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Thread: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

  1. #1

    2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    Aloha,

    This section contains one of my favorite phrases, one of the most important I think ...

    Grasping at things is surely delusion, according with sameness is still not enlightenment.
    We continue with the THIRD TALK in Suzuki Roshi's talks on the Sandokai ... "BUDDHA IS ALWAYS HERE", pages 51 to 59.

    Please also try to listen to Zoketsu Norm Fischer, who may clear things up in the light ... or put us more in the dark! :wink:

    http://edz-audio.s3.amazonaws.com/Sando ... 004-10.mp3

    (transcript here) http://www.everydayzen.org/index.php?It ... xt-273-182

    Gassho, Jundo

  2. #2

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    My notes on the third talk:

    The "spiritual source" reminded me of the Tao Te Ching:

    The Tao that can be told of
    Is not the Absolute Tao;
    The Names that can be given
    Are not Absolute Names.

    The Nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth;
    The Named is the Mother of All Things.

    Therefore:
    Oftentimes, one strips oneself of passion
    In order to see the Secret of Life;
    Oftentimes, one regards life with passion,
    In order to see its manifest forms.

    These two (the Secret and its manifestations)
    Are (in their nature) the same;
    They are given different names
    When they become manifest.

    They may both be called the Cosmic Mystery:
    Reaching from the Mystery into the Deeper Mystery
    Is the Gate to the Secret of All Life.
    Was there a Taoist influence on the development of Zen in China?

    The source or ri is not a philosophical concept of oneness. If it is seen in this way then what is being thought of is part of the many.

    "Only when you practice zazen do you have it". I guess this means when you drop mind and body, i.e. drop all conceptual experience of life. Only when you practice zazen?

    Is the source the same sense of oneness that other religions are centred on, sometimes known as God, something beyond words and description of any sort, yet completely real for those who experience it?

    "Being" includes our thoughts - no distinction between outside and within ourselves. The source generates the subjective and the objective, it is in both of them.

    ri - pure and stainless - "no color, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no objects of mind" - as in the the Heart Sutra.

    ji - the phenomenal - sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, mind

    Yet both co-exist. They are not separate.

    Is awareness of beauty ri or ji? An aesthetic or sublime experience can have a transcendent feel to it. Is this a glimpse of ri?

    I like the image of flowing water. The source is not static but is generating the dynamic forms of the many.

    Grasping and sticking to things is delusion, including sticking to the idea of oneness. An enlightened person does not live in some blissful world of oneness but engages in the world of things, the crucial difference between the unenlightened person and the enlightened person being that the latter does not stick to things, instead seeing the continual play between the one and the many. I take this to mean that a need to discriminate may arise but should be dropped when it is no longer necessary.

    The importance of practising zazen. To pay our own debts? Does this mean to pay off some sort of karmic debt, to "wipe the slate clean" of our previous actions? Reversal of the image of finding the jewel in your sleeve. In the previous talk practice was like finding something in your sleeve; here finding the jewel in your sleeve and thinking it is buddha nature is only ji.

    An historical sequence of great sages including the Buddha, a time of following their teaching, and then a time when people don't practice zazen and don't follow the precepts. Isn't this just looking at the past as some sort of unrealistic golden age?

    The teaching of the Buddha cannot be understood. To think that is a category mistake, going back to the view that the source is beyond conceptual understanding.

  3. #3

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    Hi,

    One question I have is, why would additions to The Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch be kept if they were not correct? The copy on my shelf has the "no mirror" poem.

    Another question is, do people today observe the precepts less now than in previous days?

    Those are just my fishy questions.

    Cheers,

    Paul

  4. #4

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    From the Wikipedia entry on [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taoism]Taoism[/quote]:

    The entry of Buddhism into China was marked by interaction and syncretism, with Taoism in particular.[91] Originally seen as a kind of "foreign Taoism", Buddhism's scriptures were translated into Chinese using the Taoist vocabulary.[92] Chan Buddhism was particularly modified by Taoism, integrating distrust of scripture, text and even language, as well as the Taoist views of embracing "this life", dedicated practice and the "every-moment".[93] Taoism incorporated Buddhist elements during the Tang period, such as monasteries, vegetarianism, prohibition of alcohol, the doctrine of emptiness, and collecting scripture in tripartite organisation. During the same time, Chan Buddhism grew to become the largest sect in Chinese Buddhism.[94] Recent researches, e.g. Christine Mollier, found that a number of Buddhist sutras found in medieval East Asia and Central Asia adopted many materials from earlier Taoist scriptures.

  5. #5

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    Related to the question of Daoist influence ... I'm often asked how much the Buddhism we are practicing here, or Zen Buddhism in general, relates to what "The Buddha Taught". I wrote this once, if anyone is interested in that question:

    But one thing for folks to remember is that Buddhism did change and evolve over many centuries, as it passed from culture to culture in Asia. The Buddha lived 2500 years ago in ancient India, whereupon the philosophy passed to China 1000 years later, and then to someone like Master Dogen who lived about 1000 years after that in medieval Japan. You and I live in the strange world known as the 21st century. Certainly, some changes arose along the way in some important interpretations and outer forms. For example, the Chinese made Zen Practice very Chinese, the Japanese very medieval Japanese, and now we are making it very Western.

