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Thread: 3/20 - Branching Streams: 6th Talk - Boat Is Always Moving

  1. #1

    3/20 - Branching Streams: 6th Talk - Boat Is Always Moving

    Ahoy There ...

    We continue with the SIXTH TALK in Suzuki Roshi's talks on the Sandokai ... "The Boat Is Always Moving", pages 85 to 94.

    If you find a few head scratchers in there, don't worry, it is not just you. Some of it may just be Suzuki Roshi's English, some the nature of the topic ... some, well, some things are just beyond words.

    Please also listen to Zoketsu Norm Fischer, who may straighten things out a bit ...

    http://www.everydayzen.org/index.php?It ... xt-348-184

    Gassho, Jundo

  2. #2

    Re: 3/20 - Branching Streams: 6th Talk - Boat Is Always Moving

    Howdy
    I got the gist of it (or so i foolishly think!) All things are dependent and all things are independent and these truths are not at odds at all.

    The smallest bit of matter is empty and yet it forms such massive, solid things and those smallest bits that were independent, are depended upon to make the massive mountain or that Super big Buddha that Jundo spoke of in a sit along. So those little independent buggers are also dependent on energy to stick form them selves and so on seemingly infinitely smaller and so on infinitely larger... the whole universe is mirrored in the Tiniest bit of matter. and its all empty!!
    Whoa okay no more shrooms. :!:
    I actually do understand the point but i don't think i can regurgitate it or do any justice to it so, have to take my word on it

    Stopping to look at the sights in the mind or other wise we have to fully appreciate while letting it just be. coming back to see it again is not good practice. Kensho or gorgeous sunrise recreating it to experience the same thing again is silly. since the mind and the boat in this case is always moving.

    In the discussions bit the talk about being emotionally upset this line i really dug and ive heard it before i read it here(Jundo, Taigu and others too) but i think its so very worth quoting.

    If a Buddha is not upset when he should be upset, that is a violation of the precepts.
    and this is true with sadness, joy you name it.

    Anywho I'm lacking sleep and my sit to night was with my very hungry son waiting for mom to finish here bath so i may be a tad off my rocker

    Gassho, Shohei

  3. #3

    Re: 3/20 - Branching Streams: 6th Talk - Boat Is Always Moving

    Hi, all,

    I'm jumping into the book club a little late. It's nice to be here.

    I'm still digesting the sixth talk, but Zoketsu Norm Fischer's discussion clarified something I've been thinking a lot about: namely, that "emptiness" can also be understood as "oneness". Even as we distinguish between "this" and "that" or "self" and "other" on one level of thinking (san), all is interconnected, arising from and composed of the same source (do). Jundo talks about channels, how on Channel 1 we see form and on Channel 2 we see emptiness (or oneness). This teaching never ceases to shake me with its beauty and simplicity (complex to the Channel 1 mind, but simple and pure to the Channel 2 mind -- actually, maybe oneness should be Channel 1 and duality Channel 2 )

    Gassho,

    Kevin

  4. #4

    Re: 3/20 - Branching Streams: 6th Talk - Boat Is Always Moving

    The interpenetration and identity (yet difference and independence) of "Channel 1" and "Channel 2" in a Buddhist view is so complete, natural and at ease that we say "not one not two" channel(s).

  5. #5

    Re: 3/20 - Branching Streams: 6th Talk - Boat Is Always Moving

    Hi,

    This quote reminded me of something that Thich Nhat Hanh has written about.
    Quote Originally Posted by S Suzuki, p88
    Even though you observe one flower, that flower includes everything
    Quote Originally Posted by Thich Nhat Hanh
    ... The flower cannot exist by itself alone; it has to inter-be with soil, rain, weeds and insects. There is no being; there is only inter-being.

    Looking deeply into a flower we see that the flower is made of non-flower elements. We can describe the flower as being full of everything. There is nothing that is not present in the flower. We see sunshine, we see the rain, we see clouds, we see the earth, and we also see time and space in the flower. A flower, like everything else, is made entirely of non-flower elements. The whole cosmos has come together in order to help the flower manifest herself.

    (quoted on http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?o ... ew&id=1647)
    JohnH

  6. #6

    Re: 3/20 - Branching Streams: 6th Talk - Boat Is Always Moving

    Hi,

    I think this chapter is the key to the whole book. But best to keep moving along.

