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Thread: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

  1. #1

    7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    And ... we're off!

    Welcome to our first set of readings in Master Dogen's SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI!!

    'Shobogenzo' is often translated as 'Treasure House of the True Law', a rather imposing title!

    But 'Zuimonki' might be translated, -very- loosely, as 'a bunch of random things that Dogen said which somebody wrote down' ...

    ... and that's what it is!

    Now, the 'game' we will be playing will be to see how we might creatively apply many of these little talks ... meant for 13th century Japanese monks in a Zen monastery, samurai, noble ladies, peasants and others ... to our Zen practice and our day-to-day lives. Please be creative in finding any lessons and bits of wisdom.

    So, for example, in 1-17, when Dogen complains ...

    Men and women in secular society, both young and old, often pass the time talking about lewd things. They do so to amuse their minds and beguile themselves. It seems as though idle talk entertains their minds and diverts them from boredom for a while. Monks, however, should completely avoid such talk.

    ... you can think how much time you spend chatting on the internet (apart from Treeleaf, OF COURSE! :roll: ) or around the water cooler at the office. Or, you might think and comment about whether a little more silence each day might help in one's Zazen.

    Got how the game goes?

    Some readings, however, MAY NOT APPLY AT ALL, EVEN WITH A BIG STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION. So, don't feel that you have find a connection for everything.

    There are also some topics covered that may surprise, or stimulate discussion ... such as comments Dogen makes this week on Buddha statues, the Precepts, meat eating and the like.

    Also, DON'T FEEL YOU HAVE TO AGREE WITH DOGEN ABOUT EVERYTHING. Buddhist students typically feel that they must appreciate the wisdom of every little mumbling and musing that comes out of an ancient Zen teachers' mouth (I wish 'ol Jundo got half that much respect :wink: ). But, ya know, Dogen was just a man ... although a --very-- wise one and wondrous Zen teacher ... who lived a long time ago and could be a bit of a grumpy gus too. So, feel free to disagree with 'Old Dogen when your feel it.

    Okay, I think that is it ... remember my comment about the funky footnotes in the online version here ....

    viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1779

    THIS WEEK WE WILL COVER READINGS 1-1 through 1-5, available here:

    http://global.sotozen-net.or.jp/common_ ... 01-01.html

    Length runs from a few paragraphs to just a couple of sentences per reading.

    I might suggest you read maybe one section per day, kind of like a "Dose of Daily Dogen" ... Or you can read them all at once.

    I also ask that all people participating in the book club post at least once or twice a week EVEN IF YOU FEEL YOU HAVE NOTHING MUCH TO SAY (typically, the effort itself will inspire you).

    Have a good ZUIMONKI!

  2. #2

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    Greetings all,

    My thoughts as I read

    1-1 - This reverence for material relics seems very foreign to me at first, but then I thought that perhaps it can have some benefit in terms of keeping the good example of the teachers in the forefront of one's mind and heart. I bow out of gratitude for everyone who has passed down (and discovered new) dharma.

    "The true practice which is in accordance with the teaching is nothing but shikantaza " - one thing I think to be noted is that (at least this is the impression I got from reading the complete Shobogenzo) at that time and place, zazen often took very much second place to study, debate/discussion, entertaining friends and chanting. So I think it is important to know this in relation to the above quote.

    So the story reminds me to think of what delusions I have in my life, what I hold on to as if they were magical relics. In what ways do I think the Buddha is some other place or person?

    1-2 - This brings up my need to examine my delusions about zazen - do I subconciously believe that enlightenment is dependent on a certain body position or only to be found in quietude?

    1-4 - I keep hearing about this this terrible Ego-thing. However, I think it more important to try to cut through stupidity, (for example - the stupidity of not understanding the connection of all things. However it is equally important not to misunderstand the connection of all things, this leads to superstition). If I try to believe that Jinho does not exist, then what am I washing and feeding each morning? But the question of "who" is one to use to cut through delusion. It is also important to avoid the trap of using non-existence (or, more correctly, impermanent existence) to disrespect oneself and/or other phenomena. This disrespect and denigration is particualrly vivid to abuse survivors.

    gassho,
    Jinho/Rowan

  3. #3

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    First Comment 1-1:

    As the monk was leaving in anger, the master shouted after him, “Open the box and look inside!”
    There is absolutely nothing wrong with worshipping Buddha. Let the monk do what he does. However, anger can be solved. The monk was angry about the statue, which shows attachment.

    I'd like to use this phrase “Open the box and look inside!” a little differently. Instead of a poison that comes from this stuff, maybe "open the box" as in "Shikantaza".

    Open the box. Sit. Practice, and balance it out.

    The true practice which is in accordance with the teaching is nothing but shikantaza
    Edit:
    it is a false view 6 to think that you will be able to gain enlightenment only through worshipping them. Such a view will cause you to become possessed by the demon and the poisonous snake.
    Yes. So what the guy is saying is: "Sit G*dd*mnit!"




    W

  4. #4

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    Relics are relics but they sure aren't necessary for zazen. Example- I sometimes wear a wrist mala. It helps remind me to be be mindful throughout the day. But if I were to depend on it- unable to remember mindfulness if I didn't wear it- then it would be an attachment, just as the statue was to the monk.

    Dependence on the accouterments is attachment. Appreciation is one thing, dependence is a whole 'nother can of worms (or box of snakes)!

