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Thread: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

  1. #1

    7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    Hello Zuimonki Fans,

    Continuing our readings in Master Dogen's SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI ...

    1-6 is rather long, and tangled, but a good look at how Koans are used in Soto Zen (don't let anyone tell you that we don't like our Koans in Soto Zen as much as them Rinzai Zen folks do ... just not as an object of concentration during seated Zazen, is all). 8)

    The first Koan discussed (Hyakujo's Fox) is about a priest who once taught that a person of great realization would not be subject to Karma and Rebirth ... and promptly was reborn as a fox for saying so (something I may suffer, as just today I wrote something critical of Karma and Rebirth ... oh well, I may be in trouble! :| ) ....

    viewtopic.php?p=25396#p25396

    One scholar explains Dogen's comments this way ...

    "Causation" in this passage refers to "moral causation." The Buddhist concept of karma acknowledges that [volitional] good/bad deeds, thoughts, and so forth result in good/bad effects. Thus the import of the question posed by the "fox" is whether or not the enlightened person is subject to karma. Hyakuj?'s answer, in effect, affirms that the enlightened person is subject to moral causation. ...

    D?gen's employment of this story in the "Daishugy?" chapter of the Sh?b?genz? implies that, on one level, he thinks Hyakuj?'s answer indeed provides a "remedy" for the old man's predicament. Yet D?gen was rarely content with merely citing traditional Zen interpretations of passages; typically, he sought to push his students to a further understanding by a creative reinterpretation of a passage. Lest his disciple therefore think this not-ignoring/recognition of causation is de facto a release from it in an ultimate sense, D?gen answers that the passage means "cause and effect are immovable." In other words, moral causation, for D?gen, is an inexorable fact of human existence.

    Given this fact, Ej? then asks how we can ever "escape" moral causation. D?gen's response is enigmatic: "Cause and effect arise at the same time." Nowhere in the Sh?b?genz? Zuimonki does he further clarify this passage. However, the key to understanding this statement can be gleaned from his discussion of causation in the "Shoakumakusa" chapter of the Sh?b?genz?, wherein he observes that "cause is not before and effect is not after." As Hee-Jin Kim explains, D?gen saw cause and effect as absolutely discontinuous moments that, in any given action, arise simultaneously from "thusness." Therefore,

    ... no sooner does one choose and act according to a particular course of action than are the results thereof (heavens, hells, or otherwise) realized in it .... Man lives in the midst of causation from which he cannot escape even for a moment; nevertheless, he can live from moment to moment in such a way that these moments are the fulfilled moments of moral and spiritual freedom and purity in thusness.

    http://ccbs.ntu.edu.tw/FULLTEXT/JR-PHIL/douglas.htm
    The other major Koan discussed is "Nanzen Kills the Cat", about a monk who intentionally kills a cat (albeit for teaching purposes perhaps) ... still, a clear "no no" in light of the Precept on Preserving Life, and surely an action with Karmic effects. Thus, this is also an example of "Karmic Paradox"

    Scholars debate about what Dogen meant in many of his comments on these Koans, and we might discuss some of that. However, I might suggest that you merely take the subject of the section as the moral dilemma we sometimes face in our actions, and the effects we must bear (or, perhaps, just skim it and move on to something we can get our teeth in more).

    If you would like to listen to a recorded talk by Norman Fischer on the Fox Koan ... available here ...

    http://www.everydayzen.org/index.php?It ... dio-191-66

    The other sections for this week's reading ... 1-7 through 1-10 ... are more straight-forward, pithy comments on human behavior and how we should act toward each other.

    So far, I think our "experiment" in bringing these passages into our lives is going very well.

    Gassho, Jundo

  2. #2

    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    Hi.

    1-6

    Very important point in this one is that of "wording".
    It is vital to understand what is meant.

    Another point is that it is not always good to read translations...
    For example the difference between "saying that the students had already spoken" and "saying that the students had spoken".
    different?

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  3. #3

    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    1-6

    The Nansen Koan:

    This is the middle way and not the middle way. Reality presents itself moment to moment and has no view of right or wrong. There is only "this" or the "action of cutting the cat". If we hold strongly that cutting the cat is wrong, then that is not it. If we hold strongly it is right, then that is not it either. That is Buddha Nature or emptiness. Holding any view of it misses the point. So Joshu put his sandal on his head. Joshu did a "non action".

    So, if there is no right or wrong, then how do we do good? That's the question. Well, it's pretty obvious. That's what the precepts are there for.

