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Buddhadharma : Fall 2012
50 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY FALL 2 0 1 2 route, still they are participating with you, help- ing your sitting. When you put eyeglasses on, eyeglasses begin to sit. When you lift something from here to there, that lifting something is this way, because everything is lifted with it. Shikantaza in its purest form is identical to anuttara samyak sambodhi, complete and per- fected enlightenment. That is why it has to be done for itself. The only special technique is total self-acceptance, with one’s total self—the total self-acceptance of where you are, your birth, the world, the whole thing. Otherwise, you can- not sit, even for one minute. So let your breath sit with you. Let your eyeglasses sit with you. Let the house sit with you. Let your garment, whatever you wear, sit properly. People mov- ing outside all sit with you, but it is you taking the sitting posture. You gather them. In the end, something is sitting. Something sits. The Pain Is Not Yours Once you go in and start to stretch yourself in this particular condition called practice, it is very strenuous. Sitting still feels like disappearing from this world. You go into the rock, into the thick wall, and feel as if you are disappearing as a human being. When you turn around and get up, you discover you’re still alive! The problem is not pain in the body, but the pain of undissolved suf- fering in your mind, and yet that is what you’ve got. Better to look at it, at what it is, instead of being frightened by the appearance of it. You can feel pain, but you cannot have it. It is not yours. For some, the whole universe is ach- ing; it’s all a matter of degrees. It happens, so let it go. Blow the pain away with your breath. We have come together as this condensed form, so in this situation just sit upright and align yourself with gravity. There is another pain that shows up as soon as you practice, and it has nothing to do with your legs. This pain is a feeling of something missing, like forgetting an important item while holding so many packages, like searching for a lost child, or an urge to be with someone. It is the separation from something that you are meant to be, that is nearby. Removed from it, you feel the pull toward it. So there is practice, student, teacher, father, daughter, so on. How to sustain the relationship, with space between, connected but not too entangled and able to move—that is the issue. NICOLASSCHOSSLEITNER K obun Chino Otokawa Roshi, who is often referred to simply as Kobun, was born to an esteemed temple family in the mountain- ous snow country of Japan. He was a gifted young man, practiced with Koto Sawaki in Kyoto, had advanced degrees in Buddhist studies, was famously adept at calligraphy, practiced kyudo, music, art, and taught the dharma. He also spoke English, albeit with a soft, spacious, poetic style, one that apparently was unique even in his native Japan. In 1967, upon finishing monastic training at Eihei-ji Monastery, Kobun was about to return to ordinary temple life in Japan when he answered a request from Suzuki Roshi to come to California to help with American Zen students. Katagiri Roshi also came from Japan to San Francisco Zen Center at that time. For both of them it must have been a culture shock. Their transition from quiet monastic settings brought them to a location very close to Haight-Ashbury in its wild prime. Kobun then went to help establish monastic practice at Suzuki Roshi’s newly formed Tassajara monastery, and following Tassajara he lived south of San Francisco. He began to raise a family and taught at Haiku Zendo, where Suzuki Roshi’s book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind came to be. As students began to gather, Santa Cruz Zen Center emerged, then Kannon-do, Spring Mountain, Jikoji, and Hokoji in New Mexico. Two European practice centers, Puregg and Felsentor, were established by dharma heir Vanja Palmer. Floating Zendo, Everyday Dharma Zen Center, Hakubai, Sokukoji, and O-An Zendo are also part of Kobun’s lineage. Additionally, Kobun was a teacher to the Shambhala sangha, where he introduced Shibata Sensei’s kyudo practice to the sangha, taught calligraphy, transmitted an oryoki practice, and at the time of his death held the World Wisdom Chair at Naropa University. In the summer of 2002, in an alpine village in Switzerland, Kobun died in a drowning accident along with his daughter Maya. This year, the tenth anniversary of his death, his legacy is being commemorated with ceremonies, celebrations, the archiving of his teaching and calligraphy, and the development of various publications. My Teacher’s Legacy Kobun Chino came to America in 1967 at the request of Suzuki Roshi and spent the next thirty-five years helping spread the dharma in the West. Shoho Michael Newhall recalls his teacher’s life. Kobun Chino in Puregg, in the Austrian Alps, ca 1994