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EkiZen - Newsletter by the Shinnyoji Sangha

Winter 2015 - n. 25 year VI (PDF)

The Zen Temple of Florence – Shinnyoji Temple

Wishes each one of you

Happy New Year 2016

Questo Dharma se non si pratica non si manifesta

This Dharma if not practiced will not manifest itself

この法はいまだ修せざるにはあらはれず

ROHATSU SPECIAL 2015

Theme for the New Year of Practice 2016
Rohatsu Vigil

Here we are again, reunited for another Rohatsu Vigil: the sixteenth since the first at our meeting place in San Domenico in 2000. This is the Night in which we celebrate the Illumination of the Shakyamuni Buddha.

Tonight we are in the presence of old and new friends, but the climate is always the same, full of great affection and solidarity. I whole-heartedly thank each one of you, who allow this Temple, this community, this place, to grow in harmony, with the joy of gathering together at least once a year.

Here we are again, reunited for another Rohatsu Vigil: the sixteenth since the first at our meeting place in San Domenico in 2000. This is the Night in which we celebrate the Illumination of the Shakyamuni Buddha.

Tonight we are in the presence of old and new friends, but the climate is always the same, full of great affection and solidarity. I whole-heartedly thank each one of you, who allow this Temple, this community, this place, to grow in harmony, with the joy of gathering together at least once a year.

Also Lisa Tenshin is sitting with us in New York, along with Giovanni in Taranto and Pierpaolo in Trieste, everyone united in the same faith in the Buddha Way, united by the red thread of the Lineage from the Ancient Patriarchs. A warm thanks filled with gratitude for their effort, undoubtedly tenacious, given their physical distance.

A very intense year has passed at Shinnyoji, with the monthly Sesshin and Teachings of the Precepts, with the Sangha busy preparing for the visit from the Mayor of Kyoto with his delegation along with Rev. Matsuura Kanshu, who officiated the Jizō Bon Ritual in front of the Yakata Jizō, a small temple with an ancient statue of Bosatsu Jizō, received as a gift from the Mibudera Temple of Kyoto.

We were busy with the participation of Shinnyoji at the European Sōtō Zen Sokanbu and the two UBI- Italian Buddhist Union assemblies. In the Fall, the usual conference from our friend and practitioner Prof. Aldo Tollini and in the Spring, the conference on the Dharani from Rev. Aigo Castro. The first year of the Zen Calligraphy course, with the calligraphy teacher Nicola Piccioli.

A year of intense Practice, that brought the draft of the Shinnyoji Hymn with a musical composition by Maestro Dami, to whom we tribute our recognition, and who just played improvisational music on his violin, music then arranged by Maestro Carlo Ippolito.

A year of Practice that in its end, culminates with new Ordinations of Practice that increase the universal Family of the Buddha, on the night of His Satori.

A Sangha that is participating more and more living the life and activities of the Temple through monthly Reunions, a Temple that has seen, thanks to the donations from our benefactors that give thanks with their hearts, the re-structuring of the garden all the way to the implementation of the new lighting system.

Let’s also remember that this night of Vigil, as this time period is, even more complex for many of us, almost like a collective karma that wraps around our Sangha.

We need to have faith and patience, without ever forgetting the spirit of thankfulness for the great opportunity that we have received from this very life of being born human on this earth, it is right that we celebrate it on this right, to allow ourselves to awake to our Buddha Nature and walk along the Way of liberation from our suffering, as the Buddha himself indicated.

Not all times are equally fortunate and generally a moment of serenity is followed by a moment of difficulty, it is theory! We must welcome what arrives, live moment by moment in the here and now, without being subject to it, and educate ourselves to enjoy the little things in life, like a sunny day or getting out of bed after a good night’s rest. Life is “nothing special” just like our Practice.

This is a time of great suffering in the world as well, with a lot of hate and senselessness that is ever spreading. What our small selves can do, at an individual and collective level is not to lose faith in our Way, strengthen ourselves in testifying it, and as much as possible, do good, without seeking a profit, with the free and equal spirit.

So now we begin the Theme of Practice for the New Year, after the preceding assigned themes, amongst them: “Who do I practice for?”, “Silence”, “Discipline- Kai” and “Mushin-Heart/originally pure mind”.

Compassion, Jihi, 慈悲

In Sanskrit Karuna, whose iconographic representation is the Bodhisattva of the Great Compassion, in Japanese Kannon Bosatsu or Kanzeon, in Sanskrit Avalokitesvara, in Chinese Guanyin, the only Bodhisattva represented in China and in Japan with both masculine and feminine characters. This Bodhisattva is particularly sentimental to my Teacher, Azuma DochoRoshi, at whom I deeply bow and who I thank for His immense Compassion that has allowed me to establish Shinnyoji and therefore of all of us to be here tonight.

Karuna , the Compassionate Buddhist, flows directly from the Prajna, the Supreme Wisdom, which in Japanese is 般若 Hannya. Therefore we cannot have “Compassion without Wisdom”, nor “Wisdom without Compassion”: Karuna and Prajna are the two principle virtues, the two pillars of Mahayana Buddhism.

Let’s go in-depth with the meaning of the Compassionate Buddhist so that we can correctly practice it. In Italian [also in English] the term Compassion derives from the Latin work cun patior “suffering with” and from the Greek συμπἀθεια, sym patheia – “sympathy”, “to feel emotion with”, it doesn’t only indicate to share a pain, but also understand the idea of giving one’s support to alleviate the suffering of others.

In Buddhism the equivalent to our intended term of Compassion is the proposal of doing good in the acceptance of taking care of oneself and of the compassionate action to every sentient being, along the Way of freedom from suffering, according to two different expressions of action deriving form the two Sanskrit terms: Karuna e Maitrī.

Karuna, in Japanese Hi 悲, compassionate behavior, pity, painful empathy deriving from the understanding of the suffering of beings. Unlimited compassion for beings immersed in the samsara suffering, I would define it “Completely-rounded Compassion”. Active compassion that doesn’t want to commiserate with those who suffer but actively understand pain and try to better the situation putting into action whatever gives relief and diminishes pain of others.

It is the aspiration of helping all beings to free themselves from suffering and the causes of suffering until they can be happy.

Maitrī , in Japanese Ji慈, illuminated love in the sense of maternal and loving behavior that cures and takes care.

The term “Compassion” in the Buddhist sense is indicated in Japanese by the union of the two preceding characters: Ji and hi: Jihi 慈悲.

I want to remind you that Jihi 慈悲is the feeling that caused the historic Buddha Shakyamuni to give himself to the Nirvana to help all humans reach Illumination. We follow the Teaching of the Buddha, who’s Satori we celebrate tonight, meaning what he found at the moment in which became awakened, at the age of 35 in Bodhgaya, beneath the Bodhi tree. The following verses are a script about his Awakening:

a) Each one of us and everything are contemporarily Awakened Buddha.
This is the concept of the Compassionate Buddha. Everyone and everything is One with Him.

b) Trees, plants, herbs, earth, everything together without any exception, we have become Awakened Buddhas.
This is also the way of the Compassionate Buddha, along with Him all other beings, without any exception have Awakened.

