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Thread: 7/9 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Shanavasa

  1. #1

    7/9 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Shanavasa

    Ya gotta love a well dressed man ...

    Cook from p. 42, Hixon from p. 47.

  2. #2

    Re: 7/9 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Shanavasa

    I especially like the following from Hixon:

    This present seeing and hearing are essentially no different from the awakeness of the ancient sages. This present life is not fundamentally different from the life of Mahakashyapa and Ananda, nor separate from the lives of ants and mosquitoes. Why would the true nature of existence be different for different beings
    This is what I wrote down in the margins: if our present life is not fundamentally different from the lives of ants and mosquitoes, sages and Buddhas, compassion for all beings comes naturally and without hesitation.

    I also like:

    The transmission is ours. It is like reaching up to touch our own face.
    It's beautiful in it's simplicity.

  3. #3

    Re: 7/9 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Shanavasa

    Quote Originally Posted by anista
    This is what I wrote down in the margins: if our present life is not fundamentally different from the lives of ants and mosquitoes, sages and Buddhas, compassion for all beings comes naturally and without hesitation.
    This is true. Yet a spent a good amount of time swatting (after they wouldn't be persuaded to leave) mosquitoes in the Zendo last night.

  4. #4

    Re: 7/9 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Shanavasa

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    This is true. Yet a spent a good amount of time swatting (after they wouldn't be persuaded to leave) mosquitoes in the Zendo last night.
    That's the problem with mosquitoes. They just don't listen.

    Anyway, a bit OT, but when I lived in Athens, Greece I used to be plagued by mosquitoes. Then I bought some electric smell-dispensing thingy, and the mosquitoes refused to even enter the room. Don't you have those in Japan? They're brilliant!

    http://www.agni.gr/faq/how_can_we_avoid_mosquitoes.asp

  5. #5

    Re: 7/9 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Shanavasa

    Quote Originally Posted by anista
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    This is true. Yet a spent a good amount of time swatting (after they wouldn't be persuaded to leave) mosquitoes in the Zendo last night.
    That's the problem with mosquitoes. They just don't listen.

    Anyway, a bit OT, but when I lived in Athens, Greece I used to be plagued by mosquitoes. Then I bought some electric smell-dispensing thingy, and the mosquitoes refused to even enter the room. Don't you have those in Japan? They're brilliant!

    http://www.agni.gr/faq/how_can_we_avoid_mosquitoes.asp
    Oh, yes. Hi Tech versions too. They are still hit and miss. When they miss ... I sometimes hit ...

    Time to replay, for maybe the 10th time this year 8) .... the Dalai Lama and the Moquito ...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=GB&hl=en-GB&v=W083nSzx1Rc[/video]]http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=GB&hl=e ... 083nSzx1Rc

  6. #6

    Re: 7/9 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Shanavasa

    Hello,
    I'm jumping straight into the book club with this reading so I may be a bit confused about the nature of the these titles. I'll play catch up behind the scenes in coming weeks, taking notes on the previous chapters.

    So concerning Shanavasas robes:

    I find it interesting that many of us, me included, would read the story surrounding Shanavasas "natural clothes" as something in the line of metaphore, pedagogical device, artistic license or folk tale - but never literal. Perhaps our rejection is a modern delusion, if that would be the case, the lack of such super powers as Urumanda displays when he prophesies the coming birth of Shanavasa. (Cook, 42f) In any case it could and should serve as a warning that we are quite willing to unthinkingly reject anything that we aren't familiar with ourselves or that go against the grain of what is commonly held to be true - something that has changed quite a bit over the years. (Actually, the quote I'm retyping below seems to reference this, but that isn't the point I will be making.)

    In any case, Keizan writes:
    "You should use this story to clarify the fact that you must not practice Zen aimlessly and spend your whole life in vain. Do not vainly express naturalistic views or put your own individual views first." (Cook, 44)
    The text goes on to suggest that enlightenment is a question of practice, not of being a special person. "who among the ancients was not a body born of a mother and father? who did not have feelings of love and affection or thoughts of fame and fortune? ... carefully make an effort in the way ... (Cook, 44f)

    To sum the story up, the text seems to suggest that like Shanavasa we carry merit, in the form of practice in some way or other, from previous lives (and that this might be the reason we have gathered here) and that since we have this merit we have the same capacity as masters of past to become enlightened if we practice thoroughly.

