Oryoki documentation update

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  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39459

    #16


    Where or where can we find the TRUE way?? (A Koan)
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    Comment

    • Shinshi
      Treeleaf Unsui
      • Jul 2010
      • 3559

      #17
      So this is kind of interesting, at least to me.

      I found a pdf of Dogen's pure standards for the Zen community: a translation of the Eihei shingi by Dan Leighton and Shohaku Okumura. It was in the wayback machine.

      In it Dogen writes:

      The manner of setting out the bowls is: first gassho* and untie the knot on the wrapping cloths around the
      bowls. Take the bowl wiping cloth and fold it up, once horizontally and into three layers vertically.


      Changed my mind. I now think this sounds like how it is done in the Japanese videos

      [After the events this week I felt compelled to come back and add that I also bought a copy online. It should be here next week]

      Gassho, Shinshi

      SaT-LaH
      Last edited by Shinshi; 11-28-2021, 11:20 PM.
      空道 心志 Kudo Shinshi
      I am just a priest-in-training, any resemblance between what I post and actual teachings is purely coincidental.
      E84I - JAJ

      Comment

      • Geika
        Treeleaf Unsui
        • Jan 2010
        • 4980

        #18
        I commend you, Shinshi! I am currently struggling with oryoki and I am impressed by how you are able to notice these differences and document them, let alone memorize any of them!

        Gassho
        求道芸化 Kyūdō Geika
        I am just a priest-in-training, please do not take anything I say as a teaching.

        Comment

        • Jundo
          Treeleaf Founder and Priest
          • Apr 2006
          • 39459

          #19
          For historical reasons, Shinshi, you might be interested in this book by Rev. Yifa on the first, extant Zen Monastic Code back in China, published in 1103, so over 100 years before Dogen would have come to China. It is the Chanyuan qinggui (Rules of Purity for the Chan Monastery), compiled by a monk named Daoan. Daoan himself created many procedures, or there were earlier "Rules of Purity" that he based these on, but they are now lost.

          (Please recall my rule of thumb, from recent discussions, that academic and Buddhist books can be used more freely than entertainment books if not easily available.

          I believe in the distinction.)



          It has little historical nuggets that might interest a real Oryoki Otaku (Otaku: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otaku ) like you:

          Regarding mealtime rituals, Chanyuan qinggui indicates that before taking their meals, monks would chant the ten epithets of the Buddhas and bodhisattvas, a custom preserved in Chinese monasteries to the present day. The content of the chant is as follows:

          “The Pure Dharma Body Vairocana Buddha, the Perfect Reward Body
          Vairocana, the Ùâkyamuni Buddha with His Myriad Transformation
          Bodies, the Venerable Buddha Maitreya Who Will Descend and Be
          Reborn in This World in the Future, All the Buddhas in Ten Directions and Three Ages, the Great Holy Mañjuùrî Bodhisattva, the Great
          Practice Samantabhadra Bodhisattva, the Great Compassion Avalokiteùvara Bodhisattva, and All the Great Bodhisattvas. Great Prajñâpâramitâ!”48

          Ui Hakuju asserts that this chant originated with Daoan and his regulations.49

          According to the Four Part Vinaya, Indian monks chanted verses after their meals.50 As Daoxuan tells us this tradition was altered in China by Daoan, who began the practice of circumambulating with burning incense and chanting prior to the meal. Daoxuan himself considered this change to be appropriate and adopted the routine for the Chinese Lü school.51 This represents yet another monastic practice that to the present day is thought to have originated with Daoan

          ...

          Chanyuan qinggui describes mealtime protocol in great detail, providing instructions on which door to use to enter the dining hall; when, where, and how to sit; how bowls and utensils must be arranged; what verses to recite; how to eat; how to clean up afterwards; and so on. For example, “Attendance at Meals” in Fascicle 1
          [42] describes the proper procedure for ringing the bell to signal the beginning of a meal. According to the Vinaya texts, the striking of a bell to indicate mealtime was already established as a practice during the time of the Buddha. Initially, monks were not in the habit of arriving in unison to receive their meals. This lack of order tended to frustrate the laypeople offering food. Thus the Buddha pronounced that a regular mealtime should be arranged.24 When Rahula, the son
          of the Buddha, complained that the senior monk Ùâriputra consistently received the best food offered by laypeople, the Buddha established the rule that food should be distributed equally to all. He further decreed that a special instrument should be used to summon all monks to the meals.25 In the Five Part Vinaya26 a story is told in which several monks had started to eat their food without waiting until everyone had been served. When laypeople criticized this behavior, the Buddha instructed the monks to wait until all had received their food