Therefore Compassion, according to our Tradition, according to Dōgen Zenji is born from not creating differences between myself and that other than myself, because everything is Buddha, just as Shakyamuni professed at the moment of his Awakening.

And so where I do not create barriers, separation between myself and the other, from the feeling of familiarity, brotherhood, respect, that is where Jiji 慈悲 is born, Compassion that is manifested when this is no duality, when there is no conflict.

Once Awakened, the historic Buddha Shakyamuni entered into Nirvana, he reflected upon himself and upon what he had realized during the moment of Illumination, and retained that the Wisdom that he reached would have resulted incomprehensible for others and that it would have been impossible for him to transmit it.

And then, moved by the Compassion, Jihi 慈悲, he decided to return to here, meaning not to stay in the Nirvana as an Awakened being, but to return to the earthly life along with all of us. From that time on, until the abandonment of his physical life, he preached and transmitted His Teaching of freedom from suffering.

We observe that generally ones speaks about Compassion, Jiji 慈悲, as if it were something only to be activated during the moment in which we find ourselves in front of someone who needs something and we think that we must help, or with someone whose pain we share.

We already know that the concept of help is in itself completely different from that of Compassion, since aiming to help is no longer a service, it is not being One with the other, but rather, it is something that in some way comes from a feeling of superiority: I am myself, I come from a privileged position in respect to the present situation, therefore I am superior and I help someone in an inferior condition, therefore an inferior relation.

Jihi 慈悲, the Compassion of the Buddha, instead is about our everyday behavior in every expression, the way in which we lovingly relate toward other sentient beings, that our actions are careful and attentive, deriving from respect, behaving as a donation, without any thought of reciprocity or profit. This is why we say that Jiji 慈悲 is born from Supreme Wisdom, from Prajna, because the more we proceed along the Way of Awakening, the more we will be able to perceive and act with compassion.

The aspiration of the Bodhisattva, upon the walk of Awakening for the good of all beings, of acting for the good of others consists in developing Compassion for everything, without exception. And so, we will take care of replacing the bathroom tissue in the restrooms in the same way as we consul a desolated person, listening to someone who lives alone, replacing the trashcan liner after taking out the trash, changing the water in the flower vase at the Altar for the Patriarchs, appreciating the efforts of others, helping an elderly person with difficulty cross the street, everything will return as a compassionate act, or to be done.

Compassion Jihi 慈悲is deciding to come out of your shell, from your own beliefs, needs, and communicate and listen to others, entering in relation with all that is around you. It is living in close inter-relation with others walking and becoming the Way of the Bodhisattva, that must come from a life disconnect from the world around us, centered upon one’s own necessities and idiosyncrasies.

Reduced to minimal terms, Compassion Jihi 慈悲is realizing, taking care of the others as a mother to her own child, that there is no “other”. It is simply a different expression of Only One, the one side of the same diamond, as the I does not separate from the other, it is only an illusion of our minds.

Since everything is Buddha, one needs to find and recognize the Buddha in everything: Jihi 慈悲is automatically born, Compassion.

Therefore, activating Compassion in everything means awakening the consciousness of the I attached to universality, to the Oneness of the Ultimate Truth, to the world as it is, to the Awakening. Different from Compassion intended by Christianity, meaning helping your neighbor as an “other”, this concept does not exist in Buddhism.

This is why in Dōgen Zenji’s Zen, in our School, we give a lot of attention and importance to everything, and every gesture of everyday life.

Everything, every gesture: getting up in the morning, washing, having breakfast, walking, working, is respected as everything.

Each object is Buddha and every gesture is the activity of the Buddha.

In this evening of the Vigil celebrating the Illumination of the historic Buddha Shakyamuni, I ask you all who follow the footprints of the Awakening to be faithful testimonies of His Teaching, not simple readers or listeners.

Is there a better Wish for the New Year of Practice that I could ask?

A deep Gassho.

Iten Shinnyo

HAIKU READ AT THE ROHATSU VIGIL 2015

La mia vita
è transitoria:
questo pensiero
ritorna sempre
nel mio cuore.
Ryokan (1758 - 1831)

Compassione
Se la mia veste
fosse tanto larga,
vorrei coprire
tutte le sofferenze
che sono nel mondo.
Ryokan (1758 - 1831)

Bosco di bambù
tutto intorno al sentiero
nel freddo autunno.
Akutagawa (1892 – 1927)

“Kanazawa”
Ginko biloka in città
persino il loro polline
si è fatto nebbia.
Akutagawa (1892 – 1927)

Pioggia –
Il suono leggero
dei fuochi di montagna.
Akutagawa (1892 – 1927)

Rompendo la mia brocca
è il gelo della notte che
mi ha risvegliato!
Basho (1644 – 1694)

Amico, accendi il fuoco
ti mostrerò qualche cosa –
Una palla di neve.
Basho (1644 – 1694)

Senza di te,
in verità, i boschi
sono troppo ampi!
Buson (1716 – 1783)

Nella luna piena,
imitando il Buddha,
incrocio le gambe.
Kobayashi Issa (1763 – 1828)

Tempio montano:
il tocco della campana
risuona nella neve.
Kobayashi Issa (1763 – 1828)

Nel mio andarmene
nel tuo restare –
due autunni.
Shiki ( 1867 -1902)

Sulla montagna
cade la neve
da poterla sentire.
Kobayashi Issa (1763 - 1828)

Sciolta la neve,
diventa allegro
il volto delle stelle.
Kobayashi Issa (1763 - 1828)

Le cose ripetute
sono i semi
della felicità.
Nasu Machiyo

Capodanno :
sono felice
con un cielo pallido.
Kobayashi Issa (1763 - 1828)

TESTIMONIES OF PRACTICE AND THANKFULNESS

Thanks to Maestro Volfango Dami - Rohatsu 2015

Dear Maestro Dami,
Endless thanks again for the music that you marvellously created and played at the Rohatsu Vigil at our Temple.
It was a fluid and harmonious composition that freely enchanted us in your notes.
This year was even more intense, I feel, as if you had entirely in symphony with your surroundings, like magic, everything passing in your heart in this moment was wonderfully felt in listening.
A deep thanks from myself and all those present.
A hug to Norma, to who we dedicated the Vigil evening.
With affection, deep esteem and admiration
Il Maestro Iten Shinnyo Roshi

Dear Reverend,
It is always a joy, a pleasure, and a necessity for me to be with you on the Vigil...
A hug
Volfango

Hello friends!! Yesterday evening was very beautiful. Full of warmth and wisdom! Everything was done wholeheartedly and with care.. Your hearts and awareness where there, very present! I saw it, I felt it... Thank you so much for your light!
Rossana

Dear Rev. Iten Shinnyo Roshi,
I carefully followed our Skype connection, and although I was not physically present I felt your presence. Thank you!
The audio was perfect, infinite thanks for having sent me the Practice theme and the Haiku because knowing that I am in your thoughts makes me happy and relaxes me, it also lets me feel a part of the Shinnyoji activity. I also have the time to calmly study and review it over time, also because I think that Ji-hi is difficult to do, and many things quickly vanish.
I’m sorry that I will not be able to attend the Sesshin in November.
Warm greetings,
Giovanni from Taranto

