohojisso (True Reality of All Beings)
with Abbot Shohaku Okumura
with Abbot Shohaku Okumura
As we cannot hold the May genzo-e in the usual way this year, we're offering a modified online version. Participants will do most of their shikantaza on their own following a suggested schedule and will join the online session twice daily for a communal sitting period and Okumura Roshi's lecture.
ABOUT GENZO-E AT SANSHIN
Deep study of Dogen Zenji’s teachings as a means of truly understanding the practice of regular intensive shikantaza is one of the three elements of Sanshin's mission. It would be easy to think that we need to sit zazen in order to understand Dogen's writings and what Okumura Roshi is teaching us about them, but that's backwards. We study Dogen's writings -- including engaging in genzo-e -- as an antidote to the "Zen sickness" described in the "Zazenshin" fascicle of his Shobogenzo. That danger can come with doing a lot of sitting with gaining mind—searching for a peak experience or some personal benefit. The point of genzo-e and other dharma study is to understand that, in Kodo Sawaki’s words, “Zazen is good for nothing.” Study is a support for intensive zazen rather than the other way around, and is not undertaken for its own sake. As Sawaki Roshi often said, "All Buddhist scriptures are only footnotes to zazen."
Genzo-e retreats focus on the study of the Shobogenzo (True Dharma Eye Treasury), the major work of the founder of Soto Zen, Dogen Zenji. Although the Shobogenzo is considered to be one of the most important Buddhist texts in Japan and has been translated into English several times, it is very difficult to understand without guidance. Okumura Roshi has studied the Shobogenzo extensively and practiced with its insights for many years.
hOW THE VIRTUAL GENZO-E WILL WORK
This will be Sanshin's first venture into virtual programming on this scale. We are doing our best to ensure that participants will have a meaningful practice opportunity and that our technical systems will support this event. We will appreciate your patience in adjusting to online practice and troubleshooting any issues that may arise.
Sanshin's campus is closed to everyone but the Okumuras, so there will be no one else in the zendo. All other participants will be practicing from their homes. In order to get the most out of the retreat, one needs to establish a home practice container to support shikantaza and minimize distraction. Zendo practice is designed for this, but it's more difficult to achieve at home. Tips and guidance for home practice are available on our Sanshin Solo page.
Participants will be expected to do their best to maintain a daily schedule based on the one to the right. This schedule is a slightly modified version of the usual genzo-e schedule we follow. We recognize that people in various timezones around the world will need to make adjustments; you may need to move some of your zazen periods from the end of the day to the beginning, or vice versa. In any case, it will be important to fully engage in a daily schedule that includes a significant amount of zazen. Genzo-e is about much more than just the lectures and we strongly discourage simply showing up for the talks and otherwise going about a normal day at home.
Participants will be carrying out their daily schedules on their own, joining the online sessions coming from the zendo when they occur. The morning and late afternoon online segments each day will include zazen and Okumura Roshi's lecture. As usual, participants will chant the Opening the Sutra verse together before the lecture and the Four Bodhisattva Vows afterward. Chant sheets will be available for download before the genzo-e.
Okumura Roshi will not be taking live questions after his lectures, but there may be some opportunity to send in questions by email to be answered at some later point in the genzo-e.
There will be basic help available by email if you have issues related to joining the online sessions. You may wish to download Zoom ahead of time and test it to make sure you know how to use it. It's free and easy to use; most people have no trouble. You'll need to know how to see and hear what's happening and how to mute your mic..
In general, approach this virtual genzo-e the way you would approach any retreat or sesshin. It will take focus, commitment and perseverance. Sit shikantaza with the usual intensity and wholeheartedness, do your best to minimize distraction, maintain silence, follow the schedule whether you feel like it or not, and devote yourself to practice for the duration of the event. Being at home will make this more of a challenge. Take it on as part of your practice.
THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT.
Cost: $200 per household
Partial participation and pro-rated fees are not available for this event.
You will not be redirected to the Sanshin registration form following payment for this event; your payment information will be enough. A few days before the genzo-e is to begin, registrants will receive an email with the link to information about how to join the online sessions as well as the text for study, the chant sheet, and orientation materials. If you have not received this by May 14, please let us know.
Participation is limited to 90 people. Those who registered and paid for the original genzo-e in Bloomington have priority for this virtual edition and any remaining space will subsequently be open for general registration by anyone.
There is limited scholarship funding available. See our scholarshup page for more information.