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

Sunday, December 5, 2010

YouTube playlists

Here are some YouTube playlists to browse -
• Art & photos slideshows
• Watch This
• Zen
• North Indian (Hindustani) Classical Music
• Balinese Stuff (music, dance, ketjak)
...more! - Hurdy Gurdy, Nuclear, Music, African Music & Dance...

Some of the individually listed selections feature teachers that I have studied with. I hope to add a page in honor of these teachers at some point.

Art & Photo Slideshows

• Art & Photo Slideshows playlist >>
misc art & photos
Fall, Mixed Woodland
Sonoma Mountain Zen Center Mandala Bazaar
Flying Saucer

Watch This
• "Watch This" PLAYLIST >>

Shunryu Suzuki Roshi | Zen Mind Beginner's Mind


Buddha artwork slideshow

हिन्दुस्तानी शास्त्रीय संगीत
North Indian (Hindustani) Classical Music
• Indian Music PLAYLIST >>
Dr. Laxmi Ganesh Tewari -
Raga Bilaskhani Todi | Pani Bina (Kabir Bhajan)
Ustad Ail Akbar Khan - Rag Zila Kafi | Rag Marwa

Ustad Allah Rakha & Zakir Hussain Tabla Duet

Ravi Shankar, Alla Rakha - Tabla Solo in Jhaptal

Zakir Hussain Tabla Solo

Musik dan Tari Bali

• Music and Dance of Bali PLAYLIST >>

Balinese Monkey Chant (from the film Baraka)

I Wayan Dibia - Topeng Keras | Topeng Tua

Topeng Keras & Rajah Dalem

Baris Dance | interlocking madness #1

Gamelan Sekar Jaya (Taruna Jaya Part 2)

robertcherwink YouTube channel

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

a selection of art & photos

2010 selection | newer images | slideshow playlist | free downloads

you can now buy prints of some of my works at deviantART (watch for more uploads), but don't miss my free downloads either!

> rcherwink's deviantART gallery

a selection of art & photos from 2010

Watch a YouTube slideshow; or, click on individual images to enlarge.

Slideshow, Dec 20, 2010
> additional/newer images added below

Dharma Wheel

drawing 100208

2010 selection | newer images | slideshow playlist | free downloads

some newer images

Click on images or links for more

Bhumisparsha Mudrā

whats more: Bhumisparsha Mudrā update | Life of Zen

abolish atomic


what it is: hawk update

fukushima art

tara (110921)

shell fossil & diamond sutra

what it is: red leaves, autumn wind update

original: what it is: red leaves, autumn wind
red leaves align
with force of wind
all the buddhas shout

2010 selection | newer images | slideshow playlist | free downloads

slideshow playlist

art & photos playlist at rc's YouTube channel

free high resolution downloads | donate

you can now buy prints of some of my works at deviantART (watch for more uploads), but don't miss my free downloads either!

autumn wind (not exactly haiku?)

a new poem

Autumn Wind

red leaves align with force of wind all the buddhas shout

reflections, and a bit about Haiku -
with edited notes from Wikipedia

red leaves

of wind

all the

not exactly haiku?

It depends on how you count it up. Most people think that a Haiku consists of 17 syllables; but, this isn't right. What is counted is actually "mora," which are not the same as syllables.
In contrast to English verse typically characterized by meter, Japanese verse counts sound units (moras), known as "on". Traditional haiku consist of 17 on, in three phrases of five, seven, and five on, respectively.

  does it add up?

...maybe if I had included "autumn" in the phrase "with force of {autumn} wind," then it would add up? - and perhaps it would even meet the 5,7,5 moras/phrase scheme somehow? I don't know how some words would be counted. For example, would "leaves" be counted as 2 mora?

Haiku (haikai verse), plural haiku, is a form of Japanese poetry, consisting of 17 moras (or on), in three phrases of 5, 7, and 5 moras respectively. Although haiku are often stated to have 17 syllables, this is inaccurate as syllables and moras are not the same. Haiku typically contain a kigo (seasonal reference), and a kireji (cutting word). In Japanese, haiku are traditionally printed in a single vertical line and tend to take aspects of the natural world as their subject matter, while haiku in English often appear in three lines to parallel the three phrases of Japanese haiku and may deal with any subject matter.