Dear Teacher,
Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness of having a Skype connection during Rohatsu.
It was a joy sitting with you and listening in real time, I felt very present. The Ordination Ceremony was, as always, emotional and a confirmation of my Practice.
After we ended the Skype call, I had dinner, took a walk “under the stars” and then I went to bed because December 8th isn’t a bank holiday in the United States and I had to work in the morning but I got up at 5:30 a.m. EST in recognition of the Buddha’s Awakening. I did Zazen, recited the recited the Sutras, Fukanzazengi and Dedication for the Rohatsu Vigil.
Thanks again! I can’t wait to see the photos!
Get some rest.
A hug
Tenshin

Thank you to everyone for this chance to practice together. Here the “light of the lamp” has been turned on and each one of you has the chance to multiply and diffuse it throughout eternity.
Rev. Emanuela Dōsan Losi

Thank you to everyone for this chance to practice together. Here the “light of the lamp” has been turned on and each one of you has the chance to multiply and diffuse it throughout eternity.
Taigo

In this evening of Rohatsu, which is for me also an evening of Thankfulness, I would like to express a deep thanks, an important thanks to my Teacher Shinnyo Roshi for her continuous work of realizing the Way and maintaining the Shinnyoji Temple. A Temple that along with Teacher Shinnyo Roshi is now well known and accredited at an international level, we are and have always been a part of the absolute seriousness of this Walk, belonging to an ancient Lineage that still exists today.
A thanks, therefore, for the constant work in creating an Italian Zen that differentiates for its peculiarities from other examples, a Zen, if I may, with Japanese roots and Italian ground, a rigorous Zen where this is space for the heart, joy, comprehension of differences, sharing and deep respect for the Way transmitted from its origins.
A thanks to Teacher Shinnyo Roshi for having welcomed my request for the Shukke Tokudo vows and for allowing me to walk further and further on this Path, and now I would like to apologize for my inadequacies and errors that I have committed, but I have never felt disrespect for Her, Teacher, or for Shinnyoji. Even more thanks for showing me the innumerous opportunities of Life and the choices that Life offers, of which I joyfully owe recognition, because every one of her indications reveals and demonstrates progress in my life. Thank you for Her honesty of life and to her deep and incredible listening skills and intuition: a light towards myself and toward others.
Thanks to the Sangha, for your support, affection and collaboration that is always available. Thanks to Yūshin, brother along the Way, whose presence comforts and helps me a lot.
A heartfelt thank you, Teacher, Roshi.
Thanks.
Shinden

I first came to Shinnyoji in the middle of March this year and I really didn't know what to expect. I thought it would just be a place where I could continue my home meditation practice only this time with other people. Instead it turned out to be much more. The greetings and welcome I received from each person I met was truly warm and embracing and the first interview I had with Roshi was overwhelming and magical. I immediately felt a huge sense of awe and of being in the right place. As I continued to practice zazen and spend more time in the presence of Roshi and the Sangha I felt inspired and compelled to arrange the Hymn composed by Maestro Dami and then to compose an ode using the original text written by Roshi. It was a great pleasure.

For a brief period I didn't make it to Shinnyoji and so felt a bit distanced and detached and I feared coming back. But when I came through those doors I couldn't believe the reception I got. The greetings and the joy on people's faces were as welcoming as when I first arrived in March. I've learned that Shinnyoji is a living, breathing entity where people may come and people may go but where the doors are always open no matter what.
Words can't describe how wonderful Roshi has been to me. Always supportive and encouraging, guiding me back onto the Path and reminding me of what's truly important; the Way, the dharma and of course the Sangha. I feel so grateful to be here and to be part of this Vigil of Rohatsu and I look forward to practicing zazen and continuing along the Way of the Buddha here with you all at Shinnyoji.
Carlo

ADEQUACY
Rohatsu again: another year of Practice has passed, of life, of observation, of daily gifts received; a year of thankfulness, characterized by some difficulties that have grown to the point of involving my health, generating worry, weariness and pain.
I had to welcome difficulty and transformation, break old resistances, change practices, games, habits and lifestyles.
This is not painless: it is dense with physical, energetic and mental shortcomings that often generate darkness.
At the same time, each step of welcoming taken, each limitation welcomed, each consent taken from myself, has defined little joys, simplicity unimagined, found in lightness and humor, discovered starting over and re-immersion like once in a distance past.
Practicing at the Temple, meditation, work, daily life and observation of mental processes during the difficulties I have undergone, are the only instruments and support I have, and they surely are the source of these gifts.
Adequacy…

Welcoming what is adequate: to me, to my spiritual growth, age, experience, health and energy, which is very matured at this point. This alchemy in action now for about a year notes the correct Dharmic position that has been shown to me in the mirror of practice: the exact space-time and energetic coordinates in which I can reside, where I find myself today. The process, in the beginning took a lot of strength. And then it became the uncomfortable portrait of an ego transformed by compassion. Now it is assuming more fluidity and can attempt to be lived with more awareness.
The recent Teisho by Teacher Shinnyo on the Second Precept “Do Not Steal”, intended also in the acceptance of “not taking over a Dharmic position that seems inadequate to us” such as a role or energy, helped recognize more closely the function of my distorted ego, convolved in taking up unrealistic and unsustainable roles for my energy level and above all, the purity of the moment in which I am living.
I think that the exercise of this awareness upon the adequacy of the positions assumed and on innocence, is beneficial for my good and for those with whom I am connected.
An intention for deep upcoming year to welcome.
Thanks to the Teacher, the Sangha, to the difficulties I have encountered.
Daishin

Rohatsu 2015 Here we are again on this night of Rohatsu, because there is a thread affectionately and strongly attaching us to Shinnyo and this Temple.
Gasshō
Giada e Comandante

Dear Rev. Iten Shinnyo,
Heartfelt thanks for giving me the possibility to participate in the November Sesshin.
I spent three marvellous days in touch with a true Dharma Teacher and with a stupendous Sangha.
I spent the first day learning a new way of perceiving Dharma (Japanese), but slowly I got used to it and these beautiful days flew by quickly, and so I can’t wait to return to Shinnyoji.
Since I have returned, I do Zazen every morning and evening, I recite Hannya Shingyo and I take Refuge imagining that the Teacher is here.
Even my way of interacting with other is changing, little by little every day. I hope that it continues in this way.
Thanks with all of my heart for the teachings and blessing. See you soon. Domo arigato' gozaimas

As the swan swim on the lake
Without leaving a single trace
But never forgetting its path.
With joy.
Giovanni da Taranto.

For us ordinary practitioners, the biggest obstacle is not knowing how to recognize where true Practice is hiding.
The Ego, in its continuous struggle to confirm its presence and to survive, creates barriers, distracts us, tries to hide what is truly real.
With its apt arguments, it impedes us from letting go and deeply opening the mind.
Making our Practice true becomes such a distant utopia.
Our weakness is in the fact that we can recognize this subtle phenomenon, but we can’t see beyond it and break the deception.
Eishin

I am honored and happy to be taking this step here at Shinnyoji. I am filled with joy to be a part of this Sangha. I will do my upmost to honor the precepts I am taking.

