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A Walk Along the Buddhist Faith

Jiko Simone Wolf tells us about her spiritual path, her discovery of Buddhism, her meeting with a master, her commitment in a Zen temple ; here, we see the main points of this « way. »
By Jiko Simone Wolf
Translation Louise Thunin
Simone Wolf is the name my parents gave me. I grew up in the town of La Chaux-de-Fonds, located at an altitude of one thousand meters, and cold winters bear the flavor of my childhood. The scenery of Courbet bears that of the walks I took. Jiko is the name I received from my master, the venerable Taisen Deshimaru, to whom I owe my introduction into the Buddhist way, and means « Light of compassion.” it is areal koan, an enigma which has s lit my way for forty years. Each day, the question is open. Nothing grows on fixed truths.

The First Steps
I received the transmission of the Dharma in 2004, from Master Yuko Okamoto. During my many trips, I discovered that, as with all humanitarian studies, spiritual subjects suppose not only great faith, great determination, but also learning with a master, a guide who earlier has followed a guide. Zen, the Way of Englightenment, is transmitted from master to disciple. The way is part of the Grand Vehicle school or Mahayana. Maha : grand, vast : yana : vehicle in Sanskrit, terms which designate the whole of the teachings of the Buddha and depend upon the sutras which give priority to the ideal of wisdom and the universal compassion of the bodhisattva on the subject of individual liberation. The teachings of the Buddha have been transmitted for 2,600 years, from India to China, then to Japan, since the seventh century, in the form of Zen, which unifies Dhyana (concentration) and Prajna (wisdom) in a posture called zazen. It was the posture of enlightenment of the Buddha Shakyamuni. In the thirteetnh century, Master Dogen founded Soto Zen, whose presence in action touched the whole of Japanese culture and influenced its arts : those of gardens, of tea, of flowers, and its poetry, for example this haïku by the monk Ryokan : ”A Buddhist monk does not require ten thousand things ; simply to scorn nothing , and to behave like a bodhisattva is a marvelous practice.“ Taking iinspiration from this tradtiion, Tausen Deshimaru, who came from Japan in the the 1970s, settled in Paris. When I began practicing, I was suffering, my life was difficult, I was seeking. Suspicious of falling under someone’s influence, I soon realized that it was urgent to stop solitary meditation, which was making me go round in circles and which comofroted me in my discomfort and my own points of view, which had nothing to do with my real questioning. What is the way to liberation ? How can one awaken in this lifetime ? I left for Paris.
Meeting a master in Paris
My meeting, in the dojo of Pernety (a place of inner silence), with Master Taisen Deshimaru, who emanated a surprising mixture of strength and dignity, was decisive, when his eyes, filled with gentleness and infinite delicacy, looked into mine.All my doubts about the way to follow dissolved at once. Having been freed in a second of my categories, I was able to breathe in the perfume of his compassion and wisdom. It was the first time I had met someone who had fully devoted his life to helping others become free frm their sufferings, while accompanying them on the Buddha’s way. Without ever giving a solution, but by constantly inviting his discliples to clear their karma, to observe the constraining attachments of daily life and of emotions, to plunge directly itno the realization of the non-self, the abandonment of the ego, the fruit of non-seeking. This is a direct experience. Master Deshimaru had the grandeur and the humility to see in each one his most profound aspect, her highest dimension. Thus, in the silence of the dojo, he said, « You are living Buddhas. » I had the immense fortune to hear him every morning, for several years, commment on and explain the sutras, the ancient texts, and to participate actively in the implanting of his mission through the construction of the Gendronnière temple, the first Zen temple in Europe.
The Return to Switzerland

En 1982, the master died. And his earliest disciples continued, perpetuating his impulse to awaken in each a profound instinct to help others. Zen Buddhism in Europe today is fifty years old. Like a tree well rooted in its vigor, upheld by the determination of successive generations of disciples.
From the same seed, the leaves, the flowers, the roots multiply and new temples are built. In relation with the Zen center us La Chaux-de-Fonds, created at my return to Switzerland in 1982, we will celebrate this year the tenth birthday of the Ryokuinzan Kosetsu-ji Zen temple (“in the shade of the green mountain, the temple of luminous snow »), located at the entrance to the magnificent Valley of Brévine. And we invite you to share this event with us next June 21st. I hope the wind of grace will continue to blow and pacify all forms of suffering.

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a été pasteur à Amsterdam et en Région parisienne. Il s’est toujours intéressé à la présence de l’Évangile aux marges de l’Église. Il anime depuis 17 ans le site Internet Protestants dans la ville.

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