    However, the Heart of the Buddha's teachings ... the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, Non-Self, Non-Attachment, the Middle Way, etc. etc., ... All are here now as much as there then!!

    How?

    On the one hand some outer stuff is, well, changed. For example, when Buddhism came to China it was heavily influenced by, and pretty much merged with, Taoism (not to mention that it was already "Mahayana Buddhism" by that time, a very different flavor from the original). The result was this little thing we now call "Zen Buddhism". So, congratulations, we are already "Taoists" and "Mahayana Buddhists" ... not just "Buddhists". When it got to Japan, the Japanese added Japanese culture to it. In the West, we are now making some very good changes (although we have to, of course, try to avoid bad changes). These good changes include equality of the sexes and a greater emphasis on lay practice.

    But it is still Buddhism. What Dogen taught was Buddhism. What we do around Treeleaf (I do believe) is as Buddhism as Buddhism can be.

    I will even go so far as to say (and this is the kind of statement that has gotten me into all kinds of trouble on with some folks in Buddhism's own fundamentalist quarters) that maybe, just maybe, later Buddhism actually made some big and important "improvements" to the Buddha's original formulation with all those additions, and a couple of thousand years of working out the kinks and bugs. It is much like saying that Buddha was Henry Ford, who first thought up the brilliant idea of sticking 4 wheels on an internal combustion engine, but now we can drive a Prius! I even say that maybe, just maybe, the Buddha was not infallible on every darn thing and, while he was 90% right in his proposals, he also had some klunkers and narrow ideas here and there (as fits a man who lived in a traditional, myth based society some 2500 years ago in ancient India) ... like the whole thing about an overly mechanical view of rebirth, the place of women, the need to abandon the world and family in order to Practice and to repress or extinquish (as opposed to moderate & balance & pierce) the desires and emotions. ...

    Also, do not forget that what the Buddha taught was an oral tradition for hundreds of years, passed down orally alone, until somebody finally wrote it all down hundreds of years after he was dead ... and then all the Buddhists immediately set to disagreeing about which of them had the "authentic" teachings. (The book "What the Buddha Taught" tries to play down that fact). That is why a study of the entire history of Buddhism is useful in knowing the interpretation(s) of the "Eightfold Path".

    Dogen was different from Shakyamuni Buddha, who are both different from all of us.

    But when we are sitting a moment of Zazen ... perfectly whole, just complete unto itself, without borders and duration, not long or short, nothing to add or take away, containing all moments and no moments in "this one moment" ... piercing Dukkha, attaining non-self, non-attached ... then there is not the slightest gap between each of us and the Buddha.

    Gassho, Jundo

  6. #6

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    Quote Originally Posted by CharlesC

    Grasping and sticking to things is delusion, including sticking to the idea of oneness. An enlightened person does not live in some blissful world of oneness but engages in the world of things, the crucial difference between the unenlightened person and the enlightened person being that the latter does not stick to things, instead seeing the continual play between the one and the many. I take this to mean that a need to discriminate may arise but should be dropped when it is no longer necessary.
    Can you discriminate but see through the differences? Can you choose and not choose, all at the same time? Can you drop many likes and dislikes, yet have other likes and dislikes ... all while, hand-in-hand without the least conflict, dropping all likes and dislikes to the marrow?

    Can you move yet be still, stand still while moving?

    These are not either/or propositions. In normal life, we must either go through the green light, or stop and wait for the red light. In Zen Practice, we must learn to stop while we go, go while fully stopped. Something like that.

    Gassho, Jundo

  7. #7

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    I, like Charles, was really helped by the water metaphor. It was one of those sentences that just hit me in the sense that it cleared up some of my muddier thoughts. The title of the book from this section is so pretty; however, I still had a hard time grasping it. But, Suzuki Roshi's statement that the darkness was ignorance really impressed upoin me that all continues despite our awareness. But, we can cut through the delusion and catch a glimpse if we work on it.

    Going to go back and re-read and await others posts.

    Thank you,
    Jeff

  8. #8

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    Norman Fischer's talk is interesting. Here are a few notes:
    * spiritual source - the chinese symbols in the text represent water and clouds, and the light is gentle and softly glowing. He decribes the source as "always supportive, necessary, fundamental, un-namable".
    * branching streams - the chinese symbols represent teachings/viewpoints/sects, not necessarily "streams" - he says the word "stream" doesn't appear.
    * light = one, purity. There's some discussion about the words Suzuki uses - NF doesn't think that "noumenal" is the correct word.
    * dark = many, impurity. Dark = "don't know".

    As Jundo said, we should always remember we're reading translations (of translations) and interpretations (of interpretations).

    I wonder if there's an another meaning for "the branching streams flow on in the dark" and that is "away from the light, the path divides".

    JohnH

  9. #9

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    Quote Originally Posted by jrh001

    I wonder if there's an another meaning .... and that is "away from the light, the path divides".