    Cheers,

    Paul

  7. #7

    Re: 3/20 - Branching Streams: 6th Talk - Boat Is Always Moving

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk
    The smallest bit of matter is empty and yet it forms such massive, solid things and those smallest bits that were independent, are depended upon to make the massive mountain or that Super big Buddha that Jundo spoke of in a sit along. So those little independent buggers are also dependent on energy to stick form them selves and so on seemingly infinitely smaller and so on infinitely larger... the whole universe is mirrored in the Tiniest bit of matter. and its all empty!!
    Sounds like a good summary to me! I would add that the smallest unit is the gokumi. I did a Google search for this term and found nothing other than references to Suzuki Roshi….is this something he made up?

    Gassho,
    BrianW

  8. #8

    Re: 3/20 - Branching Streams: 6th Talk - Boat Is Always Moving

    My notes on the sixth talk:

    I always feel a bit uneasy about pre-scientific ideas being used to make points in a religious or spiritual text. You can only go so far contorting what is being said into metaphor before the effort collapses in the realization that you cannot really take any of this seriously. A while ago I read a fascinating book by Don Cupitt called "The Sea of Faith" in which he describes how much of traditional Christianity collapsed with the advent of the scientific way of thinking and rigourous study of the scriptures from a historical point of view. I guess the same happens to most other religions.

    Similarly I don't like the "Tao of Physics" style of thinking. Modern physics does not describes anything like "Emptiness is the final being, which our thinking mind cannot reach". Physics is very much the product of intellectual thinking, there is nothing mystical about it.

    The story of the Chinese hunter. But we do rely on predictable patterns of behaviour in everything around us. Exactly what the scientific way of thinking is based on. How does the traditional Buddhist view of mind and matter sit alongside this?

    Just some of the thoughts that came up when reading about the "four elements".

    I keep banging my head against "independency", everything exists and nothing exists. I don't know why I do it. Must feel there is something in it.

    The flowers reminded me of the Chan retreat I attended on Sunday. After some hours of silence and zazen I felt gratitude to see the flowers freshly in bloom in the cemetary we walked through alone. Such intensity. But you cannot cling onto the beauty you see. It is there and then it is gone. You cannot capture the moment.

    Againt Suzuki emphasises the need for practice and more practice. You cannot just have an intellectual understanding. But "we have to polish our understanding so that we will not be intellectually mixed up". Although it is easy to clear up intellectual problems compared to sorting out emotional difficulty.

    The classic question of whether the enlightened person gets upset emotionally (the fear of becoming unfeeling and callous in the face of suffering, which is a strange worry really because what do we do right now in the face of suffering, isn't it really just a fear of giving up things we enjoy). Anger to me seems like a natural way of dealing with an immediate and actual threat. But we often stick to it beyond the immediate and actual.

    :Charles

  9. #9

    Re: 3/20 - Branching Streams: 6th Talk - Boat Is Always Moving

    Quote Originally Posted by CharlesC
    I always feel a bit uneasy about pre-scientific ideas being used to make points in a religious or spiritual text.
    I agree…you really must be careful in drawing such comparisons. I just came an interesting article in the Winter 2008 edition of Tricycle entitled, “Time and Again.” Adam Frank, an astrophysicist, discusses Dogen’s concept of being-time and makes the argument that connections between science and Buddhism made by popular books are often oversimplified and fail to do either tradition much justice.

    Gassho,
    BrianW

  10. #10

    Re: 3/20 - Branching Streams: 6th Talk - Boat Is Always Moving

    Quote Originally Posted by CharlesC
    I always feel a bit uneasy about pre-scientific ideas being used to make points in a religious or spiritual text.... Similarly I don't like the "Tao of Physics" style of thinking. Modern physics does not describes anything like "Emptiness is the final being, which our thinking mind cannot reach". Physics is very much the product of intellectual thinking, there is nothing mystical about it.
    Quote Originally Posted by BrianW
    I agree…you really must be careful in drawing such comparisons. I just came an interesting article in the Winter 2008 edition of Tricycle entitled, “Time and Again.” Adam Frank, an astrophysicist, discusses Dogen’s concept of being-time and makes the argument that connections between science and Buddhism made by popular books are often oversimplified and fail to do either tradition much justice.
    I agree with both of you, to a point.

    I also am very conservative in trying to connect the ideas of modern science to Buddhist practice. I do not care for the way every New Age crackpot tries to legitimize his assertions by dropping the word "quantum" into it, or how a 1-to-1 parallel is often drawn between, for example, Buddhism and modern physics.

