PDF Ancient Dragon Zen Gate Chant Book

Heart of Great Perfect Wisdom Sutra

Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva, when deeply practicing prajna paramita, clearly saw that all * five skandhas are empty and thus relieved all suffering. Shariputra, form does not differ from emptiness, emptiness does not differ from form. Form itself is emptiness, emptiness itself form. Sensations, perceptions, formations, and consciousness are also like this. Shariputra, all dharmas are marked by emptiness; they neither arise nor cease, are neither defiled nor pure, neither increase nor decrease. Therefore, given emptiness, there is no form, no sensation, no perception, no formation, no consciousness; no eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind; no sights, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no object of mind, no realm of sight, down to no realm of mind consciousness. There is neither ignorance nor extinction of ignorance, down to neither old age and death, nor extinction of old age and death; no suffering, no cause, no cessation, no path; no knowledge and no attainment. With nothing to attain, a bodhisattva relies on prajna paramita * and thus the mind is without hindrance. Without hindrance, there is no fear. Far beyond all inverted views, one realizes nirvana. All buddhas of past, present, and future rely on prajna paramita * and thereby attain unsurpassed, complete, perfect enlightenment. Therefore, know the prajna paramita as the great miraculous mantra, the great bright mantra, the supreme mantra, the incomparable mantra, which removes all suffering and is true, not false. Therefore we proclaim the prajna paramita mantra, the mantra that says:
* Gate Gate Paragate *Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha.

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Hymn to the Perfection of Wisdom

Homage to the Perfection of Wisdom, the lovely, the holy. The Perfection of Wisdom gives light. Unstained, the entire world cannot stain her. She is the source of light, and from everyone in the triple world she removes darkness. Most excellent are her works. She brings light so that all fear and distress may be forsaken, and disperses the gloom and darkness of delusion. She herself is an organ of vision. She has a clear knowledge of the own-being of all dharmas, for she does not stray away from it. The Perfection of Wisdom of the Buddhas sets in motion the Wheel of Dharma.

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This is what should be accomplished by the one who is wise, who seeks the good and has obtained peace:

Let one be strenuous, upright and sincere, without pride, easily contented and joyous. Let one not be submerged by the things of the world.

Let one not take upon ones self the burden of riches. Let ones senses be controlled. Let one be wise, but not puffed up, and let one not desire great possessions even for ones family.

Let one do nothing that is mean or that the wise would reprove.

May all beings be happy.

May they be joyous and live in safety.

All living beings, whether weak or strong, in high or middle or low realms of existence, small or great, visible or invisible, near or far, born or to be born, may all beings be happy.

Let no one deceive another, nor despise any being in any state; let none by anger or hatred wish harm to another.

Even as a mother at the risk of her life watches over and protects her only child, so with a boundless mind should one cherish all living things, suffusing love over the entire world, above, below and all around without limit; so let one cultivate an infinite good will toward the whole world.

Standing or walking, sitting or lying down, during all ones waking hours let one practice the Way with gratitude.

Not holding to fixed views, endowed with insight, freed from sense appetites, one who achieves the Way will be freed from the duality of birth and death.

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Inconceivable Life Span of the Buddha

Lotus Sutra, chapter, 16

Since I attained buddhahood, The number of kalpas that have passed
Is incalculable hundreds, thousands, myriads, And billions of long aeons.
Constantly I have voiced the Dharma, teaching
Countless millions living beings, So that they entered the Buddha Way;
All this for immeasurable kalpas.
In order to liberate all beings,
As skillful means I appear to have entered nirvana,
Yet truly I am not extinct, Ever dwelling here to voice the Dharma
I forever abide in this world, But use my powers of spiritual penetration
So that confused living beings, Though nearby, fail to see me.
All those viewing me as extinct Everywhere venerate my relics.
All harbor feelings of yearning, And arouse adoring hearts.
When beings have become sincerely faithful,
Honest and upright, with gentle intention,
Wholeheartedly wishing to behold the Buddha,
Not begrudging their own lives,
Then I and the assembled sangha
Appear together on sacred Vulture Peak.
Then I tell the living beings
That in this world I exist without end,
By the power of expedient means, Appearing to be extinct, or not.
Other countries contain living beings, Reverent and with faith aspiring;
Among them as well, I give voice to supreme Dharma.
Those who do not hear this
Only suppose I am passed into extinction.
I behold the living beings, Sunk within the sea of suffering.
Hence I do not reveal myself, But set them all to yearning,
Till when their hearts are filled with longing,
I then emerge and proclaim the Dharma.
With such pervasive spiritual power, Through long cycles of kalpa
I abide on sacred Vulture Peak, And every other dwelling place.
When living beings see the kalpas end,
With all consumed in a great blaze,
My domain stays serene and calm,
Ever filled with human and heavenly beings,
Gardens and groves, pavilions and palaces,
Adorned with every kind of gem
And jeweled trees lush with flowers and fruit,
Where living beings delight and play.
The heavenly beings beat celestial drums, Ever making pleasing music,
Showering white Mandarava flowers
Over Buddha and the great assembly.
My Pure Land is not destroyed, Yet all view it as being burnt up,
So that anxiety, horror, and distress Fill them everywhere.
The beings vexed with their offenses,
Caused by their unwholesome karma,
Through vast rounds of kalpas,
Hear not the name of the Three Treasures.
But those who practice virtuous deeds, Are gentle, upright, and sincere,
These all see that I exist, Abiding here, proclaiming Dharma.
At times for the sake of that assembly,
I describe Buddhas life span as immeasurable.
For those who after great lengths see the Buddha
I explain how rarely is Buddha encountered.
Such is the power of my wisdom
With beams of insight shining beyond measure.
This life span of countless kalpas
Was gained from long-cultivated practice.
You who are possessed of wisdom,
In regards to this, entertain no doubts,
Cast them off, forever ended, For Buddhas words are true, not false.
Like the good physician who with skillful means,
In order to cure his deranged children,
Though truly alive spreads word he is dead,
Yet cannot be charged with falsehood,
I too, as parent of the world, Savior of all suffering and afflicted,
For the sake of confused, worldly people,
Though truly living, am thought extinct.
If due to always seeing me, Their hearts become selfish and arrogant,
Dissolute and set on the five desires, Theyd fall into evil destinies.
I always know which living beings Practice the Way, and which do not.
In accord with what their salvation requires,
I give voice to the various teachings,
Ever making this my thought:
How can I cause the living beings
To gain entry into the unsurpassed way
And promptly embody Buddha?
Since I attained buddhahood, The number of kalpas that have passed
Is incalculable hundreds, thousands, myriads, And billions of long aeons.
Constantly I have voiced the Dharma, teaching
Countless millions living beings, So that they entered the Buddha Way;
All this for immeasurable kalpas.
In order to liberate all beings,
As skillful means I appear to have entered nirvana,
Yet truly I am not extinct, Ever dwelling here to voice the Dharma
I forever abide in this world, But use my powers of spiritual penetration
So that confused living beings, Though nearby, fail to see me.
All those viewing me as extinct Everywhere venerate my relics.
All harbor feelings of yearning, And arouse adoring hearts.
When beings have become sincerely faithful,
Honest and upright, with gentle intention,
Wholeheartedly wishing to behold the Buddha,
Not begrudging their own lives,
Then I and the assembled sangha
Appear together on sacred Vulture Peak.
Then I tell the living beings
That in this world I exist without end,
By the power of expedient means, Appearing to be extinct, or not.
Other countries contain living beings, Reverent and with faith aspiring;
Among them as well, I give voice to supreme Dharma.
Those who do not hear this
Only suppose I am passed into extinction.
I behold the living beings, Sunk within the sea of suffering.
Hence I do not reveal myself, But set them all to yearning,
Till when their hearts are filled with longing,
I then emerge and proclaim the Dharma.
With such pervasive spiritual power, Through long cycles of kalpa
I abide on sacred Vulture Peak, And every other dwelling place.
When living beings see the kalpas end,
With all consumed in a great blaze,
My domain stays serene and calm,
Ever filled with human and heavenly beings,
Gardens and groves, pavilions and palaces,
Adorned with every kind of gem
And jeweled trees lush with flowers and fruit,
Where living beings delight and play.
The heavenly beings beat celestial drums, Ever making pleasing music,
Showering white Mandarava flowers
Over Buddha and the great assembly.
My Pure Land is not destroyed, Yet all view it as being burnt up,
So that anxiety, horror, and distress Fill them everywhere.
The beings vexed with their offenses,
Caused by their unwholesome karma,
Through vast rounds of kalpas,
Hear not the name of the Three Treasures.
But those who practice virtuous deeds, Are gentle, upright, and sincere,
These all see that I exist, Abiding here, proclaiming Dharma.
At times for the sake of that assembly,
I describe Buddhas life span as immeasurable.
For those who after great lengths see the Buddha
I explain how rarely is Buddha encountered.
Such is the power of my wisdom
With beams of insight shining beyond measure.
This life span of countless kalpas
Was gained from long-cultivated practice.
You who are possessed of wisdom,
In regards to this, entertain no doubts,
Cast them off, forever ended, For Buddhas words are true, not false.
Like the good physician who with skillful means,
In order to cure his deranged children,
Though truly alive spreads word he is dead,
Yet cannot be charged with falsehood,
I too, as parent of the world, Savior of all suffering and afflicted,
For the sake of confused, worldly people,
Though truly living, am thought extinct.
If due to always seeing me, Their hearts become selfish and arrogant,
Dissolute and set on the five desires, Theyd fall into evil destinies.
I always know which living beings Practice the Way, and which do not.
In accord with what their salvation requires,
I give voice to the various teachings,
Ever making this my thought:
How can I cause the living beings
To gain entry into the unsurpassed way
And promptly embody Buddha?