          ... From “Attendance at Meals” we learn that in Chan monasteries monks took their two meals seated on the platforms in the Sangha hall. Yijing [Chinese monk who travelled to India to find the "True" customs there ... kind of like Shinshi now searching for the True Oryoki ] criticized this practice, asserting that while the custom in China is for monks to sit in rows and consume their food in a crosslegged position, such practices are unheard of in India, where monks sit on small chairs (seven inches high and one foot square on top) with their legs dropping to the floor. Yijing argued that when Buddhism was first introduced to China, monks followed the Indian practice, but beginning in the Jin dynasty the error of sitting on platforms with legs crossed was introduced. Even monks who came to China from India, Yijing contended, whether Indian or Chinese, were never able to correct this practice. According to the sacred tradition established by the Buddha, the platform should be one and a half feet in height. In China the platforms are higher than two feet. Thus it is inappropriate to sit on such a platform, Yijing concluded, for to do so violates the precepts.

          ...

          Chanyuan qinggui specifies that the serving of meals should be done by a specific class of untonsured servers called purity-keepers (jingren),79 a term adopted from the Vinayas. In the Vinaya texts, the role of the purity-keeper (Pâli kappiya-kâraka) is to serve as mediator, keeping monks away from activities that are improper for them to undertake yet need to be fulfilled. Thus the jingren, by performing these tasks, help maintain the purity of the clergy.80
          Here are SOME of the actual rules, but if you really want to dig into the whole thing, it is pages 123 to 129 at the link above:

          To correctly display a nest of bowls, the monk should first bow and untie his cloth bundle.175 He takes out the bowl wiper176 and folds the cloth into a small shape. He then takes out his spoon and chopstick bag and places them horizontally, close in front of him. Next the clean towel177 is used to cover the knees, after which the cloth bundle is completely opened and the three corners closest to him are folded over and neatly joined together at the center, while the far corner is allowed to drape over the edge of the platform. He then uses both hands to unfold the mat.178 With his right hand facing down, he holds the corner of the mat closest to him on the right side and places it over the top of the bowls in front of him. Then, with the left hand facing up, he reaches under the mat to pick up the bowls and places them on the left side of the mat. Using the fingertips of both hands, he takes out the three smaller bowls179 stacked together and places
          them on the mat one at a time without making any noise. If his seat is narrow, he should display only three of his bowls. He then opens the bag to take out his spoon and chopsticks.180 (When removing these items, he should take out the chopsticks first. When replacing them, he should put the spoon in first.) He places the chopsticks and spoon horizontally behind the first bowl, with the handles to the side of his upper shoulder. The brush181 he places on the edge of the mat to the side of the lower shoulder with the handle facing out. He then waits for the offering of food to all sentient beings.

          ...

          To correctly receive the food, the monk should hold the bowl with both hands and lower his hands close to the mat. The bowl should be held level.185 The monk should gauge the amount of food served him; he should not request too much and leave unfinished food. He must wait until the food has been distributed and the rector has struck with the hammer186 before he lifts up his bowl to make the offering. After the hammer has struck, he presses his hands together in honor
          of the food and performs the five contemplations:187

          one, to ponder the effort necessary to supply this food and to appreciate its origins;
          two, to reflect on one’s own virtue being insufficient to receive the offering;
          three, to protect the mind’s integrity, to depart from error, and, as a general principle, to avoid being greedy;
          four, at the same time to consider the food as medicine and bodily nourishment, preventing emaciation;
          five, to receive this food as necessary for attaining enlightenment.