    On the other hand, I find that the core of Buddhist theory works quite well even with our modern ways of looking at reality. For example, the idea that the "self" is fundamentally a mental construct or label placed upon constantly changing underlying conditions is VALID whether the physical elements are considered to be fire/air/earth/water or quarks & leptons. The idea that that self, with its demands on life and feeling of separation from other phenomena of the universe, is a source of suffering remains valid. In fact, our deep interconnection has been shown in new perspectives by modern science, and we can now see that we are not just "individuals" but other entities too when viewed as such, such as components of wide ecosystems, collections of cells, particles and fields of energy. And, while Dogen's ideas of time may not be the same as Einstein's conception of time they are, again, not incompatible.

    Modern understanding of the working of the brain and senses have also pretty much fit in nicely with Buddhist theory, even if there is not a 1-to-1 parallel. Buddhist psychology is quaint (in the way that Freudian psychology is now seen as quaint), yet modern understanding of the brain has confirmed the existence of a neural mechanism by which light and other data, entering through the senses, is reconstituted, edited, repackages and labeled into separate objects by the human mind ... which is the heart of what Buddhist psychology was really describing.

    I will look at the article you mention, and write some more on this shortly.

    Gassho, Jundo

  11. #11

    Re: 3/20 - Branching Streams: 6th Talk - Boat Is Always Moving

    Quote Originally Posted by CharlesC
    My notes on the sixth talk:

    I always feel a bit uneasy about pre-scientific ideas being used to make points in a religious or spiritual text. You can only go so far contorting what is being said into metaphor before the effort collapses in the realization that you cannot really take any of this seriously. A while ago I read a fascinating book by Don Cupitt called "The Sea of Faith" in which he describes how much of traditional Christianity collapsed with the advent of the scientific way of thinking and rigourous study of the scriptures from a historical point of view. I guess the same happens to most other religions.
    I've been a member of the Mormon church for the last few years, and I see this occur in that church all the time. The funny thing is, though, they only tout science that supports the Mormon theology, but refute or ignore equally rigorous science that refutes the Mormon theology. I suppose this is to be expected, but it is disappointing.

    I keep banging my head against "independency", everything exists and nothing exists. I don't know why I do it. Must feel there is something in it.
    I do this myself, quite frequently. Zoketsu Norm Fischer's discussion on this portion of the Sandokai helped me reword this concept a bit to read more like "everything is separate and dependent on each other, but everything is simultaneously one and, thus, independent (as there is nothing else upon which to be dependent)" I was always thrown off by the use of the word "emptiness". My current understanding, flawed though it may be, is that "empty" simply means empty of distinction, in that all is one.

    Gassho,

    Kevin

  12. #12

    Re: 3/20 - Branching Streams: 6th Talk - Boat Is Always Moving

    Fischer says:

    So these lines, then, celebrate the four elements, and talk about how, at the time of death, the four elements will dissociate from their union as a person, and each one will go home to its mother. Kind of a beautiful image, I think. Earth element returns to earth, fire to fire, and water to water, which is literally what happens when we die. The body literally joins the earth and recombines, mixes in with the water, sky, and the soil, and the consciousness soars onward, returning to peace, returning to the world of do.
    These lines really struck me in that it emphasized that when living in the world as conscious beings we have to , in necessity for survival, live in the world of san. But upon our deaths, we return to the undifferentiated state (?) or do.

    I don't like to speculate on what happens after death. But I find this concept sort of soothing as in we are all momentary expressions of the universe in its ongoing flux. Each being is a constant, ongoing reconstitution of it. In that sense, the border between life and death is blurred (to emptiness?).


    Gassho,

    Tony

  13. #13

    Re: 3/20 - Branching Streams: 6th Talk - Boat Is Always Moving

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin
    I do this myself, quite frequently. Zoketsu Norm Fischer's discussion on this portion of the Sandokai helped me reword this concept a bit to read more like "everything is separate and dependent on each other, but everything is simultaneously one and, thus, independent (as there is nothing else upon which to be dependent)" I was always thrown off by the use of the word "emptiness". My current understanding, flawed though it may be, is that "empty" simply means empty of distinction, in that all is one.
    You need to be quite willing, in your appreciation for this, to go all out. Be radical in your thinking, and radical in dropping thinking, on this issue. Do not stop merely at the fact that all of us are "interdependent", and thus "one".