    So instead of choosing to cut the cat, we release it. Because the Dharma has no right or wrong, we can choose to do nothing, or do something. It's not always black or white. In a more modern context we can relate this to Hitler: Would you kill him, hug him, or do nothing? There is no "right" answer.

    So, we have the general precepts and manifest compassion.

    Gassho _/_

    W

  4. #4

    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    Hi Will,

    This is so ... from one view.

    But almost all the Buddhist and Zen teachers I can think of ... including Dogen (including me too, for what it is worth) ... would say that we must also bear all the Karmic consequences of our volitional words, thoughts and acts.

    You may kill the cat, but you still likely have to pay the price in some way.

    This came up in more detail when we discussed the Precept on Killing in preparation for our last Jukai (and we will discuss it more when we prepare for our next Jukai shortly).

    A Tibetan teacher (Chagdud Tulku) relates this famous Jataka legend about a previous incarnation of the Buddha ...

    (In a previous life, the Buddha was Captain Compassionate Heart, sailing with 500 merchants. An evil pirate, Dung Thungchen (Blackspear) appeared, threatening to kill them all. )The captain, a bodhisattva himself, saw the [pirate]'s murderous intention and realized this crime would result in eons of torment for the murderer. In his compassion, the captain was willing to take hellish torment upon himself by killing the man to prevent karmic suffering that would be infinity greater than the suffering of the murdered victims. The captain's compassion was impartial; his motivation was utterly selfless.
    I am not sure about the effect of our Karma in lives to come ... but I do know that we likely will bear the effects of our actions in this life in some way. I have a friend, an ex-policeman, who had to kill someone in a perfectly necessary and justified act to save lives. Yet, my friend still carries that with him to this day.

    Gassho, Jundo

  5. #5

    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    1-6
    "An ancient master said, ‘When the great-function manifests itself, no fixed rules exist.’”

    Sometimes I push people a little so that they realize their mistake. But I would not kill the cat. I would kill Blackspear. Whether I plan my action or just act there are effects to be accepted. How is it that I can't recite the precepts but know right and wrong much of the time? The line 'Everything I do, I do it for you' comes to mind.

  6. #6
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    1-6
    Dogen said, “Buddha’s action and the criminal action are separate, yet they both occur in one action.”

    "not two". Sounds familiar

  7. #7

    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    1-6

    "Once a person who has committed one of the seven grave crimes is allowed to repent, he is also permitted to receive the precepts. The teacher should allow a person who has repented to receive the precepts, even one who has committed the seven-grave-crimes. Even if the teacher himself violates the precepts by doing so, as a bodhisattva, for the sake of saving that person, he has to allow him to receive them.”
    Nansen killed the cat, thus violating the precepts for the sake of his students. Joshu would have saved the cat, even if it meant his own head, for the sake of Nansen. Nansen did not kill the cat to kill a cat. He killed the cat for the monks, Joshu would have saved the cat for Nansen. Nansen sacrificed, Joshu would have. A bodhisattva action on both their parts? I don't know, can't quite wrap my head around it but it seems the whole deal was a catch 22 situation.

    As for Hakuin's Fox, this goes to show that even an enlightened teacher is not free from cause and effect- in other words, the karma train keeps on chugging and no one gets off at the platform. This one seems easier to wrap my head around.

  8. #8

    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    1-6

    Karma or cause and effect seems to be one and the same....happening instantly. You might not recognize them or they might not materialize in a physical manner right away. Just because you don't see them doesn't mean they are not happening instantly. Compassion can get lost when we think of things as wrong or right. Sometimes the compassionate actions can appear "wrong"?

    Regarding the precepts, once one is aware of the them and the Buddha Way one can not claim ignorance or act that way with out knowing that one has deviated from the precepts. Are the precepts there to help one from going crazy trying to rationalize and reason ones actions as to whether they are compassionate or not? Would we get anything done if we had to figure it out every time? Maybe the precepts allow us to have a sort of reference card?

    Gassho,
    Dave

  9. #9

    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    Quote Originally Posted by Jen
    I don't know, can't quite wrap my head around it but it seems the whole deal was a catch 22 situation.
    Koans are chock full of those.

  10. #10

    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    Hi all,

    First, while it is possible to discuss koans as specific ethical situations, koans were not intended as questions of ethical conduct, they were/are explicitly questions of expressing enlightenment understanding. If one views them literally, then you lose the koan. "does a dog have buddha nature or not" (my preferred rendition since it makes it clear that Chao Chou's "no" is not saying "a dog does not have buddha nature") is not about the relative, or even intrinsic, worth of a canine.