Josh

During the last Sesshin we rehearsed for the ordination ceremony. It as an emotional and moving time. Just over one year ago, I was upon the same zafutons with Shinden, Cecilia and Piergiorgo and I didn’t think that going through the ceremony steps could awaken all of the emotions that I felt. The same emotions, but after a year of visiting the Temple and after an intense year, full of important events that brought me to where I am now. I can’t say at what point I am now, but I can say, always with more conviction, that I know that I am in the right place. I also know that I want to move forward, with compassion and without rush with myself. The emotions of the past year have transformed, now I am deeper and more true, perhaps more aware.

If some years ago had told me that I would have taken up this path I would have laughed; I thought that I could find my answers everywhere except in Zen. But I also know that this is not “only” Zen, it is the Shinnyoji Temple, our Temple, and above all, our Teacher who I will never stop deeply thanking for what she does and what she is.
Thanks!
Kei-shin

I thank our Teacher, our Monks, our Bodhisattvas, Ordained and Practitioners for this day in which from the garden of our Tradition, I face the entrance.
I’m not good at speaking about Practice; however, I would like to describe an evening not too long ago, while at the Temple, I helped gather maple leaves in the garden. It was dark, silent, the leaves rustled showing many shades of red; one was on the stone Buddha’s lap, others continued to fall. There was no separation between sitting with legs crossed in the Zendo and standing up upon the white rocks in the garden.
According to the Teacher, is more difficult to practice far away from the Temple, which is the first place of Practice, the first Buddhas are those closest to us in our everyday lives. There, automatic reactions, roles, desires, expectations and pride are giants made of smoke; there the little I find nourishment for existence. And following this, in concentric circles, come social and work relations.
Also, as out Teacher indicates, the Zen Way is life every day and we can be aware of the reality because we are alive here and now, exactly in this moment.
Marco Venturini

In saying my testimony of this year’s practice that ends tonight with the Rohatsu vigil – my first year in general – my first days at the Temple come to mind and a very important feeling was that I felt welcomed by everyone, both the Teacher and all of the Sangha.
It wasn’t easy in the beginning, there were many things to do during the Sesshin: remember the routines, greetings, the positions and many other things, such as remembering to maintain a certain behavior, not to disturb, beyond my personal organization – divided amongst work, family with an ill mother to look after – how to commit to something with regularity.
Eventually, as I continued to come to the Center, I was surprised by the fact that I had discovered that what I liked to do was to practice (both meditation and take care of the Temple and do tasks during retreats) this didn’t bring up too many questions, I was fine with it. Happily practicing, I have relaxed and the thoughts, expectations and difficulties have diminished and I learned to appreciate above all, Practice every day at the Temple.

This is the reason why, although I am at the beginning of my Buddhist Practice and I still don’t understand many things of the Path itself, when the opportunity to request ordination to Sambo-kie arose, I accepted with faith.
Thanks with all my heart to the Teacher Rev. Anna Maria Iten Shinnyo and all of the Sangha.
Massimo

Between ego and Reality, between practice and not practicing inside and outside of the Temple, another year has passed. Mushin, pure mind and heart – I have felt it from afar, although when I succeed in letting go to its harmonious vibrations, to its light, some little part of myself dies and my Being truly takes Life.
A warm hug to Roshi and all of the Sangha.
Michele G.

In mid-November I went with the Teacher to the Gendronnière to study the philosophy of Dōgen on the Lotus Sutra.
Thanking her very much for this opportunity that I was given, I was able to put myself into service both for the Teacher and the place, this experience allowed me to confirm my feeling in the “right” place and with the Teacher.
I also had the confirmation of all the “awareness” that the Great Teacher Dōgen had upon the Lotus Sutra which was passed on to other great teachers, finding their words “the words and the Practice of the Sutra are two cooperating experiences” and “the divulgation, the reading and the Practice of the Lotus Sutra upon the Awakening Way” a clear and unparalleled message of teaching.
In other words: living the Sutra.
Michele Dō-shin

My precious Shinnyo,
I hope that these words find you in splendid health and great shape.
At least two weeks went by when I happened to think about you a lot, but I delayed each day for the moment to show up: It is a good time for me to write to you and reply to your invitation.
Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend with you in Florence because one of my friends, Camilla, has in inoperable tumor in her jaw and I must stay with her to help.

Beyond the fact that she loves trusting me with cleaning and taking care of her, I am the only one able to administer daily injections, which she needs as well as take any emergency care if needed in the case of a crisis. But most of all, I don’t want to separate myself from you in this important moment, after spending nearly 16 years together. The minimum that I can do in thanks for all of those purrs, knocking heads, meows and straight tails, other than moments of great existential crisis, when I doubted if my true was divine, much less one of a human being.

It is the cat, that in these 10 years of practice, many times came up to me during Zazen, curling up upon the zafuton or directly upon my crossed legs, sinking its little claws into the cushion, just to test my level of concentration. In these days, every morning, I sit doing Zazen with her, coming to whichever room I’m in. Every morning: Zazen, incense and Hannya Shingyo.
I had already made the decision to practice during the night of Rohatsu, along you, in whichever room in my home, hopefully the warmest.
Following the red thread that connects me to you, now I know that my practice will be more intense and not alone, if I ever had some doubt about it.
I feel a closeness about this year’s Rohatsu, I don’t know if you will make some sort of decision for the occasion. December is a special month: the beginning of the winter, the solstice, the darkest day of the year, making its way toward the light. Also my mother, four years ago, chose to leave us during this time period.
But whether it is day or night, Rohatsu or Ferragosto, hot or cold, what I have learned what matters in reality is incessant practice, determined, continuous.
Therefore I will certainly sit with you, honoring the invitation, although in a different room.
A strong hug.
Gasshō.
Pier Paolo

I would simply like to say that in this time in the temple I've learned the simpler ones needs are the more, more receives.
The simple things can still hurt me but now they can also lift me.
I don’t say every day that life is a miracle but there was a time when I never said it.
Richard

Imenso negro
"Estou partindo distante...muito distante...
à lua ou talvez, à morte!
Dentro do meu foguet, estou eu, e algumas pirulas para comer...
Sera uma longa viagem...no Imenso Negro.."
Assim começava o meu conto que ganhou um concurso quando tinha apenas 14 annos.
Contava sobre uma viagem...uma viagem espacial, ao "desconhecido", ao "Imenso Negro".

Visionava à minha historia, sem saber, à "viagem da minha vida"...aquela ao mondo e ao universo! Viagem que me levou a diversos lugares e mundos mas também, ao Zen e à aqui: ShinnyoJi! Eu o intui, tudo era ja ali, no meu conto..Ja naquela epoca!
Continuar esta viagem junto ao Sangha, compartilhando a Via e a joia do Buddha faz o meu conto tornar-se ainda mais verdadeiro e bonito!
A ShinnyoJi respiro o universo e com o Sangha, a serenidade.
Agradeço "ao Imenso Negro" de ter me trazido aqui...