    In a sense parts of this story might reference the idea of buddha nature, in the sense of the gathered merit which can be actualized into enlightenment with practice. Perhaps this is a device to say that we have already come a long way on the path to enlightenment which might encourage us to practice - after all, reading this story, aren't we almost fated to practice?

    I'm probably off at a few places and I look forward to your comments.

    Gassho.

  7. #7

    Re: 7/9 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Shanavasa

    Also, this, from Cook:

    You may think: "The Way of the Buddha patriarchs distinguishes individuals and capacities. We are not up to it." Such a view is truly the stupidest of stupid views. Who among the ancients was not a body born of a mother and father? Who did not have feelings of love and affection or thoughts of fame and fortune?
    .

    I think this is very important, and something lacking in my own personal practice. To truly know that we are all Buddhas, right now. The present is complicated: often the past and the future are easier to handle ...

  8. #8

    Re: 7/9 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Shanavasa

    If I may...

    The kesa is a piece of clothing, you may point at its corner. Boundless field, it is an object that can also be felt. Something to wrap ourselves with.The kesa is also formless, naturally displayed in the 10 000 things of our universe. You, too. We may reach the formless and boundless but only through the study of something real, concrete. We practice the Dharma through a set of forms and then learn to unwrap, let go of these forms to let the original face shine. Only when undone, these forms are clearly seen for what they are, we can we truly understand that in these forms as well as in the absence of forms, Buddha just is. The discpline leads to freedom, a freedom so free that it contains, includes, encompasses discipline itself. Dancing awakeness, free to come and go, from shore to shore, from sitting to life and life to sitting, from the kesa of the homeless to the living tapestry of all things.

    Issa, the haiku poet, about that dance writes this:

    just being alive
    I
    and the poppy



    gassho

    Taigu

  9. #9

    Re: 7/9 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Shanavasa

    To speculate on the 'true' meaning of these words would only be conjecture on my part. The gem that I take from the reading is to be diligent and persistent in my practice of the Way.

    The opening lines from "The Fellowship of the Rings" movie also came to mind, although I probably won't repeat them accurately or complete.

    Facts become history
    history becomes legend
    legend becomes myth
    some things are lost
    those that would know, no longer exist

  10. #10
    Treeleaf Unsui Shugen's Avatar
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    Re: 7/9 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Shanavasa

    In Cook "Do not get blocked by feelings about past and present, and do not get attached to sounds and forms. Do not spend your days and nights in vain." I was also impressed by the idea of here and now - everything, past and present in this moment now. Hixon is growing on me. I really did not like his writing at first.

    Ron

  11. #11

    Re: 7/9 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Shanavasa

    Glad to see some of my notes were picked up by Taigu :wink:

    How do you point at the corner of something that has no form? Much less, how do you tug at it? But, with no tug, no attention and thus another question. If one were to yank, you fully expose someone and may lose it. Hixon spoke about a playful tug. Not too soft, not too hard, just right.

    The kesa sewn today is no different from the kesa sewn by Ananda, Shanavasa, or the Buddha. Pieces of this and that coming together into a form. In the same sense, we are no different from any of the patriarchs. Some are golden, some dark-skinned, some chinese some japanese. Some kesa are brown, yellow, ochre, blue. The material and the color may be called different things, but a kesa is a kesa, a Buddha is a Buddha, and we are just what we are. No different from any of this.

    My two-cents
    Taylor

  12. #12

    Re: 7/9 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Shanavasa

    Very good, Taylor, very good...

    You first point at something which has form ( a kesa made of fabric) and then to something identical yet that cannot be seen ( because it is too big).

