Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: 10/1 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Nagarjuna

  1. #1

    10/1 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Nagarjuna

    .
    Does the "wish fulfilling jewel" exist or not exist, not both or neither (also our mental categories), and is there even a jewel? Pierce this in one's bones, and all wishes are instantly fulfilled!

    Is this fantastic tale of serpents and jewels "true" or "not true", not both or neither? Pierce this, and Truth bites you right on the butt!

    Can one run far into the most distant desert or a lonely island or peaceful monastery and never have "left home"? Can one "leave home" without even setting foot out one's front door?

    In the past, one had to run to a monastery, as Keizan says, to "leave home" ... finding companions and teachers and a place to practice. Thus, Keizan says to find a monastery. However, is that so true in our day and age ... and, perhaps, do "householding lay folks" have much today that was only available in the monasteries of old? I wrote this week to some friends ...

    For most of its history, lay practice has taken a back seat to the "real spiritual action" said to happen only among the ordained Sangha, usually behind monastery walls. However, this no longer need be the case.

    I in no way intend to deny the beauty and power of the monastic path for those called that way. There are depths and lessons to be encountered and awakened to and lived in that simple life, in the silence, in the sincere effort and routine. So much of that may not be easily perceived in the noise and distraction of an "in the world" practice. (Although, if we try perhaps, much of the same stillness still can be encountered "out in the world" with a bit of diligence and attention to day-to-day life). I do not in any way intend to discount the importance of monastic practice.

    However, there is also a beauty and power in paths of practice outside monastery walls that may be unavailable to those within the walls, with lay practice having depths and opportunities for awakening all its own. There are aspects of an "in the world" practice that are denied to those following a the monastic way. There are depths and lessons of practice that can be encountered and awakened to only out in the city streets, in our work places, families, raising kids. Where is the Dharma not present?

    Lay practice now is not the same as lay practice has been in centuries past.

    One vital reason for monasteries and the like ... from the earliest days of Buddhism ... was an absence of other chances for communication with teachers and fellow practitioners, and a lack of other means to encounter "live teachings". In other words, wandering ascetics walking hither and thither in the Buddha's time needed to gather during the rainy seasons to "touch base" and reconnect with the group after being on their own for weeks and months. In the middle ages in China and Japan, one could not easily encounter a Buddhist teacher, teachings and opportunities to practice without going to live full time in a monastery. This is just no longer the case. Members of our Sangha, for example, can have 24 hour contact, using modern means of communication, with teachers, teachings, sittings, robe sewing, Sutra and Text study, sharing with fellow practitioners times of sickness and health and smiles and tears, Samu, spiritual friendships, "sharp stones banging into each other" ... much of which, until the current times, was denied to people outside monastery walls.

    In some important ways, sincere lay practitioners today may enjoy better surrounding circumstances for practice than did the average monk in, for example, Dogen's day. Things in the "Golden Age" were not so golden as we romanticize. Most monks back then were half-educated (even in Buddhism), semi-literate (or what passed for literacy in those times), superstition driven, narrow folks who may have understood less about the traditions and teachings they were following ... their history and meaning and depth ... than we now know. The conditions for practice within old temples and monasteries might have been less than ideal, many teachers less than ideal, despite our idealization of the old timers. Studying Sutras by smoky oil lamp, living one's days out in Japan or Tibet while having no real information grasp on China and India and the customs of prior centuries, living in a world of rumor and magic and misunderstanding (in which all kinds of myths and stories and superstitions were taken as explanations for how the world works), unable to access a modern Buddhist library, or to "Google" a reliable source to check some point, or to ask a real expert outside one's limited circle, being beholden to only one teacher at a time (no matter how poor a teacher), with no knowledge of the human brain and some very important discoveries of science ... and after all that effort ... getting sick and dying at the age of 40 from some ordinary fever. (Can you even imagine trying to listen to Dogen Zenji recite "live" a Shobogenzo teaching from way across the room ... without a modern microphone and PA system and "Youtube" to let one replay it all? I suppose many never heard a word!)

