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Thread: 'GENJO KOAN': Off to the races ...

  1. #1

    'GENJO KOAN': Off to the races ...

    Hi,

    Just a note to say that, over on the 'Leaf' blog. I've started daily talks on the 'Genjo Koan' of Master Dogen's Shobogenzo ... Please join me.

    http://treeleafzen.blogspot.com/2007/12 ... oan-i.html

    I'll keep going, day by day, and all reality is revealed! :-)

    Gassho, Jundo

  2. #2
    It starts . . . kewl.

  3. #3
    Hi Jundo,

    I'm really enjoying the talks so far. I just wondered what it is that you don't like about the wave / ocean analogy for self / noself. Is it too simplistsic?

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by shikantaza
    Hi Jundo,

    I'm really enjoying the talks so far. I just wondered what it is that you don't like about the wave / ocean analogy for self / noself. Is it too simplistsic?
    Hi Shik,

    Thank you for this question very much ...

    I have a problem with the "ocean" portion of the analogy. It is much the same problem I have when someone tells me that "ultimate reality" is an old man with flowing robes and a long white beard named Jehovah or a meaningless cluster of protons, neutrons and electrons. The image or name limits and fixes our conception of that ultimate reality beyond what I believe is present human understanding (just as in the case of some anthropomorphic image like "old man", so does the nature image of an "ocean" leave us with a defined image), when the truth of what is our "ultimate source" may be nothing like that at all. In my view, the word "Ocean" conveys an image of some unbroken, homogeneous, characterless, flowing thing, I believe, when reality may be that or something completely different.

    Look, I like to say that I feel "at one" with the universe, not because it is necessarily "one, unbroken, characterless thing", but because I am in it, and wholly with it, whatever it is. Thus, I am "at one" with it even if it is two, three, zero or something beyond our conception altogether. I place few demands up it. Suppose that, instead of "ultimate reality" being an "ocean", it is more like a "salad" (with me as one of the tomatoes) or a Cosmic Anus with me as a fart, or a Chevrolet with me as a bolt on a front tire ... I am still one with it. Got my point?

    One reason I chose the "Tree" image for "Treeleaf" (with you and me as individual leaves which, from another perspective, are just the tree itself) is because it captures some of the wild, organic image of this universe in which we live. However, it implies little about from where the roots arise or where, if anywhere, it is growing to ... I once once wrote this about the Tree image:

    ... Where it came from and how long it has grown ... no one knows for sure. Perhaps it has always been. Did it emerge by accident? For a reason (perhaps no reason, or a reason little to do with us, not graspable by us)? ... From where did this tree spring? Has it ever, always existed, sufficient and complete unto itself, or is there some prior, wondrous seed and soil ... and a gardener's hand ... by which it first came forth?

    For me, the answer is not so pressing ... where the tree goes, there I go. To ask the 'meaning of life' may be to ask 'why does a tree grow'? It is enough for me that the tree is here, in all its complexity, canopy spreading and fruitful, source of life. It may not exist for a reason, it may just 'be', but we are part of it, are it, leaves of the tree.


    Anyway, I do not know if that is much of an improvement on the "oceran" image, but I was trying.

    Did that answer your question?

    Gassho, Jundo

  5. #5
    Hi Jundo,

    Thank you for your answer. I suppose the problem with any analogy is that we are trying to make reality fit into a neat little conceptual box. Probably better for me to sit a little more and experience reality, rather than try to conceptualise it too much! Again, thanks for your time.

  6. #6
    Hello

    Thank you for the Genjo koan teaching. it was very usefull to me. I have been intrested that indras net thing. it just got me thinking that how easily we can see it for example in our social life. what myself is for others thats what i see in others. reflecting "good" and "bad" from everywhere. so is that the suffering that we are having?

    Merry christmas everyone!


    Gassho

    Jarkko

  7. #7
    I have a problem with the "ocean" portion of the analogy. It is much the same problem I have when someone tells me that "ultimate reality" is an old man with flowing robes and a long white beard named Jehovah or a meaningless cluster of protons, neutrons and electrons. The image or name limits and fixes our conception of that ultimate reality beyond what I believe is present human understanding (just as in the case of some anthropomorphic image like "old man", so does the nature image of an "ocean" leave us with a defined image), when the truth of what is our "ultimate source" may be nothing like that at all. In my view, the word "Ocean" conveys an image of some unbroken, homogeneous, characterless, flowing thing, I believe, when reality may be that or something completely different.
    Good answer.

    Gassho Will

  8. #8
    I like the Ocean / Wave analogy myself . . . you know the one that represents man's sense of self, the wave thinking it is separate from the ocean, but in reality both are just the water.

    So . . . I don't really see much conflict between what Jundo is are saying about being in and wholly with the world.