    You are dead right, when you write:

    The kesa sewn today is no different from the kesa sewn by Ananda, Shanavasa, or the Buddha. Pieces of this and that coming together into a form. In the same sense, we are no different from any of the patriarchs. Some are golden, some dark-skinned, some chinese some japanese. Some kesa are brown, yellow, ochre, blue. The material and the color may be called different things, but a kesa is a kesa, a Buddha is a Buddha, and we are just what we are. No different from any of this.
    Think also about the kesa of all things, not glamourous, nor big neither ancient, when I wear the kesa I am grateful to what cannot be named. It is not Indian, Chinese or Japanese.


    keep these two realities at once in your heart and mind

    but I am sure you are well on the way


    gassho


    Taigu

  13. #13

    Re: 7/9 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Shanavasa

    My pick of the text:

    Wherever you go, it can be said that you are this [complete] person, and you are Kashyapa and Ananda. There is no difference in the four elements and five aggregates, so how are you different from the ancients as far as the Way is concerned?
    It really inspired me this weekend. I can't help but smile like the Chesire cat every time I read it

    Yeah? What's the difference?



    Gassho

    Da5id

  14. #14
    Stephanie
    Guest

    Re: 7/9 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Shanavasa

    Out of curiosity, after reading Cook and Hixon's translations, I went to Amazon and "Searched Inside" Cleary's translation. There are some sections that are more awkwardly translated in Cook, some that are more awkwardly translated in Cleary. But I really liked the way Cleary translated some passages, especially this one, which struck me in its simplicity and beauty:

    Cook's translation:
    Therefore, Buddhas have appeared in the world one after another and patriarchal teachers have pointed it out generation after generation. Although one thing is never given to another or received from another, it should be like touching your own nostrils by searching your face.

    Cleary's translation:
    This is why the Buddhas have appeared in the world one after another, and why the Zen masters have taught generation after generation. Although there has never been anything to give to anyone or anything to receive from anyone, it is necessary to experience this as intimately as feeling the nose on your own face.

    This case and the commentary made me think of the koan where the student asks the teacher, "What is it that goes on underneath the patched robe?" The teacher responds, "Intimacy."

    Ends up this koan I remembered is another one in the Denkoroku

    The clothes we wear are the closest things to our skin, that surface that marks the division of what we imagine to be "me" and "the rest of the world." They absorb our sweat, our scent, both hide and disclose our animal nature, broadcasting at once our sophistication and our vulnerability. We wear clothes to protect our tender skin and to wick away the endless fluids our bodies produce.

    Our true nature is in constant intimate contact with things as they are. Reality is as naked, intimate, and immediately accessible as the noses on our faces. It is only obscured by all the layers we layer over top of it--the stories and interpretations and concepts and ideas.

    Shanavasa's lucidity of mind transformed his clothing into something as fluid and intimate with the way things are as his natural skin. His clothes naturally conformed and shifted as the seasons shifted. They transformed in response to the transformation of his intention. Something that normally limits and bars our direct contact with the things around us became a fluid act of response to those very things.

    When tugged upon, Shanavasa's sleeve held firm: his garment was not going to give or tear any more than Joseph's coat of many colors, his mark of favor by his father and by God, could truly be taken from him. The outward symbols can be damaged or stripped away but that to which they point cannot. Shanavasa didn't really need the magic robe, but this was exactly why he had it. Shanavasa's intimacy with all things could not be given or taken away because it is always thus, was always thus. Shanavasa's robe, even before he met Ananda, spoke of his deep intimacy with things as they are. Ananda's tug on the sleeve was a simple reminder for Shanavasa that he was already so deep in it he was wearing it everywhere he went.

  15. #15

    Re: 7/9 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Shanavasa

    Hello Stephanie,

    thanks for sharing that Cleary quote.

    You write: "Our true nature is in constant intimate contact with things as they are."

    I completely agree, however allow me to humbly suggest that inspired by the current chapter one could possibly rephrase it as "Our true nature IS constant intimate contact of things as they are."