    Nanzen and the cat is about being put on the spot to demonstrate enlightenment in a single word/gesture. By the way, Chao Chou's (Joshu's) answer has a couple of references specific to the culture of medieval China. Covering one's head and going barefoot are explicit gestures of mourning. Nanzen is explicitly challenging his students to say one word of enlightenment. So the question is not "how was Nanzen's action ethical or unethical", the question is how can you demonstrate enlightenment in that situation.

    But my own unenlightened answers are:

    - quickly wrap myself around the cat so Nanzen has to kill me to get to the cat.
    - even faster crouch down in front of Nanzen and meow
    - (This I have to explain a bit - I think it is significant that the front of this story is that the monks had divided themselves into two groups which were fighting over who owned this cat. THEN Nanzen steps in and challenges the monks. This part of the story would have been familiar to everyone so Dogen didn't bother to state it) - I would have yelled "Nanzen, YOU keep the cat!"
    - since disrupting the harmony of the community is a grave offence, perhaps some large gesture of repentance might do something?
    However, none of the above saves the cat. But again, it isn't about cats.

    In Hyakujo and the fox, it is quite clear, although I think it is more explicit in the version in Zen Flesh, Zen Bones in which Hyakujo's answer to the fox/monk is given as "the enlightened person is one with the law of cause and effect" (emphasis mine). I have never been able to figure out why this is a koan since the answer is right there. I must reread Mumon's conmentary........

    These two koans are related, in my mind, with all the times in the Shobogenzo when Dogen said "do you understand XYZ, if not, you better find out". One example is "can you see the mountains walking?" in the Montains and Rivers chapter.

    gassho,
    rowan

  11. #11

    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    More from the loquacious one on 1-6
    Mumon's commentary on Hyakujo's fox:

    "The enlightened man is not subject" how can this answer make the monk a fox?
    "The enlightened man is one with the law of causation" How could this answer make the fox emancipated?
    To understand this clearly one has to have just one eye.
    Controlled or note controlled?
    The same dice shows two faces.
    Not controlled or controlled,
    Both are a grievous error.

    (Damn, I just came up with an answer not great but not bad.......useful.......)

    Note for those new to classical koans, there are many which are "either/or" setups where you have to throw out both alternatives, then see "what is left".

    Also, there are many instances in koan stories where someone experiences enlightenment upon hearing a sound, a word, hit a toe on a rock, some other sharp experience. However, what is not explicitly stated in the story but understood by all monks, this experience comes after years of wrestling with the question of what is enlightenment.

    gassho,
    jinho

  12. #12

    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    Again - 1-6

    I think the question of receiving the precepts, and in general the dialogue about precepts is one where Ejo is expressing the legalist/literalist mentality and Dogen is talking of the more important intrinsic principle.

    Also, I wnat to state that I believe the usual punishment/reward interpretation of "cause and effect" is both incorrect and unethical. I do believe in the interconnection of all phenomena, but not in a human-centered reward/punishment way.

    Moving on to 1-7
    Here Dogen is support explicitly unethical behavior (verbal and physical violence). However, I assume this was the norm so he is trying to give a "for your own good" spin on it. However this tradition continues to this day, unfortunately. (Not here of course.....Jundo stay calm.....)

    1-10 - I have a different answer to Dogen, most times I find that if I can just ask someone questions to better understand their view, both they and I will understand everything better. But this is only a question of timing and technique.

    gassho,
    jinho
    who is working on her first koan "All things return to the one, where does the one return to?"

  13. #13

    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    Quote Originally Posted by Jinho

    Moving on to 1-7
    Here Dogen is support explicitly unethical behavior (verbal and physical violence). However, I assume this was the norm so he is trying to give a "for your own good" spin on it. However this tradition continues to this day, unfortunately. (Not here of course.....Jundo stay calm.....)
    Ummm, I have my moments too. :twisted:

    As we discussed on a recent thread regarding training even today at Eiheiji Head Training Temple in Japan ... a lot of that slapping and such was peculiar to the atmosphere of past centuries, the attitude of the culture. Do not be so quick to judge that from the "we don't spank the baby anymore" modern childrearing perspective.

    Eiheiji and the like are more like bootcamp than a child's daycamp.