    I have a manuscript kicking around here that I've meant to get back to and finish someday. In it I try, through some poetic images and various 'thought experiments', to get folks to see some of this. Humor me on some of these, as I was just trying something creative here. What I have discovered over the years, in getting folks to look at some of these, is that some folks can see the image and some can't ... not unlike the way some folks cannot see those "3-D Images" which they publish in the newspaper sometimes, or the famous "Old Lady/Young Lady" optical illision:

    http://mathworld.wolfram.com/YoungGirl- ... usion.html

    There are now some aspects of the following I would change if writing this today, such as the emphasis on the word "One", which can be misleading (for example, being "at one" with reality does not necessarily mean that all of reality is "one" single thing. That is why Buddhist philosophers often use such phrases as "not one, not two"). Something else I might change is the feel that I am necessarily talking about some "universal consciousness". A much younger me wrote this, so I would not do it just the same way.

    Work on through it to the "YOU/I" image in the third excerpt. Anyway, here goes "NOTHING"!

    We think of ourselves as separate individuals born into a universe, independent bodies calling a world our home. Like inhabitants of a house, we feel that the universe is where we live, not what we are. We see the world as but the stage for our dance of life, not as the fusion unbroken of dancer, stage and dance. In our limited way, although we may be aware of scattered connections between our individual ‘self’ and all that surrounds us, we perceive no more than chance, isolated relationships among separate things and beings. We see that humans live in the world, but not that humans and the world are wholly One, a single entity undivided.


    We feel as dancers in a dance, across a stage we run,

    each dancer dancing solo, our connection nearly none.

    But when our steps are flowing, as leaves in wind a’frenzy spun,

    it’s not hard to see that dancers, stage and dance are truly One.



    Our separation is a perspective, but offers no more than a confined viewpoint on reality. Far from being the only vision we should hold to – an encompassing perspective is simultaneously true and useful. In this tale, I propose that we learn to see ourselves ….


    as this universe itself,
    as much as the lonely leaf is part of its parent tree,
    and thereby -is- the tree.



    Picture in your mind a single tree leaf growing from a tree. Is the fragile leaf a separate thing, that which we call a “leaf”? Or is it instead the tree itself?

    It is possible to view the single leaf as both “leaf” and “tree,” one and the other. Certainly, a tree is but its roots, trunk, branches and leaves. Strip away, one and all, root, trunk, branch and leaf, and there shall be no tree at all. Nothing remains.

    Yet the true key to union is the human beholder, for when the mind steps back, no longer focuses on the leaf, ceases to isolate its separate form, when we see nothing but the whole and forget about the part ….. all that we see is the tree. The leaf is absorbed into the tree, vanishes like a ladleful of water poured into a sea, there perhaps - but not there. Thus, each leaf is a separate life, unique. Simultaneously, it is the tree itself. A human being may, too, forget her separate self, cease to isolate identity from the whole, pour her being into that sea. We human beings are, likewise, each one separate and unique. Simultaneously, we are but this universe in its expression.

    The leaf is part of the Tree, without one no other.

    For a tree must have its leaves to be,

    and no leaf is born apart from tree.

    Yet root, trunk, branch, leaf …..

    they are not mere parts of their Tree -

    They are the Tree, the One, inseparable.

    For if no root, trunk, branch and leaf,

    what Tree would be at all?

    If no root and trunk and branch below,

    where would the frail leaf grow?

    We are the universe.


    * * *

    Step back!

    Seeing beyond the particular- thus All becomes clear.

    Single brushstrokes unnoticed, and a painting beheld,

    much as the Ocean appears by absorbing each drop.

    It is the eye’s focus, with expansive vision,

    for our thoughts set life’s boundaries, shapes and forms.

    When leaf is forgotten, a Tree is there;

    unseeing of sand grains, wide desert found;

    overlooking the many, the One comes in view…..

    Mankind, your Self is, as self drifts from mind.


    Dogen wrote in the Genjo Koan….


    To know the Self is to forget the self…..


    When the facet-partial is not forefront in thought, the whole-encompassing is first seen. The clouds of atoms which assemble as a tree are (in daily life) invisible to our eyes, and in this way before us - the total tree appears. Should we magnify our vision to the trillion, trillion atoms, the tree must vanish from our sight. Seeing the wondrous tree’s beauty, we rarely bring to mind its constituent elements, only doing so when summoned to our notice (perhaps as the poet draws our inner eye there).

    From one perspective, there is only the tree - the atoms forgotten, swallowed whole by the Whole. From another perspective, there are only atoms, for the tree (as all matter) is nothing but atoms - no tree truly there at all. From still another, just as valid as an insight, both the tree and tree’s atoms are there all along (in fact, one is the other). But the more one is seen, the harder to see the other.

