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Thread: 3/5 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 3-7 to 3-9

  1. #1

    3/5 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 3-7 to 3-9

    Hi,

    I am resuming our reading of Master Dogen's SHOBOGENZO ZUIMONKI. If you recall, the "experiment" we were conducting in reading was as follows ...

    THIS IS A BIT OF AN EXPERIMENT! Master Dogen's Shobogenzo-Zuimonki is rather different from many other Dogen writings in being relatively easy to read, plain and down to earth (the "Shobogenzo-Zuimonki" is very different from his similarly named "Shobogenzo")! The Zuimonki is filled with bits of wisdom, little fortune cookies, short talks on all kinds of subjects.

    The "experiment" I would like to try is to see if we can apply these short talks, meant mostly for Japanese monks in a monastery, samurai and others in the 13th century, to our lives in the 21st century, out in the world. As I said, nothing to lose (or, as Dogen might say, "no loss no gain!" )

    YOUR ASSIGNMENT will be to try to related these talks to modern life, and your life (which may not always be possible to do ... but we can have fun trying!)
    I want to continue the experiment, but I want to really underline that Master Dogen (who could be as "fire and brimstone" as Ol' Martin Luther or John Calvin in his way of talking) was writing this as a monk, to monks in his charge. His "experiment" at Eiheiji Monastery was to try to build a radical, Buddhist "Kibbutz", almost a kind of utopian Buddhist comminuty ... and we are very clearly trying to bring these teachings out into the world (in some ways, against the monastic ideal the Master Dogen had). My questions to everyone in all these readings will be can we succeed in doing so, can his principles and practice be adapted to Zen practice 'out in the world', or are we in danger of 'going to far'?

    I would like to consider those questions as we move through these pages of Master Dogen's 'fire and brimstone' words.

    There will only be 3 sections this week: 3-7 to 3-9, available online here:

    http://global.sotozen-net.or.jp/common_ ... 03-09.html

    For more details, look here:

    viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1779

    Gassho and Good Reading, Jundo

  2. #2

    Re: 3/5 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 3-7 to 3-9

    First question: "do not covet property". What do you think of coveting property so that your children can have a decent life and have time to pursue spiritual practices?

  3. #3

    Re: 3/5 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 3-7 to 3-9

    Hi.

    3-7.

    Zen monks should always bear in mind maintaining the way of practice of the buddhas and patriarchs.
    This is certainly doable even for those "not of the cloth(kesa)", but maybe in some different ways sometimes...

    First of all, do not covet property
    Is he just saying "don't lust for material things" or is the meaning deeper?

    The reason the Zen School was considered good and Zen monks different from others was that when Zen monks first lived among others in the temple buildings of the teaching or the precept-schools2, they abandoned caring for their bodies and lived in poverty. We should remember this as the primary style of practice in this (Zen) school.
    The primary style of practice is abandoning taking care of your own body?
    Yes, in a sense...

    Poverty of what?
    I think they had an abundance of things.
    The difference, maybe, was that they didn't have to haul them around...

    3-8.
    Do not use malicious or false speech.
    But sometimes it's necessary to say some things...

    3-9.
    You should not fail to carry out virtues in secret.
    This is a tricky one, since there's always one who knows what you did.
    And somehow after a while, everything seems to catch up...

    Therefore students, if you wish to follow the Way of the patriarchs, never make light of goodness. Purify your faith. All goodness gathers together where the Way of the buddhas and patriarchs is practiced. Once you have clarified that all dharmas (beings) are the buddha-dharma, you should know that evil is definitely evil and that it causes one to depart from the Way of the buddhas and patriarchs. Good is always good and connects with the Buddha-Way. If this is so, how can you underestimate the world of the Three Treasures?
    The three treasures is Buddha, Dharma, Sangha,but you knew that right? :wink:
    This reminds me of verse 183 of dhammapada:
    Not to do any evil, to cultivate good, to purify one's mind-
    -this is the teaching of the Buddhas.

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  4. #4

    Re: 3/5 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 3-7 to 3-9

    I’ve never heard of anyone who was rich in material wealth who also carried out the buddha-dharma.
    Did anyone else think of Tiger Woods when reading this bit?
    So, what do you do if you are a Buddhist who suddenly wins €25,000,000 on the lottery? Is doing the lottery in the first place an act of covetousness, if you do it in the hope of winning it? Not that it is ever likely to be problem that I will have to face, but can you be a buddhist and be ridiculously wealthy? Even if you don't cling to the wealth that you have and just carry on doing your practice as if nothing had changed, does the fact that you have all that money sitting in your bank account when there is so much poverty in the world undermine the rest of your practice?

    gassho
    Michael

  5. #5

    Re: 3/5 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 3-7 to 3-9

    Fugen
    Do not use malicious or false speech.
    But sometimes it's necessary to say some things...
    This I disagree with and have many an experience and student that would say the same. It is not necessary for anything.