    So, I do not say it is necessary, and I certainly say it need not be part of Zen practice. Personally, I do not think it a positive aspect of Zen practice, and can easily tumble over to being "hazing" and abusive. However, don't be so quick to make cultural judgments, or forget the very "macho" atmosphere of a men's training temple in Japan (the women have their own training temples ... I am not sure how much of that goes on there). We are dealing with 13th Century Samurai Japan ... not modern Connecticut suburbs.

    Gassho, Jundo

  14. #14

    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Quote Originally Posted by Jinho

    Moving on to 1-7
    Here Dogen is support explicitly unethical behavior (verbal and physical violence). However, I assume this was the norm so he is trying to give a "for your own good" spin on it. However this tradition continues to this day, unfortunately. (Not here of course.....Jundo stay calm.....)
    So, I do not say it is necessary, and I certainly say it need not be part of Zen practice. Personally, I do not think it a positive aspect of Zen practice, and can easily tumble over to being "hazing" and abusive. However, don't be so quick to make cultural judgments, or forget the very "macho" atmosphere of a men's training temple in Japan (the women have their own training temples ... I am not sure how much of that goes on there). We are dealing with 13th Century Samurai Japan ... not modern Connecticut suburbs.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Um, Jundo, that is what I said, it was how things were at the time. Maybe, or maybe not. But in studying the text, you encouraged us to talk about how it relates to us now. So I opened with the obvious. Beating people is not a cultural perogative. Dogen wrote some lovely stuff, but nobody is perfect. If you make excuses for the shit, it just covers everything in it.

    jinho

  15. #15

    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    Hi.

    1-7

    Even though you may be an abbot or senior priest, it is wrong to govern the community and abuse the monks as if they were your personal belongings. Further, if you are not in such a position, you should not point out others’ faults or speak ill of them.
    One for the road...

    When you see someone’s faults and think they are wrong and wish to instruct them with compassion, you must find a skillful means to avoid arousing their anger, and do so as if you were talking about something else.
    This is very important.
    to put it in Paulo Coelho's words
    When you stand in front of god, the only thing he will be interested in is "did you love?"
    .

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  16. #16

    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    Rowan said:
    "Nanzen and the cat is about being put on the spot to demonstrate enlightenment in a single word/gesture. By the way, Chao Chou's (Joshu's) answer has a couple of references specific to the culture of medieval China. Covering one's head and going barefoot are explicit gestures of mourning. Nanzen is explicitly challenging his students to say one word of enlightenment. So the question is not "how was Nanzen's action ethical or unethical", the question is how can you demonstrate enlightenment in that situation."

    Thank you for explaining that. The problem is that I just don't know if I can demonstrate enlightenment in a similar situation but it would be a concrete action like grabbing the cat and leaving the monastery. Me and the cat would then just sit together

  17. #17

    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich
    Rowan said:

    Thank you for explaining that. The problem is that I just don't know if I can demonstrate enlightenment in a similar situation but it would be a concrete action like grabbing the cat and leaving the monastery. Me and the cat would then just sit together
    Me and my cat always sit together. She supervises all my actions but especially when I am sitting still. From her perspective, we are waiting together for the mousies............


    rowan

  18. #18

    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    Quote Originally Posted by Jinho
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich
    Rowan said:

    Thank you for explaining that. The problem is that I just don't know if I can demonstrate enlightenment in a similar situation but it would be a concrete action like grabbing the cat and leaving the monastery. Me and the cat would then just sit together
    Me and my cat always sit together. She supervises all my actions but especially when I am sitting still. From her perspective, we are waiting together for the mousies............


    rowan
    So does a cat have Buddha nature or not?


    1-7
    "When my late master Nyojo 3 was the abbot of Tendo Monastery, while the monks were sitting zazen in the sodo (monks hall) 4, he slapped them with his slipper or scolded them with harsh words in order to keep them awake. Yet each of them was thankful to be hit and highly respected him."

    If Nyojo only had a coffee maker the whole history of zen would have been so different But seriously, sleepy zen is sometimes a problem and a good smack in a soft place is not so bad.


    "When you see someone’s faults and think they are wrong and wish to instruct them with compassion, you must find a skillful means to avoid arousing their anger, and do so as if you were talking about something else."

    This is good advice and I need to practice this.

  19. #19

    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    Rowan
    Covering one's head and going barefoot are explicit gestures of mourning.
    Interesting.