    Mankind, it is the same for you, each perspective true in its way, for you are an element of the Tree, you are an aspect of the greater reality of Being …..


    Mankind, though you go about this daily life

    thinking but of your little self,

    take a chance!

    Lose your ‘self’ for a moment,

    thereby to find your ‘Self.’

    Oh, the mind plays games of separation!



    Sometimes, in the stillness by the empty window - I sit in formal meditation. Perfect is the moment. The rain stops, the clouds depart, but the eaves drip each single drop. Moonlight floods my room. I recall the words of Ikkyu ….


    Single moon
    Bright and clear
    In this unclouded sky …..
    Yet somehow we stumble
    In the worldly darkness



    It is by such state that the hard borders of my body and being come to soften. My self is real, yet too is self gone. Why are we so quick to think that we are what is contained in the margins and restrictions where flesh meets the air, where our feet touch the ground and head will reach no higher? Is my true being but my hand, or too whatever a hand may grasp? Just these eyes, or any vista that these eyes might see? My mind, or whatever the mind might know, feel? The distant hills, the farthest star, are no less “me” than the tip of my tongue.

    And it is not just into space that my being expands, but into time. For I am no more constrained by the false boundaries of birth and death than I can be prisoner in an unlocked room. If the world is but me, and the world has been for eons, then I have been for eons. If the universe is but me, and has always been, then I have always been. Though the single leaf may grow, soon to fade and disappear, still the Tree goes on …..

    Leaves come and go,

    Only the Tree remains …..

    For all that grows there,

    Only the Tree …..

    As a first step, it is important to understand that the statement “we are the universe” is meant in a strict sense. It does not mean that we are but isolatable parts of the universe, like autonomous beings who are members of a social club or citizens of a nation. Nor is the point mere “solipsism,” the idea that, for example, you (the reader) are the one and only being that exists in the entire universe, and thus everything else in the universe except for you (but including, unfortunately for me, this writer!) is unreal.


    What does it mean to say “the leaf is the Tree?”

    Does it mean that there is no Tree,

    only leaves, branch, trunk and roots united, a “Society of Tree?”

    Does it mean that there is only a single leaf that’s true,

    with all the other leaves, the branches, trunk and roots but its dream?

    Nothing of the sort!

    For there is leaf, it’s sister leaves, each branch, trunk and root ….

    Yet, there is only the Tree.


    What is meant has a very different meaning from some “club of parts” or from “solipsism,” made clear in the following example:

    Let us suppose that your human body were the whole universe. (As I do not know the reader’s actual name, I will take the liberty of calling you “Albert.”) What we call our universe, with all it contains, is contained within Albert’s body, and nothing exists outside that body. I suppose that in such case, in place of black holes and planets and such, the universe then consists of the various bodily insides, as well as the hands, the feet and all the rest. Your body is perhaps billions of years old. As with the real universe, the ‘Albert’s body’ universe is constituted of a multitude of parts, represented by the billions and billions of tiny, vibrant cells which make your body.

    One wondrous day, some of the very smallest cells of Albert’s left foot become conscious and intelligent, just as we human beings did in an isolated corner of the real universe. After some millions of years of further development (and not knowing that they are part of you), those cells begin to philosophize, to ask themselves “who are we?” and “why are we here?”

    It is at this point that Eastern philosophers may offer again that a ‘tautology’ need not be a “begging of the question,” but can be an answer complete and sufficient unto itself, an answer to which nothing more can or should be added. Accordingly, if a philosophically inclined speck of Albert’s instep were to make inquiry regarding the foregoing questions, “who am I” and “why am I here,” the best answers for it might be just as follows:


    You are your bit of Albert (particularly, his graceful foot).

    You are here as your bit of Albert.

    Go to it!



    In equivalent fashion, when I (Jundo Cohen) ask myself “who am I?” and “why am I here?” in the real universe, the best answers for me may be simply:


    You are the universe’s Jundo Cohen.

    You are here as the universe’s Jundo Cohen.

    Go to it!




    It is quite satisfying to my heart as an answer, letting me know my very specific, most unique place in reality and what I am to do in it: I am me, and I am to lead my own life as it goes, as I lead it. Enough said. Also, the answers are unchanged whether or not Albert is currently asleep, in deepest coma or completely without intelligence or awareness whatsoever (just as we cannot be sure for now that the real universe has some higher intelligence or grand awareness to it). We are still our unique bit nonetheless, even if Albert is as dull and dormant as a tree.