    Gassho

  6. #6

    Re: 3/5 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 3-7 to 3-9

    Quote Originally Posted by will
    Fugen
    Do not use malicious or false speech.
    But sometimes it's necessary to say some things...
    This I disagree with and have many an experience and student that would say the same. It is not necessary for anything.

    Gassho
    I suspect there are conditions under which a pure mind could use harshness for others' benefit.

  7. #7

    Re: 3/5 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 3-7 to 3-9

    Hi.

    Yes, there are times when speaking up on something is good.
    May not be nice, but is "the right thing to do".

    Also notice it says "Do not use malicious or false speech".
    What does that mean?
    Does it mean i can't speak up and say something harsh to someone in the intent of doing good?
    I think the intention is the key here...

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  8. #8
    Senior Member KellyRok's Avatar
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    Re: 3/5 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 3-7 to 3-9

    Hello all,

    my thoughts...

    3-7

    For our day and age: I see it as the more material wealth you have, the more you desire thus leading you to be greedy - leading you further away from the Dharma. The less you have, the more you can focus on other more important things - your practice = people, compassion, community.

    3-8

    We should always try to see the good in others as opposed to their wrongdoings, because we all make mistakes. It is their goodness - the getting back up after they fall - that truly matters. How fitting a teaching for this week...


    3-9

    You should not fail to carry out virtues in secret. If you do good deeds secretly, you will surely receive unseen protection and manifest benefit.
    You shouldn't do good deeds just for the sake of the praise of others (in their presence). Doing a good thing is the acknowledgement itself - whether others know it was you or not.

    Although you might meet shameless monks, crude images of the Buddha, or coarse sutra scrolls, if you do not have faith in them and respect them, you will certainly receive punishment.
    You may not always approve of the actions of a teacher, but you should respect the person and the teaching, as long as it is in accordance with the precepts.
    It doesn't matter if your teacher is flawed, if the texts are old and tattered, or if symbols don't really look like the Buddha - accept things as they are - it is all of the Buddha and should be respected.

    Glad to be back with the book club...
    Gassho,
    Kelly-Jinmei

  9. #9

    Re: 3/5 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 3-7 to 3-9

    Here is my two cents…actually it’s enough to be about a buck fifty.

    3.7

    Unless we choose the homeless life and live in a monastery, living in poverty is usually something we try to avoid today. I think that we can take Master Dogen’s words here to mean that sometimes people mistake personal wealth for personal worth. Money and possessions are tools, like a hammer. Do what you need to with it, then put it away. You are not better than the next person because you have more hammers. It fosters the delusion of a separation between “you” and “me”, by creating artificial classes of people. Being too materialistic chains you to a life in opposition to the Way.

    3.8

    This is also the 6th Grave Precept, “See the perfection- Do not speak of the faults of others” and Aitken Roshi has said that what we might consider a fault could be the very place a person has the opportunity to grow. Remembering that we are all connected (one, not two actually, as someone once said :P ), remembering that we are all basically good, inherently the Buddha, is a form of compassion and recognizing that those who do evil deeds are misdirected and subject to their attachments and delusions is the basis of the Bodhisattva Vow. To me this says not to judge, but to try and understand others, have faith in their Buddha-nature, and try to help them realize it if and when it is possible to (safely) do so.

    3.9

    There are a few things to this one. One is the 10th Grave Precept to not disparage the Three Treasures. I take Master Dogen’s words here to mean that we should honor and respect the representations of the Three Treasures because of what they are and what they represent. People put effort into creating them, and cared enough to make them. There is no difference between the Dharma written on the poorest parchment and the Dharma carved on slabs of solid gold. No difference between a Buddha carved of driftwood and a Buddha carved from jade.

    However, by relating the story of Master Tennen, he is reminding us that they are representations only. A statue of the Buddha is not the Buddha, a scroll printed with the Dharma is not the Dharma. Do not fall into the delusion of mistaking a thing for what that thing represents.

    Finally, by saying “carry out virtues in secret” he is telling us not to make a show of our good deeds, as this is a way of trying to raise oneself above others. He is saying that true faith, truly living the Way and the Bodhisattva Vow is doing the right thing for the right reason, especially when no one is watching.