    JohnH
    I believe one point of the poem is that we are never away, can never be away from the light ... we are precisely that light ... the dark is through and through the light, which is the place precisely where the path divides ... and the divided path itself.

    And sometimes we forget too that the "light" needs "dark" to be called the "light".

    In most of life we think the lights in the room must be "on" or "off". In our Zen practice, turning off or on the lights is just having the lights on.

  10. #10

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Quote Originally Posted by jrh001

    I wonder if there's an another meaning .... and that is "away from the light, the path divides".

    JohnH
    I believe one point of the poem is that we are never away, can never be away from the light ... we are precisely that light ... the dark is through and through the light, which is the place precisely where the path divides ... and the divided path itself.

    And sometimes we forget too that the "light" needs "dark" to be called the "light".

    In most of life we think the lights in the room must be "on" or "off". In our Zen practice, turning off or on the lights is just having the lights on.
    Hi.

    Another way of putting it is "do not separate between hot and cold".

    I also like the story, it puts some dust in "the high and mighty" who think things can only be done one way...

    Mtfbwy
    Tb

  11. #11

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    I understand and appreciate the notion that ri and ji, abstract Truth and phenomenal truth are interdependent and make up a dynamic reality as in Fischer's examples of not being able to carry gravity in buckets, and there is no separation of gravity from the phenomena of things falling.

    But, Suzuki Roshi used the example that when you think of the "river over there" as a thing that only exists in the mind. I believe that I understand what he is saying in that I would be carrying a static idea (of the river) in my head. But, could it seem that this could be used to imply solipsism - that the one true reality is one's subjective reality and that there is no objective reality?

    Clear as mud? :?

    Gassho,

    Tony

  12. #12

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    Hi.

    Here in sweden there's an childprogram called "five ants is more than four elephants".
    In it they sometimes sing a song about the concept "here" and "there".

    Here is where you are.
    There is where you are not.
    Here is always with you.
    Here is always with you.
    But in reality both here and there is always with you.
    If there were no THERE there would be no HERE...

    Mtfbwy
    Tb

  13. #13

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony-KY
    this could be used to imply solipsism - that the one true reality is one's subjective reality and that there is no objective reality?
    Well, them PLEASE don't quit thinking about me, Tony, as I don't wish to vanish quite yet. :shock:

    Actually, solipsism has been proposed by various Buddhist philosophers over the centuries, but rejected by most.

    Of course, the rejecting philosophers might just be figments of the imagination of the first philosopher. 8)

    Gassho, Tony's thought of Jundo

  14. #14

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony-KY
    But, could it seem that this could be used to imply solipsism - that the one true reality is one's subjective reality and that there is no objective reality?
    Hi, Tony.
    I've wondered about this too, and I think I've found a way to understand it without falling into solipsism.
    It is impossible to be aware of something without affecting that something. Modern physics says that to measure a thing or event is to alter that thing or event. Complete interdependence, like the heart sutra says. My mind is interacting with and affecting a real reality that is really not quite separate from me, even though our 'common-sense' view hold that it is. Hence, the lines of the genjo koan that say when we think we are reaching out to understand the world but don't realize that we are a inseparable part of, and agent of change to, the things we are looking at, that is delusion. When we allow the events of the world to interact with our mind (implying that we are in a dance together) then there is enlightenment. To force our fixed concepts on an ever-changing world is delusion. To let the ever-changing process of the world inform our thought and ultimately, our sense of who we are, is wisdom.

    Somehow this seems clearer in my head than I'm able to express here. :lol: :lol:

    Gassho,
    Bill

  15. #15

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    Bill said,
    Hence, the lines of the genjo koan that say when we think we are reaching out to understand the world but don't realize that we are a inseparable part of, and agent of change to, the things we are looking at, that is delusion. When we allow the events of the world to interact with our mind (implying that we are in a dance together) then there is enlightenment.
    Thanks, Bill! I think that is proper (dharma) view on reality that is expressed by Dogen in the Genjo Koan:

    To carry yourself forward and experience myriad things is delusion. That myriad things come forth and experience themselves is awakening.
    http://genjokoan.com/

    It's just sometimes language gets tricky. :?

    But just in case, I will keep Jundo and everyone else here in my thoughts. :lol:

    Gassho,

    Tony

  16. #16
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    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    Hi all,

    I haven't posted in the book club for awhile and after a couple days of missed sittings I felt a bit out of whack, but coming here and catching up on posts always helps me get back to my flow.

    I very much enjoyed NF's talk and his way of speaking...informed and knowlegedable, but never overbearing or commanding...it just is.

    After reading Suzuki Roshi's first talk I remember posting that I thought I could read it several times and glean new meaning each time. After reading the second talk several times the message seemed so simple that I began to wonder if I was missing something. After reading the third talk just once I feel closer to the way I did with the first but know full well the simplicity is there right along with the complexity.

    I need to read it again and will post again.

    Gassho,
    Scott

  17. #17

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    To force our fixed concepts on an ever-changing world is delusion. To let the ever-changing process of the world inform our thought and ultimately, our sense of who we are, is wisdom.
    Thanks Bill.

