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Thread: Sawaki Kodo powerful words

  1. #1

    Sawaki Kodo powerful words

    These words come from To You, a collection of thoughts from Sawaki Kodo you may find on line on Antaiji's website:

    As a human being, whatever you do, you should do it in a way that can’t be repeated a second time. What can be repeated is best left to the robots.
    Life doesn’t run on tracks.
    Birds don’t sing in major or minor. Bodhidharma’s teaching doesn’t fit on lined paper.*
    The buddha-dharma is wide and unlimited. When you try to hold it still, you’ve missed it. It isn’t dried cod, but a live fish. Living fish have no fixed form.
    In the soldier’s handbook it says that in war you must be prepared for a thousand different possibilities. That doesn’t just go for war – there’s no rule book for life either. When you try to live your life according to a manual, you’re sure to fail.*
    For a court case as well, it goes without saying that you have to be on your guard when everything runs according to the book.
    The wild geese leave no traces,*
    yet no matter where they fly, they never lose their way.*
    There are no footprints on the way of the bird. It’s not the same as a steam engine that runs on tracks or an ox’s well-worn path.
    Don’t we live life from moment to moment? How could we possibly take life, analyze it, systematize it and file it away?
    However much you accomplish in this life, you can’t present any of it at the last judgement. You will die naked.
    In the end, there will be nothing left for you to do besides let go.
    Isn’t it evident that the greatest happiness consists in doing what you have to do?
    You can’t depend on anything. The value of things changes. This insight is what motivated Shakyamuni to renounce his King’s title, to leave his wife and son and become a monk.

    These words are inspired by one of the most neglected yet the most important chapter of Shobogenzo called Yui Butsu Yo Butsu , Buddhas alone, together with Buddha , which I will soon start to comment on. The ungraspable is the very essence and secret of our path, coming from nothing and going to nothing, we are a pure expression of freedom or this is not that depressing after all, nobodycan actually describe who we are, pin down what we are made of. The freedom of being nobody and going nowhere cannot be matched.


    Gassho


    Taigu
    Last edited by Taigu; 10-12-2012 at 04:23 AM.
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  2. #2
    Thank you for this reminder, T.

    Yet, we do not run just anywhere we might wish in this Practice ... not into chaos or fruitless Paths or "do whatever you please"-ism.

    As Dogen and Kodo knew, there is clarity and lack of clarity, Teachings to embody even as we do not leave them as formulae on a page.

    Funny, this way of Practice-Enlightenment.

    Even the geese who leave no traces know which way to point their beaks!

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-12-2012 at 04:31 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu View Post
    These words come from To You, a collection of thoughts from Sawaki Kodo you may find on line on Antaiji's website:




    These words are inspired by one of the most neglected yet the most important chapter of Shobogenzo called Yui Butsu Yo Butsu , Buddhas alone, together with Buddha , which I will soon start to comment on. The ungraspable is the very essence and secret of our path, coming from nothing and going to nothing, we are a pure expression of freedom or this is not that depressing after all, nobodycan actually describe who we are, pin down what we are made of. The freedom of being nobody and going nowhere cannot be matched.


    Gassho


    Taigu
    Thank you Taigu, this is wonderful ... I have not read anything from Sawaki Kobo, but looking forward to reading and hearing more commentary.

    Gassho
    Michael
    真 眼

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  4. #4
    Thank you Taigu,
    True, powerful words indeed.

    http://antaiji.dogen-zen.de/eng/kodo...i-to-you.shtml

    /Pontus
    In a spring outside time, flowers bloom on a withered tree;
    you ride a jade elephant backwards, chasing the winged dragon-deer;
    now as you hide far beyond innumerable peaks--
    the white moon, a cool breeze, the dawn of a fortunate day

  5. #5
    Treeleaf Unsui Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    Thank you Taigu,
    I love the flowing out of Kodo's expression, how it spills from his living mouth and into my warm ear.
    Gassho,
    Myozan
    Myozan Kodo
    Ordained Soto Zen Priest in Training
    Dublin, Ireland

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.
    "Here the way unfolds."