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Universal Gateway of Kanzeon Bodhisattva

Louts Sutra, chapter 25

Listen to the deeds of Kanzeon (Regarder of the Worlds Sounds):
Aptly responding in every quarter,
Who with immense vow deep as oceans,
Throughout kalpas beyond reckoning,
Has served many billions of Buddhas, Bringing forth this great pure vow
Hearing the name or seeing the form of Kanzeon
With mindful remembrance is not vain,
For thus can be erased the woes of existence.
Even if someone with harmful intent
Should push you into a great fiery pit,
By mindfully invoking Kanzeons power,The pit of fire will turn into a pond.
If floating on a vast sea, Menaced by dragons, fish, or demons,
By mindfully invoking Kanzeons power, The billowing waves cannot drown you.
If from Mount Sumerus lofty peak, Someone were to hurl you down,
By mindfully invoking Kanzeons power,Like the sun you would hang in the sky.
If pursued by evil men, Down from a diamond mountain,
By mindfully invoking Kanzeons power,They could not harm a single hair.
If surrounded by vicious bandits, Each wielding a sword, set for assault,
By mindfully invoking Kanzeons power,At once their hearts will be turned to compassion.
If, subject to persecution from dictators, You face torture and execution,
By mindfully invoking Kanzeons power,Their weapons will thereby shatter to pieces.
If imprisoned in shackles and chains, Hands and feet bound in restraints,
By mindfully invoking Kanzeons power, Suddenly you shall be released.
If by curses or poisonous herbs, Someone wishes to hurt your body,
By mindfully invoking Kanzeons power,The harm will rebound to its initiator.
If you meet evil goblins, poison dragons, or various demons,
By mindfully invoking Kanzeons power, None will dare do harm.
If surrounded by raging beasts, With sharp fangs and dreadful claws,By mindfully invoking Kanzeons power,They will quickly scatter in all directions.
If venomous snakes or scorpions,
Threaten with noxious, flaming breath,
By mindfully invoking Kanzeons power,Upon hearing your voice they will turn and depart.
If clouds thunder and lightning strikes,
When hailstones fall, and it rains in torrents,
By mindfully invoking Kanzeons power, Instantly they will dissipate.
When living beings suffer hardships, burdened by immeasurable woes,
The power of Kanzeons wondrous wisdom
Can relieve the suffering of the world.
Fully endowed with miraculous powers,
Widely practicing wisdom and skillful means,
In every land in all directions, in no realm does Kanzeon not appear.
In all the various evil destinies,
Of hell beings, hungry ghosts, and animals,
The sufferings of birth, old age, sickness, and death,
All are gradually erased by Kanzeon,
Whose true regard, serene regard, far-reaching wise regard,
Regard with compassion and loving kindness,
Is ever longed for, ever revered.
Unblemished, serene radiance; Benevolent sun, dispelling all gloom,
Kanzeon can subdue the wind and fire of woes,
Clearly illuminating all the world.
The precepts of compassion roar like thunder,
The kind heart is wondrous as great clouds,
Pouring Dharma rain of sweet dew,
Quenching all flames of troubling passion.
When accused by lawyers in courts, Or terrified amid soldiers in combat,
By mindfully invoking Kanzeons power, All hostilities will be dispersed.
The wondrous voice of Kanzeon,
Pure as Brahma-voiced sounds of the tides,
Surpasses all sounds within the world,
Therefore ever keep it in mind. In each thought with never a doubt,
Kanzeon, the pure sage, in pain, agony, or deaths distress,
Can provide a sure support. Fully endowed with all virtues,
Eyes of compassion behold all beings,
Assembling a boundless ocean of happiness.
Thus, with reverence, bow in prostration.

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The Harmony of Difference and Sameness

The mind of the great sage of India
is intimately transmitted from west to east.

While human faculties are sharp or dull, the Way has no northern or southern ancestors.

The spiritual source shines clear in the light;
the branching streams flow on in the dark.

Grasping at things is surely delusion; according with sameness is still not enlightenment.

All the objects of the senses
interact and yet do not.

Interacting brings involvement.
Otherwise, each keeps its place

Sights vary in quality and form,
sounds differ as pleasing or harsh.

Refined and common speech come together in the dark,
clear and murky phrases are distinguished in the light.

The four elements return to their natures
just as a child turns to its mother;

Fire heats, wind moves,
water wets, earth is solid.

Eye and sights, ear and sounds,
nose and smells, tongue and tastes;

Thus with each and every thing,
depending on these roots, the leaves spread forth.

Trunk and branches share the essence;
revered and common, each has its speech.

In the light there is darkness,
but don't take it as darkness;

In the dark there is light,
but don't see it as light.

Light and dark oppose one another
like the front and back foot in walking.

Each of the myriad things has its merit,
expressed according to function and place.

Phenomena exist; box and lid fit.
principle responds; arrowpoints meet.

Hearing the words, understand the meaning;
don't set up standards of your own.

If you don't understand the Way right before you,
how will you know the path as you walk?

Progress is not a matter of far or near,
but if you are confused, mountains and rivers block your way.

I respectfully urge you who study the mystery,
do not pass your days and nights in vain.

By Shitou Xiqian (Sekito Kisen; 700-790)

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Song of the Grass Hut

I've built a grass hut where there's nothing of value.
After eating, I relax and enjoy a nap.

When it was completed, fresh weeds appeared.
Now it's been lived in-covered by weeds.

The person in the hut lives here calmly,
not stuck to inside, outside, or in-between.

Places worldly people live, he doesn't live.
Realms worldly people love, she doesn't love.

Though the hut is small, it includes the entire world.
In ten feet square, an old man illumines forms and their nature.

A Mahayana bodhisattva trusts without doubt.
The middling or lowly can't help wondering;

Will this hut perish or not?
Perishable or not, the original master is present,

Not dwelling south or north, east or west.
Firmly based on steadiness, it can't be surpassed.

A shining window below the green pines-
jade palaces or vermilion towers can't compare with it.

Just sitting with head covered all things are at rest.
Thus, this mountain monk doesn't understand at all.

Living here he no longer works to get free.
Who would proudly arrange seats, trying to entice guests?

Turn around the light to shine within, then just return.
The vast inconceivable source can't be faced or turned away from.

Meet the ancestral teachers, be familiar with their instructions,
bind grasses to build a hut, and don't give up.

Let go of hundreds of years and relax completely.
Open your hands and walk, innocent.

Thousands of words, myriad interpretations,
are only to free you from obstructions.

If you want to know the undying person in the hut,
don't separate from this skin bag here and now.

by Shitou Xiqian (Sekito Kisen; 700-790)

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Song of the Precious Mirror Samadhi

The dharma of thusness is intimately transmitted by buddhas and ancestors; Now you have it; preserve it well.

A silver bowl filled with snow; a heron hidden in the moon.

Taken as similar, they are not the same; Not distinguished, their places are known.

The meaning does not reside in the words, but a pivotal moment brings it forth.

Move and you are trapped; miss and you fall into doubt and vacillation.

Turning away and touching are both wrong, for it is like a massive fire.

Just to portray it in literary form is to stain it with defilement.

In darkest night it is perfectly clear; in the light of dawn it is hidden.

It is a standard for all things; its use removes all suffering.

Although it is not constructed, it is not beyond words.

Like facing a precious mirror; form and reflection behold each other.

You are not it, but in truth it is you.

Like a newborn child, it is fully endowed with five aspects:

No going, no coming, no arising, no abiding;

"Baba wawa"-is anything said or not?

In the end it says nothing, for the words are not yet right.

In the illumination hexagram, inclined and upright interact,

Piled up they become three, the permutations make five,

Like the taste of the five-flavored herb, like the five-pronged vajra.

Wondrously embraced within the real, drumming and singing begin together.

Penetrate the source and travel the pathways; embrace the territory and treasure the roads.

You would do well to respect this; do not neglect it.

Natural and wondrous, it is not a matter of delusion or enlightenment.

Within causes and conditions, time and season, it is serene and illuminating.

So minute it enters where there is no gap, so vast it transcends dimension.

A hairsbreadth's deviation, and you are out of tune.

Now there are sudden and gradual, in which teachings and approaches arise.

When teachings and approaches are distinguished, each has its standard.

Whether teachings and approaches are mastered or not, reality constantly flows.

Outside still and inside trembling, like tethered colts or cowering rats,

The ancient sages grieved for them, and offered them the dharma.

Led by their inverted views, they take black for white.

When inverted thinking stops, the affirming mind naturally accords.

If you want to follow in the ancient tracks, please observe the sages of the past.

One on the verge of realizing the Buddha Way contemplated a tree for ten kalpas,

Like a battle-scarred tiger, like a horse with shanks gone grey.

Because some are vulgar, jeweled tables and ornate robes;

Because some are wide-eyed, cats and white oxen.

With his archer's skill Yi hit the mark at a hundred paces,

But when arrows meet head-on, how could it be a matter of skill?

The wooden man starts to sing; the stone woman gets up dancing.

It is not reached by feelings or consciousness, how could it involve deliberation?

Ministers serve their lords, children obey their parents;

Not obeying is not filial, failure to serve is no help.

With practice hidden, function secretly, like a fool, like an idiot;

Just to do this continuously is called the host within the host.

by Dongshan Liangjie (Tozan Ryokai; 807-869)

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Guidepost for the Hall of Pure Bliss

By seeking appearances and sounds One cannot truly find the Way.

The deep source of realization
comes with constancy, bliss, self, and purity.

Its purity is constant,
its bliss is myself.

The two are mutually dependent,
like firewood and fire.

The self's bliss is not exhausted,
constant purity has no end.

Deep existence is beyond forms.
Wisdom illuminates the inside of the circle.

Inside the circle the self vanishes,
neither existent nor nonexistent.

Intimately conveying spiritual energy,
it subtly turns the mysterious pivot.

When the mysterious pivot finds opportunity to turn,
the original light auspiciously appears.

When the mind's conditioning has not yet sprouted,
how can words and images be distinguished?

Who is it that can distinguish them?
Clearly understand and know by yourself.

Whole and inclusive with inherent insight,
it is not concerned with discriminative thought.

When discriminating thought is not involved,
it is like white reed flowers shining in the snow.

One beam of light's gleam
permeates the vastness.

The gleam permeates through all directions,
from the beginning not covered or concealed.

Catching the opportunity to emerge,
amid transformations it flourishes.

Following appropriately amid transformations,
the pure bliss is unchanged.

The sky encompasses it, the ocean seals it,
every moment without deficiency.

In the achievement without deficiency,
inside and outside are interfused.

All dharmas transcend their limits,
all gates are wide open.