    Gassho

  18. #18

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony-KY
    But, Suzuki Roshi used the example that when you think of the "river over there" as a thing that only exists in the mind. I believe that I understand what he is saying in that I would be carrying a static idea (of the river) in my head. But, could it seem that this could be used to imply solipsism - that the one true reality is one's subjective reality and that there is no objective reality?
    Hi Tony,

    Someone on another forum once had an avatar which showed a person with a projector on their head. The implication was that the mind projects reality onto the outside world. (I've tried to find the image but can't). In that case, Jundo is right, you'd better keep thinking about all of us or we're history!

    I think it's better to imagine a projector inside your head. It's wired to all the sensory inputs and projects onto a screen inside your mind creating your reality. There is a river or a Blue Jay but I can only ever perceive it through my senses. Someone with better vision will see it differently. Someone who can't see colours or can't hear will perceive it in a different way.

    Still muddy?

    JohnH

  19. #19

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    Jundo quoted something he wrote earlier:
    But when we are sitting a moment of Zazen ... perfectly whole, just complete unto itself, without borders and duration, not long or short, nothing to add or take away, containing all moments and no moments in "this one moment" ... piercing Dukkha, attaining non-self, non-attached ... then there is not the slightest gap between each of us and the Buddha.
    What happens if we never experience this sort of "awakening" or "realization", even after years of practice? Is the lessening or ending of suffering in our lives dependent on this sort of experience?

    Does being a Buddhist have to be an act of faith for most people, in the same way that Christians have faith in God. Faith that the Buddha and people following him really did learn something about the nature of reality, that the "Source" is here in our lives, that we really do have something in our sleeve; rather than knowing these things directly.

    I've read elsewhere that, unlike other religions, we can discover the truth of Buddhism for ourselves, particularly in Zen. But how likely is this? Isn't Buddhism for most of us a question of believing what other people tell us, or even not believing anything but still following the practices of Buddhism because they seem to lead to a happier and more satisfying life, compared to, say, a consumer oriented lifestyle.

    When Suzuki was giving these talks, what percentage of his audience would he have expected to ever gain direct understanding of what he was talking about?

    Just some of the questions and doubts I have had while studying the Sandokai.

  20. #20

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    Quote Originally Posted by CharlesC
    Jundo quoted something he wrote earlier:
    But when we are sitting a moment of Zazen ... perfectly whole, just complete unto itself, without borders and duration, not long or short, nothing to add or take away, containing all moments and no moments in "this one moment" ... piercing Dukkha, attaining non-self, non-attached ... then there is not the slightest gap between each of us and the Buddha.
    What happens if we never experience this sort of "awakening" or "realization", even after years of practice? Is the lessening or ending of suffering in our lives dependent on this sort of experience?
    I posted a comment on this which I thought worth a thread. Would you kindly have a look? Let me know if it resonates.

    viewtopic.php?p=20605#p20605

  21. #21

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    Hi.
    I'll answer in the text...

    Quote Originally Posted by CharlesC
    Jundo quoted something he wrote earlier:
    But when we are sitting a moment of Zazen ... perfectly whole, just complete unto itself, without borders and duration, not long or short, nothing to add or take away, containing all moments and no moments in "this one moment" ... piercing Dukkha, attaining non-self, non-attached ... then there is not the slightest gap between each of us and the Buddha.
    What happens if we never experience this sort of "awakening" or "realization", even after years of practice? Is the lessening or ending of suffering in our lives dependent on this sort of experience?
    Nope.
    Just part of the practice.

    Quote Originally Posted by CharlesC
    Does being a Buddhist have to be an act of faith for most people, in the same way that Christians have faith in God. Faith that the Buddha and people following him really did learn something about the nature of reality, that the "Source" is here in our lives, that we really do have something in our sleeve; rather than knowing these things directly.

    I've read elsewhere that, unlike other religions, we can discover the truth of Buddhism for ourselves, particularly in Zen. But how likely is this? Isn't Buddhism for most of us a question of believing what other people tell us, or even not believing anything but still following the practices of Buddhism because they seem to lead to a happier and more satisfying life, compared to, say, a consumer oriented lifestyle.
    We'rent there some dude some 2500 years ago that said we can ONLY discover the truth by ourselves?
    As for the practicing part, you'll have to ask them, i dont know...

    Mtfbwy
    Tb

  22. #22

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    My mind is mush in trying to consider the English translation but knowing that it is from Chinese. Then, learning that the Chinese can mean differering things. Nice little conundrum.

    But, I'm intrigued by the line: Grasping at things is surely delusion, according with sameness is still not enlightenment. Building on what Suzuki Roshi writes later in the chapter in that (paraphrasing) 'people don't follow the Precepts' and the discussion about the 3 historical states of Buddhism with the final state being a blind following of ritual, I wonder if we can interpret the English translation as something like: it isn't enough to hear the dharma but you must live it.

