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Shinjin Gakudo

Receiving The Marrow

Sangaku Dan Joslyn, facilitator

Septembers 10, 2022

Each month, I’ll take five-seven minutes to make opening comments. The remainder of the time I will facilitate a general discussion, as the Dharma moves us…

Chapter Eight: Shinjin Gakudo: The True Human Body , Shosan Victoria Austin


I study the whole person in the posture, examining their needs and their response to those needs, from the ground up. —Victoria Austin

Interview by Jay Pennington

Over her forty-plus years at Zen Center, Shosan Victoria Austin has developed something of a reputation in the community as an expert in many different, specialized areas—from the esoteric details of dharma transmission ceremonies to the everyday issues of sitting posture. A longtime Iyengar yoga teacher as well as Zen teacher, Victoria regularly offers her valuable experience in these complementary paths to the Zen Center community. When, for example, students have trouble finding a comfortable position in meditation, frequently they find their way to Victoria.

Once a month on a Friday afternoon before evening meditation, Victoria offers Meditation Posture Fridays: Yoga Practices for Sitters,™ a drop-in class designed to address specific postural, physiological, or mental aspects of meditation practice, with hands-on adjustments—even in the zendo. The class alternates between short periods of yoga poses and seated periods to integrate the poses’ effects on seated posture. Victoria responded to a few questions recently about this customized, compassionate, donation-based offering.

An ancient Buddha said:

The entire universe is the true human body. The entire universe is the gate of liberation.[…] The entire universe is the dharma body of the self. Dogen, self, interdependence | Exeter Meditation Circle

Comments on the Chapter

  1. Deportment is an Emphasis of Zen (p.139)

  2. Gassho as nondual=balance (p.140)

  3. Shugyo…body and mind… practice-realization (p.140)...

  4. In letting-go, (there becomes) an open (studiously potential) mind that transcends our limits (p.141)

  5. Student-teacher connections create experiences that mirror each other… and maybe referred to as Buddha-mind, Every-day mind and, and Skillful-mind (p.141)

  6. Body-Mind suppression (mind over body) took yoga and zazen… “ (while) my form was correct it was not integrated…” (p.142)

  7. Larger issue may be described as shadows casted when a predominant expression carries issues of discrimination in each transmission. (p.142-145).

  8. Zen Women Beyond Tea Ladies, Iron Maidens, and Macho Masters (p.143

    1. Family practice and ties

    2. Sexuality

    3. Intimacy with vulnerability, feelings, emotion, work,and issues of aging

  9. Male Body-Mind and female body-mind…sitting and pelvic-tilt (p.144)

  10. Dogen= vertical transmission of body-mind and gender bias in body-mind (p.144)

  11. Relational awareness and sensitivity to suffering and pain affects perceptions of women.(p146)

  12. Relational approach to leadership and teaching (p.147)

  13. Vertical male transmission (p.148)

  14. The story of Buddhist women teachers (p.149);

    1. In a lineage of peace there is a strong covert history of oppression

    2. Men overly in the light suffer from a history of privilege

    3. Women, covertly in the dark, suffer from a history of invisibility

    4. For women to study the Way is to accept layer upon layer of the shadows of transmission

    5. Along with acknowledgement of a teacher can come a mindset structured by history.

    6. Transmission is interdependence

  15. Male minds in reference to pain and suffering have less relational understanding than women who approach the issues (p.150)

  16. Study with body means different things to mena and women (p.150-152)

  17. To study the Way with the body means to study the Way with your own body (p.152)

  18. Men and spiritual strength of body (p.153-154)

  19. Women physiologically geared to cooperation…(p.154)

  20. Men and women and sessions settling the body with the body…(p.155-156)

  21. “The true human body is the bones and marrow of the realm beyond consciousness and unconsciousness. Just raising this body up is the study of the way.” Dogen (p.158)

  22. “ We can experience our life coming forth in accord with the fully-experienced body and mind of all beings, of all time and of all space” (p.158)

Next month: The Moon as One Excellent Nature (Tsuki): Edo Francis Carney

108 Bows,


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