  5. #5

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    Hi.

    Relics are relics.
    In the precepts we say "refrain from intoxication".
    It's very applicable here...

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  6. #6

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    To me this section is all about attachment - even to a statue of the buddha (which I assume back then Dogen's comments were quite close to the mark). Eventually we have to let everything go -even our attachment to buddhism.

    Kind regards

    Jools

  7. #7

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    I just want to thank you all, and say how I think our "game" is off to a very fine beginning! Lovely comments.

    I think of this as a way of learning how to bring these old teachings down to earth, into our own lives ... and learning how to make them relevant to each of us ... making Dogen's ancient teachings into the here and now. Dry words of some old master need to be brought to life in our life, and then we each become a bit of the teacher for ourselves.

    Gassho, Jundo

    Ps- I hope someone is keeping a record of when I come up with little chestnut quotes like the above ... to be preserved someday in the "Jundo Zooey Monkey" 8)

  8. #8
    Treeleaf Unsui Shohei's Avatar
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    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    Agreed Shindo (and all, i was a bobble headed goof while reading your posts )
    1-1 do not be attached to the images and thoughts of what you NEED to practice. Just sitting is IT.
    1-2 Follow the rules, practices but they take a back seat to zazen - and points out while good to keep the rules in good standing..what rule is broke while just sitting? At the same time/ not different we should still put our best effort to maintain the rules and practices.
    1-3 good one for me to remember (about the meat eating in a round about way) Again do not be attached, in this case to the precepts although we aim to keep in good standing ...we would break a precept or all of them by hanging on to them like a pitbull.
    1-4 Interesting in that i still find myself looking for that recognition...still attached to praise or hoping to avoid a scolding. Another sticky bit.
    1-5 drop your need to know it all and focus one what you can know.



    Those are my initial thoughts as i read each one. Ill have to revisit im sure

    Gassho, Shohei

  9. #9

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    Concerning 1-1:

    he constantly burned incense and prostrated himself before them, honoring and making offerings.
    Thinking of my own practice, I have found it useful to practice humility by bowing or showing respect. It can also be a way of letting go. It goes against my grain to bow to a statue but by doing it I can let go of the notion that it is a silly thing to do.

    As I think about this story, the images and relics of the Buddha should be revered since they are the form and bones left by the Tathagata 5; nevertheless, it is a false view 6 to think that you will be able to gain enlightenment only through worshipping them.
    As many others have pointed out there is more to practice than this. The path is eightfold after all.

    All the best,
    em

  10. #10

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    "As I think about this story, the images and relics of the Buddha should be revered since they are the form and bones left by the Tathagata 5; nevertheless, it is a false view 6 to think that you will be able to gain enlightenment only through worshipping them. Such a view will cause you to become possessed by the demon and the poisonous snake."

    I think most Westerners have the opposite problem of that monk. He seems to have been obsessive about worshipping the image and relics of Buddha. Most Westerners need to have significant understanding of the Dharma before feeling comfortable with the bowing and reverance stuff.
    Blind faith vs. Trust yet verify. It's the sitting stupid. But I do allow myself a little superstition
    /Rich

  11. #11
    Myoshin
    Guest

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    1-1:
    Quote Originally Posted by Fugen

    Relics are relics.
    In the precepts we say "refrain from intoxication".
    It's very applicable here...
    Agreed to this and to the above comments.

    I think the key is to find an equilibrium. If one wants to bow and prostrate in front of a statue so be it. It is just a statue. But one must not become infatuated by the statue... as many have said that is attachment = suffering = pain (kinda sound like Yoda here). On the other hand one cannot just dismiss humble reverence for things.

    Today I think a lot of the world is concerned with material possessions even things that cannot be bought (like a sunset, love, and other intangible things). Everyone at one point I think has been like that monk. Each one of us with that, close to our heart, Buddha statue whatever it may be. The fact of the matter is sometimes we have to be reminded that that statue is not the only thing in the world... we may not always like the reminder but it helps.

    Gassho,
    Kyle

  12. #12

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    1-2

    I'll just post my quotes, then go into it.

    we should not take them as the primary practice [precepts]. I don’t mean to say, however, that you should break the precepts and become self-indulgent.
    This tells us that the precepts (as usual) are a guideline. I have a couple examples that I'll save til last.

    For this reason, I taught a fellow student of mine, Gogenbo, a disciple of Zen-Master Eisai 4, to abandon his strict adherence of keeping the precepts and reciting the Precept Sutra 5 day and night.
    This references the first quote (don't mistake them as the practice).

    The meaning of reciting the Precept Sutra day and night and observing the precepts single-mindedly 7 is nothing other than practicing Shikantaza.
    This is the activity of Shikintaza. It's observance of self.

    When we sit zazen, what precept is not observed, what merit is not actualized? The ways of practice carried on by the ancient masters have a profound meaning. Without holding on to personal preferences, we should go along with the assembly and practice in accordance with those ways.
    Ok. To set this in a modern context. Kind of hard to say.

    Here's an example: In the first quote he mentions:

    "I don’t mean to say, however, that you should break the precepts and become self-indulgent".
    '
    This self indulgent is interesting. It seems the same thing that comes from "I want this, or I want that. I don't need to sit. I don't need to to do this or that." there's a balance there, where Body and Mind are not worrying about it. Zazen.

