White Wind Zen Community's Long-distance Training Program was established in 1995 to support the practice of students living more than an hour's commuting distance from Dainen-ji, the monastery founded by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi, located in Ottawa, Canada. Since that time, people living all over the world have joined the Sangha of students studying and practicing under the direction of Roshi's Lineage.
Formal Introduction to the Practice
The training provided to long-distance students is based on the structure and standards of training presented at Dainen-ji. Those living near the monastery begin practice by attending an Introduction to Zen Workshop. In order to provide those living at a distance with a similar introduction, they are asked to read the Beginner's Mind Workshop transcript. This is a transcript of an Introduction to Zen Practice Workshop presented by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi in 1991. It will provide you with some information about our practice and the style of presentation used. It is suggested that you read through the transcript two or three times. After you have read through the Beginner's Mind Workshop transcript, sit for half an hour, timed with a clock. If you are uncertain as to how to arrange your posture, please read The Posture of Zazen
The practice of Zen is experiential and instruction is based on your actual experience of doing the practice. As soon as possible after reading the transcript and sitting for a full half hour according to the instructions it contains, please write to the monastery to let us know that you read the Beginner's Mind Workshop transcript, sat and would like to receive further instruction. Please include in your email some detail concerning what you experienced while sitting and write out any questions that came up. Your email will be answered by a practice advisor or a Dharma Teacher in residence at Dainen-ji and this will be the beginning of an exchange for the purpose of clarifying your understanding of Zen practice so that you can eventually apply as a public student of Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi's Lineage. When you write, please also include answers to the following questions:
- Your full name.
- A telephone number and area code so that we can contact you if there is a lapse in communication due to computer or server problems.
- Where are you writing from? (This will help us to determine the kind of resources we can make available to you).
- What is your age?
- Do you have the flexibility to sit on a cushion with your knees contacting the floor for half an hour without moving?
- Do you have a zafu (a round sitting cushion designed specifically for sitting in zazen)? If not, what do you use instead?
After corresponding with a practice advisor or Dharma Teacher for a period of time to clarify your understanding of the practice, the Dharma Teacher or practice advisor you are corresponding with will invite you to apply as a "public student" (a student who lives outside of commuting distance). The application process will be explained by email.
There is no financial contribution expected for preliminary instruction (instruction received prior to applying as, and being accepted as a student), although any contributions are welcome. Once accepted there is the expectation that students will make a monthly financial contribution as they receive ongoing instruction and make more use of resources available. The Administrative Council posts information on suggested contributions.
Commitment as a Public Student
Beginning students are required to sit a minimum of a full half an hour once a week, in order to receive instruction. We encourage everyone to sit every day, but Roshi recognizes that people have many tasks and responsibilities and may not have time to do so and it is not a problem if they do not sit every day. But you must establish a minimum of a weekly half-hour sitting practice which we refer to as a "committed sitting". That half-hour committed sitting must take place on the same day of each week and at the same time. So, if you decide that your committed sitting will take place on Wednesday morning at 7:00, then it is every Wednesday morning at 7:00. We sit in half-hour rounds (not more, not less) timed with a clock. If you decide that you wish to sit more than one round, please end the first round at half an hour and then do five or ten minutes of kinhin (slow walking) before beginning another round. The format for email instruction is as follows: Please type in the date and time of your committed sitting and use this as a heading. Beneath the heading, write down any comments or questions you have about your experience of that sitting. You are also welcome to include notes about other sittings you do if you would like to, but please indicate which one is your committed sitting. If you are using someone else's computer, please set up your own email account, for instance, a Yahoo account. This is requested to avoid the confusion that can arise if the name in your email address does not correspond to your own name and because no one else should be reading correspondence between yourself and a practice advisor or a Dharma Teacher.
Resources for Public Students
The "eMirror" is a free, electronic newsletter of the White Wind Zen Community, published in HTML format and emailed out every Friday. Each issue is illustrated and includes quotation from teisho and information about our schedule and activities. You can subscribe to the eMirror here.
In addition to over 500 pages of text posted on this Website, there is a list of publications available through Great Matter Publications. "The Straight Path: Zen Teachings on the Foundations of Mindfulness" is recommended reading for beginning students.
Library of Recorded Dharma Teachings
After acceptance, students may access the monastery library, which contains a collection of more than 2,000 CD and tape recordings of Dharma Talks, teisho, readings and classes presented by Zen Master Anzan Hoshin and Dharma Talks presented by his Dharma successors.
White Wind Media Site
Following acceptance, students are given a password with which they may access the White Wind Media site, which contains MP3 files of hundreds of recorded teisho, Dharma Talks, readings of translations, and chants (more are being added every week).
Participation at the Monastery
Public students are welcome to come to the monastery and may arrange to attend sittings, Dharma Assemblies, special events such as Yaza and Joya, schedule private retreats at Dainen-ji or engage in a period of residential training.
A public student may make arrangements with the practice advisor or Dharma Teacher they are corresponding with to sit a retreat in their own home and will be given instruction during their retreat. The format used for a home retreat is very similar to that used for retreats at the monastery, with instruction provided beforehand as to how to structure the day and the use of forms.
Further Suggested Reading List
- Beginner's Mind Workshop presented by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi
- Entering the Gates of Practice by the Practice Council
- The Posture of Zazen presented by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi
- Begin Here: Five Styles of Zen presented by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi
- The Posture of Practice presented by Ven. Shikai Zuiko sensei
- The Touchstone presented by Ven. Jinmyo Renge osho
Please note that the Long-distance Training Program is reserved for those living outside of commuting distance of the monastery. Those living within commuting distance of the monastery should attend an Introduction to Zen Workshop in Ottawa.
For further information please use the contact form.