    I don't mean to split hairs, just stating that I find the analogy to be useful.

    take care,

    Greg

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Gregor
    I like the Ocean / Wave analogy myself . . . you know the one that represents man's sense of self, the wave thinking it is separate from the ocean, but in reality both are just the water.

    So . . . I don't really see much conflict between what Jundo is are saying about being in and wholly with the world.

    I don't mean to split hairs, just stating that I find the analogy to be useful.

    take care,

    Greg
    Well, I like the wave part too, just not the ocean!!!!!

    But, yes, it is splitting hairs, so let's forget the whole thing and just go to the beach (at least, we who are here in Florida).

    Vacation Gassho, Jundo

  10. #10
    hello and Gassho,

    I am having a hard time finding all of the parts to this series so I can catch up. Is there a page somewhere that shows just links to this series, or is it possible for someone to point me toward each part? This thread might be a good place to post links to each one.

    Thanks in advance!

    _/|_

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Laura
    hello and Gassho,

    I am having a hard time finding all of the parts to this series so I can catch up. Is there a page somewhere that shows just links to this series, or is it possible for someone to point me toward each part? This thread might be a good place to post links to each one.

    Thanks in advance!

    _/|_
    Hi Laura, and very merry 'welcome' again ...

    It was just about a passing remark I made on the daily netcast Zazen sitting concerning some hesitancy I have with the 'ocean' part of the 'ocean/wave' analogy ...

    http://treeleafzen.blogspot.com/2007/12 ... n-iii.html

    That's part of the whole series of talks I started doing about the 'Genjo Koan' last week.

    Gassho, Jundo

  12. #12
    Hi Jundo, and thank you.

    I am sorry my question was not clear. I was looking for links to the other parts of the Genjo Koan series.

    Thanks again!

    _/|_

  13. #13
    Hi Laura,

    I hope you are having a restful holiday.

    The rest of the Genjo Koan is there (actually, we were just getting started). Just jump back and forward a few days on the blog. In fact, I dropped the topic for a few days due to the holidays, and will get back to it tonight.

    Gassho, Jundo

  14. #14
    Thanks, I will find the rest of them

  15. #15
    I rewrote a bit the introduction to today's netcast talk on ...

    Though all this may be true, flowers fall even if we love them,
    and weeds grow even if we hate them,
    and that is all.


    I think the new way captures the intent better ...

    http://treeleafzen.blogspot.com/2007/12 ... n-vii.html

    It now says ...


    We have encountered several "simultaneously true" perspectives of Master Dogen which vanquish suffering (and in coming sections of Genjo Koan and Shobogenzo, we will encounter countless more)...

    ... the separate, abiding 'self' is, is not, absolutely is just-as-it-is, etc.etc. ...

    By these simultaneous perspectives, and others, we find no grounds to resist in life. But still, notes Master Dogen ...

    Though all this may be true, flowers fall even if we love them,
    and weeds grow even if we hate them,
    and that is all.


    Life is a time to laugh, time to weep, to everything a season. Each in its own time, says the old book.

    And All is One, adds the Zen teacher. Through a many-layered view of things, each time holds all others, is-not and just-is too: Beyond tears and smiles, in abiding Peace, a tear rolls down Master Dogen's cheek. Old Buddhas smile and Old Buddhas cry.
    Gassho, J

  16. #16
    It is much the same problem I have when someone tells me that "ultimate reality" is an old man with flowing robes and a long white beard named Jehovah or a meaningless cluster of protons, neutrons and electrons.
    *gasp* They are not meaningless...they are beautiful! :wink:

    OK, Jundo, I was waiting until we got to this point in the G. Koan before I ask this question.

    Here's the part (from thezensite, translated by Aiken)
    Those who have great realization of delusion are buddhas; those who are greatly deluded about realization are sentient beings. Further, there are those who continue realizing beyond realization, who are in delusion throughout delusion.
    What does the bolded part mean? Is that overanalyzing things?

  17. #17
    Hi Tracy,

    Quote Originally Posted by TracyF
    It is much the same problem I have when someone tells me that "ultimate reality" is an old man with flowing robes and a long white beard named Jehovah or a meaningless cluster of protons, neutrons and electrons.
    *gasp* They are not meaningless...they are beautiful! :wink:
    Oh, I certainly think that protons, neutrons and electrons are beautiful (I am writing a book on it, as a matter of fact). I do not think that they are meaningless at all.

    OK, Jundo, I was waiting until we got to this point in the G. Koan before I ask this question.