Through the open gates
are the byways of playful wandering.

Dropping off senses and sense objects is like
the flowers of our gazing and listening falling away.

Gazing and listening are only distant conditions
of thousands of hands and eyes.

The others die from being too busy,
but I maintain continuity.

In the wonder of continuity
are no traces of subtle identifications.

Within purity is bliss,
within silence is illumination.

The house of silent illumination
is the hall of pure bliss.

Dwelling in peace and forgetting hardship,
let go of adornments and become genuine.

The motto for becoming genuine:
nothing is gained by speaking.

The goodness of Vimalakirti
enters the gate of nonduality.

By Hongzhi Zhengiue (Wanshi Shogaku; 1091-1157)

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Guidepost for Silent Illumination

Silent and serene, forgetting words, bright clarity appears before you.
When you reflect it you become vast, where you embody it you are spiritually uplifted.
Spiritually solitary and shining, inner illumination restores wonder.
Dew in the moonlight, a river of stars, snow-covered pines, clouds enveloping the peak.
In darkness it is most bright, while hidden all the more manifest.
The crane dreams in the wintery mists. The autumn waters flow far in the distance.
Endless kalpas are totally empty, all things completely the same.
When wonder exists in serenity, all achievement is forgotten in illumination.
What is this wonder? Alertly seeing through confusion
Is the way of silent illumination and the origin of subtle radiance.
Vision penetrating into subtle radiance is weaving gold on a jade loom.
Upright and inclined yield to each other; light and dark are interdependent.
Not depending on sense faculty and object, at the right time they interact.
Drink the medicine of good views. Beat the poisoned-smeared drum.
When they interact, killing and giving life are up to you.
Through the gate the self emerges and the branches bear fruit.
Only silence is the supreme speech, only illumination the universal response.
Responding without falling into achievement, speaking without involving listeners,
The ten thousand forms majestically glisten and expound the dharma.
All objects certify it, every one in dialogue.
Dialoguing and certifying, they respond appropriately to each other;
But if illumination neglects serenity then aggressiveness appears.
Certifying and dialoguing, they respond to each other appropriately;
But if serenity neglects illumination, murkiness leads to wasted dharma.
When silent illumination is fulfilled, the lotus blossoms, the dreamer awakens,
A hundred streams flow into the ocean, a thousand ranges face the highest peak.
Like geese preferring milk, like bees gathering nectar,
When silent illumination reaches the ultimate, I offer my teaching.
The teaching of silent illumination penetrates from the highest down to the foundation.
The body being shunyata, the arms in mudra,
From the beginning to end the changing appearances and ten thousand Differences share one pattern.
Mr. Ho offered jade [to the Emperor; Minister] Xiangru pointed to its flaws.
Facing changes has its principles, the great function is without striving.
The ruler stays in the kingdom, the general goes beyond the frontiers.
Our schools affair hits the mark straight and true.
Transmit it to all directions without desiring to gain credit.

By Hongzhi Zhengjue (Wanshi Shogaku; 1091-1157)

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Actualizing the Fundamental Point

As all things are buddha-dharma, there is delusion and realization, practice, birth and death, and there are buddhas and sentient beings. As the myriad things are without an abiding self, there is no delusion, no realization, no buddha, no sentient being, no birth and death. The buddha way is, basically, leaping clear of the many and the one; thus there are birth and death, delusion and realization, sentient beings and buddhas. Yet, in attachment blossoms fall, and in aversion weeds spread.

To carry yourself forward and experience myriad things is delusion. That myriad things come forth and experience themselves is awakening. Those who have great realization of delusion are Buddhas; those who are greatly deluded about realization are sentient beings. Further, there are those who continue realizing beyond realization, who are in delusion throughout delusion. When buddhas are truly buddhas they do not necessarily notice that they are buddhas. However, they are actualized buddhas, who go on actualizing buddhas.

When you see forms or hear sounds fully engaging body-and-mind, you grasp things directly. Unlike things and their reflections in the mirror and unlike the moon and its reflection in the water, when one side is illuminated the other side is dark.

To study the Buddha Way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be actualized by myriad things. When actualized by myriad things, your body and mind as well as the bodies and minds of others drop away. No trace of realization remains, and this no?trace continues endlessly.

When you first seek dharma, you imagine you are far away from its environs. But dharma is already correctly transmitted; you are immediately your original self.

When you ride in a boat and watch the shore, you might assume that the shore is moving. But when you keep your eyes closely on the boat, you can see that the boat moves. Similarly, if you examine myriad things with a confused body and mind you might suppose that your mind and nature are permanent. When you practice intimately and return to where you are, it will be clear that nothing at all has unchanging self.

Firewood becomes ash, and it does not become firewood again. Yet, do not suppose that the ash is future and the firewood past. You should understand that firewood abides in the phenomenal expression of firewood which fully includes past and future, and is independent of past and future.

Ash abides in the phenomenal expression of ash which fully includes future and past. Just as firewood does not become firewood again after it is ash, you do not return to birth after death. This being so, it is an established way in buddha-dharma to deny that birth turns into death. Accordingly, birth is understood as no-birth. It is an unshakable teaching in Buddha's discourse that death does not turn into birth. Accordingly, death is understood as no-death. Birth is an expression complete this moment. Death is an expression complete this moment. They are like winter and spring. You do not call winter the beginning of spring, nor summer the end of spring.

Enlightenment is like the moon reflected in the water. The moon does not get wet, nor is the water broken. Although its light is wide and great, the moon is reflected even in a puddle an inch wide. The whole moon and the entire sky are reflected in dewdrops on the grass, or even in one drop of water. Enlightenment does not divide you, just as the moon does not break the water. You cannot hinder enlightenment, just as a drop of water does not hinder the moon in the sky. The depth of the drop is the height of the moon. Each reflection, however long or short its duration, manifests the vastness of the dewdrop, and realizes the limitlessness of the moonlight in the sky.

When dharma does not fill your whole body and mind, you think it is already sufficient. When dharma fills your body and mind, you understand that something is missing. For example, when you sail out in a boat to the midst of an ocean where no land is in sight, and view the four directions, the ocean looks circular, and does not look any other way. But the ocean is neither round nor square; its features are infinite in variety. It is like a palace. It is like a jewel. It only looks circular as far as you can see at that time. All things are like this. Though there are many features in the dusty world and the world beyond conditions, you see and understand only what your eye of practice can reach. In order to learn the nature of the myriad things, you must know that although they may look round or square, the other features of oceans and mountains are infinite in variety; whole worlds are there. It is so not only around you, but also directly beneath your feet, or in a drop of water.

A fish swims in the ocean, and no matter how far it swims there is no end to the water. A bird flies in the sky, and no matter how far it flies, there is no end to the air. However, the fish and the bird have never left their elements. When their activity is large their field is large. When their need is small their field is small. Thus, each of them totally covers its full range, and each of them totally experiences its realm. If the bird leaves the air it will die at once. If the fish leaves the water it will die at once. Know that water is life and air is life. The bird is life and the fish is life. Life must be the bird and life must be the fish. It is possible to illustrate this with more analogies. Practice, enlightenment, and people are like this.

Now if a bird or a fish tries to reach the end of its element before moving in it, this bird or this fish will not find its way or its place. When you find your place where you are, practice occurs, actualizing the fundamental point. When you find your way at this moment, practice occurs, actualizing the fundamental point; for the place, the way, is neither large nor small, neither yours nor others'. The place, the way, has not carried over from the past, and it is not merely arising now. Accordingly, in the practice-enlightenment of the buddha way, meeting one thing is mastering it-doing one practice is practicing completely.

Here is the place; here the way unfolds. The boundary of realization is not distinct, for the realization comes forth simultaneously with the mastery of buddha-dharma. Do not suppose that what you realize becomes your knowledge and is grasped by your consciousness. Although actualized immediately, the inconceivable may not be distinctly apparent. Its appearance is beyond your knowledge.

Zen master Baoche of Mount Mayu was fanning himself. A monk approached and said, "Master, the nature of wind is permanent and there is no place it does not reach. Why, then do you fan yourself?" "Although you understand that the nature of the wind is permanent;" Baoche replied, "you do not understand the meaning of its reaching everywhere." "What is the meaning of its reaching everywhere?" asked the monk again. The master just kept fanning himself. The monk bowed deeply. The actualization of the buddha dharma, the vital path of its correct transmission, is like this. If you say that you do not need to fan yourself because the nature of wind is permanent and you can have wind without fanning, you will understand neither permanence nor the nature of wind. The nature of wind is permanent; because of that, the wind of the Buddha's house brings forth the gold of the earth and makes fragrant the cream of the long river.

by Eihei Dogen (1200-1253)

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Great Ancestor Eihei Dogen's Words for Arousing the Vow

We vow together with all beings, from this life on throughout numerous lifetimes, not to fail to hear the true dharma. Hearing this we will not be skeptical and will not be without faith. Directly upon encountering the true dharma, we will abandon mundane affairs and uphold and maintain the buddhadharma; and finally together with the great earth and all animate beings we will accomplish the Way.

Although our previous evil karma has greatly accumulated, producing causes and conditions that obstruct the Way, may the buddhas and ancestors who have attained the buddha way be compassionate to us and liberate us from our karmic entanglements, allowing us to practice the Way without hindrance. May the merit and virtue of their dharma gate fill and refresh the inexhaustible dharma realm, so that they share with us their compassion. Ancient buddhas and ancestors were as we; we shall come to be buddhas and ancestors. Venerating buddhas and ancestors, we are one with buddhas and ancestors; contemplating awakening mind, we are one with awakened mind. Compassionately admitting seven and accomplishing eight obtains advantage and lets go of advantage.

Accordingly, Longya said:
"What in past lives was not yet complete, now must be
In this life save the body coming from accumulated lives.
Before enlightenment ancient buddhas were the same as we.
After enlightenment we will be exactly as those ancient ones."

Quietly studying and mastering these causes and conditions, one is fully informed by the verified buddhas. With this kind of repentance certainly will come the inconceivable guidance of buddha ancestors. Confessing to buddha with mindful heart and dignified body, the strength of this confession will eradicate the roots of wrongdoing. This is the one color of true practice, of the true mind of faith, of the true body of faith.