    So in a modern context...maybe, don't go out drinking until 4 am and then end up with a hang over in the morning unable to get out of bed. Selfish. These were written for monks so....

    Alright. Let's look at it this way. I stay up until 3am doing whatever. Ok. Fine. That's fine. But when I have a good Zazen day, that doesn't apply. There is sleep and lunch and so on.

    Really, we don't need all that stuff because it's just greed and sometimes Zazen is enough. Which precepts are we talking about here? The monastic precepts?

    It's the same thing as the statue in 1-1. Zazen is the central practice in Soto Zen. In order to abide by the precepts we need to bring ourselves to a point where that can be a realization. We can't expect too much of ourselves right away. Zazen is the way too look deep and such.

    Here's the precepts (Zen Mountain Monastery):

    The Three Pure Precepts

    1. Not Creating Evil
    2. Practicing Good
    3. Actualizing Good For Others

    Well, this is all nice and such, but sometimes we don't. That's a fact. Practice, practice, practice. But try. When you feel like just.. ARRRRRGGH!! ....try or practice.

    The Ten Grave Precepts

    1. Affirm life; Do not kill
    2. Be giving; Do not steal
    3. Honor the body; Do not misuse sexuality
    4. Manifest truth; Do not lie
    5. Proceed clearly; Do not cloud the mind
    6. See the perfection; Do not speak of others
    errors and faults
    7. Realize self and other as one; Do not elevate the self and blame others
    8. Give generously; Do not be withholding
    9. Actualize harmony; Do not be angry
    10. Experience the intimacy of things; Do not
    defile the Three Treasures



    Look. A lot of us have had some pretty bad moments. We know that. The precepts are a reminder. Just do it. The precepts and practice go hand in hand. Read them again. I just did. It's all great, but it's kind of like a new years resolution (it doesn't really stick) until we ingrain them. Some of them are obvious, but that depends on the person.

    Here's one: 9. Actualize harmony; Do not be angry

    Well, that's great. Thanks for the advice

    Another:

    10. Experience the intimacy of things; Do not
    defile the Three Treasures

    What? How am I supposed to get intimate when I'm bouncing off my cushion? LOL

    A lot of the precepts come naturally through practice. Think about it. There are things like not coveting possessions and such. Well, that just kind of comes up. You see yourself getting worked up over a broken (whatever) and just remind yourself about that precept.

    Ok. I've talked long enough. Basically the same as 1-1 (practice Zazen and then get up).

    Gassho

    W

  13. #13

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    1-2
    "[You] should maintain the precepts and eating regulations 1 (one meal a day before noon, etc.). Still, it is wrong to insist upon them as essential, establish them as a practice, and expect to be able to gain the Way by observing them"

    Number 1 precept: Sit morning and evening.
    Number 2 precept: Correct action moment to moment.

  14. #14

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    Just read 1-1, so I guess I am little late (but right on time, I know ;-) )

    As mentioned before, the message seems to be "get on the cushion and go!", no attachement, no wicked monuments of thoughts, concepts, studying and worshipping. In fact, that is one of the most appealing aspects of zazen to me.

    I bought a little buddha statue the other day. Happy that I got it, but I thought about what it really means then. I still like it, but it's not some sort of shrine, just a nice looking little reminder when I cross the room.

  15. #15

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    1-2: My take on this is: follow the rules, but do not raise them to some sort of dogma. Question everything everytime, because each moment is unique and different from each other. If you dare to question what is taught, it is possible to get to the core of the teaching and to get to know it's true value. If you just follow because you have to, it is just some hollow shell.

  16. #16

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    Hello all,

    1-1:

    "Open the box and look inside" - take a really good look inside yourself and see the truth. Is worshipping a statue/a relic going to get you any closer to enlightenment? If you believe it does then you are poisoning yourself with an illusion. You become the barrier to your own path. Your mind becomes the snake/the demon.

    It is okay to show reverence to the Buddha's image...but don't become attached to the magic your mind would have you believe it holds.

    1-2:

    We should follow the precepts just as our ancestors, they help guide us on the path. As Jundo has told us before, they are guide signs to help us go in the right direction. :wink: Sitting zazen is the very foundation, that is the path...

    Long, fun, but tiring weekend...hope this made sense.

    Gassho,
    Jinmei

  17. #17

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    In many ways 1-2 repeats the theme of 1-1 in that Dogen again*points out that zazen must be our primary practice and that we in zazen work with much the same things that we do in other practices, only more focused. I suppose this, as someone pointed out, must be read in context. Dogen might have seen the need to put more emphasis on zazen because other practices had a larger emphasis. For many of us in the west we must not take this as a hint to neglect our work with the precepts since our emphasis is often on zazen. Hence the correct balance of practice is always contextual.

    Another of Dogens points here is that although much in life is much like zazen it can't replace zazen.

    All the best,
    em

  18. #18

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    Hello,


    1-1: Everyone seems to agree that the idea of holding relics or statues up as a way to achieve enlightenment is false. We should respect them no doubt but it is the teachings and zazen that really help up to discover the way and the truth.

    1-2: Sounds to me similar to the first. The rules and regulations have a purpose and are there for good reason. They have been developed and changed through the years through practice and examination. Just like the statutes and relics. They serve a purpose as well. For some of us they remind us to be mindful or of the teachings. Still...they are only one aspect of the whole experience. By sitting zazen we experience them all together. Again....more guidlines

    1-3: This one puzzled me a bit. Is one to avoid eating meat? This seems to be a precept or it has been interpreted this way it seems by many. Yet, I think that humans are naturally inclined to eat meat. So, based off of the previous two points....should one hold on loosely to this precept or regulation?

    1-4: This one hit home for me. I find myself dealing with the desire for fame and profit. I have been thinking about it most recently. Practicing zazen for its own self devoid of ego. Wow...takes a lot of work.

    1-5: I feel that I must try to learn as much as possible and try all kinds of hobbies. Of course this never works out. Try to learn what you can about what your doing. Stop trying to know it all. Its ok and you can never know it all. If your doing zazen then do zazen. if your going to practice Buddhism...then practice IT.

    Gassho,
    Dave

  19. #19
    Senior Member rculver's Avatar
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    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    Some things that stood out for me:
    1-1
    Since being the Buddha’s child 10 is following the Buddha’s teachings and reaching buddhahood 11 directly, we must devote ourselves to following the teaching and put all our efforts into the practice of the Way.
    1-2
    Although keeping them is good, we should not take them as the primary practice. I don’t mean to say, however, that you should break the precepts and become self-indulgent. Clinging to such an attitude is an evil view and not that of a Buddhist practitioner.
    1-4
    Many people in the world want to have a good reputation and to be appreciated not only by others but also by themselves. However they are not always well spoken of or praised
    1-5
    Concentrate your efforts on one practice
    It's still incredible to me that such seeming simple things can become so complicated when someone tries to truly follow them. I love that Dogen keeps hammering the idea of the middle path - "don't get too attached to your ideas of right and wrong" "the precepts are important, but don't idealize them". To me, that attitude is what makes zen buddhism feel like such a living, vibrant thing.

    Ron

  20. #20
    Myoshin
    Guest

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    1-2: Rules help aid in a deeper understanding of things, but like others have said rules are just rules and should not be anything else. These are not commandments or rules that will damn you if you break them. they are aids in teaching. It kinda reminds me of the old expression, "What do we do when we fall of the horse?" We get back on. You do not know what falling is like without actually falling. By falling off the horse we have learned something. By breaking a rule or in this case a precept I believe one has a deeper learning experience, as long as we get back on the horse.

    1-3: I am a meat eater... but I do respect where and what the meat came from. The effort that was put into it. From the raising of the animal to the butchering and finally to the preparation of its flesh. I think that it is natural to eat meat but if others wish not to, then it is no skin off my nose. I think that it is all in interpretation of the actual precept.

    Gassho,
    Kyle

  21. #21

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    In 1-3 Dogen seems to externalize the need to eat meat - it is the demon, not the monk, eating it. One interpretation is that the monk is driven by delusions and attachments to eat meat.

    Before eating a part of my practice is to think through how the food has gotten onto my plate and in that I must consider the impact and suffering of that process. I am a vegan because raising, tormenting and killing individuals creates great suffering.

    But trying to save innumerable beings from suffering also means making myself aware of factors like living and working conditions and social, economical and environmental impact. That means farming and transporting soy might also create great suffering. Just as it is impossible to live without creating suffering, it is almost impossible to find food or clothes that haven't in some way created suffering.

    It is like a koan. We must eat to live, we must clothe ourselves, but in doing so we support and create the very suffering we vow to end. Discussing such suffering almost always creates suffering. In matters of life, death and torment there seems to be precious little calm and joy. In decreasing suffering, we increase suffering.

  22. #22

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    1-3: I think the eating of meat is not the main point here. To me it's about a situation is not what it seems on the first glance. The master seems to know that there is something going on with the monk who behaves strange in eating meat, so he is looking deeper, taking another perspective you might say and finally he realizes that there is a demon around. So maybe this is an analogy that reminds us to really "look" at the things in/through our zazen practice.

  23. #23

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    1-4: This chapter seems to be quite concrete in it's message. It reminded me to look at my true motivation when acting "selfless". Is it really an act of "no self" or is it rather something I think I should do to gain something else?

  24. #24

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    1:3
    This one baffles me a bit. The demon could be the monks attachment to meat. I also see it as an attachment to the precepts. The master is attached to the precepts, and he overcomes his own attachment in letting the monk eat meat. While the demon seems to afflict the monk, it is the master's demon teaching him the lesson of non-attachment--even to the precepts.

    1:4
    If you are born into a family of master carpenter's, and you choose to go into the family business, you still have to learn how to be a carpenter. You aren't born knowing about it even if both your parents are skilled carpenter's. The path of Buddhism is the same way. Do not think you know everything because you have practiced a few years, read a few books, and talked to a few masters. There are still things to learn and masters still have things to teach. In other words, don't be a know-it-all.

  25. #25

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    Kyle
    "What do we do when we fall of the horse?"
    Zoolander

    Gassho

    W

  26. #26

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    Quote Originally Posted by Jen
    1:4
    If you are born into a family of master carpenter's, and you choose to go into the family business, you still have to learn how to be a carpenter. You aren't born knowing about it even if both your parents are skilled carpenter's. The path of Buddhism is the same way. Do not think you know everything because you have practiced a few years, read a few books, and talked to a few masters.
    What a nice reminder that we are all beginners all the time. Haven't thought about it when I read 1-4 though, but it fits nicely indeed.

    1-5:
    There is a lot to be found in here:
    "Do not go for any goal in zazen" comes to mind.
    One should not raise oneself above the others.
    Gaining knowledge through studying alone is not possible, which is a call to actually experience the teachings instead of understanding them intellectually.

  27. #27
    Myoshin
    Guest

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    Quote Originally Posted by will
    Kyle
    "What do we do when we fall of the horse?"
    Zoolander
    W
    Sorry Will I am not a gymnast.

    1-4: Do not fool yourself into thinking you know everything about anything... chances are there are many who know more than you. Even the best teachers still have to go to class every once in a while.

    1-5:
    Do not pretend to be a teacher or a leader of others.
    Kinda says to me not to place yourself higher than anyone else. We are all beginners. Kinda like a boss who does not listen to his workers just because they lack a degree or are young in age.

    Gassho,
    Kyle

  28. #28

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    I’m going to stretch the intended meaning of this a bit and relate it to a recent experience….please excuse me if I got a bit too “creative” in my response. Nevertheless, this week’s reading really hit me in a personal way.

    [T]he monk opened up the box; he found a poisonous snake coiled up inside.
    A number of years ago my daughter made me a “memory box”, sort of a scrapbook thing, with images of a group of our friends. This association of people has been slowly unraveling and this past week may have come to an end. It has been terribly upsetting and reading the above quote caused me to think about how, in the past, I thought of these “friends” as a source of meaning and happiness in my life and really believe I became too attached, resulting in suffering. My daughter and I spoke about how attaching to anyone or anything too tightly can result in disappointment. Nevertheless, she brought up the issue of how we had many good experiences and happy memories; attachment, or at least a sense of connectiveness with others, has positive attributes. We need to maintain healthy relationships with others but how do we do so without becoming too attached? In a broader sense, how do we maintain a healthy relationship to the Sangha, Buddha, and Dharma without becoming too attached?

    The true practice which is in accordance with the teaching is nothing but shikantza, which is the essence of the life in this sorin (monastery).
    I became really…really stressed as a result of this situation, as well as a few other “challenges” in my life and on Saturday (the 4th of July), I had a free day so I decided to do zazen for just about the entire day. I did 40 mins. of zazen, 20 mins walking meditation followed by either, listened to a sit-a-long, reading a bit of the Bendowa, or chanting the Heart Sutra… then I repeated the cycle. After about my second zazen session, my anxiety just suddenly dissolved and that wonderful “taste” of emptiness was present. Shikantaza seems more than the essence of life in the monastery…it is the essence of life.

    Gassho,
    BrianW

  29. #29

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    Hi,

    Quote Originally Posted by Zuimonki 1-2
    Ejo asked, “When we practice and learn the Way in a Zen monastery we should keep the pure regulations made by Zen Master Hyakujo, shouldn’t we? In the beginning of the Regulations (Hyakujo-Shingi), it says that receiving and maintaining the precepts is prerequisite. In this tradition, the Fundamental Precept has also been handed down. In the oral and face-to-face transmission of this lineage, the students are given the precepts transmitted from the West (India). These are the Bodhisattva Precepts. Also, it says in the Precept Sutra, that people must recite the Sutra day and night. Why do you have us discontinue this practice?”

    Dogen replied, “You are right. Practitioners of the Way certainly ought to maintain Hyakujo’s regulations. The form of maintaining the regulations is receiving and observing the precepts and practicing zazen, etc. The meaning of reciting the Precept Sutra day and night and observing the precepts single-mindedly is nothing other than practicing shikantaza, following the activities of the ancient masters. When we sit zazen, what precept is not observed, what merit is not actualized? The ways of practice carried on by the ancient masters have a profound meaning. Without holding on to personal preferences, we should go along with the assembly and practice in accordance with those ways.
    Observing the Precepts, bowing to the Buddha, chanting the Sutras... all of these activities are a necessary part of our Practice, and yet they all have the potential of being instrumentalized. If I do this, then I will get that. I can do this better than they can. I do this more often than they do. Pitfalls and traps abound. Zazen, however, isn't quite like this. If we try to grasp it and make it into something it isn't, it becomes very elusive. It isn't a tool, and it can't be tricked. If we truly practice Zazen, we are truly practicing the eightfold path.

    Gassho
    Bansho

  30. #30
    Senior Member Kent's Avatar
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    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    Shobogenzo-Zuimonki 1-4 "The primary attitude for self-improvement is the practice of shikantaza. Without consideration as to whether you are clever or stupid, you will naturally improve if you practice zazen." I take comfort in knowing the Dharma can be accessible to anyone, especially myself. Kent

  31. #31

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    1-5

    Practice. Study has its place, but daily practice is where it is at. Too much study can lead to confusion and draw you away from the practice, which is sitting.

  32. #32

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    Quote Originally Posted by Myoshin
    1-4: Do not fool yourself into thinking you know everything about anything... chances are there are many who know more than you. Even the best teachers still have to go to class every once in a while.

    1-5:
    Do not pretend to be a teacher or a leader of others.
    Kinda says to me not to place yourself higher than anyone else. We are all beginners. Kinda like a boss who does not listen to his workers just because they lack a degree or are young in age.

    Gassho,
    Kyle
    I agree with your understanding of this bit, that's the way I read it too. I did find it interesting that Dogen/Okamura used the word "pretend." It is OK to teach, but we must not fools ourselves about the things we are able to help others with. No posing. This requires great self-awareness and courage to diagnose our real understanding of things . . . can we help others with this particular thing, or is it better to let the universe teach them? That's where this reading took me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bansho
    Hi,
    Observing the Precepts, bowing to the Buddha, chanting the Sutras... all of these activities are a necessary part of our Practice, and yet they all have the potential of being instrumentalized. If I do this, then I will get that. I can do this better than they can. I do this more often than they do. Pitfalls and traps abound. Zazen, however, isn't quite like this. If we try to grasp it and make it into something it isn't, it becomes very elusive. It isn't a tool, and it can't be tricked. If we truly practice Zazen, we are truly practicing the eightfold path.

    Gassho
    Bansho
    I find that this is one of the most insidious aspects of my mind . . . the belief that the world functions solely on a quid pro quo basis. Recent developments have disabused me of this idea, but like any addiction there are times when my mind wants to follow those well-worn neural paths.

    p. 20: Okamura: "Shikantaza is zazen which is practiced without expecting any reward, even enlightenment." :arrow: 1-4: " . . . the primary attitude for self-improvement is the practice of shikantaza." =
    Zazen is not a self-improvement program, and the best way for self-improvement is zazen (shikantaza). :!: Brilliant :!:

    Gassho,
    Eika

  33. #33

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    Quote Originally Posted by Eika
    Zazen is not a self-improvement program, and the best way for self-improvement is zazen (shikantaza). :!: Brilliant :!:

    Gassho,
    Eika
    Ah, Bill, I see you have improved in your playing.

  34. #34
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    Hi all,

    Just some impressions:

    1-1 -- This one seems pretty clear to me in that even devout followers can cling to the symbols of their faith. I have seen many followers of a religion or a cause that have blinders on and lose much of themselves in advocating a particular view. As I work on my kesa, it is an object to be honored...but at the same time it is just an object...not sacred, not to show off. I'll wear it, I'll sit.

    1-2 -- Just like the objects of our practice, the methods are not to be clung to either. Yes, adhere to tradition and the lessons of teachers, but don't lose yourself along the way. Question: For Dogen it seems to have always come back to zazen above ritual, sutras, and other bells and whistles..but can we cling to zazen too?

    1-3 -- I read this one several times and I'm really not sure what the message is supposed to be. I do think it goes beyond the issue of eating meat, perhaps making the point that working with the goal of never breaking a precept merely causes the very suffering of which we are trying to make ourselves aware. Goalessness has a purpose, just not the one that's obvious. Or maybe Dogen was just saying a little extra protein was perhaps a good idea when we get sick.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dogen
    Many people in the world want to have a good reputation and to be appreciated not only by others but also by themselves. However they are not always well spoken of or praised. If you gradually abandon your ego-attachment and follow the sayings of your teacher, you will progress. If you argue back [pretending] to know the truth, but remain unable to give up certain things and continue to cling to your own preferences, you will sink lower and lower.
    1-4 -- The passage above really resonated with me since this is a trap I have often fallen into before. I also found it interesting that I came to Zen after a "failed" attempt at become a college professor, which is what my father does for a living. It took a long time to realize I had a different path. Not really what he's talking about here, but it sprang to mind.

    1-5 -- Does the phrase "jack of all trades, master of none" mean anything to you? That's been me...always knowing a little about a lot of things but not deciding on one path to follow. Choosing seems scary, but that fear has kept me frozen in place. Becoming a stay at home dad and learning about zen has helped...just not sure where I'm headed from here.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  35. #35

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    1-4
    To learn the practice and maintain the Way is to abandon ego-attachment 1 and to follow the instructions of the teacher. The essence of this is being free from greed.
    This resonates with me as I've found, time and time again, that working with generousity is an important practice for me.

    1-4 and 1-5 are alot about just doing what you know you should be doing.

  36. #36

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    1-3
    "In the assembly of Zen master Bussho 1, there was a monk who, when he was sick, wanted to eat meat 2. The master allowed him to do so. One night the master himself went to the infirmary and saw the sick monk eating meat in the dim lamplight. A demon was clinging to the monk’s head, eating the meat. Although the monk thought he was putting it into his own mouth, it was not him, but the demon who was eating. After that whenever a monk fell ill, the master allowed him to eat meat because he knew he was possessed by demons."

    Acceptance of the demon in us is essential. As a winter athlete, I sometimes eat meat.

  37. #37

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho
    Hi all,

    Just some impressions:

    1-1 -- This one seems pretty clear to me in that even devout followers can cling to the symbols of their faith. I have seen many followers of a religion or a cause that have blinders on and lose much of themselves in advocating a particular view. As I work on my kesa, it is an object to be honored...but at the same time it is just an object...not sacred, not to show off. I'll wear it, I'll sit.

    1-2 -- Just like the objects of our practice, the methods are not to be clung to either.
    Actually, Dogen would have certainly considered the Kesa sacred. Perhaps not to be "clung to" or to "show off", but certainly not just something to wear while sitting. Rev. T can tell you more about that than I, but here is something Dogen wrote ...

