JULY 4th, 2013
Dear Dharma Friends,
Thirty-seven years ago today, on July 4th, 1976, Dai Bosatsu Zendo Kongo-Ji (DBZ) was dedicated. It was the Bicentennial Anniversary Day of the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America. Also, three years ago today, I submitted my resignation as Chairman of the Board of the Zen Studies Society, after being in America, for just 50 years. Thus, today is the most appropriate day, for me to share, with you, where Aiho and I stand, and my deep concern for the entire Sangha.
As you are well aware, my teacher Soen Roshi selected me to continue the transmission of Buddha Dharma to the West. Without, over a half a century’s struggle, of Ven. Nyogen Senzaki in America and his firm trust and friendship with Soen Roshi, the idea of establishment of an international zendo, could not even be imagined nor realized. Our treasures are the Dharma Legacy and our Zazen Practice. If these treasures are not respected, or forgotten, we will not requite our spiritual debts to the Buddhas and Patriarchs, of our Dharma lineage.
With regard to the Dharma Teachings, nothing must interfere with the flow of the Dharma. The word Sangha means harmonious togetherness. Master Hakuin in the Rohatsu Exhortations wrote, “When the Master and the Sangha are not in harmony, the great Dharma does not flow.” This includes the Zen Studies Society Board members (ZSSB) who may not understand the impact of their actions, and the central importance of our Dharma Legacy at NYZ and DBZ.
Since our retirement, there have been a number of actions taken by the ZSSB, which have influenced and altered our lives. One of which, includes the violation of our retirement pension agreement with the stopping of all payments after August 2012. Without receiving any response from the ZSSB for their actions, we had no other choice but to initiate a civil suit four months later. In May 2013, the ZSSB made an offer to enter into non-binding arbitration, if we placed our lawsuit on hold. We accepted this offer. Thus far, the choice of a mediator to provide an alternative resolution to our dispute is still pending.
When I retired, it was my intention to continue my work for the Dharma by translating the precious foundational letters of Soen Roshi and Nyogen Senzaki. Under the current circumstances, I have resolved to continue my commitment to our Dharma legacy, by starting the translations now, with the help of Sangha volunteers. It is my intention to encourage everyone to do Zazen practice in every way you can, and have the clarity of mindfulness, to encourage others to do the same.
Shakyamuni Buddha said “Atta Dipa,” meaning you are the light itself. Only when you practice Zane, can you understand what he meant. Only when we do more Zazen, will you understand the importance of Dharma Legacy for this generation as well as for generations to come.
Without Zazen Practice in our tradition, there is no Sangha. Without the Sangha, the Dharma Legacy dies. You are the Sangha. You are the light. “Do not rely on anything other than the Dharma.”
Please keep well.
Eido Shimano Roshi