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Interview with Shodo Harada Roshi

Discussion of Japanese Rinzai Zen (臨済宗) including Obaku Zen (黄檗宗).

Interview with Shodo Harada Roshi

Postby Carol on Sat Aug 03, 2013 8:22 pm

Excellent and thought-provoking interview with Shodo Harada Roshi by Alan Senauke has been published over at Sweeping Zen. It's well worth reading. Here is Senauke's introduction.

Shodo Harada Roshi Interview

Posted by: Sweeping Zen November 26, 2010

Interviewed by Hozan Alan Senauke
November 2003 Sogenji, Okayama, Japan
September 2005 Tahoma, Washington
Translated By Yuho Tom Kirchner and Daichi Priscilla Storandt


A friend said that meeting the Shodo Harada Roshi for the first time in sanzen, a private interview between student and Zen teacher, was like “sitting in front of a nuclear reactor.” I know the feeling, and it is not much different the next time either…or the time after that.

Shodo Harada is a teacher of extraordinary energy and depth. He is a Japanese Rinzai Zen priest with the unusual calling of teaching Westerners. Harada Roshi is abbot of Sogenji in Okayama, Japan, and Tahoma Monastery on Whidbey Island in Washington. He also supports zendos and sitting groups in Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Switzerland, India, and elsewhere in the United States.

At Sogenji, Tahoma, and in his various travels Harada Roshi works closely with Priscilla Daichi Storandt. Chis-san, as she is familiarly known, is his dharma sister and fellow student of Yamada Mumon Roshi. She followed Harada to Sogenji and serves as translator for talks and in the intimate surrounds of sanzen. Her warm, joyful, no-nonsense presence perfectly complements Harada Roshi’s drive. They are quite a team.

Sogenji was built in the 17th as a retreat for the Ikeda clan, then warlords or daimyo in the Bizen region. Harada Roshi, Chi-san and I met over two days in what had been the daimyo’s scriptorium, overlooking Sogenji’s garden and pond. We had a second interview at Tahoma, during sesshijn. To each question, Roshi responded in Japanese with his deep and raspy voice, turning inward at times to search for words which then emerged in bursts of urgent expression.

I am deeply grateful to Chi-san for her on-the-spot translations, and to Tom Yuho Kirchner who later meticulously transcribed and translated the earlier interviews, checking with Chi-san to get the flavor of the moment.

—Hozan Alan Senauke

Practitioners who cultivate the personal realization of buddha knowledge dwell in the bliss of whatever is present and do not abandon their practice.
~Lankavatara Sutra
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Re: Interview with Shodo Harada Roshi

Postby Meido on Sat Aug 03, 2013 9:44 pm

Very nice...thanks, Carol.

~ Meido
The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice
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Re: Interview with Shodo Harada Roshi

Postby fukasetsu on Sun Aug 04, 2013 2:21 am

Anirukta wrote:
2. Regarding the motivation:

"Ultimately what motivates us in spiritual practice is the realization that as living beings we cannot escape death. Yet as time goes by, even this deep intuition of our own mortality tends to fade amidst the cares and distractions of everyday existence. Our natural tendency is to put death out of our minds.

It is critically important, therefore, that practitioners have a concrete sense of their own mortality and of the reality of other people’s death. Investigating death, one’s training naturally intensifies, and one gains a sense of true direction. "

* * *

I was just readin this Ani:
Good stuff.

http://departments.colgate.edu/greatrel ... ath102.txt
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Re: Interview with Shodo Harada Roshi

Postby Pedestrian on Tue Aug 06, 2013 3:08 pm

Thanks Carol, Anirukta, and fukasetsu! All marked for later careful reading.
"Buddha, to liberate beings, cultivates practices everywhere." Avatamsaka Sutra.

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