    "The kesa is the heart of Zen, the marrow of its bones."


    and

    The Kasaya (Kesa) ... has been handed down from Buddha to Buddha, patri*arch to patriarch, as the material evidence of having realized enlightenment,

    Funny thing about Dogen ... All ya need is Zazen, not ceremony, not anything else. Yet, says Dogen, when one engages in a ceremony, bows to a Buddha statue, wears the Kesa ... that too is "the only thing", and sacred.

    Gassho, J

  38. #38

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    1-3

    Dogen's saying "Think about it." or "Consider the question."


    Gassho

    W

  39. #39

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    1-1 The main point I took away from this was not to put form (relics) above emptiness (Shikantaza), and that if you do it can be as dangerous as a poisonous snake.

    1-2 Zen is highly moral, the morality is just different from a stereotypical Judeo-Christian understanding. I like this explanation because it clearly outlines Zen morality. "Although keeping them is good, we should not take them as the primary practice. I don’t mean to say, however, that you should break the precepts and become self-indulgent. Clinging to such an attitude is an evil view and not that of a Buddhist practitioner." The precepts are not hard and fast rules, but they are also fast and hard rules. Clinging to strictness (something I was really fond of when I started learning about Buddhism and sometimes still get distracted by) can be seriously detrimental, same as clinging to .

    1-3 This one may be a little out there for me to understand. I think I need some help with it. Demonic possession? Did Dogen allow meat eating in his sangha? I'm a vegetarian which I consider part of my Buddhist practice, but I'm well aware of the many different perspectives on this issue. I still feel like I'm missing something though. Is the point that there are many different perspectives?

    1-4 Dogen says relax. No one's born being a Buddha. Dogen says kick ass, because you are already a buddha and "primary attitude for self-improvement is the practice of shikantaza."

    1-5 "Knowing" is impossible. It is one thing to learn facts (man has walked on the moon) but it is another thing to KNOW this, to experience it yourself. There are so many things we can't "know" in this way. Also, "do not pretend to be a teacher or leader." Is it okay to actually be one, just don't ever pretend?

  40. #40
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo

    Actually, Dogen would have certainly considered the Kesa sacred. Perhaps not to be "clung to" or to "show off", but certainly not just something to wear while sitting. Rev. T can tell you more about that than I, but here is something Dogen wrote ...

    "The kesa is the heart of Zen, the marrow of its bones."


    and

    The Kasaya (Kesa) ... has been handed down from Buddha to Buddha, patri*arch to patriarch, as the material evidence of having realized enlightenment,

    Funny thing about Dogen ... All ya need is Zazen, not ceremony, not anything else. Yet, says Dogen, when one engages in a ceremony, bows to a Buddha statue, wears the Kesa ... that too is "the only thing", and sacred.

    Gassho, J
    Believe me, I think of my kesa (in progress) as sacred. I was actually referring to sacred in the "sacred cow" sense...something that is immune from criticism and cannot be done without. I imagine that if I didn't have my kesa and asked Dogen if should sit anyway, he wouldn't tell me I had to wait. The monks he referred to in the readings seemed to think those things were absolutely necessary or there was no point to sitting. And as a person who once thought it might not be proper to sit zazen if I couldn't be exactly still, that's a lesson that I needed! Maybe I'm the one missing the point...there is so much nuance to Dogen...probably why it is so relevant after hundreds of years.

  41. #41

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    Quote Originally Posted by em
    Concerning 1-1:

    Thinking of my own practice, I have found it useful to practice humility by bowing or showing respect. It can also be a way of letting go. It goes against my grain to bow to a statue but by doing it I can let go of the notion that it is a silly thing to do.

    All the best,
    em
    Greetings em,

    Your post, by comparison, reminds me that bowing is not about humility to me (but rather about gratitude, a sort of big thank you to all the persons who have have passed down and added to the Dharma). And until I read your post I never thought of it as bowing to a statue, but that is certainly the material reality of it ..... must think about this........

    gassho,
    rowan/jinho

  42. #42

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich
    1-2

    Number 1 precept: Sit morning and evening.
    Number 2 precept: Correct action moment to moment.
    THANK YOU RICH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! These are precepts, IN WRITING, that I desperately need. My only edit would be changing number 2 to "best action (I can figure out) moment to moment"

    gassho,
    rowan/jinho

  43. #43

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    Hi all,

    Regarding keeping the precepts, I believe what is referred to is different from the precepts we accept at Jukai (do not kill, do not steal, etc). The precepts I believe Dogen is referring to are much more complicated rules of monastic conduct.

    Regarding the meat-eating demons, frankly I would guess that this indicates that Dogen, like most people of his time and place, believed in the existence of demons. Also Hakuin, from his writings, absolutely believed in the existence of hell (as in where bad, unenlightened people go after they die). However, since I am not Dogen, I can only see if this has some usefulness in my life.

    As to clinging to my own egotistical views, having been insulted and dismissed by one too many Roshis, I will continue to look for the pearls and ignore the rest. Angie Boisvain Sensei (for Floating Zendo - great website with great talks on it) requests everyone listen to a short speech by her before listening to her other talks. In this speech she says that her teishos are only her understanding and exhorts people to not accept them uncritically but to measure the ideas against their own experience. I believe this is the only sane way to approach any teaching (or indeed anything).

    as always, thank you for your time,

    jinho

  44. #44

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    Quote Originally Posted by Jinho
    Regarding the meat-eating demons, frankly I would guess that this indicates that Dogen, like most people of his time and place, believed in the existence of demons. Also Hakuin, from his writings, absolutely believed in the existence of hell (as in where bad, unenlightened people go after they die). However, since I am not Dogen, I can only see if this has some usefulness in my life.
    Hi.