  6. #6
    Thank you, Taigu and Jundo (and Pontus for the link).
    Gassho,
    Kaishin

  7. #7
    Hello,

    wonderful to hear such a powerful and unique voice.

    His sentences are strong and tasty like double espresso shots

    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Chudo Mongen, Ordained Novice Priest-in-Training

  8. #8
    Senior Member Seizan's Avatar
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    Double espresso shots, indeed! Thank you for your commentary Taigu, and I look forward to more.

    "Isn’t it evident that the greatest happiness consists in doing what you have to do?
    The freedom of being nobody and going nowhere cannot be matched."

    I've been really thinking about this lately, and the thought that "today is my favorite day." It could be considered revolutionary in the Western world.

    Gassho,
    Dani

  9. #9
    Senior Member Nindo's Avatar
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    Thank you Taigu.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Thank you Taigu for sharing your explorations and insights.
    Heisoku
    平 息

  11. #11
    Treeleaf Engineer Seimyo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hans View Post
    His sentences are strong and tasty like double espresso shots

    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Over the years I've become quite a fan-boy of Sawaki Kodo. I liken his quotes to blasts from a cannon. While not always elegant, they speak directly to me in a way that I understand clearly.

    For those wanting more check out Antaiji's website: http://antaiji.dogen-zen.de/eng/hk0.shtml

    Thanks Taigu for sharing this.

    Gassho.
    Chris

  12. #12
    Excellent!
    Gassho,
    Onken

  13. #13
    Senior Member Seizan's Avatar
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    Chris,

    Thank you for the link!

    Gassho,
    Dani

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Thank you for this reminder, T.

    Yet, we do not run just anywhere we might wish in this Practice ... not into chaos or fruitless Paths or "do whatever you please"-ism.

    As Dogen and Kodo knew, there is clarity and lack of clarity, Teachings to embody even as we do not leave them as formulae on a page.

    Funny, this way of Practice-Enlightenment.

    Even the geese who leave no traces know which way to point their beaks!

    Gassho, Jundo

    I am not familiar with Kodo's writings - but glancing at the web site he presents as quite a fiery, strong character.

    What I find sad - and a little frustrating - is that these powerful words - stripped of their context - often appear as positive 'thoughts for the day' - alongside photos of puppies, kittens and bunnies, sunsets, oceans - etc. In a way - a kind of formulae - without much thought.

    'Every day is a good day' - is not something I can take deep down to the marrow without wrestling with the words. My mind fills with massive contadictions - especially when I think of others in difficult circumstances.

    The practice here - the teaching here - helps me to work through the contradictions - but it isn't easy.

    (PS, nothing against puppies, kittens and bunnies,etc )

    Thank you for this introduction Taigu - and will keep reading.

    Gassho

    Willow

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by willow View Post
    I am not familiar with Kodo's writings - but glancing at the web site he presents as quite a fiery, strong character.

    What I find sad - and a little frustrating - is that these powerful words - stripped of their context - often appear as positive 'thoughts for the day' - alongside photos of puppies, kittens and bunnies, sunsets, oceans - etc. In a way - a kind of formulae - without much thought.

    'Every day is a good day' - is not something I can take deep down to the marrow without wrestling with the words. My mind fills with massive contadictions - especially when I think of others in difficult circumstances.

    The practice here - the teaching here - helps me to work through the contradictions - but it isn't easy.

    (PS, nothing against puppies, kittens and bunnies,etc )

    Thank you for this introduction Taigu - and will keep reading.

    Gassho

    Willow
    Hey Willow, hope things are getting better. My take is that life is a gift even with the pain and suffering and everything else. And you know what, we create most of the contradictions and difficult circumstances which leads to more pain and suffering. And understanding, fuhgetaboutit. From this perspective every day is a good day especially if you are breathing. And furthurmore Budhists do not have a monopoly on wisdom. Dogs and cats are pretty smart. Sorry if I got a little carried away.
    _/_
    Rich

  16. #16
    Senior Member YuimaSLC's Avatar
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    The thoughts and training of Sawaki Kodo Roshi pop up in a number of Japanese teachers who have reached out to the West to spread the Dharma. Kosho Uchiyama Roshi and Shunryu Suzuki Roshi speak of him in their works, also. I get the impression that he traveled a fair amount within Japan and conducted sesshins at various temples....Antai-ji being one example. But, I had rarely actually read from Sawaki Kodo's own thoughts. Thank you Taigu for initiating this 'thread'
    and Pontus for the link to Antai-ji.