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Universally Recommended Instructions for Zazen

The Way is originally perfect and all-pervading. How could it be contingent on practice and realization? The true vehicle is self-sufficient. What need is there for special effort? Indeed, the whole body is free from dust. Who could believe in a means to brush it clean? It is never apart from this very place; what is the use of traveling around to practice? And yet, if there is a hairsbreadth deviation, it is like the gap between heaven and earth. If the least like or dislike arises, the mind is lost in confusion. Suppose you are confident in your understanding and rich in enlightenment, gaining the wisdom that knows at a glance, attaining the Way and clarifying the mind, arousing an aspiration to reach for the heavens. You are playing in the entranceway, but you still are short of the vital path of emancipation.
Consider the Buddha: although he was wise at birth, the traces of his six years of upright sitting can yet be seen. As for Bodhidharma, although he had received the mind-seal, his nine years of facing a wall is celebrated still. If even the ancient sages were like this, how can we today dispense with wholehearted practice?
Therefore, put aside the intellectual practice of investigating words and chasing phrases, and learn to take the backward step that turns the light and shines it inward. Body and mind of themselves will drop away, and your original face will manifest. If you want to attain suchness, practice suchness immediately.
For practicing Zen, a quiet room is suitable. Eat and drink moderately. Put aside all involvements and suspend all affairs. Do not think "good" or "bad." Do not judge true or false. Give up the operations of mind, intellect, and consciousness; stop measuring with thoughts, ideas, and views. Have no designs on becoming a Buddha. How could that be limited to sitting or lying down?
At your sitting place, spread out a thick mat and put a cushion on it. Sit either in the full-lotus or half-lotus position. In the full-lotus position, first place your right foot on your left thigh, then your left foot on your right thigh. In the half-lotus, simply place your left foot on your right thigh. Tie your robes loosely and arrange them neatly. Then place your right hand on your left leg and your left hand on your right palm, thumb-tips lightly touching. Straighten your body and sit upright, leaning neither left nor right, neither forward nor backward. Align your ears with your shoulders and your nose with your navel. Rest the tip of your tongue against the front of the roof of your mouth, with teeth and lips together both shut. Always keep your eyes open, and breathe softly through your nose.
Once you have adjusted your posture, take a breath and exhale fully, rock your body right and left, and settle into steady, immovable sitting. Think of not thinking. Not thinking-what kind of thinking is that? Beyond-thinking. This is the essential art of zazen.
The zazen I speak of is not meditation practice. It is simply the Dharma gate of joyful ease, the practice-realization of totally culminated enlightenment. It is the koan realized, traps and snares can never reach it. If you grasp the point, you are like a dragon gaining the water, like a tiger taking to the mountains. For you must know that the true Dharma appears of itself, so that from the start dullness and distraction are struck aside.
When you arise from sitting, move slowly and quietly, calmly and deliberately. Do not rise suddenly or abruptly. In surveying the past, we find that transcendence of both mundane and sacred, and dying while either sitting or standing, have all depended entirely on the power of zazen.
In addition, triggering awakening with a finger, a banner, a needle, or a mallet, and effecting realization with a whisk, a fist, a staff, or a shout-these cannot be understood by discriminative thinking, much less can they be known through the practice of supernatural power. They must represent conduct beyond seeing and hearing. Are they not a standard prior to knowledge and views?
This being the case, intelligence or lack of it is not an issue; make no distinction between the dull and the sharp-witted. If you concentrate your effort single-mindedly, that in itself is wholeheartedly engaging the way. Practice-realization is naturally undefiled. Going forward is, after all, an everyday affair.
In general, in our world and others, in both India and China, all equally hold the buddha-seal. While each lineage expresses its own style, they are all simply devoted to sitting, totally blocked in resolute stability. Although they say that there are ten thousand distinctions and a thousand variations, they just wholeheartedly engage the way in zazen. Why leave behind the seat in your own home to wander in vain through the dusty realms of other lands? If you make one misstep you stumble past what is directly in front of you.
You have gained the pivotal opportunity of human form. Do not pass your days and nights in vain. You are taking care of the essential activity of the buddha way. Who would take wasteful delight in the spark from a flintstone? Besides, form and substance are like the dew on the grass, the fortunes of life like a dart of lightning-emptied in an instant, vanished in a flash.
Please, honored followers of Zen, long accustomed to groping for the elephant, do not doubt the true dragon. Devote your energies to the way that points directly to the real thing. Revere the one who has gone beyond learning and is free from effort. Accord with the enlightenment of all the buddhas; succeed to the samadhi of all the ancestors. Continue to live in such a way, and you will be such a person. The treasure store will open of itself, and you may enjoy it freely.

by Eihei Dogen (1200-1253)

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For all ancestors and buddhas who have been dwelling in and maintaining buddha-dharma, practicing upright sitting in jijuyu samadhi is the true path for opening up enlightenment. Both in India and in China, those who attained enlightenment have followed this way. This is because each teacher and each disciple has been intimately and correctly transmitting this subtle method and receiving and maintaining its true spirit. According to the unmistakenly handed down tradition, the straightforward buddha-dharma that has been simply transmitted is supreme among the supreme. From the time you begin practicing with a teacher, the practices of incense burning, bowing, nenbutsu, repentance, and reading sutras are not at all essential; just sit, dropping off body and mind.

When one displays the buddha mudra with one's whole body and mind, sitting upright in this samadhi even for a short time, everything in the entire dharma world becomes buddha mudra, and all space in the universe completely becomes enlightenment. Therefore, it enables buddha-tathagatas to increase the dharma joy of their own original grounds and renew the adornment of the way of awakening. Simultaneously, all living beings of the dharma world in the ten directions and six realms become clear and pure in body and mind, realize great emancipation, and their own original face appears. At that time, all things together awaken to supreme enlightenment and utilize buddha-body, immediately go beyond the culmination of awakening, and sit upright under the regal bodhi tree. At the same time, they turn the incomparable, great dharma wheel, and begin expressing ultimate and unfabricated profound prajna.

There is a path through which the unsurpassed complete enlightenment of all things returns to the person in zazen, and that person and the enlightenment of all things intimately and imperceptibly assist each other. Therefore this zazen person without fail drops off body and mind, cuts away previous tainted views and thoughts, awakens genuine buddha-dharma, universally helps the buddha work in each place, as numerous as atoms, where buddha-tathagatas teach and practice, and widely influences practitioners who are going beyond buddha, thereby vigorously exalting the dharma that goes beyond buddha. At this time, because earth, grasses and trees, fences and walls, tiles and pebbles, and all things in every direction in the universe carry out buddha work, so everyone receives the benefit of wind and water movement caused by this functioning, and all are imperceptibly helped by the wondrous and incomprehensible influence of buddha to actualize the enlightenment at hand. Since those who receive and use this water and fire extend the buddha influence of original enlightenment, all who live and talk with these people also share and universally unfold the boundless buddha virtue and they circulate the inexhaustible, ceaseless, incomprehensible, and immeasurable buddha dharma within and without the whole dharma world. However, these various mutual influences do not mix into the perceptions of this person sitting, because they take place within stillness without any fabrication, and they are enlightenment itself. If practice and enlightenment were separate as people commonly believe, it would be possible for them to perceive each other. But that which is associated with perceptions cannot be the standard of enlightenment because deluded human sentiment cannot reach the standard of enlightenment.

Moreover, although both mind and object appear and disappear within stillness, because this takes place in the realm of jijuyu, self-receiving and self-employing, without moving a speck of dust or destroying a single form, extensive buddha work and profound, subtle buddha influence are carried out. The grass, trees, and earth affected by this functioning together radiate great brilliance and endlessly expound the deep, wondrous dharma. Grasses and trees, fences and walls demonstrate and exalt it for the sake of living beings, both ordinary and sage; in turn, living beings, both ordinary and sage, express and unfold it for the sake of grasses and trees, fences and walls. The realm of self-awakening and awakening others is fundamentally endowed with the quality of enlightenment with nothing lacking, and allows the standard of enlightenment to be actualized ceaselessly.

Therefore, even if only one person sits for a short time, because this zazen is one with all existence and completely permeates all time, it performs everlasting buddha guidance within the inexhaustible dharma world in the past, present, and future. Zazen is equally the same practice and the same enlightenment for both the person sitting and for all dharmas. The melodious sound continues to resonate as it echoes, not only during sitting practice, but before and after striking shunyata, which continues endlessly before and after a hammer hits it. Not only that, but all things are endowed with original practice within the original face, which is impossible to measure.

You should know that even if all the buddhas in the ten directions, as numerous as the sands of the Ganges River, together engage the full power of their buddha wisdom, they could never reach the limit, or measure or comprehend the virtue, of one person's zazen.

by Eihei Dogen (1200-1253)

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Names of Buddhas and Ancestors

Bibashi Butsu Daiosho Shiki Butsu Daiosho Bishafu Butsu Daiosho Kuruson Butsu Daiosho Kunagonmuni Butsu Daiosho Kash Butsu Daiosho Shakamuni Butsu Daiosho Makakash Daiosho Ananda Daiosho Shonawashu Daiosho Ubakikuta Daiosho Daitaka Daiosho Mishaka Daiosho Vashumitsu Daiosho Butsudanandai Daiosho Fudamtta Daiosho Barishiba Daiosho Funayasha Daiosho Anabotei Daiosho Kabimara Daiosho Nagyaharajuna Daiosho Kanadaiba Daiosho Ragorata Daiosho Sgyanandai Daiosho Kayashata Daiosho Kumorata DaioshoShayata Daiosho Vashubanzu Daiosho Manura Daiosho Kakurokuna Daiosho Shishibodai Daiosho Bashashita Daiosho Funyomtta Daiosho Hannyatara Daiosho Bodaidaruma Daiosho Taiso Eka Daiosho Kanchi Ssan Daiosho Dai-I Dshn Daiosho Daiman Konin Daiosho Daikan En Daiosho Seigen Gyshi Daiosho Sekit Kisen Daiosho Yakusan Igen Daiosho Ungan Donj Daiosho Tzan Rykai Daiosho Ungo Dy Daiosho Dan Dhi Daiosho Dan Kanshi Daiosho Ryozan Enkan Daiosho Taiy Kygen Daiosho Tsu Gisei Daiosho Fuy Dkai Daiosho Tanka Shijun Daiosho Chro Seiry Daiosho Tend Sgaku Daiosho Secch Chikan Daiosho Tendo Nyoj Daiosho Eihei Dgen Daiosho Koun Ej Daiosho Tetts Gikai Daiosho Keizan Jkin Daiosho Gasan Jseki Daiosho Taigen Sshin Daiosho Baizan Mompon Daiosho Jch Tengin DaioshoShingan Dk Daiosho Sens Esai Daiosho Iyoku Chy Daiosho Mugai Keigon Daiosho Nenshitsu Yokaku Daiosho Sess Hseki Daiosho Taiei Zesh Daiosho Nampo Gentaku Daiosho Zden Yok Daiosho Teny Sen Daiosho Kenan Junsa Daiosho Chkoku Koen Daiosho Sensh Donk Daiosho Fuden Gentotsu Daiosho Daishun Kanyu Daiosho Tenrin Kansh Daiosho Sessan Tetsuzen Daiosho Fuzan Shunki Daiosho Jissan Mokuin Daiosho Sengan Bonry Daiosho Daiki Kykan Daiosho Enj Gikan Daiosho Shun Hzui Daiosho Shizan Tokuchu Daiosho Nans Shinshu Daiosho Kankai Tokuon Daiosho Kosen Baid Daiosho Gyakushitsu Sojun Daiosho Butsumon Sogaku Daiosho Gyokujun So-on Daiosho Shgaku Shunry Daisho.

Note: These are names of the traditional Zen lineage of Dharma Transmission Ancestors from Shakyamuni Buddha (and the Buddhas before Buddha), from India through Bodhidharma into China, to Dogen in Japan, and up to Suzuki Roshi in America; given with the traditionally chanted Sino-Japanese pronunciations.

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Names of Women Ancestors

Great Teacher Mahaprajapati Great Teacher Maya Great Teacher Khema Great Teacher Uppalavanna Great Teacher Patacara Great Teacher Dhammadinna Great Teacher Sundarinanda Great Teacher Soma Great Teacher Sakula Great Teacher Bhadda Kundalakesa Great Teacher Bhadda Kapilani Great Teacher Bhadda Kaccana Yasodhara Great Teacher Kisagotami Great Teacher Singalaka Mata Great Teacher Samavati Great Teacher Shrimala Great Teacher Prabhuta Great Teacher Sinha Vijurmbhita Great Teacher Vasumitra Great Teacher Gopa Great Teacher Zongchi Great Teacher Shiji Great Teacher Wujin Cang Great Teacher Lingzhao Great Teacher Ling Xingpo Great Teacher Liu Tiemo Great Teacher Moshan Laoran Great Teacher Miaoxin Great Teacher Daoshen Great Teacher Huiguang Great Teacher Gongshi Daoren Great Teacher Yu Daopo Great Teacher Huiwen Great Teacher Fadeng Great Teacher Wenzhao Great Teacher Miaocong Great Teacher Miaodao Great Teacher Zenshin Great Teacher Zenzo Great Teacher Ezen Great Teacher Komyo Great Teacher Tachibana Kachiko Great Teacher Shogaku Great Teacher Ryonen Great Teacher Eshin Great Teacher Egi Great Teacher Joa Great Teacher Senshin Great Teacher Mugai Nyodai Great Teacher Ekan Great Teacher Eni Great Teacher Shido Great Teacher Shozen Great Teacher Mokufu Sonin Great Teacher Kinto Ekyu Great Teacher Myosho Enkan Great Teacher Soitsu Great Teacher Shotaku Great Teacher Eshun Great Teacher Soshin Great Teacher Bunchi Jo Great Teacher Ryonen Gensho Great Teacher Satsu Great Teacher Ohashi Great Teacher Myotei Great Teacher Teijitsu Great Teacher Rengetsu Great Teacher Mizuno Jorin Great Teacher Hori Mitsujo Great Teacher Ando Dokai Great Teacher Yamaguchi Kokan Great Teacher Nagazawa Sozen Great Teacher Nogami Senryo Great Teacher Kojima Kendo Great Teacher Taniguchi Setsudo Great Teacher Yoshida Eshun Great Teacher Kasai Joshin Great Teacher Ruth Fuller Sasaki Great Teacher Baiho Sesshin Great Teacher Myo-on Stuart Great Teacher Houn Jiyu Great Teacher Geshin Myoko Great Teacher Jishu Angyo

Note: Women teachers and adepts from India, China, Japan, and America, who we honor for helping to sustain the practice and teaching.

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SHO SAI MYO KICHIJO DHARANI (Dharani for Removing Hindrance, 3X)


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[Italicized portions of the text are not chanted.]

Offering of invitation to the three treasures:
Homage to the Buddhas in ten directions.
Homage to the Dharma in ten directions.
Homage to the Sangha in ten directions.
Homage to our original teacher Shakyamuni Buddha.
Homage to the great merciful, compassionate reliever of suffering, Contemplating the World's Cries Kanzeon Bodhisattva.
Homage to the expounder of the teachings, the Arhat Ananda.

Summoning arousal of the vow:
All of us assembled together, arousing awakened mind, unconditionally offer up a bowl of pure food to the furthest reaches of vast emptiness in the ten directions, including every atom throughout the entire dharma realm, so as to give alms to hungry ghosts in every land. We invite all our departed ancestors going back to ancient times, dwelling in mountains, rivers, and earth, as well as rough demonic spirits from the wilderness, to come and gather here.
Now, with deep sympathy, we offer food to all of you, praying that you will each accept this food and transfer it along, making offerings to buddhas, sages, and all sentient beings throughout the vast emptiness of the universe so that you and all the many sentient beings will be satisfied. Moreover, we sincerely wish for yourself to take advantage of these mantras and food to depart from suffering, be liberated, find birth in heaven, and receive joy. With according intention, may you travel freely through the pure lands in the ten directions and arouse bodhi mind, practicing the bodhi way, and in the future definitely become a buddha.

We entreat those who have previously attained the Way since ancient times, may you bring all beings together to liberation. Day and night, constantly protect us.

We offer food to beings throughout the dharma realm, so that every being will equally receive this fortunate offering. Whatever virtue and merit this produces we completely transfer and dedicate to the unsurpassed awakening with total clarity and wisdom of the whole dharma realm of true reality, that all may speedily attain Buddhahood without incurring any other destinies.

May all sentient beings of the dharma realm take advantage of this teaching to quickly attain Buddhahood.

Dharani Summoning Deceased Spirits to the Great Assembly

Dharani for Breaking Open a Passageway through the Gates of Hell

Dharani for Requesting Immeasurably Majestic and Virtuous Radiant Sovereign Buddhas to Supply and Maintain Food and Drink

Dharani of the Flavor of Dharma Covered with Sweet Dew

Dharani of Vairochana's Single Word Mind Contemplating the Water Sphere

Dharanis Summoning the Five Tathagathas with Precious Names
Homage to the Many Jewels Prabhutaratna Tathagatha,
Removing the karma of greed, fully complete with blessing and wisdom.

Homage to the Wondrous Form Body Aksobhya Tathagatha,
Destroying disgrace and vileness, fully complete with good marks.

Homage to the King of Sweet Dew Amitabha Tathagatha,
Pouring the Dharma into body and mind, granting pleasure.

Homage to the Body Extensive as Space Vairocana Tathagatha,
Opening wide all throats, satisfying them with food and drink.

Homage to the Departure from Fear Shakyamuni Tathagatha,
Completely banishing dread, separating all from rebirths as hungry ghosts.

Dharani for Arousing Bodhi Mind

Dharani for Receiving the Three Strict Bodhisattva Precepts

Esoteric Dharani of the Excellent Great Jeweled Tower Residence

Dharani of All Buddhas' Radiant True Words Pouring into the Headtop

By means of this practice of the assembly's good roots,
We repay the virtue of our parents' toil and trouble.
May the living be blessed with joy and longevity without misery.
May the dead part from suffering and be born into peaceful nurturing.
May all conscious beings in the three realms (of desire, form, and formlessness), having received the four benefactions (of parents, teachers, elders, and monks),

Together with those born to suffering in the threefold path (of delusion, action, and resulting misery) and the eight difficult situations (in which the Dharma is not met),

All thoroughly repent their errors and wash away their defects,
To finally depart the round of samsara and be born in pure lands.

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(Before meals ) All :
Buddha was born in Kapilavastu,
Enlightened in Magadha,
Taught in Varanasi,
Entered nirvana in Kushinagara.
Now we set out Buddha's own bowls
May we, with all living beings
realize the emptiness of the three wheels,
giver, receiver, and gift.

Vairochana Buddha, pure Dharmakaya;
Locana Buddha, complete Sambhogakaya;
Shakyamuni Buddha, myriad Nirmanakaya;
Maitreya Buddha, next to be born;
All buddhas throughout space and time;
Lotus of the Wondrous Dharma, Mahayana Sutra;
Manjushri Bodhisattva, great wisdom;
Samantabhadra Bodhisattva, great activity;
Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva, great compassion;
All honored ones, bodhisattvas, mahasattvas,
Wisdom beyond wisdom, Maha-prajnaparamita.

(Five Contemplations Verse )
We reflect on the effort that brought us this food and consider how it comes to us.

We reflect on our virtue and practice, and whether we are worthy of this offering;

We regard it as essential to keep the mind free from excesses, such as greed;

We regard this food as good medicine to sustain our life.
For the sake of enlightenment, we now receive this food.

First, this is for the Three Treasures
Next, for the four benefactors;
Finally, for the beings in the six realms
may all be equally nourished.
The first bite is to end all evil.
The second is to cultivate all good.
The third is to free all beings,
May we all realize the Buddha Way

(After meals )
Leader :

Abiding in this ephemeral world
like a lotus in muddy water,
the mind is pure and goes beyond
Thus we bow to Buddha

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Short Chants

Three Refuges

I take refuge in Buddha.
May all living beings
embody the great way
resolving to awaken

I take refuge in Dharma.
May all living beings
deeply enter the sutras,
into wisdom like an ocean

I take refuge in Sangha.
May all living beings
support harmony in the community,
free from all hindrance.