          After this comes the offering of food to all sentient beings. [53] (Before the completion of the five contemplations the food cannot be considered one’s own portion and therefore cannot be offered to sentient beings.) While the monks perform the offering of food to all sentient beings, they chant a verse:

          “All spirit beings and deities, / Now I offer you this food. /
          May this food be spread in all ten directions / For all spirit beings anddeities to share.”188

          [54] When eating, the monk brings the bowl to his mouth and not his mouth to the bowl.189 The top half of the outside of the bowl is considered pure, while the bottom half is considered soiled.190 The thumb is placed inside the bowl, on its rim, and the second and third fingers are placed outside, on the bottom, while the fourth and fifth are not used at all.191 The method of holding smaller bowls is the same. When lifting or placing the bowls, or when picking up the spoon
          or chopsticks, the monk should not make any noise
          Last edited by Jundo; 11-29-2021, 12:53 AM.
          ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

          Comment

          • Shinshi
            Treeleaf Unsui
            • Jul 2010
            • 3559

            #20
            Thank you Jundo. I'll look at these.

            I have to admit, once I find a loose thread I have a hard time not pulling on it. If that leads to another loose thread - I'm off.

            Youtube and Google don't help. They both keep offering up recommendations that lead me even further down the rabbit hole.


            Gassho, Shinshi

            SaT-LaH
            空道 心志 Kudo Shinshi
            I am just a priest-in-training, any resemblance between what I post and actual teachings is purely coincidental.
            E84I - JAJ

            Comment

            • Jundo
              Treeleaf Founder and Priest
              • Apr 2006
              • 39459

              #21
              Originally posted by Shinshi
              Thank you Jundo. I'll look at these.
              They are posted for your historical amusement and reflection alone, nothing to emulate in our procedures.
              ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

              Comment

              • Shinshi
                Treeleaf Unsui
                • Jul 2010
                • 3559

                #22
                Originally posted by Geika
                I commend you, Shinshi! I am currently struggling with oryoki and I am impressed by how you are able to notice these differences and document them, let alone memorize any of them!

                Gassho
                Thank you Geika, if I can help in any way let me know.

                Gassho,

                Shinshi
                空道 心志 Kudo Shinshi
                I am just a priest-in-training, any resemblance between what I post and actual teachings is purely coincidental.
                E84I - JAJ

                Comment

                • Shinshi
                  Treeleaf Unsui
                  • Jul 2010
                  • 3559

                  #23
                  I have written up everything I think I know, along with a recommendation, and sent it off to Jundo. 4 - pages so probably overkill He let me know it probably won't be until after Rohatsu until he can take a look.

                  I am going to step away from the rabbit hole now as I am kind of falling behind on other things.

                  It has been really interesting so far, interesting to see where we will go.

                  Gassho,

                  Shinshi
                  空道 心志 Kudo Shinshi
                  I am just a priest-in-training, any resemblance between what I post and actual teachings is purely coincidental.
                  E84I - JAJ

                  Comment

                  • Shinshi
                    Treeleaf Unsui
                    • Jul 2010
                    • 3559

                    #24
                    One more little bit of trivia.

                    Google translate tells me that this video is from "Komazawa University Taketomo Dormitory". Komazawa is one of Japan's oldest universities and Wikipedia tells us:

                    "Its history starts in 1592, when a seminary was established to be a center of learning for the young monks of the Sōtō sect, one of the two main Zen Buddhist traditions in Japan."

                    It is where both Shōhaku Okumura and Yuko Okumura went to university.

                    And one other notable alum is Shunryu Suzuki - who of course was the one that created the original version of how Oryoki is done at the San Fransisco Zen Center!

                    And that kind of feels like everything coming full circle for me.

                    Gassho,

                    Shinshi


                    空道 心志 Kudo Shinshi
                    I am just a priest-in-training, any resemblance between what I post and actual teachings is purely coincidental.
                    E84I - JAJ

                    Comment

                    • Jundo
                      Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                      • Apr 2006
                      • 39459

                      #25
                      Originally posted by Shinshi
                      One more little bit of trivia.

                      Google translate tells me that this video is from "Komazawa University Taketomo Dormitory". Komazawa is one of Japan's oldest universities and Wikipedia tells us:

                      "Its history starts in 1592, when a seminary was established to be a center of learning for the young monks of the Sōtō sect, one of the two main Zen Buddhist traditions in Japan."

                      It is where both Shōhaku Okumura and Yuko Okumura went to university.

                      And one other notable alum is Shunryu Suzuki - who of course was the one that created the original version of how Oryoki is done at the San Fransisco Zen Center!

                      And that kind of feels like everything coming full circle for me.