The immense darkness
“I am leaving far… very far away…
to the moon, or maybe to death!
Inside a space ship there are some pills to take…
It will be a long journey… in the immense darkness…”
This is how my story that won a competition went when I was only 14 years old. It was about a trip to outer space, to the “unknown Immense Darkness”.
I had already envisioned the trip of my life, without having known it... the trip between the world and the universe! A journey that brought me to different worlds, to Zen and also here at Shinnyoji! I intuited, everything was already here, in my story... at that time!
Following this trip along with the Sangha, sharing the Way and the joy of the Buddha was my story coming even more true and beautiful.
At Shinnyoji the breath of the universe and with the Sangha, serenity.
Thanks to “The Immense Darkness” for having brought me here…
Rossana

Another year has passed practicing together but physically distant for me. And every year, the distance between myself and the Teacher diminishes. This year, I recognized the power of faith and flexibility. In the search for Zen, I find many unexpected things: patience, mental and physical strength, pace and tenderness. One certainly knows that these things are relative to Zen, ma the way of finding them and trying them surprises me. Rather, it is like Zen finds me, it enters into my being without me noticing, and then I see it in a moment: a feeling, or the absence of a feeling, in a gesture, or when I speak with the Teacher. This opportunity to practice along with you, to be in this modern world that makes this possible, is a great gift. Thanks to the Teacher, to the Patriarchs, and thanks to you.
Tenshin

Sitting in Zazen while conducting a modern life is an experience that at times surprises me, it is a gift whose value I often forget. In fact, it is easy that I fall into the confusion of everyday life: this year my commitments, deadlines, the obligations that constantly fill up my days, make me often look for, with a certain craze, moments of freedom, moments in which everyone who like to dedicate to their own interests, to what they life, to the activities that allow you to remember yourself. In the end, however,
However, in the end, when I managed to get through these times, either short or long periods, the obligations came back to weigh me down, the constant battle to become master of my time and of my life started again anyway.

My Practice for this year developed in this circumstance, aware of Mushin. The Silence that is born between days at the Temple or sitting on my Zafu, it showed to be the greatest gift that I could experience, this has reasonably lightened this search rather than weighing down my moments of freedom, spending precious energy. I can’t communicate with regular words what I have found in this Silence that I have found, I can only say that it has changed my Zazen.

It disperses
The echo of the fields
In the summer wind.
Yūshin

Over the infinity of space and time, the infinitely more infinite love of God comes to possess us. He comes at his own time. We have the power to consent to receive him or to refuse. If we remain deaf, he comes back again and again like a beggar, but also, like a beggar, one day he stops coming. If we consent, God puts a little seed in us and he goes away again. From that moment God has no more to do; neither have we, except to wait.

Simone Weil, Waiting for God, "The Love of God and Affliction (French: malheur);" 1951.

In the rustling silence of the Zendo, the words of the Teacher tell us that one the eyes have opened, even if just for a moment, they can never close again.
I think about the doors, those of the Temple, that we materially remove for a ceremony, or to move a large object between rooms, or the more private doors, that I hear closing somewhere. Sometimes the hinge is simply the breath, the blink of the eye, the instant that is created.

Sometimes I feel like I found something, I felt it in the crash, in the silent echo in the following days. Other times I feel like it is simply the wind that decides. Then one evening, I find myself thinking – but thinking isn’t the correct verb here: you don’t think about an itch, or a missing limb – of what I thought I had left at the threshold, like a lost object at home. What one finds in their hand once you have stopped looking for it, a handle that we have used before. It comes on its own. Sooner or later one finds sand, running between your fingers or under your feet. Perhaps it will ease our time tomorrow, or reveal step as mirages, or a single moment, the wake of a boat on the water, a snake that the wind draws in front of us, levelling the sheaves of wheat in a field.

The first of these is given, we know this every new day, and we forget it as we are distracted, between the lines of a wrinkled forehead, a tossed sheet, a smile. And here we encounter more and more people, and then more. From here on there is nothing taken for granted: the world was there, and we saw it; without reaching out your hand to take it, to have a piece, we watched and it became ours, like a firefly in the grain. I believe that beginning from this point – that is actually no point at all, is just an infinite fraction of an infinite network, stopping images of things that cannot be stopped – meaning to bring a vase of water in your arms, empty as usual, to walk lightly and to remember that we are thirsty vagabonds and that we need to receive; sometimes full, when we encounter someone who sees that we are thirsty.
Gasshō,
Cecilia En-shin

PICTURES FROM THE VIGIL

The Opening Vigil at Shinnyoji

Listening to the notes by Maestro Dami

Listening to the notes by Maestro Dami

Wishes from Shinnyo Roshi who presents the Practice Theme for the New Year

Wishes from Shinnyo Roshi who presents the Practice Theme for the New Year

Participants of the first part of the Vigil at Shinnyoji

The Ino table during the Ceremony

Meal in the Zendo

Shakyō, Transcription of the Sutra

Kin-hin under the stars

Fire Ceremony in the Shinnyoji garden

Fire Ceremony in the Shinnyoji garden

ORDINATIONS – SANBOKIE

Marco, Richard, Massimo and Daniel receive their Rakusu

ORDINATIONS – ZAIKE TOKUDO

Opening of the Third Eye with Michele, Cecilia and Josh

Michele Dō-shin, Cecilia En-shin and Josh Shin-gyō receive their Rakusu with their Dharma name written in calligraphy

Michele Dō-shin, Cecilia En-shin and Josh Shin-gyō receive the Kechimyaku with the Shinnyoji lineage.

The Shinnoji Sangha together with friends and relatives after the Ordinations.

The Sangha of Shinnyoji

Shinnyo Roshi with the new Ordained Practitioners

Shinnyoji Sangha at the end of the Vigil

The Ordained Sangha of Shinnyoji together with the friends of the Temple.

EVENTS
MEETING IN THE VATICAN

On Tuesday, October 27th 2015, the Teacher Shinnyo Roshi alongside monk Yūshin went to Rome to attend, by invitation from The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, the General Meeting on Wednesday, October 28th, led by his Holiness Pope Francesco and dedication of the 50th anniversary of the Nostra Aetate foundation which the Roman Catholic Church inaugurated its relationship with non-Christian religions.
The trip to Roman, focused on inter-religious dialogue, began with a visit to Saint Peter’s Basilica, a place with much spiritual value, therefore recognizing the spiritual heart of the Roman Catholic spirituality, the tradition hosting this initiative.

The following morning rainy weather welcomed the assembly of religious followers from every part of Italy, Europe and the whole world who gathered to be testimonies of this event. The Pontiff’s speech, eased by a temporary moment of clear weather, renewed the proposition of the Second Vatican Counsel of which the Nostra Aetate is a direct expression and completion for promoting the integration of peoples through the belief in the unity of the human family, needs to search for God or the Absolute is an inalienable trait of our nature and it must be preserved and taken care of in this difficult path in connection more and more populations together.
Greeting representatives from different religious Traditions, the Pontiff concluded the Gathering at 12:00 p.m. exiting Saint Peter’s Square.

