Video: Life at Sogenji and My Ordination


This video shows a snippet of the life at Sogenji Rinzai Zen Monastery in Okayama, Japan.  It is an unfinished NHK (Japanese Television Station) program, so the editing is not ideal.  It shows a lot of life there, with informal meals, a sense of the work, some footage of the beautiful temple.  It also gives a flavor of Shodo Harada Roshi around maybe 2005 or 2006. Some really really good friends in this video, and at least one person who is no longer with us. The video also shows me getting ordained at about twenty six minutes.  I hope you find it interesting to see a small peek into what the heck we were doing in Japan for all of that time.

I wish it would have showed more varied sanzens (at about 5 minutes) as the two shown are very normal, but of a certain pyrotechnic style.  For instance, I remember that day, and the answer to a koan that day for me was to just quietly fall down… Also, it would have been nice to get some interviews, but as I said, the editing was never finished.

As a friend said, this is “So familiar and yet another lifetime away.”

Enjoy!  Thanks for watching!

Questions and comments welcome!  Please share it and like it if you find it interesting.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. I saw you about minute 9:00 or so!

    1. Somehow I am featured a lot in this video. That is me throwing rice at the Japanese women around 15:40. (As a foreigner in Japan, not doing anything quite right, life as monk is constant embarrassment!) And at the 26:00 minute that is me getting ordained. My wife is also featured and that is her around the 12:00 minute in the purple fleece. We were all pretty over being filmed by this point! We were a bit like zoo animals!

  2. Fred ROFFEL says:

    Really nice. And touching to see you ordained. Thank you.

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