"The blue mountain is the father of the white cloud. The white cloud is the son of the blue mountain. All day long they depend on each other, without being dependent on each other. The white cloud is always the white cloud. The blue mountain is always the blue mountain."
~Zen Master Tozan
The guiding teacher of the Hermitage, Taigu is a child dreamer and poet. Discovered Buddhism very early in life at 10 years old when deeply attracted by the image of the seated Buddha. He began to sit at thirteen or fourteen. At the sight of an old nun in zazen he felt deeply touched and converted by the truth of Kesa. Practice at the temple of Valenciennes, Hoku Futsu Zenji; he received tokudo in 1983 from the hands of Étienne Mokusho Zeisler, teacher and Zen monk Soto Zen Temple of Gendronnière. Very active Dojo Lille from 1982 through 1989. After the death of Étienne Mokusho, he became a monk without a sangha. He often sewed Kesas which he offered to others. Back from Syria, he settled in the Dunkirk area and continued practice. Taigu left for Britain in 1997 and practiced zazen and taught kesa sewing. This is where he met Zen Master Mike Chodo Cross, successor to Master Nishijima and began study under him. He received Denpo and Shiho in 2002. Since 2006 he lives in Japan where he teaches, practices, sews and repairs Buddhist robes in nyohoe tradition. Practices the ritual begging Takuhatsu, with special devotion to Jizo and Kannon. He is the guiding teacher and founder of the Blue Mountain Hermitage in the Soto lineage of Nishijima Roshi.
Founder of The Mountain Without Summit; he began practicing Zen Buddhism in 1996 receiving the first precepts in Italy. Continuing practice in the Soto school after arriving in France. Dainin also practiced Korean Rinzai Zen (Chogye), particularly the Master Seung Sahn teaching (Kwan Um School). Practicing the path of the Koan many years in teaching and especially with this line Zen Masters and Bonyo WuBong who will receive monastic ordination, the teaching load of Dharma and the abbot responsibility Saja Soen Hoo Won temple Paris.
In 2010 he returned to his family without origin, Soto Zen where he again undertook Tokudo, monastic ordination, by Zen Master Katya Koren Robel Zen temple Gendronnière, the main Soto temple in Europe.
Between 2007 and 2011 he is active member and administrator of the Buddhist Union of France in which he works with establishment of French Buddhism. Since 2013 he received intensive training in preparation for Shiho, the transmission of Zen Master by a strong bond with Master Taigu who gave him Denpo in 2014, the succession in the line of Patriarchs. He works to convey a modern zen that is joyful and in harmony with our Western culture; Zen committed and authentic, lively and creative.
Myozan Kodo began his daily mediation practice in the late 1990s, with the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order. However, before that, as a teenager, he practiced alone, sitting regularly and reading the sutras. After 1999, Myozan began to sit with various Zen and Tibetan groups, always returning to Soto Zen, however, and finally taking Jukai (lay ordination) with Paul Haller Roshi, then Abbot of San Francisco Zen Center, in 2010. Joining Treeleaf sangha that same year, Myozan was ordained as a priest by his teacher Taigu Turlur in 2011. He served as Shuso at Treeleaf's summer retreat in 2014 and received Dharma Transmission from his teacher later that year. An author and poet, Myozan is a former journalist. He now lecturers in journalism at DIT, in Dublin, where he lives with his wife Isabelle and their two children. His practice in Dublin is currently based in the college where he works, with the DIT Zen group. He regularly holds short retreats in and around Dublin City.
Taikyo has been practicing meditation and Buddhism for many years, & has spent practice time in places of different Buddhist traditions, like Chithurst Monastery in Sussex & Vajaloka (FWBO) in Mid- Wales, but it was Zen Buddhism in which he became mainly interested.
He started Zen practice in a much more dedicated way around 15yrs ago, first practicing on his own & then, with various groups (sanghas), around the UK. He has also spent time in Throssel Hole a Zen monastery in North England, and in Kanshoji a Zen monastery in France, and been on many retreats and sesshins, (intensive meditation retreats) over the last few years. He took the lay precepts 4yrs ago and was ordained as a Zen Buddhist monk in August of 2014.
Taikyo has a PhD in philosophy and teaches philosophy including courses in Buddhist Philosophy at the University of Wales. He facititates a Zen Group at the University, where its members include students from the University and the local community. The group has thrived and in November of last year the University gave the group a dedicated room (Zendo) to be used by the group solely for Zen practice. The Zendo is now an established Zen Centre within the Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage.
Shikantaza in Japanese means "Just Sitting” and refers to sitting meditation in total fulfillment, as Zen Master Dogen taught us. It is the practice of enlightenment itself, as experienced directly by all Buddhas. It is practiced in a meditation posture, with the mind and body totally engaged as one. It expresses complete awakening, without striving to get someplace else. It ends the search we have been on all our lives. In Shikantaza, we are fully present, without goal or effort. It does not end upon rising from the cushion, but continues perpetually moment to moment in our lives. It is the vibrant and alive Dharma gate of joy and ease and we practice it without thought of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ meditation. This profound practice is beyond all duality. It opens us up to all phenomena in the universe, to all life and the interdependence of all things. No more are we separated from the stream of existence. Indeed, we see that we never were separated. Shikantaza is as big as all time and space itself. It is the true Buddha nature we all have, realized joyfully in our lives. It is this peaceful and beautiful homecoming that is our practice.
The kesa is the Buddha’s robe. The robe of Zazen. In Japanese, it is called Nyoho-e, the robe of as it-is-ness. Thanks to the work and life of the Shingon teacher Kaiju Jiun Sonja (1718-1804) who loved being grasped by the still state, to the dedication of Mokishutsu Zenji and later, to Eko Hashimoto and Kodo Sawaki, we have now the opportunity to study, sew and wear the Buddhist robe.
A koan is a short story that is used as a focus for zazen, with each koan highlighting some form of problem. Originally, 'koan' meant a public case which established a legal precedent. In Zen, it is a paradoxical story assigned to a student to solve, in order to help their awakening or to test the depth of their realization. There are about 1,700 recorded koans (pronounced ko-an in Japanese). Notable collections may be found in the Mumonkan (Gateless Gate) and the Hekiganroku (Blue Cliff Record).
Koan study is a form of practice that requires the supervision of a recognised teacher who has himself or herself gone through this rigorous training. A koan is a brief anecdote recording an exchange between master and disciple or a master's enlightenment experience. Koans are used to bring a student to realization or to help clarify his enlightenment.