PAOLO VESCOVO
SERVANT OF THE SERVANTS OF GOD
UNITED WITH THE FATHERS OF THE SACRED COUNCIL
IN CONSTANT MEMORY
DECLARATIONS OF CHURCH RELATIONS
WITH NON-CHRISTIAN RELIGIONS

NOSTRA AETATE

Introduzione
1. In our time, when day by day mankind is being drawn closer together, and the ties between different peoples are becoming stronger, the Church examines more closely her relationship to non-Christian religions. In her task of promoting unity and love among men, indeed among nations, she considers above all in this declaration what men have in common and what draws them to fellowship.
One is the community of all peoples, one their origin, for God made the whole human race to live over the face of the earth. (1) One also is their final goal, God. His providence, His manifestations of goodness, His saving design extend to all men,(2) until that time when the elect will be united in the Holy City, the city ablaze with the glory of God, where the nations will walk in His light.(3)
Men expect from the various religions answers to the unsolved riddles of the human condition, which today, even as in former times, deeply stir the hearts of men: What is man? What is the meaning, the aim of our life? What is moral good, what is sin? Whence suffering and what purpose does it serve? Which is the road to true happiness? What are death, judgment and retribution after death? What, finally, is that ultimate inexpressible mystery which encompasses our existence: whence do we come, and where are we going?

2. From ancient times down to the present, there is found among various peoples a certain perception of that hidden power which hovers over the course of things and over the events of human history; at times some indeed have come to the recognition of a Supreme Being, or even of a Father. This perception and recognition penetrates their lives with a profound religious sense.
Religions, however, that are bound up with an advanced culture have struggled to answer the same questions by means of more refined concepts and a more developed language. Thus in Hinduism, men contemplate the divine mystery and express it through an inexhaustible abundance of myths and through searching philosophical inquiry. They seek freedom from the anguish of our human condition either through ascetical practices or profound meditation or a flight to God with love and trust. Again, Buddhism, in its various forms, realizes the radical insufficiency of this changeable world; it teaches a way by which men, in a devout and confident spirit, may be able either to acquire the state of perfect liberation, or attain, by their own efforts or through higher help, supreme illumination. Likewise, other religions found everywhere try to counter the restlessness of the human heart, each in its own manner, by proposing "ways," comprising teachings, rules of life, and sacred rites. The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men. Indeed, she proclaims, and ever must proclaim Christ "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6), in whom men may find the fullness of religious life, in whom God has reconciled all things to Himself. (4)
The Church, therefore, exhorts her sons, that through dialogue and collaboration with the followers of other religions, carried out with prudence and love and in witness to the Christian faith and life, they recognize, preserve and promote the good things, spiritual and moral, as well as the socio-cultural values found among these men.

3. The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth,(5) who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, His virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the Day of Judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.
Since in the course of centuries not a few quarrels and hostilities have arisen between Christians and Moslems, this sacred synod urges all to forget the past and to work sincerely for mutual understanding and to preserve as well as to promote together for the benefit of all mankind social justice and moral welfare, as well as peace and freedom.

4. As the sacred synod searches into the mystery of the Church, it remembers the bond that spiritually ties the people of the New Covenant to Abraham's stock.
Thus the Church of Christ acknowledges that, according to God's saving design, the beginnings of her faith and her election are found already among the Patriarchs, Moses and the prophets. She professes that all who believe in Christ-Abraham's sons according to faith (6)-are included in the same Patriarch's call, and likewise that the salvation of the Church is mysteriously foreshadowed by the chosen people's exodus from the land of bondage. The Church, therefore, cannot forget that she received the revelation of the Old Testament through the people with whom God in His inexpressible mercy concluded the Ancient Covenant. Nor can she forget that she draws sustenance from the root of that well-cultivated olive tree onto which have been grafted the wild shoots, the Gentiles.(7) Indeed, the Church believes that by His cross Christ, Our Peace, reconciled Jews and Gentiles. Making both one in Himself. (8)
The Church keeps ever in mind the words of the Apostle about his kinsmen: "theirs is the son ship and the glory and the covenants and the law and the worship and the promises; theirs are the fathers and from them is the Christ according to the flesh" (Rom. 9:4-5), the Son of the Virgin Mary. She also recalls that the Apostles, the Church's main-stay and pillars, as well as most of the early disciples who proclaimed Christ's Gospel to the world, sprang from the Jewish people.
As Holy Scripture testifies, Jerusalem did not recognize the time of her visitation,(9) nor did the Jews in large number, accept the Gospel; indeed not a few opposed its spreading.(10) Nevertheless, God holds the Jews most dear for the sake of their Fathers; He does not repent of the gifts He makes or of the calls He issues-such is the witness of the Apostle.(11) In company with the Prophets and the same Apostle, the Church awaits that day, known to God alone, on which all peoples will address the Lord in a single voice and "serve him shoulder to shoulder" (Soph. 3:9).(12)
Since the spiritual patrimony common to Christians and Jews is thus so great, this sacred synod wants to foster and recommend that mutual understanding and respect which is the fruit, above all, of biblical and theological studies as well as of fraternal dialogues.
True, the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ ;( 13) still, what happened in His passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today. Although the Church is the new people of God, the Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures. All should see to it, then, that in catechetical work or in the preaching of the word of God they do not teach anything that does not conform to the truth of the Gospel and the spirit of Christ.
Furthermore, in her rejection of every persecution against any man, the Church, mindful of the patrimony she shares with the Jews and moved not by political reasons but by the Gospel's spiritual love, decries hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone.
Besides, as the Church has always held and holds now, Christ underwent His passion and death freely, because of the sins of men and out of infinite love, in order that all may reach salvation. It is, therefore, the burden of the Church's preaching to proclaim the cross of Christ as the sign of God's all-embracing love and as the fountain from which every grace flows.
5. We cannot truly call on God, the Father of all, if we refuse to treat in a brotherly way any man, created as he is in the image of God. Man's relation to God the Father and his relation to men his brothers are so linked together that Scripture says: "He who does not love does not know God" (1 John 4:8).
No foundation therefore remains for any theory or practice that leads to discrimination between man and man or people and people, so far as their human dignity and the rights flowing from it are concerned.
The Church reproves, as foreign to the mind of Christ, any discrimination against men or harassment of them because of their race, color, condition of life, or religion. On the contrary, following in the footsteps of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, this sacred synod ardently implores the Christian faithful to "maintain good fellowship among the nations" (1 Peter 2:12), and, if possible, to live for their part in peace with all men, (14) so that they may truly be sons of the Father who is in heaven. (15)
Followed by the signature of the Fathers

ANNUAL SOKANBU SEMINAR

Our Teacher Shinnyo Roshi attended the Sokanbu Europe Annual Seminar on November 13-15th, 2015, under her title of Kokusai Fukyōshi, Zen Master missionary responsible for teaching abroad, in Blois, France at La Gendronnière Temple. Alongside Michele Novellini who is thankful for his care and the devotion, along with his service to the entire Sangha of the Temple of the La Gendronnière, attended the Conference held by Rev. Taigen Dan Leighton themed “Dōgen and the Lotus Sutra”. During the Seminar he also participated in the Meeting reserved for the European Kyōshi and Kokusaifukyōshi.