    Gassho,

    Hans

  16. #16
    Stephanie
    Guest

    Re: 7/9 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Shanavasa

    Nice! I like your version better

  17. #17

    Re: 7/9 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Shanavasa

    As I read this section the Robing Prayer repeated and repeated in my noggin, especially the line..."I wear the Tathagata's teaching".

    Intellectually I "get" that these Transmissions are truly awakenings to what already is; but since I have not experienced the paroxysm of that "already is", I believe it is still something eluding me, or which I am eluding. I knw this will not come at the end of a long series of studies or a sesshin, or anything I can plan. Ok, all that is what I "know" in my conscious planning mind; but then I keep hearing a merry little melody seemingly being played on a "Jack-in-the-box" way in the back of my mind, tantilizingly drawing me to the plink-plink-plink of that wonderful music box with its wonderful surprise yet to come.

    This section we just read refocusing for me something I believe I have heard Taigu say on several occastions about the Kesa actually also being Buddha, as well as his teaching. I haven't quite clearly seen that yet, but I do somewhat understand both the image and the transcendental feeling about the Kesa and its continual transmission of the Buddha's teaching. It is a continuation of what Ananda asked of Mahakashyapa. It is wound in the robe, in the threads woven by the Buddha, which he asked Ananda to make, which we make and then wear with a blessing. It is the same robe isn't it? The same robe which covers all of us and to which one day when the drawing music stops, will pop out of the box and delightfully surprise and amaze us.

    Gassho,

    Seishin Kyrill

  18. #18

    Re: 7/9 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Shanavasa

    Patches floating around in my mind, I'm confused as ever. The robe of sewn and unsewn, that covers to reveal nakedness.

    gassho


    Sylvie

  19. #19

    Re: 7/9 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Shanavasa

    Hiyas!
    Nothing to add that hasn't been said already (and so well!)by these ancestors today!
    The Hixon reading (though its not like reading to me!) putting it out so clearly.

    "this present life is not fundamentally different from the life of ..."


    Gassho
    Shohei

  20. #20

    Re: 7/9 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Shanavasa

    Hi everyone,

    For me this week it was Hixon's "The transmission is ours. It is like reaching up to touch our own face." that spoke the clearest. "It" has always been there, easily within our reach. It includes our reach...

    Gassho, Jikyo

  21. #21

    Re: 7/9 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Shanavasa

    We are always wearing the robe of awakeness, but sometimes it helps if a teacher tugs on it to remind us that "Total awakeness is tugging at you right now!"

  22. #22

    Re: 7/9 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Shanavasa

    I would like to have asked Ananda, what kind of thing is not the original nature of Buddha's Awakening?

    Additionally, Hixon's writing has yet to grow on me. I can't quite place it.

    Yours in practice,
    Jordan

  23. #23

    Re: 7/9 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Shanavasa

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Quote Originally Posted by anista
    This is what I wrote down in the margins: if our present life is not fundamentally different from the lives of ants and mosquitoes, sages and Buddhas, compassion for all beings comes naturally and without hesitation.
    This is true. Yet a spent a good amount of time swatting (after they wouldn't be persuaded to leave) mosquitoes in the Zendo last night.

    Mosquitoes being mosquitoes true to the dharma. What a delicious meal you must have presented and without discriminating they ate. Yum Gassho Shogen

  24. #24

    Re: 7/9 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Shanavasa

    Lots of catching up to do in the book club....limited to no Internet over the past couple of weeks. For Shanavasa I would like to riff a bit on what some others have said concerning clothing.

    Continuous stream plunges
    over ten thousand food palisade.
    No dust mot comes to rest
    on this pure silk
    that forms our seamless robe,
    this awareness always dancing
    and singing, “Buddha is alive!!
    Buddha is alive!
    The continuous stream I see as thread. Thread responsible for the substance of clothing and in one respect hidden (i.e., there are no seams), yet there right in front of us. Unborn Nature holds together our clothing and reality. In the active gestured of Ananda tugging on Shanavasa’s robe, Shanavasa sees what has been right in front of him all along.

    Gassho,
    Jisen/BrianW

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