    IMHO

  10. #10

    Re: 3/5 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 3-7 to 3-9

    Also notice it says "Do not use malicious or false speech".
    What does that mean?
    Does it mean i can't speak up and say something harsh to someone in the intent of doing good?
    I think the intention is the key here...
    This is basic Buddhism. Just don't lie and don't slander any one.

    Malicious speech doesn't mean speaking up. When it is time to speak up, then it is time to speak up. However, right intention and thought needs to be acquired to do it properly. Otherwise, you just end up in a big fight and feel like shit after.

    Gassho

  11. #11

    Re: 3/5 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 3-7 to 3-9

    And btw yelling at someone would cause either one of these:

    Shock, anger, or confusion. Now how is that useful? If you know the answer to that. Then you are better than me.

    I've yelled for years. It didn't get me anywhere but with a sore head and aching belly. So go ahead and yell if you like, but no one is going to listen to you. And if you think that you have bigger cajones than who ever else, then you are in for a surprise. Because we are just as stupid as the next person. and thinking one should yell at someone, is being rather what... asshollish? egotistical?

    When it is time to speak up, then it will just be the time to speak up. That's it. But it's important not to let ego interfere with that.

    Gassho

  12. #12

    Re: 3/5 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 3-7 to 3-9

    Not that it is ever likely to be problem that I will have to face, but can you be a buddhist and be ridiculously wealthy? Even if you don't cling to the wealth that you have and just carry on doing your practice as if nothing had changed, does the fact that you have all that money sitting in your bank account when there is so much poverty in the world undermine the rest of your practice?
    That depends. Are you holding on to that wealth, thinking to your self, "I won it / made it / found it, it's mine!" :evil: or do you see need and use some of that wealth to address it? In my oppinion, having wealth does not make or break a practice, intention does. Buddha said in the Dhammapada, "with our thoughts we make the world", and this, to me, means that our intent in what we do is the deciding factor in whether we support the Way or not. If you hoard that money, thinking that because you can stack more little pieces of green paper with dead men's pictures on them higher than your neighbor, and that makes you better than them, then yes having money would undermine your practice. But if you felt that you had money, and therefore now had more of an opportunity to affect real and lasting change in the world, and acted upon that, then you would be supporting your practice.

    IMHO

  13. #13

    Re: 3/5 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 3-7 to 3-9

    3-7

    The issue of wealth is what captured my attention this week. I believe a key element is what you are doing with the wealth that you have.....just acquiring "stuff" for status and appearances or using resources to help others, creative endeavors, or innovation. I could not find the passage, but I recall a section of the Pali Cannon where the Buddha gives advice to householders on the wise use of money.

    Related is a post on the Tricycle blog concerning research by a social psychologist showing that using money for pro-social reasons or for experiences, rather than "stuff" is more likely to lead to happiness.
    http://<br /> <a href="http://http:...og/?p=1413</a>

    Gassho,
    Jisen

  14. #14

    Re: 3/5 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 3-7 to 3-9

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianW
    I could not find the passage, but I recall a section of the Pali Cannon where the Buddha gives advice to householders on the wise use of money.
    Is it this one ...

    Adiya Sutta: Benefits to be Obtained (from Wealth)
    AN 5.41
    PTS: A iii 45
    translated from the Pali by
    Thanissaro Bhikkhu



    Then Anathapindika the householder went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there the Blessed One said to him: "There are these five benefits that can be obtained from wealth. Which five?

    "There is the case where the disciple of the noble ones — using the wealth earned through his efforts & enterprise, amassed through the strength of his arm, and piled up through the sweat of his brow, righteous wealth righteously gained — provides himself with pleasure & satisfaction, and maintains that pleasure rightly. He provides his mother & father with pleasure & satisfaction, and maintains that pleasure rightly. He provides his children, his wife, his slaves, servants, & assistants with pleasure & satisfaction, and maintains that pleasure rightly. This is the first benefit that can be obtained from wealth.

    "Furthermore, the disciple of the noble ones — using the wealth earned through his efforts & enterprise, amassed through the strength of his arm, and piled up through the sweat of his brow, righteous wealth righteously gained — provides his friends & associates with pleasure & satisfaction, and maintains that pleasure rightly. This is the second benefit that can be obtained from wealth.

    "Furthermore, the disciple of the noble ones — using the wealth earned through his efforts & enterprise, amassed through the strength of his arm, and piled up through the sweat of his brow, righteous wealth righteously gained — wards off from calamities coming from fire, flood, kings, thieves, or hateful heirs, and keeps himself safe. This is the third benefit that can be obtained from wealth.

