Ango, or practice period, is an opportunity to focus a bit more intensively on our practice and perhaps to make a commitment to ourselves to stretch a little -- to sit a little more, attend a little more frequently, learn something new or take on a particular activity. We invite you to consider how you might deepen your practice during this time.
Ango at Sanshin is designed to include the three activities of our practice: zazen, work and study. This three-month period includes sesshin, genzo-e, a workshop, the precepts retreat and several work days in addition to our regular weekly practice.
During ango we have the additional leadership of a shuso, or head novice, who takes on various responsibilities in the sangha as an opportunity to develop clergy skills. Our shuso for this ango is Issan Koyama. His theme for the ango is Two sides of reality in one action. He will be supporting our practice and we will be supporting his growth as a leader. Issan will be giving a series of 10 Sunday talks, leading a one-day workshop, serving as doshi for monthly World Peace ceremonies, serving as ino for monthly ryaku fusatsu ceremonies, assisting with sesshin and retreats, and serving the sangha in myriad other ways while he's in residence here. In June, we will recognize the coming completion of his term as shuso with two ceremonies in which he will demonstrate his dharma mastery to the sangha and his readiness to teach and serve independently.
The case: Hôgen's Boat or Land
During the ango, Issan will be working with the following case from the Shoyoroku. Okumura Roshi will talk about it during the honsoku gyocha and Issan will answer questions about it from the sangha during the shuso hossen.
Amid the worldly dharmas how many people have been brought to enlightenment; Amid the Buddhist dharma how many people have been deluded!
If you suddenly become completely one, can you articulate delusion and enlightenment or not?
Hôgen asked Senior Monk Kaku, “Did you come by boat or by land?”
Kaku said, “By boat.”
Hôgen said, “Where is the boat?”
Kaku said, “On the river.”
After Kaku had withdrawn, Hôgen asked a monk nearby, “You tell me, did that monk who was here just now have the eye or not?”
Water cannot wash water,
Gold cannot be changed into gold.
One obtains a horse without knowing the color of its hair.
One enjoys the lute without resorting to the strings.
[In the olden times] people made knots in a rope; then started trigrams – [in the end] it [degenerated] to this thing;
The true genuine mind of Banko has completely been lost.
“Dōgen said that to see one reality from two sides – relative and absolute – is not enough; he said we should also express these two sides in one action”
- from “Realizing Genjōkōan” by Shōhaku Okumura
2022 Summer ango
April 4: Ango begins
May 4 - 9: Genzo-e (Bussho)
June 1 - 5: Sesshin
June 11: Honsoku gyocha (formal tea and explanation of the case)
June 12: Shuso hossen (shuso answers questions on the case)
June 25: Issan's workshop on Shoji (Life-Death) [see below]
June 29 - July 4: Precepts retreat, ending with lay precepts ceremony
Issan's Sunday talks
Issan says: I wish to support the audience in their enjoyment and to further their understanding of Okumura Roshi’s genzo-e, which is the pinnacle event of the global Zen community. In this series of talks we will focus on the “action” and study the exserts from the selected texts around Shōbōgenzō. These texts are my own inspirations to clarify and deepen the understanding of Dōgen’s teaching. I'd also like to introduce and share some legendary commentaries on these texts made by the Dōgen teachers of our own lineage, many of which are not translated in English.
Issan Koyama was ordained as a novice by Shōhaku Okumura in March, 2017. Originally from Japan, he came to the US as a correspondent journalist for newspaper and TV programs. In the early years of the AIDS epidemic, Issan became a volunteer for end-of-life care in New York City, and subsequently became a professional care giver. While working as a full-time hospice chaplain in USA, he also co-established and managed a residential facility in Japan that hosted geriatric/palliative patients as well as medical clinics. His work was featured in both American and Japanese media such as the New York Times and Asahi Shimbun, and in StoryCorps' book "Callings."
Issan currently divides his time between the US and Japan. His sangha is the Zen Community of New York for Dōgen Study. For more information, contact him here.
One-day workshop: Shoji (Life-Death)
with Issan Koyama
“Realizing Genjōkōan – the key to Dōgen’s Shōbōgenzo” by Shōhaku Okumura
“Five Invitations – what death can teach us about living” by Frank Ostaseski
The Original Face
autumn, the moon
winter, snow does not melt
all seasons pure and upright
- Dogen Zenji
from “Zen of Four Seasons: Dōgen Zenji’s Waka” by Shōhaku Okumura
Workshop registration for in-person participation is for local practitioners only. If open seats remain once local practitioners have finished their own registration, those seats may be offered to non-locals who have placed themselves on the standby list and whose names are drawn by lot. Non-locals must be fully vaccinated, prepared to travel and participate on short notice (likely about two weeks), and to function as commuters while they're here. Sanshin can provide neither guest rooms nor transportation to and from the temple each day. We'll contact those remaining on standby when all seats are filled.
A virtual look-in option will be available during the workshop. If you already have access to the links page for our regular virtual practice, you don't need to register; you'll find the workshop link there and you may join virtually as you please. If you're new to our virtual practice, please email here for the links you'll need. Gifts of financial support are welcome and appreciated; please go to this page to make your donation rather than using the registration button.
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Standby list for non-local practitioners
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