    Gassho

  20. #20
    Senior Member Kent's Avatar
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    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    Jinho wrote:
    Moving on to 1-7
    Here Dogen is support explicitly unethical behavior (verbal and physical violence). However, I assume this was the norm so he is trying to give a "for your own good" spin on it. However this tradition continues to this day, unfortunately. (Not here of course.....Jundo stay calm.....)I have on several occasions, while sitting, thought a good "whack" might be just what I need to settle my "monkey mind". Having gone through a military boot camp, sometime one's attention needs "adjusting". :shock:

  21. #21

    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    Quote Originally Posted by Kent
    I have on several occasions, while sitting, thought a good "whack" might be just what I need to settle my "monkey mind". Having gone through a military boot camp, sometime one's attention needs "adjusting". :shock:
    Now if you were sitting at a Kwan Um zen center or a white plum zen center or (I am guessing at this) a rinzai zen center, you could put your hands up in gassho and the kiyosaku person would give you a couple good whacks to get the blood flowing in those upper back muscles.........

    But seriously, it is a question of consensual violence. And from the stories, back then (or even now) this is not the case. I just can't understand why they never tried being eloquent with kindness. But there are stories where the roshi is not hitting someone....really...... There is a great one in Zen Comics (zen stories done as 4-panel comics).

    Roshi says to student - "Is the two one? If you say yes I will hit you, if you say no I will hit you. Why?"
    Student - "Because you're crazy and I'm crazy to be here".

    cheers,
    jinho

  22. #22

    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    1-7:

    When you see someone’s faults and think they are wrong and wish to instruct them with compassion, you must find a skillful means to avoid arousing their anger, and do so as if you were talking about something else.
    So this is what I basically take out of this chapter as some concrete inspiration for my "off cushion"-practice.
    It's interesting to see the discussion on "harsher" methods of learning. It's definitely a thin line to walk. But given that it comes from true compassion and understanding those methods may be quite effective and righteous, even though they may be cruel at a first glance.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Kent's Avatar
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    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    Jinho wrote

    Roshi says to student - "Is the two one? If you say yes I will hit you, if you say no I will hit you. Why?"
    Student - "Because you're crazy and I'm crazy to be here".
    Thanks Jinho

  24. #24
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    Dear all,

    Very hot here... Nice!

    For almost twenty years I received the stick and gave the stick. It very much suited my youthful enthusiasm and taste for intensive training and retreats. Now The tiger grew into a cat, and old age is creeping, he cannot be bothered. And Kent, a good whack does not settle down the monkey mind... the monkey mind is settled once embraced into as-it-isness, once given the vast expanse of reality as a playground.
    And to answer a previous question of Jinho, yes I am available for dokusan on skype. If you do have a valid reason to chat, and cut cats of course.


    gassho


    Taigu

  25. #25

    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    1-7
    You do not ever scold, slap, beat, what have you to assuage your own anger. It is much like a parent punishing a child. We do not punish the child because we are angry (at least we try not to :wink: ), we punish the child in order for the child to learn.

    While times past were harsher, the message is the same regardless if the stick is a stick or the stick is words. Use them skillfully, never selfishly.

  26. #26

    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    Quote Originally Posted by will
    Rowan
    Covering one's head and going barefoot are explicit gestures of mourning.
    Interesting.

    Gassho

    Well, Chao Chou returned and someone died. But of course there may be something/someone else he might be mourning for.........

    rowan/jinho

  27. #27

    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    Dear all,

    Very hot here... Nice!

    the monkey mind is settled once embraced into as-it-isness, once given the vast expanse of reality as a playground.
    And to answer a previous question of Jinho, yes I am available for dokusan on skype. If you do have a valid reason to chat, and cut cats of course.
    gassho
    Taigu
    Thank you for the as-it-isness, very good to hear this at this moment.

    So what is with this "valid"? Did you think I would call to chat about croissant? Mon Dieu! Anyway, enough teasing. So I guess I should email you to see if my reason to talk is valid? But perhaps I am not so busy as you, I never ask if people have a "valid" reason to talk to me, I just try to help them.

    r/j

  28. #28
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    Dear Jinho,

    valid has nothing to do with me but with people. The thing is that I teach 44 hours a week and spend a rough 4 hours a day in trains...Just figure out what it means.

    I never ask if people have a "valid" reason to talk to me, I just try to help them
    .

    Very good, Jinho. I do ask people to ask themselves. Once you question the person behind the question, most questions disappear.