    And just as a tiny bit of Albert’s heel is thereby just Albert, the one making possible the other, the one being the other, so am I no less

    ….. just this universe.

    So for all of us, so for you, as you must be the only you of this universe, doing as you do, thereby this universe in its unique expression. Go to it!

    Suppose “I” were really everyone and everything in the universe, and everyone and everything in the universe were really “another I” (just as much as “I” am “I”). Suppose the sensation of my being a separate and independent “I” from everyone and everything else in the universe were really the illusion. Then, “I” would inhabit my body because “I” inhabit every body. “I” exist in the universe because any person (let alone “thing”) which exists in the universe is “I” as much as “I” (Jundo) am “I.”

    Though it may sound confusing at first impression, I think it can be described simply.

    But before I do describe my idea, it is important to emphasize certain points: My proposal is not what is often called “solipsism,” the idea that “I” am the only being that exists in the entire universe, and that everything else in the universe except for ‘me’ is unreal. On the contrary, I believe that everything is quite real, quite distinct one from the other. Nor do I mean that “you” and “I” simply are linked together in a common being, like cosmic siamese twins (interesting enough thought as that is).

    Instead, my concept is that there is not one bit of separation or distinction between you and I whatsoever in the most radical sense, and further, that neither you nor I are quite what we think we are. In fact, you are YOU/I, and I am YOU/I, i.e., both the I/OTHER. Thus you and I had to exist, because everything is, was and shall be YOU/I. Every human being alive wakes up in the morning and says of himself or herself, "I am YOU/I. How did I get here?" I think the idea not illogical with the right perspective.

    The reason that this perspective is not obvious to most people may be because the human mind plays tricks of smoke and mirrors, leading us to think of ourselves as separate, autonomous entities. I wish now to try to clear away some of the smoke, and show how the magician might perform the illusion of separateness. Of course, modern physics has already introduced the basic concept by demonstrating that your perception of “you,” your friends, your house and your car as being physically distinct entities is untrue. In fact, you, your friends, your house and your car (and all things in the universe) form a single, unbroken continuum of matter/energy. There is simply no clear place where you end and the chair you are sitting in begins, except as intersecting wave patterns on the continuum. Thus, though the perspectives of science and the perspective of Buddhism should not be taken as the same, my assertions may have modern science on their side (at least, on the sub-atomic level).

    To see how the illusion works, please picture me in two ways, both “Jundo.” The first Jundo, I will call “small jundo” (If you wish, dear reader, please pretend that I am you, and substitute your own name in the example). This “small jundo” is my normal, day-to-day self, with its own sensation of separate identity. It is the “Jundo” that gets up in the morning in his apparently separate house, goes to his job in his apparently separate car, and has little sensation of being part of a continuum with the world around him.

    However, the other aspect of Jundo I will call “BIG JUNDO” (Again, please substitute your own name if you wish). “BIG JUNDO” is the continuum, and might also be called one’s “True Self.” To understand the concept, it may help to picture “BIG JUNDO” as being the single, undivided “stuff” of which all the individual “things” of the universe are made (equivalent to our ‘Tree’). For simplicity, try to picture “BIG JUNDO” as a vast sea of clay perhaps, or as the body of the Tree. All the individual “things” of the universe are made of “BIG JUNDO,” are made out of small pieces of that clay (are leaves, fruits and flowers of our Tree).

    The key is this: Each and every one of the “things” made out of the clay or of the Tree (BIG JUNDO) is itself a “small jundo.” You and I are each a “small jundo.” My house is a “small jundo” and my car is another “small jundo.” For purposes of keeping them separate, let me assign arbitrary numbers to each one: e.g., You are “small jundo 1,” I am “small jundo 2,” my car is “small jundo 3,” and my house is “small jundo 4.” In fact, every individual “thing” in the universe is a “small jundo,” and could be assigned a number.

    Now we come to the point where the human brain starts to play its tricks. Of course (as far as I know) my house and my car do not “think,” and thus do not think about themselves existing as “Jundo,” or in any other way. However, each human being’s brain thinks. Thus, “small jundo 1” (you) wakes up every day and thinks “I am Jundo” (meaning, that you are thinking that you exist as “you”). As well, “small jundo 2” (me) wakes up every day and thinks “I am Jundo” (meaning, that I am thinking that I exist as “me”). In fact, we each think of ourselves as the one and only “Jundo,” and that all the other people and things in the world are NOT “Jundo.” We each think we are fully individual and separate, and are blind to the fact that we are BOTH “Jundo” from a different perspective (that we are both YOU/I, the I/OTHER, both the Tree). We thus both think, “How did I (meaning “Jundo”) come to inhabit my particular physical body,” because we do not see that every person in the world would have had to have been “Jundo.” We fail to see that “small jundo 2” (me) is thinking and feeling that I am “the only Jundo” as much as “small jundo 1” (you) are thinking that you are “the only Jundo.” Each singular leaf of the “Jundo” Tree thinks itself the one and only “Jundo” leaf, unique and separate, yet each is no more than the “Jundo” Tree.