Repentance Verse

All my past and harmful karma,
born from beginningless greed, hate, and delusion,
through body, speech, and mind,
I now fully avow.

Robe Verse

How great, the robe of liberation!
A formless field of merit,
Wrapping ourselves in Buddha's teaching
We free all living beings.

Sutra Opening Verse

The unsurpassed, profound, and wondrous Dharma
Is rarely met with, even in a hundred, thousand, million kalpas.
Now I can see and hear it, accept and maintain it,
May I unfold the meaning of the Tathagata's truth.

Universal Dedication

May this merit extend universally to all,
so that we together with all beings realize the buddha way.

All buddhas throughout space and time,
All honored ones, bodhisattvas, mahasattvas,
Wisdom beyond wisdom, maha-prajnaparamita.

Four Vows

Beings are numberless, I vow to free them.
Delusions are inexhaustible, I vow to end them.
Dharma gates are boundless, I vow to enter them.
The buddha way is unsurpassable, I vow to realize it.

Sho Sai Myo Kichijo Darani
(Dharani For Removing Hindrance: 3 X)

No Mo San Man Da, Moto Nan, Oha Ra Chi Koto Sha, Sono Nan To Ji To En, Gya Gya, Gya Ki Gya Ki Un Nun, Shifu Ra Shifu Ra, Hara Shifu Ra Hara Shifu Ra, Chishu Sa Chishu Sa, Chishu Ri Chishu Ri, Soha Ja Soha Ja, Sen Chi Gya Shiri Ei Somo Ko.

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Short Sutra for Protecting Life to the Bodhisattva of Compassion


(The Ten-Verse Sutra of Avalokitesvara: 7 X)


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The Stories of the Women Ancestors

We deeply honor the formal Soto Zen transmission lineage of Ancestral teachers, who transmitted the Dharma to us through their efforts. We chant their names as our Ancestral lineage. The names on that list, which goes back through Shakyamuni Buddha, Bodhidharma, and Dogen, all happen to be males. Now we also honor the many other teachers in each generation who helped sustain the teaching and practice. This list includes women from India, China, Japan, and America, both ordained and laywomen, who have been inspirational to our practice tradition. We have their names in a list of Great Teachers for chanting. Here is a little about their stories. Several people named on the list below are still living, and we do not chant their names, though they are included here to offer respect.

Shakyamuni's aunt and foster mother, Mahaprajapati challenged Shakyamuni's exclusion of women from the monastic order and won women the right of ordination. She became the founder and a leader of the nun's sangha, and was considered chief among women disciples who were nuns of long standing.

Maya was Shakyamuni's mother, who died giving birth to him. Some of the sutras are addressed to her in the heavenly realm where she abides. She is also the 41st teacher of the 52 visited by the pilgrim Sudhana in the Gandavyuha Sutra.

She was known as "Khema of Great Wisdom," because she grasped the Buddha's entire teaching on first hearing it as a laywoman. She helped run the women's monastic order and is named as the most exemplary nun in the Pali Canon.

She willingly took ordination at her father's suggestion, and then was raped by an angry suitor. Due to this incident the Vinaya was changed to forbid women from solitary forest practice for their protection. She became foremost in magical power and performed miracles.

After her children, parents, and husband died, she went mad from grief and wandered the countryside. Eventually she met the Buddha, who calmly told her to recover her presence of mind, and thus she was cured. She became a highly influential teacher who brought many women to the Dharma and had many disciples.

She was called the greatest woman preacher, who converted many people and became the master of many disciples and heirs. Shakyamuni declared her words to be buddhavacana, Buddha words.

Shakyamuni's half-sister, she was considered the most beautiful woman in her country; sundari means "beautiful." She joined the nun's order originally because all of her relatives were joining: her mother, Mahaprajapati; her brother, Nanda; and Shakyamuni's son, Rahula. Shakyamuni declared her to be foremost among the nuns in meditative powers.

The daughter of the minister of King Bimbisara, she became a lay disciple upon hearing Shakyamuni preach on a visit he made to Rajagraha early in his teaching career. She was later ordained as a nun and eventually became an arhat, declared by Shakyamuni to be foremost among the nuns who strive energetically.

She came from Savatthi, where a Buddhist monastery was established in Jeta Grove. The dedication ceremony lasted nine months, during which time she decided to become a lay disciple. She was still uneasy about her life, but decided to become a nun after hearing an enlightened monk speak. She later became an arhat, and was declared by Shakyamuni to be foremost among the nuns possessing the power of the "eye of heaven," the ability to see into all worlds, near or far.

Bhadda Kundalakesa
Bhadda was a Jain at the time of Shakyamuni. She was highly intelligent and felt dissatisfied by the lack of intellectual stimulation among the Jains, who seemed uninterested in understanding truth. She engaged in dialogue with Shariputra and was praised by the community for her rapid thought and great understanding. She is the only nun to have been ordained by Shakyamuni calling her by name. Bhadda's wisdom poem includes, "Going out from my daytime resting-place on Mt. Grjhakuta, I saw the stainless Buddha, attended by the order of bhikkhus. Having bent the knee, having paid homage to him, I stood with cupped hands face to face with him. 'Come, Bhadda,' he said to me; that was my ordination."

Bhadda Kapilani
Ages ago in the time of Padumattara Buddha, Bhadda heard of a female renunciant who could recall her former lives. She determined to obtain that same power, and with her husband Kassapa (the later Mahakashyapa), she decided to live a life of austerity. Bhadda and Kassapa were married several more times in different lifetimes, including the one in which they met Shakyamuni, in which neither one of them wanted to marry, but were forced to by their parents. They agreed not to consummate the marriage, shaved each other's heads, donned saffron robes, and left home. Kassapa quickly met Shakyamuni and became a monk, but it was five years before Bhadda was able to join the newly-established order of nuns. She was declared by Shakyamuni to be foremost among the nuns who are able to remember past births.

Bhadda Kaccana Yasodhara
Yasodhara was Shakyamuni's wife. Although she wanted to join the order of nuns from the beginning, Mahaprajapati thought it would make establishing the order more difficult, so Yasodhara stayed behind. Later she was able to join the order and was declared foremost among the nuns who attained great supernormal powers.

Kisagotami was Shakyamuni's cousin; however, she grew up in another household in poverty. She married a rich banker's son, but was mistreated by her husband's relatives until she had a child, whom she loved deeply. But the child died young and she went mad, carrying his corpse from house to house. The Buddha told her he would cure the child if she could find a mustard seed from a home that had never known death. When she realized this was impossible and that all beings suffered together, she became a nun. Shakyamuni declared her foremost among the nuns who wore coarse robes.

Singalaka mata
She was declared to be foremost among nuns who are released by faith.

She was declared to be the most skilled in spreading metta among the nuns.

Shrimala was Queen of Kosala, daughter of King Prasenajit and Queen Mallika. She was hero of the sutra, The Lion's Roar of Queen Shrimala, named after her, one of the earliest Yogacara sutras. Therein, in response to Shakyamuni Buddha, Queen Shrimala proclaims ten vows and expounds the teaching of Buddha nature.

Prabhuta was a beautiful young woman devotee who lived with 10,000 woman attendants in a large mansion is the center of the city of Samudrapratish-thana. She was the 13th teacher of the 52 visited by the pilgrim Sudhana in the Gandavyuha Sutra. (Twenty of the 52 teachers were women, including goddesses; a selection of these women is included among these women ancestors.) Prabhuta had as a vessel an enlightening liberation that was an inexhaustible treasury for manifesting goods. According to beings' wishes, she endlessly dispensed food, drink, couches, clothing, flowers, fragrances, jewels, and conveyances. She especially represented the practice of tolerance.

Sinha Vijurmbhita
Sinha vijurmbhita was a nun who sat on lion thrones under each of the many treasure trees in the splendorous Sunlight Park in Kalingavana. She was 24th teacher visited by the pilgrim Sudhana in the Gandavyuha Sutra. Under each tree she taught various groups, including gods and goddesses, birds, serpents, and bodhisattvas of diverse levels. She gave Mahayana teachings to those who had not heard them, and to those who had she offered specific different samadhi instructions.

Vasumitra was an extraordinarily beautiful woman who lived in a jewel-encrusted house in the city of Ratnavyuha. Those who knew no better castigated her as a temptress. But for those of various types of beings who were attracted to her, she taught ultimate dispassion through physical contact, including holding hands, embracing, and kissing. She was the 25th teacher in the Gandavyuha Sutra to be visited by the pilgrim Sudhana, who was sent to her by the nun Sinha vijurmbhita.

Gopa was a Shakyan girl in Kapilavastu who in a past life was the daughter of a courtesan, and vowed to always be practice companion to a prince, who later became Shakyamuni. Gopa was the 40th teacher visited by the pilgrim Sudhana in the Gandavyuha Sutra, and represents the 10th or ultimate stage of bodhisattva development. She taught Sudhana how to practice awareness of ultimate reality right in the midst of the world.

Zongchi was the daughter of an Emperor of the Liang dynasty of 6th century China. She became a disciple of Chan founder Bodhidharma. In Dogen's Shobogenzo chapter Katto "Twining Vines", she is named as one of his four Dharma heirs; although Bodhidharma's lineage continued through another of the four, Dogen emphasizes that each of them had complete understanding.

Shiji (6th cent.)
Her story is in the "Ancestor's Hall Collection" of koans, or awakening stories. She once arrived at a temple and did not remove her hat, as etiquette required. She told the head monk she would only do so if he could "say something." He did not, so she left, stimulating him to find a true teacher.

Wujin Cang
According to lamp transmission sources, she was a nun devoted to the Mahaparinirvana Sutra, who recited it to Huineng, the future Sixth Ancestor. Though illiterate he intuitively could elucidate the sutra, thus she helped confirm his awakening. She provided him room and board for a while before he visited the Fifth Ancestor.

Lingzhao (8th cent.)
She was the daughter of the famed Layman Pangyun, and herself noted as an adept. For most of her life she traveled with him in poverty, seeking teaching and doing cave meditation. She is the model for Fishbasket Guanyin (one of the 33 forms of the Bodhisattva of compassion) and much admired for the simplicity and confidence of her practice.