    Again, maybe I'm taking this down a different path than what was intended by the author but I really find meaning to this. I guess I affected by the the need to 'walk the walk' in so many of our actions. We can state we support equality, charity, compassion--all good stuff. But, we must then do. We must make it a reality for ourselves and others. Maybe these lines resonate with me as this endeavor (and at times, struggle) has been one of the biggests changes in me since I began my practice.

    I really hope I'm not going too far off the path with an interpretation of a translation that may not be true to the original meaning.

    Thank you,
    Jeff

  23. #23

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    Hello
    Grasping at things is surely delusion ( yes it is!)
    According with sameness is still not enlightenment ( no it isn't!)

    Sometimes words are so beautifully and simply arranged that nothing need be added or taken away.

    " Wordiness and intellection - The more with them the further astray we go; ( Senegan - 600 C.E. )
    Thank you John H

    " Drop all judgements, desires, likes, and dislikes on the Zafu ... all thoughts of separation ... and the
    greed, anger, and ignorance have not fuel, vanishes like a blown out flame. Then rise up from the
    Zafu and seek to remember that quiet amid the burning firestorms of life." ( Jundo )
    Thank you Jundo Roshi
    Gassho Zak

  24. #24

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    I find the example very helpful which JohnH gives of how we create outside reality (i.e. the river, the
    Blue Jay) inside our mind, which is then unique to us. We see it not only through our senses but then
    we individually interpret what we see or start creating a story around it. Some of these stories can
    be amazing!

    Jenny

  25. #25

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    Hiyas
    lots of goodies in this chapter too. and Alot of goodies coming from all of you!

    Laying out ji and ri I found very helpful. to much to quote but each bit he laid out made things very clear.

    An enlightened person does not ignore things and does not stick to things, not even to the truth.
    I had some off topic thoughs started by this line that I have posted hereif your so inclined to read...

    Quote Originally Posted by pg 57, first paragraph
    When you really know yourself, you will realize how important it is to practice zazen.
    This and the lot that follows is what I have experienced first hand and so I whole heartedly agree.

    Also I found the bit about the 3 "times" of Buddhism that would come about 1500 years after Buddhas death interesting.

    I think that the imposing a length of time was short sighted! I thought that rather than periods spanning 1500 years, Buddhism will cycle in this way until there is no need for it. As said before (sorry source not in my mind right now) That if we were all Buddhists there would be no need for Buddhism (same applies to many religions IMO). Right now I think Buddha's teachings are very much alive and useful today. I think the important time to remember of all 3 of those periods is Now. Now we are just reading the sutras and paying lip-service to the teachings,Now we didn't observe the precepts, Now we are all the great sages disciples . the 3 periods discussed happen every day and every moment. Shobo, Zobo and Mappo each can take place in a moment or span thousands of years.

    Gassho, Shohei

  26. #26

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    For example, when Buddhism came to China it was heavily influenced by, and pretty much merged with, Taoism
    Thanks Jundo for the information pertaining to the Taoist influence…I, like CharlesC, thought this week’s reading pointed to a Taoist connection.

    I was really struck with how beautifully poetic the concepts were expressed. Roshi Fisher’s discussion was especially helpful. As he states the nature of the Chinese characters for spiritual source suggest “a softness…like a cloud floating in the sky” and the other compound part of the character suggest “a gentle glowing light.”

    The light being associated with the oneness and the dark with manyness, also beautifully poetic. I find it fascinating that later on in the Sandokai dark is associated with oneness and light with manyness….so wonderfully fluid! In some respects I see such fluidity an illustration of how we should not fall in the trap of getting “stuck.”

    I agree with Dirk...lots of goodies in this chapter and in the discussion! A thanks to Jundo and all for the latter!

    Gassho,
    BrianW

  27. #27

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    Quote Originally Posted by zak
    Thank you Jundo Roshi
    Gassho Zak
    No need for the Roshi/Sensei thing around here (really a Western invention, by the way). You can call me something like that when they name an exit on the highway for me or something. 8)

    Gassho, Jundo

  28. #28

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    Hi,

    Regarding Taoism/Daoism: yes, there's undeniably an influence there. I've just finished reading an excellent translation of the Book of Serenity (Jap. Shoyoroku, Chin. Cong-Rong-Lu), the collection of 100 koans compiled by Hongzhi (who also wrote the closing verses and was otherwise a strong proponent of 'Silent Illumination') and introduced and commented on by Wan-Song (Jap. Bansho, but not the same Kanji as mine ). In that collection, there are various implicit as well as explicit references to the Dao-De-Jing, the literary basis of Daoism. Dogen Zenji was adamant, however, in his position that the Buddha-Dharma is not the same as Daoism or Confuzianism.

    Gassho
    Bansho

  29. #29

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    Quote Originally Posted by Bansho
    Regarding Taoism/Daoism: yes, there's undeniably an influence there. I've just finished reading an excellent translation of the Book of Serenity (Jap. Shoyoroku, Chin. Cong-Rong-Lu), the collection of 100 koans compiled by Hongzhi (who also wrote the closing verses and was otherwise a strong proponent of 'Silent Illumination') and introduced and commented on by Wan-Song (Jap. Bansho, but not the same Kanji as mine ). In that collection, there are various implicit as well as explicit references to the Dao-De-Jing, the literary basis of Daoism. Dogen Zenji was adamant, however, in his position that the Buddha-Dharma is not the same as Daoism or Confuzianism.
    Thanks Bansho...I will add this to my reading list!