    Here's the part (from thezensite, translated by Aiken)
    Those who have great realization of delusion are buddhas; those who are greatly deluded about realization are sentient beings. Further, there are those who continue realizing beyond realization, who are in delusion throughout delusion.
    What does the bolded part mean? Is that overanalyzing things?
    You just jumped ahead of me. In fact, I will be covering this on the "Sit-a-long" today. I am working through pretty much line by line. Let me know your impressions after you give it a listen.

    Gassho, Jundo

  18. #18
    I certainly think that protons, neutrons and electrons are beautiful (I am writing a book on it, as a matter of fact). I do not think that they are meaningless at all.
    Awesome. Hey, if you want me to read any of your manuscript, let me know. Then again, I'm not a physicist. I could forward it to my brother or my sister. His degree was in plasma physics and her's astronomy (of course, their jobs are not really related to their degrees - not a lot of opportunities for those degrees! :roll: ). You probably got it covered though. :wink:


    Realization keeps on realizing. Light shines wherever pointed.

    Ignorance feeds ignorance. Darkness spirals into darkness.
    This is written so much nicer and explained perfectly in your "sit-along". The way I was reading the passage from the zensite was that some people become enlightened but keep on realizing until they over-analyze things and become delusional again. Hello? That doesn't make sense! :lol:

  19. #19
    Again, your lessons really resonate with me, Jundo.

    Here's from the zensite:
    When buddhas are truly buddhas they do not necessarily notice that they are buddhas. However, they are actualized buddhas, who go on actualizing buddhas.
    Here's what your lesson says:
    No need to label a "Buddha". Just live as Buddha and there is Buddha.
    I really like this. If we live and act with wisdom and compassion (live as Buddha) we are Buddhas. Very inspiring. Thanks, Jundo!

  20. #20
    "Buddha is a product of your mind."
    - The Bloodsteam sermon, Bodaidaruma.

  21. #21
    Hello jundo
    im sorry but can i ask question in little further in genjo koan? what does Dogen mean when he said

    "when dharma does not fill your whole body and mind, you think it is already sufficient. when dharma fills your body and mind, you understand that something is missing"

    when the whole world is in the drop of water, how anything could be missing? as a buddha or sentient being i am whole, right?

    thank you

    Gassho

    Jarkko

  22. #22
    Hi Jarkko,

    Ah, this is a wonderful section that we will get to soon.

    I believe that the answer to your question is in the very next sentences, which begin "for example" ....

    When dharma does not fill your whole body and mind, you think it is already sufficient. When dharma fills your body and mind, you understand that something is missing. For example, when you sail out in a boat to the middle of an ocean where no land is in sight, and view the four directions, the ocean looks circular, and does not look any other way. But the ocean is neither round nor square; its features are infinite in variety. It is like a palace. It is like a jewel. It only looks circular as far as you can see at that time. All things are like this.
    Though there are many features in the dusty world and the world beyond conditions, you see and understand only what your eye of practice can reach.In order to learn the nature of the myriad things, you must know that although they may look round or square, the other features of oceans and mountains are infinite in variety; whole worlds are there. It is so not only around you, but also directly beneath your feet, or in a drop of water.[EMPHASIS ADDED]
    "True Understanding", and being "one" with every grain of sand in the universe, has little to do with actually seeing and comprehending the location, shape, color and texture of every fold on the surface of every grain of sand in the universe. In fact, it is being one with the infinite variety. "True Knowledge" is not knowing every fact and bit of data, but something much more profound.

    Contrast this with the sentence immediately before: "The whole moon and the entire sky are reflected in dewdrops on the grass, or even in one drop of water."

    Get the drift? Does one need to know the nature of every molecule in the hot liquid of your cup in order to savor a sip of tea? Is truly "knowing" your child or lover a matter of knowing every cell in their bodies and every fold of their skin? No. Likewise, true intimacy with the universe is pouring oneself into the universe in all its variety.

    (In fact, I think the first part of the sentence you ask about.... When dharma does not fill your whole body and mind, you think it is already sufficient ... is much like when you first fall in love with your lover and it is an immature love. You are head over heals and he/she is thought by you "perfect" and "complete' and you think you "know" the person and want to run off and elope after the first week. It is a naive understanding. Later, you discover the true complexity, and your own ignorance, and the true understanding and love and intimacy deepens.).

    Something like that.

    I used to try to understand modern art, especially paintings, by understanding every brush stroke and bit of information in the picture. It was only later, when I let the pictures wash over me in all their complexity, did I feel I "got" the abstract art and merged into it. I did not need to know about every molecule in the paint of the painting, or every brushstroke's direction, or the artist's real intention (which often the artist did not know too).

    NOT KNOWING! NOT KNOWING! NOT KNOWING!

    Let me leave this until we get to that section (first off, I am dead tired and heading to bed. I just want to know every fold of my pillow right now!).

    Gassho, Jundo

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