    "Furthermore, the disciple of the noble ones — using the wealth earned through his efforts & enterprise, amassed through the strength of his arm, and piled up through the sweat of his brow, righteous wealth righteously gained — performs the five oblations: to relatives, guests, the dead, kings, & devas. This is the fourth benefit that can be obtained from wealth.

    "Furthermore, the disciple of the noble ones — using the wealth earned through his efforts & enterprise, amassed through the strength of his arm, and piled up through the sweat of his brow, righteous wealth righteously gained — institutes offerings of supreme aim, heavenly, resulting in happiness, leading to heaven, given to priests & contemplatives who abstain from intoxication & heedlessness, who endure all things with patience & humility, each taming himself, each restraining himself, each taking himself to Unbinding. This is the fifth benefit that can be obtained from wealth.

    "If it so happens that, when a disciple of the noble ones obtains these five benefits from wealth, his wealth goes to depletion, the thought occurs to him, 'Even though my wealth has gone to depletion, I have obtained the five benefits that can be obtained from wealth,' and he feels no remorse. If it so happens that, when a disciple of the noble ones obtains these five benefits from wealth, his wealth increases, the thought occurs to him, 'I have obtained the five benefits that can be obtained from wealth, and my wealth has increased,' and he feels no remorse. So he feels no remorse in either case."

    'My wealth has been enjoyed, my dependents supported, protected from calamities by me. I have given supreme offerings & performed the five oblations. I have provided for the virtuous, the restrained, followers of the holy life. For whatever aim a wise householder would desire wealth, that aim I have attained. I have done what will not lead to future distress.' When this is recollected by a mortal, a person established in the Dhamma of the Noble Ones, he is praised in this life and, after death, rejoices in heaven.
    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

  15. #15

    Re: 3/5 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 3-7 to 3-9

    Jundo,

    That is the one! Thanks!

    Gassho,
    Jisen

  16. #16
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: 3/5 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 3-7 to 3-9

    Hi all,

    3-7 -- For householders in modern times, I think of not "coveting" property as meaning not living in such a manner that is above the basic needs of you and your family. I don't mean that you can't buy a dishwasher, but always be asking yourself if you truly need something. And if the answer is yes, be sure that it is not a need out of clinging rather than a tool that will be used for good purposes. It is also about thinking of the future. The Iroquois (an indigenous group in my part of North America) only used the land after considering whether any negative impact would be felt for more than seven generations. As such, don't use your house in a way that only you will benefit...think of those who may own it long after you are dead and buried.

    3-8 -- See the good in people before the "bad" and see the bad only in the light of what it can become. Never think of a person as stagnant or incapable of change. If given the chance, people may surprise you.

    3-9 -- There are many people who donate money to colleges and universities for new building projects and in most cases the building bears their name. However, I always think very highly of anonymous donors who attach no conditions to their donations or insist that their good deed appear on a plaque. For myself, I have found great satisfaction in anonymous donations because I can have greater assurance that the donation was not for the growth of my ego but truly for the betterment of others. If it is not enough to follow the path and be content with what you have without seeking recognition, you will never feel fulfilled...even if you did own all the tea in China. The dharma is everywhere and in all things.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  17. #17

    Re: 3/5 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 3-7 to 3-9

    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho
    For householders in modern times, I think of not "coveting" property as meaning not living in such a manner that is above the basic needs of you and your family.
    One of the great dilemmas in "sink or swim" societies is: what is "basic"? The short term is easy, but what about saving for the future? I'm not going to tell stories here, but in the USA, if you have kids I don't know that you can ever have too much money saved up for their future, because the way things are going they are going to need all they can get to be sure to weather the ups and downs of life. What do you do? We try to evaluate risks and give away what we don't need, but there is a definite conflict between a duty to our kids and wanting to help the rest of the world. And oh, we don't have a dishwasher.

    Scott

  18. #18
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: 3/5 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 3-7 to 3-9

    Scott,

    I actually think you can have too much money saved up for their future because eventually they are going to have to fend for themselves and you won't be able to help them once you are gone. It's the lessons you leave them with that will sustain them for a lifetime and generosity is among the most important. True, you can't eat generosity if you are starving, but hoarding money just to prepare for an uncertain future doesn't make it any less uncertain. And if people are focused most on saving "as much as they can" I think it will only cause them and their children suffering. I'm a stay at home dad and I lose a lot of potential income from not working, but I wouldn't trade that "potential" for the time I have with them before they start school...not for all the tea in China.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

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