    Gassho,
    BrianW

  30. #30
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    Hi all,

    The true source, ri, is beyond or thinking; it is pure and stainless. When you describe it, you put a limitation on it.
    "Grasping at things" means to stick to the many things you see. Understanding that each being is different, you see each one as something special, and usually then you will stick to something.
    As I have sat more often and for longer periods, I have noticed that many of my preconceived notions of things, people, even myself have begun to drop away...is this what Suzuki Roshi is describing? Or is he saying that there are no things, people, or self in the first place?

    If I translate ri into English, it is already ji.
    By this standard, will we ever truly know if we are enlightened? Not to be cliche, but is it a case of we won't know it if we see it because if we see it, it wasn't ever there?

    Scholarly study belongs to ji. Ri is something you can experience through practice. You may think that scholarly work is ri, but for us it is not so.
    This resonated with me quite a bit as a former doc student who abandoned his studies at the comprehensive exam stage. I knew that it wasn't for me but never exactly why. I'm not saying it isn't worthwhile to undertake scholarly study, but I think my original itention was to study something closer to ri but was now obviously ji and was never going to be reconciled.

    We talk about emptiness, and you may think you understand it; but even though you can explain it pretty well, it is ji not ri. Real emptiness will be experienced -- not experienced, but realized -- by good practice.
    If the essence of zen is something that can never be defined, how can we really talk about it? Can't we only do it...or not do it...I'm confusing myself! At least I know it isn't what I thought it was and I think that's the point.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  31. #31

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    Hi Dosho,

    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho
    Quote Originally Posted by Suzuki Roshi
    If I translate ri into English, it is already ji.
    By this standard, will we ever truly know if we are enlightened? Not to be cliche, but is it a case of we won't know it if we see it because if we see it, it wasn't ever there?
    If you 'know' or 'see' it, it's just thinking. It's imposing a separation between 'you' and 'enlightenment' by means of your thoughts. Nonthinking is realization, not seeing. The potential is always there, but it's only manifested through realization. Shikantaza is realization is enlightenment. In Genjo Koan, Dogen Zenji describes it like this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Dogen Zenji
    When buddhas are really buddhas, they do not need to recognize themselves as buddhas. Nevertheless, they are buddhas in the state of experience, and they go on experiencing the state of buddha.
    -- trans. by Gudo Wafu Nishijima and Chodo Cross
    Only non-buddhas see buddhas. Buddhas just are buddhas.

    Gassho
    Bansho

  32. #32

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    Hi John,

    Norm Fisher also points out that dark can also represent one, if I remember it right. In the dark of the night all the streams look like one. :roll:

    Quote Originally Posted by jrh001
    * light = one, purity. There's some discussion about the words Suzuki uses - NF doesn't think that "noumenal" is the correct word.
    * dark = many, impurity. Dark = "don't know".
    JohnH

    Gassho,

    Irina

  33. #33

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho

    "Grasping at things" means to stick to the many things you see. Understanding that each being is different, you see each one as something special, and usually then you will stick to something.
    As I have sat more often and for longer periods, I have noticed that many of my preconceived notions of things, people, even myself have begun to drop away...is this what Suzuki Roshi is describing? Or is he saying that there are no things, people, or self in the first place?
    I think there are no things in the first place so it's good when the preconceived notions of things drop away.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho
    If I translate ri into English, it is already ji.
    By this standard, will we ever truly know if we are enlightened? Not to be cliche, but is it a case of we won't know it if we see it because if we see it, it wasn't ever there?
    If you can be in the state of zazen 24x7 anywhere, anytime, any place then I think you can safely say you are fully enlightened. Anything less and best to keep trying.

    My thoughts anyway.

    Cheers,

    Paul

  34. #34

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    Quote Originally Posted by prg5001
    I think there are no things in the first place so it's good when the preconceived notions of things drop away.
    Isn't the point of the Sandokai that there are things, at the same time as there are no things, depending on which of two co-existing perspectives you take.

    :Charles

  35. #35

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    Hi,

    Quote Originally Posted by CinnamonGal
    Hi John,

    Norm Fisher also points out that dark can also represent one, if I remember it right. In the dark of the night all the streams look like one. :roll:

    Quote Originally Posted by jrh001
    * light = one, purity. There's some discussion about the words Suzuki uses - NF doesn't think that "noumenal" is the correct word.
    * dark = many, impurity. Dark = "don't know".
    JohnH

    Gassho,

    Irina

    I think those lines beautifully exhibit the mutual interpenetration of the foci relative/absolute, form/emptiness, delusion/enlightenment by allowing light and dark to be interpreted one way or the other, depending on your perspective. IMHO both interpretations are correct.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sekito Kisen
    The spiritual source shines clear in the light;
    the branching streams flow on in the dark.
    "The spiritual source shines clear in the light". At first glance, the references to 'source', 'clear', 'light' seem to be referring solely to one, the absolute or enlightenment. They are, but at the same time, light is also just that which allows differences to appear, clearly illuminating all phenomena, form and that which is relative.

