Symposium: 40th Anniversary of Tendai-Shu Outside Japan

Re: Symposium: 40th Anniversary of Tendai-Shu Outside Japan

Postby jikai » Sun Dec 08, 2013 10:05 am

Hi guys,

I have now returned myself, from Japan. As Jikan sensei has articulated so well the Symposium itself was an excellent opportunity to connect not only with Tendai Japan, but also those all around the globe working so hard to bring Tendai to their corner. Again as Jikan Sensei mentioned, Hieizan is a truly spiritual place, and it is well worth the effort required in getting there, to anyone Tendai or otherwise, who wishes to make contact with that 'old-time' spirituality/ Buddhism that is fast disappearing in the contemporary context.

This was my second time to Hieizan, but was no less treasurable an experience than the first. Entering the Konponchudo is like entering into another world. As you pass through the entrance and walk along the covered walkway up into the Hondo itself, the structure gives the impression that 'outside' is no longer there. After the Symposium was over, I spent a few more days in Japan and went back up the mountain again, and was fortunate enough to listen to a sermon in the Konponchudo, which seemed to touch upon this feeling. The Monk mentioned the fact that when we enter into these places where Buddhist practice has been undertaken sincerely for generation upon generation, we enter into that sincerity. What we are outside does not matter- we are part of this lineage of practice that stretches back long before us, and will stretch on long after 'us'.

The Museum on Hieizan is also a very humbling experience. One of the first items is Dengyo Daishi's Treasure of a nation (国の宝は何物ぞ). Being able to look at the manuscript itself, and read along with it, felt like I was reading it with Daishi sama himself. Other magnificent items included the life size statue of Ryogen sama which many know from the cover of the book on the man.

It was fantastic to meet Jikan sensei, Cloudwater sensei face to face, and to extend greetings to all the other Tendai'ists'. I hope these connections are maintained and strengthened in the future. Likewise, I would like to express my well-wishes for Ganshin sensei and hope that he is informed of the proceedings in due course. I also hope that I may make his acquaintance in the near future.

Thank you for your kind words regarding Ara sensei, Jiryo sensei, and Ryoei sensei's papers Jikan sensei. I will pass them on. You are quite right about Ara sensei's speech. He discussed those things he has achieved over the last forty years. He explained that Jion Haba sensei was the figure responsible for the overseas mission, without whom, Tendai largely had no interest in overseas proselytising. He also expressed sincere humility and apologised to the Tendai establishment and lineage for not having achieved more in that time. He asked that Tendai and more specifically the Jigyodan nurture those seeds he has planted and the overseas Tendai mission.

Please pass on my well wishes and admiration to Monshin sensei. I was glad to finally be able to put a person to the successes of the New York Betsuin.

I know Ryoei sensei, and I too was a little lost during here speech- Mathematics has never been a strength of mine. Discussing with her later, it seemed her point was to discuss the intersubjectivity central to Tendai thought, and suggest that that requires as much interest from the overseas missions in Japanese Tendai, and also by Japanese Tendai in the overseas missions.

Meeting His Holiness Venerable Kojun Handa, current Zasu of Tendai was another wonderful experience. For a very elderly man, his Shomyo, and genki-ness was immensely inspiring. At the feast afterwards, myself, Jiryo sensei, and Shomon sensei were introduced to him personally. His Holiness spoke to Shomon sensei about his time in the Scandinavia and relayed a rather comical story- during a trip there to perform Shomyo, he needed the bathroom but did not possess the linguistic skills necessary to express said desire. He then praised her for her activities and encouraged her to continue. He told Jiryo sensei to keep working hard and talked to him about how hot Australia might be when we returned. Then I introduced myself and expressed my respect. His response to me was short but to the point- "ah you! I have heard about you, you will go to Gyoin. I don't need to tell you what to do, you know where the road ahead goes. I will talk to you when that is done." I must admit I did feel like someone in their own 'Zen story'.

I think the Symposium for me highlighted the need for us all to consolidate. I realised that many of the resources we have at the Hawaii Betsuin are only immediately available to those of us who are students of Ara Sensei. Likewise, we do not have immediate access to the resources at the New York Betsuin and so forth. Having discussed this with Ara sensei, and to Monshin sensei somewhat, I hope we can all work to remedy these situations. P.S I really enjoyed hearing you guys from New York and connected Sogya chant the heart sutra in English, very interesting.

Any questions about the proceedings, feel free to ask guys.
gassho,
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Re: Symposium: 40th Anniversary of Tendai-Shu Outside Japan

Postby Jikan » Mon Dec 09, 2013 4:44 pm

jikai wrote:I think the Symposium for me highlighted the need for us all to consolidate. I realised that many of the resources we have at the Hawaii Betsuin are only immediately available to those of us who are students of Ara Sensei. Likewise, we do not have immediate access to the resources at the New York Betsuin and so forth. Having discussed this with Ara sensei, and to Monshin sensei somewhat, I hope we can all work to remedy these situations. .


I wholeheartedly agree with Jikai's overall post, and with this point in particular. Thank you for offering your perspective!
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Re: Symposium: 40th Anniversary of Tendai-Shu Outside Japan

Postby Seicho » Tue Dec 10, 2013 2:56 pm

Jikan wrote:Shomon Pia Trans' paper described in some detail the extensive and intensive Dharma activities she's initiated in Denmark. Since her paper was itself a summary of these projects, it is not easy to summarize! This excerpt is representative and suggestive of her accomplishments and that of the sangha she leads:

Now, around 300 families belong to the Tendai Sangha. We use our Dharma Centre for sangha meetings, study classes and other events, and we have small groups in all of Denmark's four biggest cities, all of which meet locally on weekly or monthly basis. This means that no person in DK is more than a good 100km away from a Tendai group


There are translations into Danish, and collaborations with interested persons elsewhere in Europe (esp. in Scandinavia) underway as well. So many things going on and springing up... it's really quite wonderful and difficult not to be impressed with how much has been accomplished in a relatively short window of time in Denmark.

