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Thread: Fukan Zazengi

  1. #1

    Fukan Zazengi

    The following comments & questions are in reference to the following: Universally Recommended Instruction for Zazen (Fukan Zazengi) by Dogen Zenji... http://www.empty-universe.com/zen/fukan_zazengi.htm

    Concerning the passage: "In addition, triggering awakening with a finger, a banner, a needle, or a mallet, and effecting realization with a whisk, a fist, a staff, or a shout these cannot be understood by discriminative thinking; much less can they be known through the practice of supernatural power. They must represent conduct beyond seeing and hearing. Are they not a standard prior to knowledge and views?" (italics mine)

    Can anyone help me understand this, especially the italicized portion?

    Also, the following passage hit me like a cinder block with a smiley-face painted on it... it was like a whisper of an answer to the ancient question "Why am I here?"... truly groundbreaking for me, hope I never forget it:

    "You have gained the pivotal opportunity of human form. Do not pass your days and nights in vain. You are taking care of the essential activity of the buddha way. Who would take wasteful delight in the spark from a flintstone? Besides, form and substance are like the dew on the grass, the fortunes of life like a dart of lightning emptied in an instant, vanished in a flash."
    (italics mine, that's the part that had the most impact.)

    I would welcome any insights on these passages from the Sangha!

    Gassho,
    Tobiah

  2. #2

    Re: Fukan Zazengi

    I think your first quote speaks to a truth beyond words and logical thought.

    Many of these writings are really beautiful. Some of these guys speak to me in a way that impacts me beyond the hard cold words. The poetic beauty points me beyond words.

    I just went to the link and read the piece in its entirety. Really nice stuff.

    Therefore, put aside the intellectual practice of investigating words and chasing phrases, and learn to take the backward step that turns the light and shines it inward. Body and mind of themselves will drop away, and your original face will manifest. If you want to realize such, get to work on such right now.

    I don't like the advice to sit in either full or half lotus, though! I tried forcing that for several weeks and I'm now chair sitting until I can get back on the floor. :lol:

  3. #3

    Re: Fukan Zazengi

    Hi Tobiah

    if you sit one of Jundo's 4hour zazenkai's (one of the recorded verisons) you will hear him reading this text - it is pretty awesome. Like throwing rocks into a still pond. Marvellous words

    I will let Jundo give you his views on the interpretation .

    Kind Regards

    Shindo

  4. #4

    Re: Fukan Zazengi

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobiah
    The following comments & questions are in reference to the following: Universally Recommended Instruction for Zazen (Fukan Zazengi) by Dogen Zenji... http://www.empty-universe.com/zen/fukan_zazengi.htm

    Concerning the passage: "In addition, triggering awakening with a finger, a banner, a needle, or a mallet, and effecting realization with a whisk, a fist, a staff, or a shout these cannot be understood by discriminative thinking; much less can they be known through the practice of supernatural power. They must represent conduct beyond seeing and hearing. Are they not a standard prior to knowledge and views?" (italics mine)

    Can anyone help me understand this, especially the italicized portion?
    Would you like the Zen teacher's 'cop out' like "Just go sit and taste that for yourself'? Actually, that's true, but let me say something anyway.

    Master Dogen, like all Zen teachers of every school of Zen, treasured that ineffable which is 'found' when we drop discriminative thinking. So, he often cited famous classic Koans wherein great Teachers would try to express the "unexpressable" (cause we drop words and concepts) by banging on the table, waving their fist in the air, putting a shoe on their head and such (those are all classic Zen stories he is referring to in that list of "finger, banner, shout" etc.). It is what there is when we drop the "self" (a kind of fiction created by the sense perpections and the brain's organizing the perceptions into labled "things" ... thus his reference to "beyond seeing and hearing", "being prior to knowledge and views" etc.). He also was saying that it is not a matter of magic, hocus-pocus, special supernatural powers ... but something we can all know for ourselves here and now.

    SIDE NOTE: If there is one flavor to Master Dogen that separates him a bit from many other Zen teachers, it was his emphasis that getting to that "Ineffable" was not the goal or "final bus stop". He was all about coming back to this world, to living ... which is just that Ineffable in flower. Like the other subject we discussed today ...

    viewtopic.php?p=19317#p19317

    ... this can also be confusing to Zen students, who pick up different "Zen Books" ... some of which seem to talk about that Ineffable as the final goal, "complete final enlightenment" and all that. To Dogen, that was just the soil in which the weeds and flowers of life grow, and we should not fail to see the life and color of the living garden (by looking only for the barren yet fertile soil).

    Also, the following passage hit me like a cinder block with a smiley-face painted on it... it was like a whisper of an answer to the ancient question "Why am I here?"... truly groundbreaking for me, hope I never forget it:

    "You have gained the pivotal opportunity of human form. Do not pass your days and nights in vain. You are taking care of the essential activity of the buddha way. Who would take wasteful delight in the spark from a flintstone? Besides, form and substance are like the dew on the grass, the fortunes of life like a dart of lightning emptied in an instant, vanished in a flash."
    (italics mine, that's the part that had the most impact.)

    I would welcome any insights on these passages from the Sangha!
    Ah, this is the easy one!

    Whether you believe in a mechanical view of rebirth or not (most traditional Buddhists of Dogen's time did, and Dogen likely did ... though it was not so important to his teachings) ... or just (as I do) that it is incredible that all of universal history ... the stars, planets, chemistry, biology, evolution, history ... happened to come out just so fortunately to let you have a human body ... DON'T WASTE IT!

    (By the way, I happen to believe that ... the stars, planets, chemistry, biology, evolution, history ... happening to come out just so fortunately to let you have a human body ... indicates that, in fact, some game is afoot. Our being here is not pure happenstance).

    But let us leave that aside ... I have wood to chop and water to fetch.

    Gassho, J

    PS - I will be starting a series of talks on Master Dogen's Shobogenzo Bendowa on the Sit-a-Longs, this week. Please sit-a-long.

  5. #5

    Re: Fukan Zazengi

    PS - I will be starting a series of talks on Master Dogen's Shobogenzo Bendowa on the Sit-a-Longs, this week. Please sit-a-long.


    I have been and I will, looking (not-looking) forward to it!

    The insight provided on the first (confusing) passage did clear the waters for me- I didn't know he was referring to koans, just thought he was being literal since I know there is a bit of bell-ringing in our zazen practice... and I understood the second passage perfectly, like it was speaking to the center of me (picture Tobiah the Tootsie Roll Pop)...

    Gassho
    Tobiah

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