    Gassho


    Taigu

  29. #29

    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    1-8
    "These were admirable words. He was able to govern the country because of such an attitude. Students of the Way today should have the same attitude. You should not scold others if you are not in the position to do so."

    This is about knowing your correct situation or position and acting accordingly. Everything in the Universe has a relationship. From a clear, quiet, silence comes correct action. This is a great time of the year to go outside and sit in a comfortable chair.

  30. #30

    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    1-8:
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich
    This is about knowing your correct situation or position and acting accordingly.
    I am with Rich here. Know your place, see the situation as it is and act accordingly to the moment.
    Easy put to words, very hard to live up to.

  31. #31

    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    1.6 I have pondered this Hyakujo's Fox koan before - still not sure if I understand it, but I am also realising there is no one correct response to a koan.

    As the old man had to realise, enlightened or not karma binds us all, albeit in a complex way. I like Cleary's remarks on this koan in the Mumonkan that
    'Zen practice does not exempt us from what is actually happening; it frees us to see what is really happening. What Zen frees us from is the compulsive need to assure ourselves that the world is as we have learned to assume it is. Zen frees us from the mesmerism of wishful and fearful thinking.
    Fischer remarks that there is no precise doctrine of karma and also on Dogen's deep faith in causality. He also says that zazen generates positive karma.

    Re: Nansen's cat: In another talk Fischer says it could also be noticed that the monks had different views about the cat because they were divided by their tasks in the monastery, perhaps meditation monks and others who performed more functional work. And as Fischer also commented: when a sword appears in a koan it usually refers to Manjushri's sword that cuts through delusion - in this case cutting through that which divided the monks and restoring oneness.
    http://foxyurl.com/oFs

    Gassho,
    John

  32. #32

    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    1-7

    I agree with the idea mentioned about how slapping or hitting with sticks could be interchangeably with words or non-violent actions. You must be careful and mindful about how to talk to people, let alone teach or correct them. I work in a college instructing students in Theater which requires a lot of hands on interaction. Sometimes its very easy to get frustrated with a student regarding a task, especially if its a safety issue. Still.....I can't lash out at them even verbally since it doesn't facilitate teaching but.....to be stern most certainly is something I have to use. It allows me to get my message across without seeming angry or disappointed with them.

    1-8

    You shouldn't scold or restrain somebody if its not your place. The moral question comes to mind for me. If you are listening to your supervisor or authoritative figure and what they say might cause pain and suffering in a literal sense...do you revert to 1-7 to see about other possible actions? Seems like this one could be twisted and used to excuse apathy or indifference.

  33. #33

    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    1-9
    "Once you have entered the Buddha-Way 2 , you should practice the various activities just for the sake of the buddha-dharma 3 . Do not think of gaining something in return. All teachings, Buddhist or non-Buddhist, exhort us to be free from the expectation of gaining a reward."

    If General Rochuren were alive today he may have accepted the gold and silver to pay for water, electric, gas, oil, property tax, sales tax, state income tax, federal income tax, phone, internet, TV, mortgage or rent, food, clothing and on and on. The point is that it is the expectation of gain and not the actual gain that is the problem. Just try to make a living. Success comes naturally when others benefit from your efforts. Kind of like the 'help others', 'save all beings' sayings, I think.

  34. #34

    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    1.7 It's about using skillful means isn't it? The intention of the master is so important. If the intention is good, if it is ONLY to arouse, motivate and instruct, then strong teaching methods may be permissible. But, again, maybe not in a modern culture where physical punishment is not pemissible. It's not so long ago that it was - I was slapped with a bamboo cane quite often at primary school.

    1.8 A mixed message to me. On the one hand it is good not to be too eager to use force against others. But it could also be interpreted as 'passing the buck' - avoiding your own responsibilities. It also occurs to me that Dogen thinks that the hierarchical status in the monastery is important and is keen to preserve it. Perhaps this is good in one way, in that order is more easily maintained, but there are other dangers in rigid hierarchies, though we humans seem to love them.

    1.9 Well, I suppose, if everyone would " carry out their tasks solely for the sake of fulfilling their roles " the above problems would not occur, hopefully.

    1.10 I like this - a kind of middle way in argumentation. I so love to win arguments - it boosts the ego - but that is what I am also trying to diminish. I suppose giving in too easily only boosts the ego of another.

    Gassho,
    Doshin

  35. #35
    Senior Member Kent's Avatar
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    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    Taigu wrote.