One question I've never quite had the nerve to ask the Danish sangha concerns the kaihogyo. Denmark is a lovely place, but geographically, it's flat. There are no mountains to speak of. Is it necessary to travel abroad in order to practice around a mountain?


Shomon's level of activity is indeed impressive. I'm not sure how she manages to do all the things she does. It seems like there's always a book she's either written or translated in the press. We are currently working on translating a book she wrote a few years ago into English. It's like a Buddhism 101 from a Tendai perspective.

Regarding mountains and kaihogyo. We don't have any mountains at all, you will however find some nice hilly places but that's about as crazy as it gets here. A trip to Sweden or Norway might be needed if you want to practice around a mountain.
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Re: Symposium: 40th Anniversary of Tendai-Shu Outside Japan

Postby Seishin » Thu Sep 11, 2014 12:17 pm

Here is the booklet for the symposium in PDF format. Well worth a read for all those interested in Tendai http://www.tendai.or.jp/english/image/p ... mphlet.pdf

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Re: Symposium: 40th Anniversary of Tendai-Shu Outside Japan

Postby Tatsuo » Wed Sep 17, 2014 12:25 pm

Thank you so much for the link Seishin! This book booklet is really great! :) Do you know if it is available in print somewhere?
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Re: Symposium: 40th Anniversary of Tendai-Shu Outside Japan

Postby Seishin » Wed Sep 17, 2014 1:17 pm

Possibly from Mt Hiei or one of the Temples linked with the Tendai Overseas Charity, such as the US Tendai Institute? :shrug: Jikan-san may have a better idea.
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Re: Symposium: 40th Anniversary of Tendai-Shu Outside Japan

Postby Jikan » Wed Sep 17, 2014 3:13 pm

I don't know. It would be worth inquiring to the Jigyodan about this (the Overseas Mission for Tendai-shu). I did have two hard copies, but I put them in distribution in an informal lending library we have in our little sangha... and I'm afraid they've sprouted legs and walked.
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Re: Symposium: 40th Anniversary of Tendai-Shu Outside Japan

Postby Tatsuo » Wed Sep 17, 2014 3:50 pm

Thank you for your quick reply! :) Somehow I overlooked this thread until you posted the link for the booklet. I'm glad to hear, that Tendaishu tries to build up the international sangha more and I fully agree with Monshins approach. After some time it might even be possible to establish a monastic sangha as Keisho is describing.
I also agree with what you said about the effort everyone has to put into it. From my own experience, however, I know that it is not always possible to study and practise intensively or to travel a lot. Maybe those, who do not have the means to do that, cannot practise Tendai - but after reading the excerpts from the papers, the path seems to be clear :)
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Re: Symposium: 40th Anniversary of Tendai-Shu Outside Japan

Postby Tatsuo » Wed Sep 17, 2014 3:52 pm

Jikan wrote:It would be worth inquiring to the Jigyodan about this (the Overseas Mission for Tendai-shu). I did have two hard copies, but I put them in distribution in an informal lending library we have in our little sangha... and I'm afraid they've sprouted legs and walked.

How can one contact the Jigyodan? Are they situated in Japan?
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Re: Symposium: 40th Anniversary of Tendai-Shu Outside Japan

Postby Jikan » Wed Sep 17, 2014 5:08 pm

On second thought, perhaps it's best to inquire at the Hawaii Betsuin or at the New York Betsuin.

Yes, the Jigyodan is based in Japan, and many of its members speak excellent English. I do not think they receive many inquiries from people who do not already have a connection to a temple outside of Japan, however.
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Re: Symposium: 40th Anniversary of Tendai-Shu Outside Japan

Postby Tatsuo » Wed Sep 17, 2014 5:58 pm

Thank you for the tip :)
I asked the New York Betsuin about the booklet. Does the Jigyodan publish English speaking texts about Tendaishu?
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Re: Symposium: 40th Anniversary of Tendai-Shu Outside Japan

Postby Jikan » Wed Sep 17, 2014 6:15 pm

Not that I know of. However, there are many things I do not know of!
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Re: Symposium: 40th Anniversary of Tendai-Shu Outside Japan

Postby Tatsuo » Wed Sep 17, 2014 9:42 pm

I see. Thank you Jikan. :) Maybe the TBI will publish texts in the future (wasn't there a plan to publish an introduction to Tendai? I don't know if I remember correctly...)
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Re: Symposium: 40th Anniversary of Tendai-Shu Outside Japan

Postby Jikan » Thu Sep 18, 2014 5:27 pm

Yes, there's a volume we call the "lay manual" that has been in draft form for many years. It's being re-revised again presently. I'm not sure what the expectation for it is, but I do hope it's published for the general public.
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Re: Symposium: 40th Anniversary of Tendai-Shu Outside Japan

Postby Tatsuo » Fri Sep 19, 2014 12:20 pm

Yes, I hope so too. It is not easy to find publications of Tendaishu in English. An introduction to Tendai from a practitioners point of view is really needed.
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