Friday, 18 April 2014

Antaiji runs on a five day cycle. The first 3 days of the cycle are work days. We work from 7.30 am to 3pm with a mid-morning break and lunch break, except on the third working day when we finish at 12 noon - although there is always plenty to do and people still seem to be working now. I can see Jisui in the garden and I can hear the tractor, or maybe it's the bulldozer. On the  fourth day we have sesshin (zazen from 4am - 3pm), then on the fifth day it's Hosan (free day). Because it is a 5 day cycle I lose track of the 7 day cycle - what day of the week it is. 

There is much work to do at Antaiji: preparing the rice fields, building a new barn, planting rice and vegetable seeds in seed trays... Below are further examples of work that I happened to catch with the camera.

These two photos show Sogaku, a monk from America mending a zafu in front of the Hondo. I worked alongside Sogaku mending torn zabutons. Sogaku has stayed at a number of temples in Japan. One of his first observations about Antaiji was the way lay practitioners and monks practice together, with lay people taking on the same responsibilities as the monks.

Takeo and Jisui laying moss in the zen garden, also in front of the Hondo.

Arthurs (I think it's pronounced Artus or Artur) from Latvia sewing an insulating sheet onto a frame. We have a large bath which is filled about every second day. The same water is used by everyone so must keep hot for 2 hours. At the moment we have heavy wooden covers which are laid over the bath to keep the heat in between use. These are beginning to rot and are also very heavy, so Arthurs and Moritz are making a new and lighter bath cover.

Here Arthurs is teaching Moritz how to sew.

Tsukan returning the bulldozer to the shed after working in the rice field

Yesterday's lunch was particularly popular: vegetable tempura with a teriyaki sauce (I think). After lunch the leftovers are often put out near the hot drinks table so people can fill up if they need to. Here is Jinen helping himself to more. I notice that the residents are very hungry. We get three good meals a day but there are no snacks available between meals so we must make sure we get enough at the prescribed times. At home I usually snack between meals so I am often not hungry at meal times. Here I am hungry at meal times so really enjoy the food. The main thing I miss is fresh fruit. In fact, in general, there is not much sweet stuff served.Today, though, we were in luck. There was cake after lunch!

A closeup of the vegetable tempura. The vegetables in this dish all grew wild. I have no idea what they were which made them even more enjoyable.

Gusho (right) is the current tenzo and responsible for the tempura and cake. Ishimaru (left) is training with him. The tenzo rises with everyone else in the morning around 3.30am and is still working at night when everyone else's duties have finished for the day.

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