Ling Xingpo (8th -9th cent.)
She is mentioned only in the lamp anthology story of Mazu's heir Foubei in the Jingde Chuan Denglu Collection of 1004. Her accomplishment and comments form the bulk of his story, as she defeated and taught him. She was also highly praised by the great Zhaozhou, who exchanged poems with her.

Liu Tiemo ("Iron Grinder Liu") (9th cent.)
A nun disciple of Guishan Lingyou, she taught Zen in a style described as "precipitously awesome and dangerous." Her ability to test the true mettle of Zen adepts brought her the name "Iron Grinder." She appears in Case 60 of the Book of Serenity and Case 24 of the Blue Cliff Record, exhibiting steel-like strength in Dharma combat.

Moshan Laoran (9th cent.)
Moshan was well known in her time and referred to by many later writers. She is one of the women role models cited prominently for their wisdom by Dogen in his essay Raihai Tokuzui "Paying Homage and Acquiring the Essence," and she is also cited in his other writings. Moshan was a disciple of Gao'an Dayu and is the first woman Dharma heir in the official Chan transmission line, with a chapter in the important Chinese transmission of the lamp anthology the Jingde Chuan Denglu. Moshan is the first recorded woman who was the teacher of a man, Guanzhi Zhixian, who had previously studied with the great Linji (Rinzai). Dogen notes that Zhixian's willingness to overcome his cultural resistance and study under a woman was a sign of the maturity of his bodhisattvic intention.

Miaoxin (9th cent.)
She was a nun disciple of Yangshan, in whose monastery she served as Director of external relations. In that capacity, seventeen monk guests accepted her as Master when she clarified for them the meaning of the story about the Sixth Ancestor's saying about the banner and the wind. She is cited as a role model in Raihai Tokuzui.

Daoshen (late 10th-early 11th cent.)
She was a Dharma heir of Furong Daokai (Fuyo Dokai), a master who helped revive the Soto line in China when it had declined. She had two male heirs.

Huiguang (12th cent.)
She was Abbess of Dongjing Miaohui, an important large convent, and was heir of Kumu Facheng, a major heir of Furong Daokai. She wore a purple robe given by the emperor, from whom she received her Dharma name. Her story is recorded in the Pudeng Collection and her sermons were also recorded. Renowned for eloquence and erudition, she taught in public to mixed assemblies of male and female monks and preached to the emperor.

Gongshi Daoren (d. 1124)
Heir of Cixin Waxin, she was a nun, teacher, and poet. She wrote the "Record on Clarifying the Mind," which circulated throughout China. She was well-married but left her husband, asking her parents to allow her to be ordained; but they refused. Thereafter she practiced in solitude. She was awakened after reading the Huayan Patriarch Dushun's "Contemplation of the Dharmadhatu." After her parents' death, she ran a bathhouse and wrote Dharma poetry on the walls to engage her customers. She was praised by eminent masters like Yuanwu and Foyan, and finally became a nun in old age.

Yu Daopo (12th cent.)
She was the only Dharma heir of Langye Yongji and apparently remained a laywoman. She was awakened upon hearing Linji's teaching of the "true man of no rank." After she bested the master Yuanwu, he recognized her accomplishment. She was sought out by many monks for dialogue and teaching, but she referred to every monk as her "son."

Huiwen (12th cent.)
She was a Dharma heir of Foyan Qingyuan, a prominent Linji teacher. Her sermons were recorded and story told in both the Liandeng and Wudeng Collections.

Huiwen's Dharma heir; her sermons were recorded and her story is told in the transmission collections.

Wenzhao (late 12th cent.)
She became a nun at the age of seventeen and wandered in search of teachers. Eventually she became abbot of five different convents as a reformer of the Vinaya (Precepts) tradition within Chan. She had a male heir. Her story is recorded in the Pudeng Collection where her sermons were recorded. She wore a purple robe given by the emperor.

Miaocong (1095-1170)
Younger sister-in-law of Gongshi Daoren, who inspired her, she had married a scholar-official, but gradually devoted herself to spiritual pursuits. She became a student of Dahui Zonggao, under whom she was enlightened. She was known as outspoken and unconventional. She was ordained in 1162 and became abbess of Cishou nunnery, where she had Dharma heirs. She and Miaodao are considered the two most important women teachers in the Song period.

Miaodao (12th-13th cent.)
She had many recorded sermons, and was a Dharma heir of Dahui. She lived as a laywoman in a monastery. Her awakening in 1134 had a great impact on Dahui's teaching. Several stories about her are used to illustrate the fear male monks had of sex and how this held them back, as when she appeared naked in the zendo in order to show them that the disturbance was in their own minds. She received Imperial approval to be a teacher and abbot, and was eventually ordained. She was invited to "ascend the Hall" of the monastery which sponsored her convent and to teach the monks there. Her teaching concerned the limits and necessity of teaching with words.

Zenshin (late 6th cent.)
She was ordained in 584, the first Japanese of either gender to be ordained as a Buddhist monk. In 588, she traveled to Korea for monastic training and eventually established a thriving female order in Japan.

Zenzo (6th -7th cent.)
Both were ordained shortly after Zenshin and traveled to Korea and trained with her, helping to establish Buddhism in Japan. Within four decades of their ordination in 623, the order they established with Zenshin included 569 nuns and 816 monks.

Komyo (701-760)
An Empress and the first member of the Imperial family to be ordained in 749, she profoundly shaped the contours of Buddhism in ancient Japan. At her urging, her husband the Emperor Shomu established national temples for both men and women. Her monumental contributions, including supervising copying of many sutras, had a lasting impact.

Tachibana Kachiko (786-850)
The Saga empress, she sent a Japanese monk to China to bring back a Chan/ Zen teacher, as she had heard about Chan from the great Japanese Shingon founder Kukai (Kobo Daishi), who had visited China. The monk she sent found the national teacher Yanguan Qian, who sent to Japan his disciple Yikung (n.d.; Jap.: Giku). Yikung first taught at a subtemple of Toji, the great Shingon temple in southern Kyoto. Later, the Saga empress founded Danrinji in the Arashiyama area in western Kyoto, where Yikung was the first abbot. Danrinji (destroyed by fire in 928) could be said to have been the first Zen temple in Japan, although Yikung later returned to China without having established an enduring Zen lineage there. But the first Japanese Zen practitioner was a woman, Tachibana Kachiko, who became a nun.

She was an aristocrat and distant relative of Dogen. She became a nun in 1225 after her husband died, was a disciple of Dogen, and donated money and a large lecture hall to Dogen at Kosho-ji.

Ryonen (early 13th cent.)
She was one of Dogen's main disciples, though ordained elsewhere, and her high understanding was noted in writings of other masters. Dogen wrote a few Dharma notes especially for her, praising her accomplishments, in the Eihei Koroku. She was an old woman before her ordination and died before Dogen.

She was a nun disciple of Dogen. He performed a memorial jodo for her father at Eiheiji in 1246.

Egi (early early 13th cent.)
She was ordained as a Daruma-shu nun, but became a disciple of Dogen's at Eiheiji. She spent more then twenty years with him and attended his sickbed. She also helped Koun Ejo in the transition following Dogen's death. There is indication that she helped to record the Shobogenzo Zuimonki.

Joa (late 13th cent.)
She was a nun disciple and heir of Kangan Giin (1217-1300), who was a disciple of Koun Ejo and established a prominent Soto lineage in Kyushu. Giin had many nun disciples. Joa was given the practice of venerating and copying the Lotus Sutra.

Senshin (late 13th cent.)
Another nun disciple of Kangan Giin, she practiced devotion to relics.

Mugai Nyodai (1223-1298)
Considered one of the most important women in Rinzai Zen, she was heir to Mugaku Sogen, the founder of Engakuji. After her transmission, she established the temple Keiaiji, the first sodo for women in Japan. She is also known as Chiyono. Her enlightenment story is famous. She was carrying a bucket of water when the bottom broke out; at that moment she awakened.

Ekan (d. ca. 1314)
She was the mother of Keizan and became abbess of the Soto convent Jojuji. She was an ardent devotee of Kannon, which helped promote this bodhisattva throughout Soto Zen. Keizan praised her for unfailingly teaching Dharma to women. Her influence led to his vow to help all women everywhere in her memory.

She donated a large amount of land to Eikoji for Keizan's building plan. He ordered that ceremonies be done in her honor forever.

Shido (early 14th cent.)
Shido was a fully authorized Rinzai priest who in 1285 founded the convent Tokeiji in Kamakura as a refuge for abused or dismissed wives, which it remained. Her dialogues became widely used as teaching stories.

Shozen (early 14th cent.)
She was a disciple of Keizan and Sonin's mother, but remained a householder with considerable money and power. She donated land to the temple. Keizan said the sangha would honor her forever in an annual ceremony.

Mokufu Sonin (14th cent.)
She was a disciple of Keizan and the daughter of Shozen. She was ordained in 1319. She and her husband (Myojo, ordained a few years later) gave a great deal of land to Keizan and invited him to found Yoko-ji after dismantling their family home to allow this. She received dharma transmission in 1323, and was the first abbot of Entsu'in, an important convent. Keizan called her the reincarnation of his grandmother and said that he and she were inseparable.

Kinto Ekyu
She was Keizan's disciple and the first Japanese woman to receive Soto Dharma transmission.

Myosho Enkan (early 14th cent.)
She was Keizan's cousin and became abbess of Entsu'in after Sonin, and later abbess of the convent Ho'oji that had been founded by Ekan.

Soitsu (mid 14th cent.)
She was a Dharma heir of Gasan Joseki (1275-1365), an important disciple of Keizan, and she had female heirs of her own.

Third teacher of Tokeiji, she fended off a rape with spiritual power.

Eshun (ca. 1364-?)
She was the sister of the prominent Soto teacher Ryoan Emyo (1337-1411), abbot of Sojiji and other temples. Her brother refused to ordain her or sponsor her because she was beautiful and would be a sexual temptation to the monks. So she shaved her head and scarred her face with red-hot tongs. After she was ordained she surpassed all the monks in Zen debate. When her death was near she performed her own funeral by lighting a bonfire and sitting upright in its middle. When her alarmed brother arrived and asked if it was hot, she said, "For one living the Way, hot and cold are unknown." There is a memorial statue to her at which people make offerings at Saikoji in Odawara.

