Chozen-ji was pleased to host Dr. Soho Machida and his partner Chisato for an afternoon of Arigato Zen in early June.
More than forty people turned out for the dramatic chanting and ceremony held inside the Budo Dojo, as well as up on the hill. The dojo resonated with the voices of participants, all chanting "Ah-Ri-Gah-To-Ooh"—one syllable per breath—at top volume.
Attendees were also treated to a rare, esoteric goma fire ceremony from Tendai Buddhism. Amidst the rhythm of the mokugyo, chanting of the Makahannya Haramita Shingyo and wood smoke, participants burned small plaques bearing a personal wish. The fire gave off plenty of heat on an already warm summer day—and, according to Dr. Machida, the power to heal.
Dr. Machida holds the record for having lived at the Daitokuji Monastery in Kyoto, Japan the longest of any monk (twenty years). He is also the author of several books and holds a Master's in theology from Harvard and a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania.