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Entries in rohatsu (3)


Doan Book With Post-Its

Kyosho Valerie Beer led a Rohatsu zazenkai (one-day retreat) last Sunday at Empty Hand Zen Center. The service was a little different than usual, e.g. we chanted the Maka Hannya Haramita Shingyo (Heart Sutra in Japanese), and there were several bell changes in the doan script.  Hence, the Post-Its. Couple of other key items for the person hitting the bells during zazenkai are also visible in the image: 1) a clock, 2) the sitting schedule, and 3) a bell (shokei, or small bell, is shown). [NOTE: Bows to Valerie (thx) for a wonderful eighth-day celebration]. 


Rohatsu 2014

First day of Rohatsu Week, the seven days leading up to Buddha's enlightenment on December 8 (see Rohatsu, Rohatsu 2011). As the story (one of them) goes, Siddhartha Gautama took his seat under the Bodhi tree and vowed not to get up until he had found the truth. He was visited by the demon Mara (shown above), who repeatedly tempted and assaulted him with sensory pleasure, violence, and mockery to prevent him from attaining enlightenment. Gautama remained still, and finally said, "I know who you are, Mara". "You are me". Ouch. Mara gave up and slunk away. As the morning star rose in the sky, Siddhartha Gautama realized enlightenment and became a Buddha.



Seated Buddha (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)


Rohatsu - the eighth day of the twelfth lunar month - is a time when Zen Buddhists commemorate Buddha's enlightement.  It starts on December 1st and ends on Rohatsu or Bodhi Day (December 8th).  In the seven days leading up to Rohatsu Day, Zen monks and lay practitioners spend their time in intensive silent meditation.  The Rinzai master, Hakuin Ekaku (1685-1768) exhorted his monks during Rohatsu to "sit this week with a daring spirit".  Be mindful. Sit hard. For all beings.