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Thread: Painted Rice Cakes

  1. #1

    Painted Rice Cakes

    Hello. I am reading Daido Loori's teaching on painted rice cakes here.. http://www.mro.org/mr/archive/22-1/a...ntedcakes.html . I've read on Dogen on and off for years, but somehow did not connect with him. Maybe it was getting introduced through Masao Abe's writings on Being Time, which fried my teenaged brain.. but I somehow couldn't hear him. Now it feels possible to hear him a bit so any help with this is appreciated.

    Loori says this about Painted rice cakes.....

    Dogen is saying that the image of the truth and the truth itself are completely interpenetrated, interdependent, mutually arising and non-hindering. All of his teachings manifest this level of appreciation of the nature of dualities and oneness. All of his teachings are phrased within the matrix of the Five Ranks of Master Dongshan. Whether we are talking about the dualities of absolute and relative, heaven and earth, good and evil, man and woman, monastery and world, stillness and activity, or zazen and enlightenment, the same applies. The picture is reality, reality is the picture. Dogen presents very clearly the non-dual conception of picture and reality.
    This is beautiful and maybe nothing more needs to be added, but I would love to hear more. I'm not looking for an explanation of the Five Ranks, just any reflections first hand on "...the image of the truth and the truth itself are completely interpenetrated, interdependent, mutually arising and non-hindering"

    ...anything from Taigu or Jundo would be appreciated, as well as any sharing from fellow student stumblers.



    Gassho
    Daizan
    Last edited by Daizan; 06-25-2014 at 02:55 PM.
    大山

  2. #2
    Junior Member Brian's Avatar
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    Daizan,

    For what it's worth, I have always had trouble connecting with Dogen too. I don't doubt that his teaching is valuable, but somehow I usually end up more confused than when I started. I look forward to hearing from others on this.

    Thanks,
    Brian
    Brian

  3. #3
    Senior Member Myosha's Avatar
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    Hello,

    Heard this Dogen Zenji translation feels like a thoughtful tasty sight-scent -

    "In painting a rice cake you use the same materials as you would to paint a landscape. You can use blue pigment to paint mountains and rivers and powdered rice to paint a rice cake. The work of composition is the same. This being so, sesame cakes, vegetable cakes, milk cakes and so on are all this "painted rice cake." There is no difference between paintings, rice cakes, or any thing6 at all and you should understand that these rice cakes in front of you that you are about to eat are all "painted rice cakes." If you are looking for these "painted rice cakes" anywhere else you still don't know how to eat a rice cake. Sometimes they appear as rice cakes, sometimes not. However, they completely transcend any coming or going, old or new and it is in this that the realm of "painted rice cakes" reveals itself."


    Gassho,
    Myosha
    Practice with humility, respect all beings, avoid attachments, give rise to prajña from your own awareness, put an end to delusions - Hui-neng

  4. #4
    Hi Daizan,

    I can only read Daido quickly before bed tonight, but I would imagine that a painter (as you are) could easily understand the hunger inside which "Painted Rice Cakes" fill. Is the world created on your canvas not "real"? Does it not hold real life and emotions? In fact, does your work not speak profound truths more than all the politicians and commentators on the news shows? Is the world of greed, anger and delusion we live in "real"? I would say the canvas world is truer in ways than this stageshow we call "the real world".

    Here is one of your paintings, and I think it is Truth. Profound Truth. Timeless Truth. Phonelines Preach the Dharma, Ground and Sky, Old Highways are the Buddha's Tongue!



    Is the Statue of Buddha on the Altar just a block of carved wood, or a symbol of Truth, a mere image of Buddha? In fact, is it not Truth, True as Truth can be, as are the stars and sky and blades of grass? Each blade of grass Buddha! All Buddha! Blocks of carved wood are Buddha!

    Dogen felt much the same about words. Some say that our way is "beyond words", and must be conveyed by silence. Dogen, the master wordsmith (as his fine turns of phrase in the essay convey) felt that the "well turned phrase" was a "turning phrase" that could turn us inside out and set us right! Words could be lies or words could be Truth ... and words are precisely profound silence to the wise ear.

    Something like that. A painter or writer should understand that they are channeling Truth and that paint and canvas, pen and paper in the right hands are endlessly nutritious.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 06-27-2014 at 04:40 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian View Post
    Daizan,

    For what it's worth, I have always had trouble connecting with Dogen too. I don't doubt that his teaching is valuable, but somehow I usually end up more confused than when I started. I look forward to hearing from others on this.

    Thanks,
    Brian
    By the way, this is my effort to make Dogen approachable for people who have trouble getting an ear for his music. Digg'm as a Jazzman ...

    SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Dogen - A Love Supreme
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...A-Love-Supreme

    Also, a bit more detail on his writing style and word tricks ...

    How to Read Dogen
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...-to-Read-Dogen

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  6. #6
    Junior Member Brian's Avatar
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    Thanks Jundo. My ignorance of the underlying "melody" (the sutras) is probably part of the problem. I've ordered a copy of the Lotus Sutra to get me started.

    Brian
    Brian

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian View Post
    Thanks Jundo. My ignorance of the underlying "melody" (the sutras) is probably part of the problem. I've ordered a copy of the Lotus Sutra to get me started.