    At this point, some readers may raise an objection: They might say, “Although you may be “Jundo,” my name is “Francesco.” You are short and round and live in Tokyo, I am tall and skinny and live in Venice. What do you mean that we are both the same and both named ‘Jundo’?”

    The answer is that I am not talking about how we each appear on the surface, or who we think we are, our personal life histories or day-to-day names and selves. That is all just the “small jundo” self, the particular leaf with its unique position in the sun, but an expression of the encompassing Tree.

    This perspective may become clearer by a further example: Imagine that the universe were a vast airplane in which an “I” (Jundo) is sitting in each and every seat. One “Jundo” starts to wonder how he came to be in seat 27D (his particular life), and not in some other seat (or, how he came to be on the plane at all). The answer is that “Jundo” is in every seat, even if passenger 27D does not feel it so. In fact, the whole plane is likely “Jundo,” and each wing, wheel and motor is “Jundo.” Also, since the airplane represents the entire universe, there is nowhere outside the airplane, and thus no place for Jundo to be but on that plane. Thereby, if there is a certain passenger on the plane, that passenger must be a “Jundo.” However, because each passenger is sitting in a separate seat, with his or her own view of the cabin or out a window, each sees life from quite a unique perspective (i.e., each has his or her particular, individual life, seen out of his or her own eyes).

    How does the brain play the trick of causing us to perceive only our “small jundo” self, and not our “BIG JUNDO” Self? It is an illusion, possibly much like one’s being seated in a multi-screen cinema, each screen showing what appears to the viewer to be a very distinct image. Depending on the angle (or the particular life), each view appears quite different from all the others. However, the viewer cannot see that each “small jundo” image is but light on a blank screen emanating from a single, hidden “BIG JUNDO” projector, each image but the cast light refracted differently, at different angles and perspectives, and thus looking most distinct. As well, the viewer cannot see all the other screens of the theatre, only his or her own. Thus, the leaf experiences its leaf-ness, not easily the total being of the Tree. It is much the reverse trick as experienced in the “Hall of Mirrors” of the carnival funhouse …… You see yourself reflected by the thousands, tens-of-thousands, endlessly to the horizons, each image slightly distinct …… Which is the “real” you?

    You may wish to imagine another situation, that, due to a mysterious twist of genetic latency, your single, little head suddenly sprouted a second, fully distinct brain, one brain now controlling your left eye and the left side of your body, the other the right. Although from the outside you still appear a fairly normal person, in fact each half of your body is under a fully separate consciousness, conjoined twins within. Each eye and hand sees and feels the world in a slightly distinct manner, distinct from the experiences and awareness of the other half of your body, whereby each of your two minds undergoes its own experiences, holds it own subjective beliefs and personal judgments. Now, imagine that this magical body of yours began to sprout additional brains by the billions, each with its own eye and independent hand, each brain representing one of the untold sentient lives that exist on this planet which is our home. Would we then be speaking of but one creature or a world of creatures? Which is the real “you?”

    ...

    And that (perhaps) is the story of how “you” got to be “you,” and “I” got to be “I,” and how we are different, and how we are the same.


  14. #14

    Re: 3/20 - Branching Streams: 6th Talk - Boat Is Always Moving

    So, as I'm sitting here typing this message, trying to concentrate on what I'm feeling and to translate that feeling into words, I, my computer, my office, my feelings, my mind working, and the words I hear in my head are all a part of something whole which would not be whole without any of those things. And, when I get an email from work with some task for me to complete, and that email distracts me, and irritation arises, and the sound of my kids watching TV too loud and banging around upstairs distracts me, and irritation arises, the chime of that arriving email, my kids, the sound of the TV, the sound of the banging, my own mind which constructs distraction and irritation, all are a part of something whole which would not be whole without any of those things. And that something whole would be whole with or without any of those things, and it will still be whole one millisecond later when conditions have changed. And while all of those things are interdependent, as the irritation is dependent on the distraction which is dependent on the sound of the arriving email which is dependent on the person who sent the email etc etc, yet these things are all a part of something whole which includes everything, indeed IS everything?