Onji is an obsolete Japanese word used in English-language discussion of Japanese poetry to mean the phonetic units counted in haiku, tanka and other such poetic forms. Known as "morae" to English-speaking linguists, the modern Japanese term for the linguistic concept is hyōon moji (表音文字) while the normal Japanese term in the context of counting sounds in poetry is "on". On (音) is Japanese for "sound" and ji (字) is Japanese for "symbol" or "character".
An English syllable may contain one, two or three morae.

Although the word "on" is often translated as "syllable", in fact one on is counted for a short syllable, an additional one for an elongated vowel, diphthong, or doubled consonant, and one more for an "n" at the end of a syllable. Thus, the word "haibun", though counted as two syllables in English, is counted as four on in Japanese (ha-i-bu-n). In addition, some sounds, such as "kyo" (きょ) can be perceived as two syllables in English but as a single on in Japanese. A word that illustrates both these issues is "Tokyo" (とうきょう), which is perceived as having three syllables in English (To-ky-o) but four moras in Japanese (To-o-kyo-o).

kigo & keriji

...and I guess the words "align" or "shout" should qualify as kireji (cutting words); and I leave "red" in association with "leaves" to count as the reference to a season (kigo), so maybe its not so bad either way.

Kigo ( "season word") is a word or phrase associated with a particular season, used in Japanese poetry. Kigo are used in the collaborative linked-verse forms renga and renku, as well as in haiku, to indicate the season referred to in the stanza. They are valuable in providing economy of expression.
In Japanese haiku a kireji, or cutting word, typically appears at the end of one of the verse's three phrases. A kireji fills a role somewhat analogous to a caesura in classical western poetry or to a volta in sonnets.

Depending on which cutting word is chosen, and its position within the verse, it may briefly cut the stream of thought, suggesting a parallel between the preceding and following phrases, or it may provide a dignified ending, concluding the verse with a heightened sense of closure.

red leaves align
with force of wind,
{and} all the buddhas shout

red leaves align,
{while} with force of wind
all the buddhas shout

"red leaves align
with force of wind,"
all the buddhas shout

haiku in english

But then, of course, this isn't in Japanese either; and while I wasn't really trying to write haiku according to rules in the first place, one might want to explore Haiku in English as a topic. In any case, it is the way it turned out and so it is what it is!
English haiku do not adhere to the strict syllable count found in Japanese haiku, and the typical length of haiku appearing in the main English-language journals is 10–14 syllables. Some haiku poets are concerned with their haiku being expressed in one breath and the extent to which their haiku focus on "showing" as opposed to "telling". This is the genius of haiku using an economy of words to paint a multi-tiered painting, without "telling all".
Or as Matsuo Bashō puts it, "The haiku that reveals seventy to eighty percent of its subject is good. Those that reveal fifty to sixty percent, we never tire of."

Translating back and forth between English and Japanese

Here it is in Japanese from Google Translate (three lines with no punctuation) -

• red leaves align
with force of wind
all the buddhas shout


Aka wa awase ha-fū no chikara de subete no hotoke ga sakebu
- and google translate sends that back to English as
Red Leaf suit
Wind power
All Buddha cry

Hmm. Any help with this appreciated :) Gomen nasai - my Sanskrit it seems, even as limited as it is, proves to be much better than my Japanese!

Again using Google Translate, I come up with these variations -

• red leaves align with force of wind, and all the buddhas shout

Kōyō wa,-fū no chikara ni awase Subete no hotoke ga sakebu
Autumn leaves,
according to the force of the wind
All Buddha cry

• red leaves align, while with force of wind all the buddhas shout

Aka wa, seiretsu no ha Kaze no chikara o motsu subete no hotoke ga sakebu naka
The red leaves of alignment
All of the Buddha
with the cry of the wind power

• "red leaves align with force of wind," all the buddhas shout
" Akai ha wa,-fū no chikara ni awase" subete no hotoke ga sakebu
"Red Leaves, according to the force of the wind," shouted all the Buddha

Aki no kaze
Autumn Wind

red leaves align
with force of wind
all the buddhas shout

See also

whats more: what can a fish know of fire? | Kōan

what it is: Fall in Mixed Woodland, Mendocino County

Updated presentation, December 3, 2011

what it is: red leaves, autumn wind update