    Gassho

    Richard

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    Hey Willow, hope things are getting better. My take is that life is a gift even with the pain and suffering and everything else. And you know what, we create most of the contradictions and difficult circumstances which leads to more pain and suffering. And understanding, fuhgetaboutit. From this perspective every day is a good day especially if you are breathing. And furthurmore Budhists do not have a monopoly on wisdom. Dogs and cats are pretty smart. Sorry if I got a little carried away.
    Hi Rich - I do agree - life is a precious gift. I would be lying to myself though if I said that I am always able to connect with every day being a good day. And I struggle even more to think of giving this as a response to anyone who is struggling either mentally or physically with a lot of pain. This is the 'contradiction' for me.

    The way I figure it is that what might seem like a bad day,month - even years - can be the sowing of seeds of creativity - good things to bloom out of the darkness. A bad day may really be a good day in terms of learning empathy for others.

    But another little voice in my head asks 'is this rationalizing'?

    I have just asked my little cat (who is definately smarter than me) and she says I think too much

    Thank you for asking how things are - getting better thank you.

    Gassho

    Willow

  18. #18
    I don't think anyone can always connect with every day being a good day. Trying to connect with a moment is the best we can do. Take care and hope your mom and sister are doing better.

  19. #19
    Out of suffering emerged the strongest souls.
    The mightiest among us are seared with scars.
    Kahlil gibran

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    Out of suffering emerged the strongest souls.
    The mightiest among us are seared with scars.
    Kahlil gibran
    So true Rich .... I did a little read up of Sawaki Kodo and it is amazing how he survived such a brutal upbringing ... encouraging in so many ways.

    Gassho
    Michael
    真 眼

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by willow View Post
    Hi Rich - I do agree - life is a precious gift. I would be lying to myself though if I said that I am always able to connect with every day being a good day. And I struggle even more to think of giving this as a response to anyone who is struggling either mentally or physically with a lot of pain. This is the 'contradiction' for me.

    The way I figure it is that what might seem like a bad day,month - even years - can be the sowing of seeds of creativity - good things to bloom out of the darkness. A bad day may really be a good day in terms of learning empathy for others.

    But another little voice in my head asks 'is this rationalizing'?

    I have just asked my little cat (who is definately smarter than me) and she says I think too much

    Thank you for asking how things are - getting better thank you.

    Gassho

    Willow
    Hi Willow,

    I posted a little essay elsewhere by Nonin of Nebraska Zen Center.

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...ll=1#post87834

    As Taigu reminds us, "everyday is a good day" is not some simple bumper sticker, but includes the ugly, the sad, even the most terrible of days.

    A famous statement, thunderous, breaking through our beliefs that tomorrow will be great and yesterday was better, something not for the faint hearted, something for what has courage in us, not for the victim, the abused, the oppressed, the destitute, the jobless soul, the lonely one, the bored, the angry guy, the weeping eye... For all these guys that we can sometimes be, a statement that says that As it is, raw, complete and intense, it is just good. It is good and we may cry, shout, beg, giggle, kick, strike or fly way...It is bigger than us, bigger than anything we can think of.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-16-2012 at 07:20 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  22. #22
    Senior Member Seizan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    As Taigu reminds us, "everyday is a good day" is not some simple bumper sticker, but includes the ugly, the sad, even the most terrible of days.
    J
    I really notice that saying this to myself, and about today being my favorite day, changes a lot of my negative circumstances around. I become a little more tolerant of the ugly and the sad, because I become grateful that I am living and experiencing. It's bumper-sticker-esque, and I can see where it is hard to swallow during difficult times, but sometimes it takes the edge off of things for me.

    Gassho,
    Dani

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