Saturday, December 11, 2010

Workshop at the Zen Center with Issho Fujita

I had a great day today, attending the workshop and meditation with guest instructor Issho Fujita at Sonoma Mountain Zen Center.


“Without applying the effort or expending the mind. How can we sit zazen
as if we are blooming naturally from inside out?"

~ Rev. Fujita led us through a series of exercises, exploring the possibility of sitting zazen in a more spontaneous way. The lecture/demonstration delved into opening our body-mind to the rich supports from inside and outside in zazen.
"Your body is like a ballon filled with water..."

"...expand your awareness to include at least all the inside of the zendo"

These photos were taken in the Zendo today (thank you to Jakub @SMZC!).

Rev. Issho Fujita (藤田 一照 Fujita Isshō) is Dharma heir to the late Kosho Uchiyama-roshi. Ordained as a priest in 1983 by Koho Watanabe-roshi at Antai-ji Temple (located in the northern Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan), Rev. Fujita was head teacher at Soto Zen practice center Pioneer Valley Zendo in Charlemont, MA from 1987-2005. In 2005 he returned to Japan where he lived with his wife and two teenage daughters. In 2010 he was assigned to be a Director of the International Center of Sōtō Zen Buddhism located in San Francisco, and now lives at the San Francisco Zen Center.

Demonstrating posture and movement

from the blog "Hey Bro! Can You Spare Some Change?" -
"The Valley Zendo website has the notebooks of Rev. Fujita and in my opinion {these} should be deemed required reading for all of those who practice Shikantaza. Rev. Fujita has explored in his writings the physical aspects of sitting in a very unique way. He is always trying out new forms of bodywork to expand and deepen his understanding of Zazen."

For more workshop photos visit the gallery at

Fujita-san Demonstrates how to sit Zazen at Sojiji Zendo


Zazen is at the heart of Zen Buddhist practice. The aim of zazen is just sitting, "opening the hand of thought." Once the mind is able to be unhindered by its many layers, one will then be able to realize one's true Buddha nature. In Zen Buddhism, zazen (literally "seated meditation") is a meditative discipline practitioners perform to calm the body and the mind and experience insight into the nature of existence and thereby gain enlightenment.

Zen emphasizes experiential prajñā ( प्रज्ञा - wisdom) in the attainment of enlightenment. As such, it de-emphasizes theoretical knowledge in favor of direct realization through meditation (zazen) and dharma practice.


Shikantaza is a Japanese term for zazen introduced by Rujing and associated most with the Soto school of Zen Buddhism, but which also is "the base of all Zen disciplines." According to Dōgen Zenji, shikantaza i.e. resting in a state of brightly alert attention that is free of thoughts, directed to no object, and attached to no particular content—is the highest or purest form of Zazen, zazen as it was practiced by all the buddhas of the past.

For more about Zen & Buddhism visit the page "Master of the Shakuhachi"

For more workshop photos visit the gallery at

Links --

Issho Fujita @Wikipedia
San Francisco Zen Center
SOTOZEN-NET official site (english)

Hey Bro! Can You Spare Some Change?: Hey Bro! Can You Spare Some Change?: The Posture is Beyond Thinking | Hey Bro! Can You Spare Some Change?: Issho Fujita | Hey Bro! Can You Spare Some Change?: Issho Fujita Audio Talk

Monk brings global view to Buddhism | The Japan Times Online << update 2/19/11 Dharma Eye Zazen - articles by Rev. Issho Fujita, Valley Zendo, Massachusetts with assistance from Tansetz Shibata and Tesshin Brooks

Zazen is Not the Same as Meditation by Rev. Issho Fujita
An article about Rev. Fujita and Kinhin
Issho Fujita @YouTube

@Wikipedia -
Zen Buddhism
Sōtō Zen

Sonoma Mountain Zen Center was formed by Jakusho Kwong-roshi in 1973 to continue the Soto Zen lineage of Shunryu Suzuki-roshi and to make everyday Zen available to people in Sonoma County. We are situated on 80 acres of rolling hills and mountainous land, located 11 miles from the town of Santa Rosa. Our sangha consists of a small residence and a larger membership that joins us in Zen practice from the local area, as well as other parts of the United States and Europe.

see also:
Dharma talk - What is “kind speech?"

Master of the Shakuhachi
& about Zen & Buddhism

SMZC Mandala Bazaar, Sept. 2010

Dharma Wheel & About Dharma

Zen Playlist at YouTube

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