    Brian
    Oh, my, well, the Lotus Sutra is itself a Wild Trip ... the Buddha's Teachings expressed in a way that makes Lewis Carroll and J.R.R. Tolkien sound dull! For example:

    At that time the Buddha said to the bodhisattvas and mahasattvas: Leave off, good men! There is no need for you to protect this sutra. Why? Because in this saha world of mine there are bodhisattvas and mahasattvas who are as numerous as the sands of sixty thousand Ganges, and each of these bodhisattvas has a retinue equal to the sands of sixty thousand Ganges. After I have entered extinction these persons will be able to protect, read, recite and widely preach this sutra.

    When the Buddha spoke these words, the earth of the thousand millionfold countries of the saha world all trembled and split open, and out of it emerged at the same instant immeasurable thousands, ten thousands, millions of bodhisattvas and mahasattvas. The bodies of these bodhisattvas were all golden in hue, with the thirty-two features and an immeasurable brightness. Previously they all had been dwelling in the world of empty space beneath the saha world. But when these bodhisattvas heard the voice of the Shakyamuni Buddha speaking, they came up from below.

    Each one of these bodhisattvas was the leader of his own great assembly, and each brought with him a retinue equal in number to the sands of sixty thousand Ganges. To say nothing of those who brought retinues equal to the sands of fifty thousand, forty thousand, thirty thousand, twenty thousand, or ten thousand Ganges. Or a retinue equal to as little as the sands of one Ganges, half a Ganges, one fourth of a Ganges, or as little as one part in a thousand, ten thousand, a million nayutas of Ganges. Or those whose retinue was only one thousand ten thousand million nayutas. Or only a million ten thousand. Or only a thousand ten thousand, a hundred ten thousand, or just ten thousand. Or only one thousand, one hundred, or ten. Or who brought with them only five, four, three, two or one disciple. Or those who came alone, preferring to carry out solitary practices. Such were they, then, immeasurable, boundless, beyond anything that can be known through calculation, simile or parable.

    After these bodhisattvas that emerged from the earth, they each one proceeded to the wonderful tower of seven treasures suspended in the sky where Many Treasures Thus Come One and Shakyamuni Buddha were. On reaching it, they turned to the two World-Honored Ones, bowed their heads and made obeisance at their feet. They also all performed obeisance to the Buddhas seated on lion thrones underneath the jeweled trees. Then they circled around to the right three times, pressed their palms together in a gesture of respect, utilizing the bodhisattvas' various methods of praising to deliver praises, and then took up a position to one side, gazing up in joy at the two World-Honored Ones. While these bodhisattvas and mahasattvas who had emerged from the earth were employing the bodhisattva's various methods of praising to praise the Buddhas, an interval of fifty small kalpas ** passed by.

    ** Note: One small Kalpa is sometimes calculated as 15,998,000 years.


    If you are going to read the Lotus Sutra in order to get a taste of how Dogen double-wilded the already wild ... I recommend the following essay by Dogen historian and Soto Priest Taigen Dan Leighton ...

    http://www.thezensite.com/ZenEssays/..._a_Source.html

    (or, even better, the little book by him on the same theme) ...

    http://books.google.co.jp/books/abou...UC&redir_esc=y

    Gassho, J

    PS - Our Mongen has a little series on the Lotus Sutra as he feels it ... Here is the most recent ...
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...r-5-Commentary
    Last edited by Jundo; 06-27-2014 at 04:31 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  8. #8
    Thank you , Jundo. The first thing that popped into mind after reading your post was this......



    "This is not a pipe" Part of fine tuning as a painter was discerning between a sign and what it represents. The painting of the telephone poles would not line up with a photgraph of that spot, or a topographical map. So it is "realism" but of what kind? According to what mapping? It represents my version ...post-linguistic conditioning, in that yogacara sense... of a place . I guess there is no teasing apart language from consciousness, they are not two. Sometimes when sitting there is a pause in language-thought. It is like an uninvited moment of grace, it just comes sometimes. Where is the world then? All forgotten. The Word really makes the world. All is Mind. I would have been way too uptight to use this kind of Word at one time... lucky that things melt with the help of good company. The "problem" with hearing Dogen, has been his style of jazz, but the ear is slowly getting accustomed.

    Gassho,
    Daizan
    大山

  9. #9
    Hi Daizan,

    Well, I leave your words to your expressing your own experience as a painter. Professors in university art history classes, and Buddhist philosophers, can pour a lot of words and analysis at these things. I tend to be simpler ...

    Sutras can be obstacles to those who get lost in their words and images (like the Lotus Sutra passage above). Statues or Ceremonies or Paintings or Poems may leave one cold. All that is so.

    But to one who heart is open with Wisdom and Compassion, the Sutras speak both Silence and Words, the Statues are the Universe, the Ceremonies each a Dance of Buddha etc. etc. Stars and Mountains and Rain and Blades of Grass are each a Buddhist Temple.

    I feel that is what Dogen is really saying at heart.

    You know, the Tibetans and other Esoteric Buddhists have no trouble with this, in which the Paintings and Images of Buddhas and Demons they imagine in their heads take on a life of their own, and really come to life for them, to convey basic Teachings. The internal image of a Buddha actually --becomes-- the Buddha which is the whole Universe!

    Zen Masters would not undertake such an elaborate Practice, and a bit to fanciful for my tastes, but the Teachings of the Buddha can be seen and heard even in a painting of rice cakes ... in toasters and sneakers, fire trucks and trash cans (or painting of any of those) ... each a Great Cathedral to those with eyes to see.


    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 06-27-2014 at 02:38 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  10. #10
    Junior Member Brian's Avatar
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    Thanks Jundo. :-)
    Brian

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