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Thread: 9/11 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 2-23 to 3-1

  1. #1

    9/11 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 2-23 to 3-1

    Our passages of Shobogenzo-Zuimonki this week are 2-23 and 3-1.

    One thing to keep in mind in reading this stuff is that 'Old Hard-butt' Dogen ... like many a good football coach ... was prone to a bit of exaggerated speech. In reality ... in a monastery or anywhere ... people are people, human beings.

    They try their best, most are very diligent ... but they sometimes trip up, are weak, make a mistake ... forget something, fall asleep during practice, are late for work.

    I am sure that Dogen ran a very tight ship (his Eihei-ji monastery is still a very tight ship, marine boot camp). But nobody is like that all the time, even if the most diligent worker or monk.

    So, again, when Dogen talks about "people throwing themselves in the river" or "beating people so they don't fall asleep" ... remember that it is a talk, a marine boot camp drill instructor to the recruits. That is not the only way to practice, nor even the best way of practice over a lifetime (maybe for short intensive periods it is good).

    Thus, for example, when it says folks went to bed at "eleven o’clock at night and got up at about half-past two to sit zazen" ... I very much doubt they did that every day. Maybe at special retreats, and even so, it is unusual in the Zen world. At Antaiji, Homeless Kodo's old temple, for example, "lights out" is about 9pm and they get up about 3:30 am during intense Sesshin (a bit looser on normal practice days). That is pretty much typical (and Zazen can substitute for a little lost sleep physiologically). However, I do not believe that intense sleep deprivation is conducive to practice.

    In fact, I wonder how ... with all that sleep deprivation, folks didn't screw up their work in the monastery a lot more! :shock:

    In our daily practice and work, we are careful, attentive, diligent ... we don't quit. Yet, when we inevitably trip as we are all bound to do, we simply pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and move ahead.

    Gassho, Jundo

  2. #2

    Re: 9/11 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 2-23 to 3-1

    2-23
    "Much more even, does the buddha-dharma go entirely against worldly ways. Lay people eat in abundance; monks eat once a day. Everything is contrary. And finally, monks become people of great peace and joy (Nirvana). For this reason the way of monks is totally opposed to the way of the secular world."

    I guess there were not many lay practitioners in Dogen's time.

  3. #3

    Re: 9/11 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 2-23 to 3-1

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich
    2-23
    "Much more even, does the buddha-dharma go entirely against worldly ways. Lay people eat in abundance; monks eat once a day. Everything is contrary. And finally, monks become people of great peace and joy (Nirvana). For this reason the way of monks is totally opposed to the way of the secular world."

    I guess there were not many lay practitioners in Dogen's time.
    There were lay practitioners.

    But in his later years, living in the monastery and preaching to monks, Dogen was primarily focused on training his monks and encouraging their "elite" road of Practice. In his later writings, Dogen became more and more focused on the path of monkhood as the best, or exclusive, road to effective Buddhist Practice, and tended to discount lay life in very strong terms (he was always prone to strong, even harsh language, on almost any topic. For a man who was about dropping "views" he sure had a lot of strong views!). My guess is that, in the monastery ... in the cold winters, surrounded by monks ... he had a very tough time convincing some of his monks to stay on their Zafus and not go home. Thus, we find many talks like the above. Also, being literally "run out of town" from Kyoto and into the boondocks of the mountains of Echizen, his early experiment of "bringing Zen to the urban masses" had been a complete failure (before that, some of his great writings such as Genjo Koan had been written for lay folks and asserted that all the fruits of Buddhist Practice were open to lay and ordained alike). He reacted to that "banishment" from Kyoto by focusing on his "elite" band of monks, and the need to turn one's back on the mundane world. Dogen might be seen as trying to build an ideal Buddhist society in the structure of a monastery, a kind of Buddhist commune or "Kibbutz". Finally, there was something of a return to the ancient Buddhist view that practice is for monks, and the role of lay people is to make donations of food and money to support that.

    In his day, he was probably right ... it was almost impossible to receive Buddhist training and teachings (or access to a teacher) outside a monastic setting. And balancing the "worldly" and Buddhist Practice is very tricky, to say the least.

    A nice essay on reconciling these two faces of Dogen, young and older, with modern lay Buddhist practice is here, from the Berkeley Zen Center (find the article entitled "The Flowering of Zen in China and Lay Practice")

    http://docs.google.com/gview?a=v&q=cach ... tice&hl=en

    Gassho, J

  4. #4

    Re: 9/11 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 2-23 to 3-1

    Jundo, very interesting article. Even though he was a monastic hardass, I still like Dogen. The Zuimonki is showing the real everyday Dogen.

  5. #5

    Re: 9/11 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 2-23 to 3-1

    2-25
    "When staying at Tendo Monastery in China, while the old master Nyojo was abbot there, we sat zazen until about eleven o’clock at night and got up at about half-past two to sit zazen. The abbot sat with the assembly in the sodo, never taking even one night off.

    I hope they had a nap during the day.

    "Who leads an easy life without laboring? You have avoided these labors and entered a monastery, but now spend your time wastefully. What on earth for? Life-and-death is the Great Matter."

    Life requires sincere effort whether you are a monk or a lay person.

  6. #6

    Re: 9/11 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 2-23 to 3-1

    2-26
    "When we let go of our minds and cast aside our views and understandings the Way will be actualized. One sage clarified True Mind (Reality) when he saw peach blossoms and another realized the Way when he heard the sound of tile hitting a bamboo.1 They attained the Way through their bodies. Therefore, when we completely cast aside our thoughts and views and practice shikantaza, we will become intimate with the Way. For this reason the Way is doubtlessly attained through the body. This is why I encourage you to practice zazen wholeheartedly."

    If I could sit as well as I play hockey I would be well on my way
    /Rich

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