    Kent, a good whack does not settle down the monkey mind...the monkey mind is settled down once embraced into as-it-isness, once given the vast expanse of reality as a playground.
    Yes Taigu, as-it-isness, workin' on it as we speak. Thank you. Gassho Kent

  36. #36
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    Hi all,

    I have found myself waiting to comment until the last minute these last couple weeks and I suppose it's because I'm not really sure what to say. Actually, it's probably based in a fear of sounding stupid or being completely wrong about something. A foolish idea to be sure as there is nothing wrong with being wrong! Right?

    1 - 6: I did find this section very hard to grasp, but after listening to ZNF's talk I know not to take things so literally. It is from a different era with different meanings associated to various words and Dogen is often trying not to get pinned down to a particular conception anyway. Contradiction abounds! I have thought for awhile now that much of the reason for the ambiguity is to avoid doctrinal debates that occur so often in theistic religions. So, when a contradiction comes up in Zen it's no big deal...at least no one is likely to be crucified!

    1 - 7: When I have read passages in various zen texts about hitting, slapping, and even killing the cat I have cringed and let my fear of being wrong take the best of me. I think, "I would have gotten whacked a lot!" However, there does seem to be an effort to remove any thoughts of malice from the monks when performing these actions and hatred or dislike is usually what I assume when being corrected...not always so!

    1 - 8:

    You should not scold others if you are not in a position to do so.
    I think this is where some of our discussions in the forum go astray and feelings are hurt...when we act as teachers and not equals. In most cases I think it is intended as the latter, but can be taken as the first. Yes, to become upset is of our own making, but clearly Doegn is giving much thought to the learner here and taking care as not to be misunderstood.

    1 - 9: I think this is to remind us that when we do something it should never be for reward, praise, or respect...we do things because in that moment it is the thing to do. There are too many choices for there to be a "right" choice, so leave that aside. To allow external reasoning come in is of little use, it just is. In his talk ZNF speaks about how we are a new person in every moment, so to feel guilty is irrelevant because we are not the same person. However, he also stressed that we are still responsiblea and all karmic consequences are intact. So, if we do not seek reward we may in fact find it...but if we seek it we shall never encounter it.

    1 - 10: This one spoke to me the most and actually came into play for me just yesterday. My wife and I have been having a long standing "cold war" with her parents. For a long time I tried to use logic, thinking that eventually we would come to understand each other even if we did not agree. However, I saw in a flash yesterday that my mother in law had no conception of the disagreement and that I could use all the rational arguments I could come up with in a lifetime and it would change nothing. For a long time I would get very angry, but this time I just accepted the reality of that moment and moved on. That may not be anything like what Dogen is referring to here, but it definitely gave me peace I had previously found out of reach and unfathomable.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  37. #37

    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho
    I have found myself waiting to comment until the last minute these last couple weeks and I suppose it's because I'm not really sure what to say. Actually, it's probably based in a fear of sounding stupid or being completely wrong about something. A foolish idea to be sure as there is nothing wrong with being wrong! Right?
    Dosho,
    I feel the same much of the time. ops: Other than the precept study I have avoided the book club and preferred to read quietly in the background. I told myself I wasn't going to do that this time and so far have been glad I have. My foolish ideas are often the hardest to get rid of!


    The remainder of this week's reading:

    1-8
    Quote Originally Posted by John
    1.8 A mixed message to me. On the one hand it is good not to be too eager to use force against others. But it could also be interpreted as 'passing the buck' - avoiding your own responsibilities. It also occurs to me that Dogen thinks that the hierarchical status in the monastery is important and is keen to preserve it. Perhaps this is good in one way, in that order is more easily maintained, but there are other dangers in rigid hierarchies, though we humans seem to love them.
    This pretty much sums up my impressions on this one.

    1-9
    This one struck a chord. When I sit, I am not sitting to attain the big 'E', get to nirvana, or any of that jazz. I am just sitting. Goes for everything. I wash the dishes to wash the dishes, not impress my husband with my mad dishwashing skills or what not.

    1-10
    Many arguments are petty anyway, the only importance they hold over us is the urge to win the argument or best the other in a debate. Half the time the point being argued isn't even important to the arguer, and least not as much as being right is. Don't become a door mat and let the other guy (or gal) always win by forfeit, just walk away, or talk about something that you both find pleasant. It's the price of harmony, both within and without.