    As I was standing in my kitchen eating a bowl of cinnamon applesauce staring at the counter and the barstools and the pergo floor, thinking "How is this barstool me?", a dropping of thinking and a widening of awareness led to a view of that single moment where me standing there in my kitchen eating a bowl of cinnamon applesauce staring at the counter and the barstools and the pergo floor was one complete unhindered whole that contained all elements, and my conception of "me" was just another barstool, so to speak, and the reality was the totality of everything at once, outside of time or place or frame of reference.

    ?

    Gassho,
    Kevin

  15. #15
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    Re: 3/20 - Branching Streams: 6th Talk - Boat Is Always Moving

    ...often foster a tremendous bitterness and divisiveness, exactly because they avoid conflict and don’t feel comfortable with disagreement. Of course, not only nonprofits and religious organizations are like this. I think most people are like this. Most people are conflict averse. They don’t want to bring up anything that would be disliked by somebody else. There is a small minority of people who thrive on it and love it. They will find any pretext to bring up difference and conflict, but this is a minority of people. Most people are conflict averse. So we really need to learn how to recognize all the time that each and every thing comes from the root, each and every thing shares the essence. Even as we judge it, even as we disagree with it. Because that’s compassion. That’s the world.
    This quote from the Norman Fischer talk really struck a chord with me...Lots to think about. (Or non-think about)

    Kevin,
    Great Description!

    Ron

  16. #16

    Re: 3/20 - Branching Streams: 6th Talk - Boat Is Always Moving

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin
    So, as I'm sitting here typing this message, trying to concentrate on what I'm feeling and to translate that feeling into words, I, my computer, my office, my feelings, my mind working, and the words I hear in my head are all a part of something whole which would not be whole without any of those things. And, when I get an email from work with some task for me to complete, and that email distracts me, and irritation arises, and the sound of my kids watching TV too loud and banging around upstairs distracts me, and irritation arises, the chime of that arriving email, my kids, the sound of the TV, the sound of the banging, my own mind which constructs distraction and irritation, all are a part of something whole which would not be whole without any of those things. And that something whole would be whole with or without any of those things, and it will still be whole one millisecond later when conditions have changed. And while all of those things are interdependent, as the irritation is dependent on the distraction which is dependent on the sound of the arriving email which is dependent on the person who sent the email etc etc, yet these things are all a part of something whole which includes everything, indeed IS everything?

    As I was standing in my kitchen eating a bowl of cinnamon applesauce staring at the counter and the barstools and the pergo floor, thinking "How is this barstool me?", a dropping of thinking and a widening of awareness led to a view of that single moment where me standing there in my kitchen eating a bowl of cinnamon applesauce staring at the counter and the barstools and the pergo floor was one complete unhindered whole that contained all elements, and my conception of "me" was just another barstool, so to speak, and the reality was the totality of everything at once, outside of time or place or frame of reference.

    ?

    Gassho,
    Kevin
    YES! You are quick. WONDERFUL! I am going to read that again and again and savor it!

    I think you've tasted something there, standing on the pergo floor ... that you are pergo, and there is just pergo!

    Yes, that is pretty much what the book is about.

    Gassho, Jundo

    PS - I had to google "pergo" to find out it is a tile company. They have this little film, which is pretty Zenny if you watch with the sound off ...

    http://na.pergo.com/default.aspx

  17. #17

    Re: 3/20 - Branching Streams: 6th Talk - Boat Is Always Moving

    Hi Jundo,
    Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed reading the post on your manuscript. The tree example worked particularly well for me personally, but I found the entire post to be of value and I encourage you to publish. Although I did not have the strong response that Kevin had, I do note that during zazen I sometimes drift into this sense of “not one, not two”. Perhaps one of theses examples might make a nice Sit-a-Long? Hope to read the book soon!
    Gassho,
    BrianW

  18. #18

    Re: 3/20 - Branching Streams: 6th Talk - Boat Is Always Moving

    Hi Kevin
    I just wanted to let you know that your post was a truly "artistic" presentation of observation and feelings, translated by clarifying words, picture framed, and hung on the Treeleaf wall for all to enjoy and absorb.
    I saw it as the Selfless Observation ( body and mind dropped) of a perfect moment in the continuum of perfect moments and then, the Self was merged within that perfect moment. The Universe is expressing itself in each perfect moment but,for our mind's desires would be perfectly obvious.
    Thank you for the post! Zak

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