Training - Part 1 Sodo
I have previously written on a very strict training. There are two way training is written in Japanese, both has the same sound 'shugyo'; '修業' and '修行'. The former meaning to train academically and the latter physically. A little tip to have.
I will be writing about this topic in several editions.
Being a priest of Rinzai school, I will stick to our customs. There are of course many Rinzai temples all over the world and each may have their original trainings that differ in detail. There are 41 designated training center in Japan. It is called 'Sodo'.
Shike, the trainer, is located at each Sodo. Shike has been carrying down the words of Buddha throughout the history. There are very few Shike in Japan. They are also called the 'zen master' in English.
Unsui, the trainee, chooses Shike and go to their center. Unsui is taken from a phrase '行雲流水' (kouunryusui) meaning the state in never stopping during the training of zen, like he flow of the cloud and water. Shike and Unsui spends few years at the training center 'Sodo'.
Numbers of strict rules exist during this period, from annual training program to daily routines such as how to use chopsticks and to wald.
The rules are said to have come from India and China and have been blended in Japan. The rules are called '叢林清規', sorinshingi. Meditation and daily chores are at the base as well as religious mendicancy, cleaning, silent reading of sutra, tenzo (one of six administrative posts at a Zen temple being in charge of food, etc. matter). I shall be elaborating on these in the following columns.