    Gassho,
    Joshin

  38. #38

    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    1-9: Another pretty concrete one. Do it for the sake of doing it. That's the only way. No expectations, goals, rewards or whatever.

  39. #39

    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    1-6

    Among other things, I read this as saying that there are many ways to be enlightened but some ways can be ambiguous and break the precepts, better chose a path that does not.

    The reference to the cat could be read as saying that you can look for a third way, in a sense letting go of the presented options or the presented reality

    1-7

    In this a read that the instructor must take care not to abuse her or his position and pedagogical imperative but must seek skillful means of instructing and/or correcting which create minimal pain or hurt, socially and emotionally. one example could be reprimanding or discussing someone in private rather than in public. this of course also translates to the every day relationships of our lives.

    1-8

    This was tricky. Know your place? (skillfully and not blindly I would hope) More than that I take it to mean socially-causually rather than in an institutional or hierarchical sense. A sort of reformulation of skillful speech/action/view. Only say/do those things that are skillful in a context/social relationship.

    1-9

    Just do what you ought to be doing/just follow the eightfold path, Don't run after rewards/external goals (like enlightenment, money, recognition) - instead drop it. The act/path is in itself sufficient.

    1-10

    I read this as not arguing for the sake of being right. That, however, must be related to the eightfold path and the bodhisattva vows. Though, you might want to consider that there are options other than arguing to (help) change someones mind.

  40. #40

    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    1-10: I think the important part here is that one speaks rational, the other one unreasonable. So there will never be the point, where both points meet, but in fact there will just be a lot of hot tempered talk in the end. So basically just leave it as it is instead of making the situation even worse by arguing even more.

  41. #41

    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    On 1-6:
    Dogen and Ejo's conversation here is one big koan, which says to me: karma is entangled. One cannot see it as a line of cause/effect/cause/effect points in linear simplicity. Karma spreads, gets its fingers in everyone and everything. In the same way, killing the cat is not a straight line with a definite outcome (bad karma) but an entangled action with good & bad together. All of life is like this, with most actions leaning to good or bad, and some remaining ambiguous.

    “Cause and effect are self-evident and occur simultaneously,” - very simple words, but the concept is vital to understanding the nature of reality, imho.

    On 1-7 thru 1-10:
    Everything I ever needed to know I learned in kindergarden.

    In our sangha, the boundaries are blurry and move often.

    gassho,
    tobiishi

  42. #42

    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    1-6
    Still wrapping my mind about this one.

    1-7
    Having children, this one strikes a chord for me. Scolding a child with harsh words cut away at the very fabric that holds a family together. However, instruction, guidance, and discipline place a role in strengthen not only the child, but the very fabric that holds a family together. This ties in very well with Right-Speech of the eight-fold path.

    1-9
    Touched on very quickly, but this is very important. It takes into account that we should not pursue Buddhism as a means of gaining something or feeding the ego. This only serves the purpose of attachment and is counter-productive. However, it is a constant fight for many that can easily be slipped into (especially when one becomes complacent in their practice) and thus it is important to discuss it openly and without hesitation.

    1-10
    I have a counselor whose method for successfully ending a heated or empassioned argument required one to repeat the others statements with empathy. This would show that not only were you listening to their argument and trying to understand, but that you were trying to view it from the other arguers viewpoint. Eventually the argument could be mutually dissolved.

  43. #43

    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    Jundo Sensei:

    1-6, in buddlism, we need to keep our mind on middleway and mindfulness, for me anytime when i decide or make a choice, i will think of what is my choice i will reduce the cause and effect of anything. it may take long time to decide, but i dont want more damage i will make.

    1-7, we always talk nice is not because we want to, sometime i think is because sangha should keep speak and thought attitude on balance, we need to control our emotion to face on everything. even talking, argue sometime is not wisely to solve problem. respecting is always work clam yourself or others.

    1-8, here is that a right place and right position to do the right things.
    1-9, sometime we zazen is not only to reward something, but we do what we should do after we choice our path to believe buddha.



    gassho Tony yeung

  44. #44

    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    Hello all,

    Nice discussion of 1-7. This one I have been thinking over quite a bit and I believe that the methods depend upon context and the situation. As a teacher, I have rarely my voice and only use threats in extreme situations (i.e., plagiarism). As a parent, I have perhaps raised my voice a bit more, and have relied more on reward (e.g., praise) than punishment, which is never physical. I might add that during sleepy zazen sessions I would welcome a couple of good whacks across the back!

    Gassho,
    BrianW

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