    "The branching streams flow on in the dark". Similarly, 'branching streams' are multitude, relative phenomena and 'dark' can imply the absence of illumination or enlightenment, namely delusion. On the other hand, in the darkness all relative differences disappear and return to the absolute, emptiness.

    Form is emptiness, emptiness is form. Light is darkness, darkness is light.

    Of course, if you look at the lines "but in the true way there is no Ancestor of North or South" and "the branching streams flow in the dark" together, you can see that Sekito Kisen allows himself a subtle criticism of the sectarianism which was beginning to emerge in his day here as well. Relative differences such as north/south or gradual/sudden which are represented by the 'branching streams' are swallowed up in the absolute darkness. I think that's what John resp. Norman Fisher is showing here:

    Quote Originally Posted by jrh001
    * branching streams - the chinese symbols represent teachings/viewpoints/sects, not necessarily "streams" - he says the word "stream" doesn't appear.
    Gassho
    Bansho

  36. #36

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    Quote Originally Posted by prg5001

    If you can be in the state of zazen 24x7 anywhere, anytime, any place then I think you can safely say you are fully enlightened. Anything less and best to keep trying.
    Hi.

    Is that in the metric system or yards?

    Mtfbwy
    Tb

  37. #37

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    Quote Originally Posted by prg5001

    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho
    If I translate ri into English, it is already ji.
    By this standard, will we ever truly know if we are enlightened? Not to be cliche, but is it a case of we won't know it if we see it because if we see it, it wasn't ever there?
    If you can be in the state of zazen 24x7 anywhere, anytime, any place then I think you can safely say you are fully enlightened. Anything less and best to keep trying.
    Oh, if you keep the lights on all the time, you won't see what's to see in the dark. And you won't get any sleep. Not a good way to live.

    I would not try to keep the lights on 24/7. You'll go blind! Wastes a lot of power too.

    I like the ability to live in the world of light and shadows ... but to turn the bright high beams on when needed.

    In fact, no film is available without light and shadows. With only the projector light, you would have a blank screen. With the other, just confusion. But the light is there even in the shadows.

    Anyway, just some passing thoughts.

    Gassho, J

  38. #38

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    Quote Originally Posted by CinnamonGal
    Norm Fisher also points out that dark can also represent one, if I remember it right. In the dark of the night all the streams look like one. :roll:
    Hi Irina,

    Yes I remember hearing that. He said that, later in the poem, light and dark are used in the opposite way

    Quote Originally Posted by Bansho
    ...
    "The spiritual source shines clear in the light". At first glance, the references to 'source', 'clear', 'light' seem to be referring solely to one, the absolute or enlightenment. They are, but at the same time, light is also just that which allows differences to appear, clearly illuminating all phenomena, form and that which is relative.

    "The branching streams flow on in the dark". Similarly, 'branching streams' are multitude, relative phenomena and 'dark' can imply the absence of illumination or enlightenment, namely delusion. On the other hand, in the darkness all relative differences disappear and return to the absolute, emptiness.
    Thanks Bansho,

    Looking ahead to find the lines Irina referred to, these lines use light and dark in the way you describe:

    Quote Originally Posted by Sekito
    Refined and common speech come together in the dark, (differences disappear, one)
    clear and murky phrases are distinguished in the light. (differences appear, many)
    JohnH

  39. #39

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    Refined and common speech come together in the dark, (differences disappear, one)
    clear and murky phrases are distinguished in the light. (differences appear, many)
    My intuition (probably just another rephrasing of what you said) is that these words meaning are exactly what they say.

    Dogen talked about standing on a ship in the Genjo Koan:

    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 or 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.
    or this translation:

    When the true law is not fully absorbed by our body and mind, we think that it is sufficient. But if the right law is fully enfolded by our body and mind, we feel that something is missing. For example, when you take a boat to sea, where mountains are out of sight, and look around, you see only roundness; you cannot see anything else. But this great ocean is neither round nor square. Its other characteristics are countless. Some see it as a palace, other as an ornament. We only see it as round for the time being - within the field of our vision: this is the way we see all things. Though various things are contained in this world of enlightenment, we can see and understand only as far as the vision of a Zen trainee. To know the essence of all things, you should realize that in addition to appearance as a square or circle, there are many other characteristics of ocean and mountain and that there are many worlds. It is not a matter of environment: you - must understand that a drop contains the ocean and that the right law is directly beneath your feet.
    When you turn the lights on, there are a tremendous amount of shapes and colors. We can see everything clearly that's in front of our face or peripherally. (if we have the ability to see that is)

    But when you turn the lights out in the night, the wide variety of colors disappear. It's just the way it is. However, there's more going on then just what we can only see with our eyes.

    lights on = can read
    lights off = can't read (unless you have super vision)

    Gassho

    Will

  40. #40

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    wrong quote.

    here's the one:

    If in riding a boat you look toward the shore, you erroneously think that the shore is moving. But upon looking carefully at the ship, you see that it is the ship that is actually moving. Similarly, seeing all things through a misconception of your body and mind gives rise to the mistake that this mind and substance are eternal. If you live truly and return to the source, it is clear that all things have no substance. Burning logs become ashes - and cannot return again to logs. There for you should not view ashes as after and logs as before. You must understand that a burning log - as a burning log - has before and after. But although it has past and future, it is cut off from past and future. Ashes as ashes have after and before. Just as ashes do not become logs again after becoming ashes, man does not live again after death. So not to say that life becomes death is a natural standpoint of Buddhism. So this is called no-life.
    The first quote works to though.