CONFERENCE ON NATURE
Florence, 8 November 2015

Sunday, relaying greetings to the speakers from our Teacher Shinnyo Roshi and communicating her impossibility to attend but available for future events, I went to the “For the Love of Nature” convention, organized by the Ricostruttori, a Christian group sponsored by the Region of Tuscany. The theme was an inter-religious dialogue on Encyclical Letter by Pope Francis: “Laudato Si”. All of the spokespeople expressed their opinion that this Encyclical communicates a clear and strong position for nature in its complex, nature that is also seen, but also the nature that is a part of ourselves.

Pope Francesco also clearly denounced what he calls “crimes against nature”. Pollution and animal suffering have never been addressed in this way. Hindi monk and vice president of the Italian Hindu Union, Svamini Hamsananda Giri affirmed that Hinduism shares the vision of this Encyclical that expresses the concept of not killing and not hurting nature, weather it be plant or animal. We must realize that for the first time, the Christian religion is taking an extreme position encouraging people not to pollute, eat with respect and awareness. It also reminds us of smog issues, how animals treated in slaughterhouses and how some multinational companies manipulate seeds.
The Venerable Losan Gompo Longo, Tibetan Buddhist monk and president of the Italian Buddhist Union expressed, referring to the Four Noble Truths, that Buddhism is completely present in this Encyclical Letter. A Letter that, according to him, can be read and appreciated by any religion, an innovative and ‘inter-religious text.
This is why he invited us to read and know about it because by promoting it, in practice, against the way of life and feeding our ourselves that damages nature, indirectly condemns a certain type of food company and popular business model, that it is not advertised in the media.
Guidalberto Bormolini, priest and monk belonging to the Reconstructionst Group, declared that the Encyclical was “revolutionary”, for all of the reasons previously listed, it in itself is a song, a for for the love of nature, the life that in found in all religions. It is also a song that also expresses beyond the need to follow orders by making your lifestyle in a way that does not cause pain, death or distruction.
Also Hamdan Al-Zeqri, representative of the Islamic Community of Florence, found the Encyclical interesting and that it can also be in agreement with Islam, a religion that prays for the love of nature and people, not that “Islam” that is not at all Islam, created by the ISIS criminals.
The participants expressed complete and deep appreciation for this Encyclical, that as the Honourable Longo said, it is appreciated by whomever has faith in Buddha, in a God, but also, by who has faith in a “not a God”.

Shinden

VISIT TO THE JAPANESE SCHOOL

On Saturday, November 7th at 3:00 p.m. alongside monk Yūshin, visited the “Sandro Pertini” School in Sorgane (FI) as invited by the superintendent for the school for Japanese children in the occasion of Matsuura Masumi. Every Saturday the institute is fill with 120 children to study their original language and culture. Shinnyo Roshi visited the classrooms and greeted the children, bringing them toys and sweets offered by our Temple from Rev. Matsuura Kanshu during the Jizō Bon festival.

ITALIAN BUDDHIST UNION ASSEMBLY

On November 28th 2015, Teacher Iten Shinnyo Roshi, along with practitioner Eishin, participated in the General Assembly of the Italian Buddhist Union (U.B.I.) in Florence at the Kofuiji Temple, belonging to the Honmon Butsuryu Shu (Nichiren School). Roshi represented the President and Spiritual Guide of the Florence Zen Center – Temple Shinnyoji.

The Assembly, the statutory organization of the U.B.I. gathered to examine and discuss inherent questions regarding the administration, association and needs for current and future projects.  

RELICS OF THE BUDDHA EXPOSITION

On October 9th, Teacher Shinnyo Roshi, alongside monk Yūshin, attended the opening of the show “Maitreya Tour” organized by the Tibetan Buddhists from the Center EWAM Earth of Unification, Center for Tibetan studies and practice that was held in the A. Berti Center in Sesto Fiorentino October 9-11.

It comprised of a precious collection of sacred relics of the Buddha and several other Buddhist Teachers. The show is currently touring the world and has already visited 68 countries and reaching over 2.3 million visitors in Europe, Asia and in the Americas.

At 6:00 p.m. the show opened with a recitation of the Heart Sutra which was followed by an intervention from our Teacher, dedicated to the Universal Compassion that created this manifestation into the spiritual cornerstone of brotherhood that united all Buddhist sects. A bahá'í prayer concluded the opening after the intervention.

After having paid respect to the Buddha Maitreya and after offering a personal blessing ceremony, the Teacher Shinnyo Roshi inaugurated the visit to the relics. The Teacher was able to speak with many of the visitors and organizers throughout the event, aligned with her spirit of inter-religiosity that she previously has expressed. The Director of the EWAM Center, Paolo Mori, wanted to invite Shinnyo Roshi to the Consecration Ceremony of the new location of the EWAM Center that will be officiated by Lama Ciampa Monlam on November 20th. In the following days, many of our practitioners accepted the invitation from the Teacher and enthusiastically visited the exposition.

Exhibit Inauguration
“Maitreya Tour: The Relics of the Buddhas”
Friday, October 9th 2015, 6:00 p.m.
Berti Exposition Center, Via P. Bernini 57 Sesto Fiorentino.
Organized by the EWAM Buddhist Center

The relics of these great teachers were found amongst the ashes after a ritual cremation process, they seem like beautiful crystal pearls. It is an unexplained phenomenon, recorded many times by independent observers, that still occurs today after the cremation of deceased great teachers in Tibet or India. The disciples believe that the symbolize the spiritual quality of compassion and wisdom of the teacher and that they are deliberately created by the teacher at the time of their death.
According to Buddhist tradition, meditators are able to consciously pass through the death process, remaining in the body to meditate, even after the breath has stopped for days or weeks without beginning the decomposition process. This phenomenon was also recorded several times by various independent observers, including Western doctors.

The visit to the exhibit gave the chance for an interior experience, to pray for world peace and to develop loving wisdom, compassion and generosity that are the qualities cultivated the teachers. The relics were displayed well in containers surrounding a golden statue that is the actual size of the Maitreya Buddha. The visitors could attend a blessing ceremony in which the Buddha relics were placed upon the heads of the visitors as personal blessing. According the Buddhist scriptures, Maitreya is the Buddha of the future whose main message is to promote loving generosity, empathy and compassion.
In a few years the relics will be mounted onto a bronze statue of the Buddha Maitreya 150 feet / 45 meters high that will be built in Kushinagar, in Northern India. This project will also build sanitary structures and urban planning in poor areas of India, creating jobs and a chance for economic and social development.

Speech by Rev. Iten Shinnyo for the inauguration of the exhibit.

It is a blessing for us to be in contact with the Relics of the Buddha and Great Teachers today.

The Buddha left his home and fully dedicated himself to the practice of asceticism and to the spiritual search to give us the Way of freedom from worldly suffering, that each one of us can experience and take part.

The great Teachers lived their lives entirely dedicated to the Practice for the good of others. Their examples still guide us today on the Way of faith for a better world, in a world of patience and community.