Soshin, Onaa Tsubone (1588-1675)
Born into a prominent samurai family, Onaa married at fifteen and had three sons before divorcing and residing at a subtemple founded by her father at Myoshinji, an important Rinzai Zen temple complex in Kyoto, until she remarried several years later. Later she was given a position in the Tokugawa shogun's household in Edo (Tokyo). There she instructed the court ladies in Zen, also supported Confucian scholars, and gradually came to have substantial influence in the government. She studied with the noted Rinzai master Takuan Soho (1573-1645), introduced him to the shogun, and by some accounts inherited Takuan's Dharma. She was ordained a nun, Soshin, in 1660 and made abbess by Tokugawa Iemitsu of the new Rinzai temple Saishoji in Edo, even though her husband was still alive. At Saishoji she had many women students, and left two lengthy Zen writings.

Bunchi Jo (1619-1697)
An imperial priestess who became a Zen abbot at a time of significant political change; she was renowned for painting and poetry.

Ryonen Gensho (1646-1711)
She became a nun at 26, leaving behind her husband and children. She entered the Rinzai training monastery Hokyo-ji, but was denied ordination by two masters because her beauty would distract the monks. She burned her face with a poker and was then ordained by Haku-o. He certified her enlightenment and she became abbot of Renjo'in and a respected poet.

Satsu was a brilliant and iconoclastic disciple of Hakuin from age 16-23, and then his Dharma heir. She continually engaged him in Dharma combat. Hakuin eventually told her to get married and have children to bring Zen into practice of everyday life, which she did.

She became a prostitute as a teenager in order to support her family after her father lost his work. Despairing this fate, she was advised by Hakuin "to consider who does this work" and to find practice possible in all situations. She awakened after fainting in fright when a bolt of lightning struck nearby. Hakuin certified her awakening and sometime later, after more work as prostitute, she married, and then eventually became a nun with her husband's approval.

Myotei (17th cent.)
A nun who studied at Enkakuji and sometimes used her own nudity as a teaching device, she distinguished herself by passing the most notoriously difficult koans of Rinzai Zen.

Teijitsu (18th cent.)
She was head of Hakuju-an, a women's temple next to Eiheiji where Soto nuns stayed (because they were no longer allowed to stay at Eiheiji). This was a time of increasingly strict prohibitions on women in social and political life, and female monastics were given less and less independence. She and Teishin are some of the last women of the period whose names are known. She was probably a disciple of Menzan Zuiho.

The illegitimate child of a geisha and a samurai, she was adopted by a temple priest. As a woman she could not inherit the temple, but her training had been very strong, in the sutras but also in calligraphy, pottery, and jujitsu. She entered court life, but left to request admittance to a monastery. Refused because of her beauty, she scarred her face with the grill of a hibachi, renouncing her power as a woman in order to enter the monastery.

Mizuno Jorin (1848-1927)
Hori Mitsujo (1868-1927)
Ando Dokai (1874-1915)
Yamaguchi Kokan (1875-1933)
These four nuns established the Aichi-ken Soto-shu Niso Gakurin (commonly called Nigakurin) on May 8, 1903, nine months after the Soto-shu regulations prohibiting women's education facilities were lifted. They were key figures in re-opening Soto Zen to women after centuries of increasing limitations. All four spent their entire adult lives striving to create monasteries for women at a time of tremendous political and social upheaval.

Nagazawa Sozen (mid 20th cent.)
A disciple of Harada Sogaku in his Soto lineage with considerable Rinzai influence. She was "stern and grandmotherly," and trained many nuns and laywomen under difficult sociopolitical conditions. She was head nun at one of Tokyo's most important nunneries, Kannonji, and was renowned for keeping women's practice alive during the war.

Nogami Senryo (1883-1980)
She practiced in an inconspicuous temple in Nagoya and lived thoroughly and energetically according to Dogen's teachings, and the mantra "Die sitting; Die standing" Zadatsu Ryubo. She did die standing in front of the Buddha image in the Worship Hall at age 97.

Kojima Kendo (1898-1995)
She was a mid-century activist and spent almost her entire long life as a nun. She was the first leader of the Soto-shu Nun's Organization, which was supported in part by Koho Zenji (Keido Chisan) when he was abbot of Sojiji. In that capacity she worked tirelessly to gain equality for female monastics. Some of her demands, such as allowing women to teach independently again, were finally achieved at the end of her life. She was also part of other international Buddhist organizations, and represented the interests of women throughout the Buddhist world. She died at very old age.

Taniguchi Setsudo (1901-1986)
She was a Soto nun who established an orphanage for survivors after World War II. She devoted the rest of her life to the orphanage (assisted by Kojima Kendo), guided by Dogen's four bodhisattva methods: generosity, kind speech, beneficial activity, and cooperation.

Yoshida Eshun (1907-1982)
An heir of Hashimoto Roshi and abbess of Kaizenji Temple in Nagoya, she taught robe, rakusu and okesa sewing and brought this craft to the United States in the early 1970s, particularly transmitting these skills to Tomoe Katagiri and Zenkei Blanche Hartman.

Kasai Joshin (1914-1985)
A disciple of Yoshida Eshun and then of Sawaki Kodo Roshi, she assisted in the transmission of Nyoho-e sewing to Suzuki Roshi's students, particularly to Zenkei Blanche Hartman.

Aoyama Shundo (1933-)
Since 1970 Aoyama has been abbess of the Aichi Senmon Nisodo in Nagoya, a center for modern monastic Soto Zen nun practice. She was the first woman to receive graduate level study at the Soto sect's Komazawa University, and through her numerous books and travel she has become a popular teacher in Japan and beyond.

Ruth Fuller Sasaki (1893-1967)
One of the first Westerners to train in Japan in the 1930s, she worked as a translator and brought some of the first Zen books into English, including Zen Dust and The Recorded Sayings of Layman Pang. She was married to Sokei-an Sasaki, a pioneer Rinzai teacher on America. She later restored Ryosen-an, a subtemple of Daitokuji, as the First Zen Institute of America and served as priest there, the first American priest at Daitokuji.

Baiho Sesshin Trudy Dixon (ca. 1939-1969)
She was an early student of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi who transcribed and edited his classic book of talks, Zen Mind Beginner's Mind. Suzuki Roshi described her as a "real Zen master."

Maurine Myo-on Stuart (d. 1990)
A student of Yasutani and Soen Nakagawa, ordained by Eido Shimano of Dai-bosatsu, Stuart was leader of the Cambridge Buddhist Association for eleven years, and was named Roshi by Soen Nakagawa. Also a concert pianist, she had many Zen students of her own.

Mitsu Suzuki (1914-)
Wife of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, after his death in 1971 for many years, until she returned to Japan in 1992, she remained at San Francisco Zen Center to help guide students at the center he founded. She taught the Way of Tea as a means of developing Americans' practice, and remained a steadying example.

Houn Jiyu Kennett (1924-1996)
Kennett Roshi was the first Western woman (and one of the first Westerners ever) to train at Soji-ji. She was ordained in Malaysia, transmitted in Japan, and given inka by Keido Chisan (Koho Zenji), the Abbot of Soji-ji. She came to the United States in the 1960s and eventually founded Shasta Abbey, a traditional training monastery for both men and women.

Gesshin Myoko Cheney (1931-1999)
She entered Zen training in Los Angeles in 1967 under Joshu Sasaki Roshi. She was ordained a year later and became an Osho in 1972, acting as director and vice abbess of both Mt. Baldy and Cimarron Zen Centers. In April 1985 she received Dharma Transmission from Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Man Giac in the lineage of Vietnamese Rinzai Zen. She taught in the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, and Florida.

Sandra Jishu Angyo Holmes (1941-1998)
She was the second Abbot of the Zen Community of New York. Along with her husband, Roshi Bernie Glassman, she co-founded the Zen Peacemaker Order, an international order of social activists engaged in peacemaking. The two also co-founded the Interfaith Peacemaker Community including peacemaker villages around the world.

Joanna Macy (1929-)
A Buddhist scholar and social activist, she has practiced extensively in both the Sri Lankan Theravada and Tibetan Vajrayana traditions. Her teachings of Deep Ecology and Deep Time informed by Western systems-philosophy as well as Buddhist thought have helped practitioners uprightly face the unconscious despair of difficult times and helped foster awareness and connection with future generations of beings.

Shunpo Zenkei Blanche Hartman (1926-)
First coming to Zen under Suzuki Roshi, Zenkei became the first woman abbot/abbess of San Francisco Zen Center from 1996 to 2003. She also is a sewing teacher and has helped transmit the traditional practice of sewing Buddha's robe throughout the United States.


This list was developed through research by Jiden Ewing, and was edited by Taigen Leighton.

Sources consulted include: Arai, Paula. Women Living Zen. N.Y.: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Austin, Shosan Victoria. Class on Women Ancestors, October 23, 1999, unpublished transcript.

________. Women Ancestors list, unpublished.

Bodiford, William. Soto Zen in Medieval Japan. University of Hawaii Pres, 1993.

Clouds in Water Zen Center. "Our Great Matriarchs."

Hsieh, Ding-hwa, "Images of Women in Ch'an Buddhist Literature of the Sung Period," in Peter Gregory and Daniel Getz, Buddhism in the Sung. University of Hawaii Press, 1999.

Levering, Miriam. "The Dragon Girl and the Abbess of Mo-shan: Gender and Status in the Ch'an Buddhist Tradition" in Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, vol. 5, no. 1 (1982).

______. "Miao-tao and her Teacher Ta-hui," in Gregory and Getz, Buddhism in the Sung.

______. "Onaa no Tsubone, Soshin-ni" unpublished paper, AAR annual meetin, 2004.

Murcott, Susan. The First Buddhist Women: Translation and Commentary on the Therigatha. Berkeley: Parallax Press, 1991.

Tisdale, Sallie Jiko. "A Line of Women."

Women Active in Buddhism Pages: Female Teachers in Buddhism - Zen/Ch'an.

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