    Gassho

  41. #41

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    Quote Originally Posted by Fischer
    Sandokai means precisely that we have to go beyond sticking to many-ness and merging with oneness, to an ever changing meeting with whatever comes in living. And that’s Sandokai – going beyond oneness, going beyond many-ness, while holding both of them in their proper places.
    This simultaneity is what Jundo is always trying to get us to see. We keep trying to decide that one way is the 'right' way and deciding another is 'wrong'. It's more like being with the wholeness of everything,

    Gassho,
    Doshin

  42. #42

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Quote Originally Posted by prg5001

    If you can be in the state of zazen 24x7 anywhere, anytime, any place then I think you can safely say you are fully enlightened. Anything less and best to keep trying.
    Oh, if you keep the lights on all the time, you won't see what's to see in the dark. And you won't get any sleep. Not a good way to live.

    I would not try to keep the lights on 24/7. You'll go blind! Wastes a lot of power too.

    I like the ability to live in the world of light and shadows ... but to turn the bright high beams on when needed.

    In fact, no film is available without light and shadows. With only the projector light, you would have a blank screen. With the other, just confusion. But the light is there even in the shadows.

    Anyway, just some passing thoughts.

    Gassho, J
    Hmm, is the state of zazen the same as keeping the lights on?

    Cheers, Paul

  43. #43

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    Quote Originally Posted by CharlesC
    Quote Originally Posted by prg5001
    I think there are no things in the first place so it's good when the preconceived notions of things drop away.
    Isn't the point of the Sandokai that there are things, at the same time as there are no things, depending on which of two co-existing perspectives you take.

    :Charles
    Yes, I think you're right.

    Cheers,

    Paul

  44. #44

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    Quote Originally Posted by Fugen
    Quote Originally Posted by prg5001

    If you can be in the state of zazen 24x7 anywhere, anytime, any place then I think you can safely say you are fully enlightened. Anything less and best to keep trying.
    Hi.

    Is that in the metric system or yards?

    Mtfbwy
    Tb
    Hi Fugen,

    I'm not sure if you're joking or not but I mean all the time.

    It's an idea I am playing about with at the moment and I'm interested in any views.

    Cheers,

    Paul

  45. #45

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    Quote Originally Posted by prg5001
    Quote Originally Posted by Fugen
    Quote Originally Posted by prg5001

    If you can be in the state of zazen 24x7 anywhere, anytime, any place then I think you can safely say you are fully enlightened. Anything less and best to keep trying.


    It's an idea I am playing about with at the moment and I'm interested in any views.

    Cheers,

    Paul
    Hi Paul,

    You mean, is "enlightenment" to always perceive and experience the "absolute" beyond time, 24/7?

    The Buddhas are said to be so. Some gurus and such claim to always be so, though I sometimes wonder. But I do not think that most ordinary people are so. In any event, I do not think it a very necessary or practical way to live.

    I am more than content to have the ability to "switch the absolute on" on demand, when I need, when myself gets lost in the tangle of this world. That's something we can learn with time. Today I witnessed a bad car accident (I was not directly involved, just a witness). It was very shocking, with a rolling car that landed on its roof in front of me. I helped pull the people out of the car window (a little girl and grandma, fortunately without a scratch). I feel that I can taste the "absolute" in that, and it helps to settle the experience for me ... stillness even amid the chaos of the accident and bent metal.

    The "absolute" is there always, even when we cannot see it (like the moon in the daytime or the sun behind clouds). I have no need to see the sun or moon 24/7. In fact, I could not live if it was always dark or sunny. But both are there always.

    Anyway, that is my view.

    Gassho, J

  46. #46

    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    Hi,

    Yes, I think that is what I understand "enlightenment" to be. On the one hand any conception must by definition be wrong. I think it is more like one of those infinities that Buddhism is full of, e.g. one must save all sentient being even though they are infinite, understand all dharma although inexhaustible, and all in the knowledge that they don't really exist anyway.

    I don't know but it is interesting to explore. And the on the other side is your nicely put middle path of using the experience of absolute and relative which does seem more real and a better way to live. Especially in tough times like your witnessing the car crash.

    I'm doing baby steps, seeing what happens, luckily I have a wife, kids and full time job to keep me grounded. So far, so good, I would say I'm up to 0.1x7. If I start claiming to be a fully enlightened guru feel free to give me a good slap.

    Cheers,

    Paul

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