Each one of us, in our everyday lives, can recognize the immense value of interconnection within ourselves and the interdependence with everything and the effort to live our lives respectfully amongst others, with the dignity of the Buddha, with the love and the compassion for every sentient being, every being from your neighbour to the pebbles trampled upon on a hike up a mountain. And so the beautiful words, such as peace, brotherhood, inter-religiosity, deep contact with others, fill us with meaning and content.

They are no longer just works, but rather, they become the fruit of our own Practice, fo our own existence and flow in harmony and support the entire Universe.

We must care for and transmit the splendid light of the Buddha Relics and their infinite merits and always keep them alive in our hearts, along with the spirit of gratefulness and thankfulness for the life that has been given to us, that allows us to live sacred moments like this one.

The Buddhas and the Ancient Teachers, whose benefits of Merits we are admiring in this room, which we can greatly benefit from thanks to their Compassion, they guide us in opening our hearts, offering and welcoming their example and their Teachings and we turn to them with devotion strong in our faith in the Way of Freedom from suffering, that has been indicated to us.

Doing not only personal good, but also for beings, cultivating communication, we surely give our own personal contribution in building a world beyond the fear of the other, where every difference has its natural reason of being and therefore its unique expression of existing. Ina world where serenity, peace and harmony are clearly manifested in connection with the entire Universe.

Rev. Iten Shinnyo Marradi

Italian Buddhist Union
PRESS RELEASE

From: Italian Buddhist Union < unionebuddhistaitaliana@gmail.com
Date: 18 November 2015 10:24
Subject: press release published on Saturday 14 November
To: Italian Buddhist Union - Secretary < unionebuddhistaitaliana@gmail.com >

Dear Associted Centers,
I am sending the press release that was published on the UBI site and on the UBI Facebook pages on Saturday 14 November regarding the tragic events in Paris.

"PRESS RELEASE

The Italian Buddhist Union, regarding the violent events that occurred in Paris and the concern and discomfort that is being widespread, bringing along with it anxiety, distance and fear, we empathize with France and the French people and with all who have, in these dark times, continue to support dialogue and peacefulness as a frontier for a possible peaceful future.

The violence and ignorance fight each other, creating antibodies able to confront attacks to the fundamental values of togetherness and human community.

In this painful moment we are choosing with even more conviction to walk together in reconciliation and confirm the unbreakable rights of each person.

Sincerely,
The UBI secretary

TESTIMONIES FROM ABROAD

Dear Teacher Shinnyo,
How are you? I am doing well. I am working in a factory that is sometimes tiring, but I also enjoy it. It is a nice job to have. I am also very happy that I was able to see you again at the Temple and to receive your warm welcome. It was wonderful to have my Rakusu around my neck again!! Thank you for your blessing!

Walking along the path isn’t a question of near or far, as one says.
I waited to write you this letter so I could add some photos from Henna – but I still haven’t received any. I saw the, they are beautiful, full of warmth and happiness. I will send you them when they arrive.
The Jukai retreat that I mentioned starts today. I am packing my things. My practice at Shinnyoji is a part of myself that is always with me.
A Hug
Gasshō
Ismo

Jukai Retreat in Finland

Life in New York is frenetic, full of movement, changes, anything can happen, it takes a lot of flexibility to live here. I have learned many lessons on the impermanence of life and my tendency to get attached to things and people, in search of a safe place, an absolute. But permanence doesn’t exist in life... just like this city, everything and everyone is in a phase of metamorphosis in some way. This summer I lived this reality.
Shortly after my visit to Shinnyoji, a bad things happened between myself and some friends who I trusted very much. This situation shocked even New Yorkers, who have seen a bit of everything, I didn’t expect such a thing at all. Because of this event, I had to leave my apartment with just a few days to find a new place. With help from my boyfriend, I moved three times: 2 subleases lasting 1 month, and then the apartment where I live now.
Amongst all of this confusion, I recognized a very simple lesson: Zen is here and now. It is not mandatory to have a perfectly composed altar, incense, candles, all you need is a pillow and a bit of space on the ground to sit. A while back, I would have waited to have the correct set up to do Zazen, but in these months, I sat regardless of where I was. I learned that in the same sense, we are always walking upon the Path, regardless if we are doing well or not, if life is easy or difficult, if we are close or far from our Temple, Teacher, etc. We are incarnations of our Practice and of the Bodhisattva’s Zen, I could have just as well left Shinnyoji, but practicing Zen and following a Teacher doesn’t have a place. Shinnyoji isn’t only on via Vittorio Emanuele II, 171, but is found everywhere. I returned to the United States nearly 3 years ago, and I always feel closer and closer to the Teacher and to the Sangha. Many people who live close to the Temple abandon the practice, therefore, we can see that the physical location doesn’t matter, only where you’re heart lives. I am thankful for my Dharma name that the Teacher gave me: Ten = Sky, which is everywhere.

I am lucky to have had so much help and support during that time, from friends near and far, from my boyfriend and family. But beyond those who support us and the Teacher who guides us, the decision to get up a bit earlier in the morning or stay up a bit later in the evening to do Zazen is a decision that we exclusively make on our own. I believe that it is this silent determination, this care that we take for ourselves everyday that unites us together, and even deeper, with our Lineage and the Universe.
The Teacher’s job is not easy at all, but it should be easier because her teachings are also so simple. We often write to each other and meet on Skype when we can. I tell her about my personal Practice, my life, and concerns and she always in the end, leaves me with the same advice: to sit in Zazen. I am amazed by the whirlpool in my mind, how it constantly searches for false absolutes. Every step upon the Way is the same, every step is the first, simple, just like sitting in Zazen.
Gasshō
Tenshin

Central Park

Dogmi
It’s everywhere: in religions, in philosophies and also in ways of speech and behaviour. God, the Soul, the Beyond, Nam Myoho Renge Kyo as inheritance from the Fundamental Law (of life) the Transmigration of energy and not the Soul, according to causes and conditions.. but who tells us to enter upon the Path? Simply to have us discover what we have...
Have a good evening Teacher.
Gasshō.
Michele Dō-shin

ACTIVITIES

At the Zazen on Friday, Octover 16th, in which Sensei Ki-Aikidō, Silvio Fortunato, along with his wife, visiting the Temple to meet Teacher Shinnyo Roshi

CONFERENCE BY PROF. ALDO TOLLINI

Saturday, October 24 at the Sesshin, Prof. Aldo Tollini from the Università Cà Foscari di Venezia held a conference called “The Beauty of the Flower is in its Evanescence... a reading of Kūge by Dōgen”

Sesshin 23-24 October

Zazenkai 8 November

Sesshin 20-22 November


PRATICE RETREATS

Zazenkai: 8 November; 6 December

Sesshin: 23-24 October; 20-22 November.

Rohatsu Vigil: 7-8 December

Rohatsu Vigil– 7-8 December Fabio Daishin, Linda Cocchi, Lisa Tenshin e Michele Dō-shin
Translation into English by Lisa Tenshin
Redazione a cura di Ivano EiShin

Practice Calendar:

Zazen – every Monday evening from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m.
Zazen – every Friday evening from 8:00 to 9:30 p.m.
Zazenkai – a Sunday per month from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Sesshin – a weekend per month from Friday 8:00 p.m. to Sunday 2:00 p.m.

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