Reflections on the 2016 Japan Pilgrimage

 The 2016 Japan Trip Pilgrims at Rinso-in Temple with Suzuki Shunryu Roshi's son Abbot Hoitsu Roshi, his wife, grand-daughter-in-law and grandson. 

The 2016 Japan Trip Pilgrims at Rinso-in Temple with Suzuki Shunryu Roshi's son Abbot Hoitsu Roshi, his wife, grand-daughter-in-law and grandson. 

Dear dharma friends,

We’ve been back from Japan almost a month now. Barely a week after we got back, we had a wonderful ZenYU day-retreat here at Blue Mountain Zendo, followed by Mountain Rain’s annual potluck and general meeting. And last week we attended Samish Island sesshin, Red Cedar Zen’s yearly week-long sesshin with Norman Fischer.  So we’re still reflecting on our time in Japan and the mysterious connection we have with that country, its people, landscape and culture. We shared some reflections in our talks on the day of the AGM, which are posted on the website if you’d like to listen. And we’ll probably have more to say in the weeks to come.
A few highlights:

  • sitting in the zendo at Suzuki Roshi’s temple, Rinso-in, the ancestors so close
  • all those stairs at Eiheiji temple, imagining the monks in winter
  • the meal at Enryakuji Temple, the meals at the hot springs inn—oh, and the meals at Jimyo-in Temple…
  • green moss, blue hydrangeas, dark wood of temples
  • Japanese sweets passed around on the bus, more sweets, yet more sweets
  • listening to flying squirrels chitter in the cemetery in ancient cedar forest of Mount Koya
  • matcha ice cream, cherry blossom ice cream, black sesame ice cream, soba ice cream…
  • Hojo-sama (Suzuki Roshi’s son, the present abbot) saying “We are the same kafū (family wind).”

 We want to thank our wonderful fellow pilgrims who shared so openly their wonderings as we wandered, and those who kept the practice going so faithfully at the zendo in our absence. It’s good be home again.

Warm bows,
Myoshin Kate and Shinmon Michael