    Have you ever heard of gremlins in the engine?
    Or "the santa Claws" or "the eastern bunny" ( intentional misspelling)?
    We here in sweden says that a Mara is riding you when you're having nightmares.
    It doesn't have to be literal, although in a sense it is.
    But it is sometimes useful.

    As for the hell part,
    Hell ain't a bad place
    Hell is from here to eternity
    - Iron maiden

    Even Buddha used hell in his talks according to the texts.
    Was it meant to be literal?

    And to quote another master.
    Everything is useful.
    Nothing is as useful.
    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  45. #45

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    please excuse me for not reading what you all wrote... i have little time lately and the post are so numerous. i just cant keep up.

    i have not yet finished reading all the parts for this reading, but i will say this.

    in part 1-2 i totally agree with Dogen.
    people sometimes cling to written words and go by the book instead of just practicing it themselves. it is good to hold the precepts and to abide by them, but you should not recite them all the time. you just follow them and let life be, you stumble some times stand up dust yourself up and keep at it. you shouldnt let it be all you do. it should come naturally to you, it is something that evolves as you practice and sit zazen, and your zazen evolves and grows from the precepts... in the end its all the same... when you sit you observe all the precepts.


    Gassho, Dojin.

  46. #46

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    1-5

    after reading the last part i must agree again with Dogen. to put effort in to one thing instead of many is good... but to forget about it and just let it be, it is the way to practice. just sit, just walk, just practice, just be.

    Gassho, Daniel.

  47. #47

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    Sorry for the late post - I only noticed the thread this evening. I have the 'Soto Zen Primer' version of this but have never read much of it because it seemed so archaic and weird to me. I haven't said anything that hasn't come up already I think.

    1.1 Think I understand this one. It is good to have reverence and respect for our ancestors but we shouldn't put too much emphasis on rituals. Shikantaza is the most important practice for us. Funny how people often either slavishly follow rules at retreats while others find them very off-putting.

    !.2
    It seems that Dogen sought the middle-way, that is keeping the precepts without clinging to them, without expectation of some reward from observing them.
    Sums it up for me but I worry that I am far too self indulgent. wonder what Dogen would make of our Western lifestyle?

    1.3 I find this one difficult. The bit about being ' possessed by demons ' reminds me of similar strange teachings in Christianity. But I guess we have to remember that these teachings were written in a pre-scientific culture.

    1.4
    In order to depart from egocentric self, seeing impermanence is the primary necessity.
    Thinking about this....yes, I suppose that the ego does try to create a solid separate being for itself that can be seen through by meditating on impermanence.
    "If you..... cling to your own preferences, you will sink lower and lower. " 'The great way is easy if only you don't cling to preferences.'

    1.5 A good teaching for me. I read and dabble in so many subjects and disciplines instead of concentrating on trying to attain a deeper mastery of Zen.

    Gassho,
    Doshin

  48. #48

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    Quote Originally Posted by John
    Sorry for the late post - I only noticed the thread this evening. I have the 'Soto Zen Primer' version of this but have never read much of it because it seemed so archaic and weird to me. I
    Gassho,
    Doshin
    Maybe if you post the bits you think are weird, the rest of us can have a great time un-weirding them for you? Well, we'd certainly have fun, I don't know if you would.

    cheers,
    rowna/jinho

  49. #49

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    Well, it has come up already. I don't like supernatural stuff so when they begin to talk about spirits and demons I want to run a mile. But I suppose that that is the way things were explained in those days whereas nowadays we would have a psychological explanantion that will seem equally weird to people centuries from now,

    Gassho,
    John

  50. #50

    Re: 7/3 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-1 to 1-5

    On 1-1:
    When I bow before zazen, what is before me becomes worthy of reverence, whether it is my altar with statue, or a ragged dog toy on the floor. I try to give equal consideration no matter what it is. This helps me balance the (non)importance of material things.

    "...reverence of images and relics will certainly bring blessings to human and heavenly beings 7 equal to paying reverence to the living Buddha." -1-1
    If we consider all living beings as buddhas, then following this advice will surely add to the compassion in the world.

    On 1-2:
    This one reminds me of Christians fighting over whether one should be held strictly accountable to the Ten Commandments, or forgiven daily for being so despicable a sinner that its impossible to obey them. Dogen of course promotes moderation here (which I would have done well to heed a few weeks ago) that still applies today- this also follows 1-1 in not becoming atached to the Precepts as a way to enlightenment- they can be considered a relic in the right light.

    On 1-3:
    superstition is timeless.
    demons with fingers in my hair
    are still my demons-
    time to shave my head.

    On 1-4:
    Freedom from greed, departing from the egocentric self, seeing impermanence... these are three layers which have varying thicknesses in people and times. The layers don't change, therefore the tasks of teacher and student don't change- just the time and energy spent on each layer.

    On 1-5:
    It is more possible today to gain wide knowledge and study extensively, by a very wide margin. I put a good deal of energy into it myself. I have yet to regret the time spent, but I'm open to the possibility. The very act of sitting zazen is a refutation of the manic pursuit of more, and I'm rather enjoying it.

    gassho
    tobiishi

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