                      Gassho,

                      Shinshi


                      https://youtu.be/wRDFt9FAccs
                      Another notable bit of trivia ... purely by chance (or Karmic connection), just where I found an apartment when first moving to Tokyo, I lived directly across the street from Komazawa University. I lived there about 10 years. Now, in hindsight, I wish I had made more use of the resources. However, I attended some lectures, used the library, and even sat in the Zendo in the video.

                      Gassho, J
                      ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                      Comment

                      • Anchi
                        Member
                        • Sep 2015
                        • 556

                        #26
                        Hi everybody,

                        I have a question.

                        Oryoki is a Zen practice that arose out of how the medieval Japanese military ate their meals.
                        It is very healthy and has only 3 small and limited portions of food: miso soup, vegetable concoction, and rice.
                        The manner of eating is highly ritualized.

                        l don't know why in monasteries we eat fast ?

                        Perhaps ....i am wrong

                        Thank you

                        Sorry for running a bit long......

                        Gassho
                        Life itself is the only teacher.
                        一 Joko Beck


                        STLah
                        安知 Anchi

                        Comment

                        • Jundo
                          Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                          • Apr 2006
                          • 39459

                          #27
                          Originally posted by omom
                          Hi everybody,

                          I have a question.

                          Oryoki is a Zen practice that arose out of how the medieval Japanese military ate their meals.
                          It is very healthy and has only 3 small and limited portions of food: miso soup, vegetable concoction, and rice.
                          The manner of eating is highly ritualized.

                          l don't know why in monasteries we eat fast ?

                          Perhaps ....i am wrong

                          Thank you

                          Sorry for running a bit long......

                          Gassho
                          Oh, no, where did you hear this about the Japanese military??? They had no time for ritual and chanting! Where did you hear that??

                          No, it originated in China over 1000 years ago (see what I posted above to Shinshi).

                          ... Zen Monastic Code back in China, published in 1103, so over 100 years before Dogen would have come to China. It is the Chanyuan qinggui (Rules of Purity for the Chan Monastery), compiled by a monk named Daoan. Daoan himself created many procedures, or there were earlier "Rules of Purity" that he based these on, but they are now lost. ... Chanyuan qinggui describes mealtime protocol in great detail, providing instructions on which door to use to enter the dining hall; when, where, and how to sit; how bowls and utensils must be arranged; what verses to recite; how to eat; how to clean up afterwards; and so on.
                          We eat fast in monasteries because, first we chant SLOWLY to remember how sacred eating is, then the actual eating is beyond "likes and dislikes." It is just medicine to keep us going! So, we don't eat slow and "enjoy," nor too fast. We just eat!

                          Gassho, J

                          STLah
                          ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                          Comment

                          • Anchi
                            Member
                            • Sep 2015
                            • 556

                            #28
                            Thank you for clarifying.

                            Oryoki is such a great practice! l really like it.

                            Thank you so much


                            A deep bow of gratitude,
                            Last edited by Anchi; 11-30-2022, 07:01 AM.
                            Life itself is the only teacher.
                            一 Joko Beck


                            STLah
                            安知 Anchi

                            Comment

                            • Naiko
                              Member
                              • Aug 2019
                              • 838

                              #29
                              I wish to become comfortable with oryoki but I confess it makes me very anxious. I understand why the meal is eaten so quickly, but I risk severe medical consequences if I don’t very thoroughly chew my food. So I try to find something very easy to digest and eat a very small amount in order to participate. Even so, I feel like my limitations hinder me from benefiting from the practice.
                              Gassho,
                              Naiko
                              st

                              Comment

                              • Bion
                                Treeleaf Unsui
                                • Aug 2020
                                • 3832

                                #30
                                Originally posted by Naiko
                                I wish to become comfortable with oryoki but I confess it makes me very anxious. I understand why the meal is eaten so quickly, but I risk severe medical consequences if I don’t very thoroughly chew my food. So I try to find something very easy to digest and eat a very small amount in order to participate. Even so, I feel like my limitations hinder me from benefiting from the practice.
                                Gassho,
                                Naiko
                                st
                                I say, small amount of porridge, or soup.. or just some tea.. go through the ritual wholeheartedly, food in the bowls or no food. [emoji3526]


                                [emoji1374] SatToday lah
                                "Stepping back with open hands, is thoroughly comprehending life and death. Immediately you can sparkle and respond to the world." - Hongzhi

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