    The "Good Old Days" were not necessarily the "Good Old Days".

    In contrast, in many ways, the average lay person practicing today has very many better circumstances for practice than those monks in 13th century Eihei-ji. For that reason, it is time to re-evaluate the place and power of lay practice.

    Now, we need the monastic way ... and we need the "in the world way" ... supporting each other.
    Cook from p 87

    Hixon from p 85

  2. #2

    Re: 10/1 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Nagarjuna

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    .
    Does the "wish fulfilling jewel" exist or not exist, not both or neither (also our mental categories), and is there even a jewel? Pierce this in one's bones, and all wishes are instantly fulfilled!

    Is this fantastic tale of serpents and jewels "true" or "not true", not both or neither? Pierce this, and Truth bites you right on the butt!

    Can one run far into the most distant desert or a lonely island or peaceful monastery and never have "left home"? Can one "leave home" without even setting foot out one's front door?

    In the past, one had to run to a monastery, as Keizan says, to "leave home" ... finding companions and teachers and a place to practice. Thus, Keizan says to find a monastery. However, is that so true in our day and age ... and, perhaps, do "householding lay folks" have much today that was only available in the monasteries of old? I wrote this week to some friends ...

    For most of its history, lay practice has taken a back seat to the "real spiritual action" said to happen only among the ordained Sangha, usually behind monastery walls. However, this no longer need be the case.

    I in no way intend to deny the beauty and power of the monastic path for those called that way. There are depths and lessons to be encountered and awakened to and lived in that simple life, in the silence, in the sincere effort and routine. So much of that may not be easily perceived in the noise and distraction of an "in the world" practice. (Although, if we try perhaps, much of the same still can be encountered "out in the world" with a bit of diligence and attention to day-to-day life). I do not in any way intend to discount the importance of monastic practice.

    However, there is also a beauty and power in paths of practice outside monastery walls that may be unavailable to those within the walls, with lay practice having depths and opportunities for awakening all its own. There are aspects of an "in the world" practice that are denied to those following a the monastic way. There are depths and lessons of practice that can be encountered and awakened to only out in the city streets, in our work places, families, raising kids. Where is the Dharma not present?

    Lay practice now is not the same as lay practice has been in centuries past.

    One vital reason for monasteries and the like ... from the earliest days of Buddhism ... was an absence of other chances for communication with teachers and fellow practitioners, and a lack of other means to encounter "live teachings". In other words, wandering ascetics walking hither and thither in the Buddha's time needed to gather during the rainy seasons to "touch base" and reconnect with the group after being on their own for weeks and months. In the middle ages in China and Japan, one could not easily encounter a Buddhist teacher, teachings and opportunities to practice without going to live full time in a monastery. This is just no longer the case. Members of our Sangha, for example, can have 24 hour contact, using modern means of communication, with teachers, teachings, sittings, robe sewing, Sutra and Text study, sharing with fellow practitioners times of sickness and health and smiles and tears, Samu, spiritual friendships, "sharp stones banging into each other" ... much of which, until the current times, was denied to people outside monastery walls.

    In some important ways, sincere lay practitioners today may enjoy better surrounding circumstances for practice than did the average monk in, for example, Dogen's day. Things in the "Golden Age" were not so golden as we romanticize. Most monks back then were half-educated (even in Buddhism), semi-literate (or what passed for literacy in those times), superstition driven, narrow folks who may have understood less about the traditions and teachings they were following ... their history and meaning and depth ... than we now know. The conditions for practice within old temples and monasteries might have been less than ideal, many teachers less than ideal, despite our idealization of the old timers. Studying Sutras by smoky oil lamp, living one's days out in Japan or Tibet while having no real information grasp on China and India and the customs of prior centuries, living in a world of rumor and magic and misunderstanding (in which all kinds of myths and stories and superstitions were taken as explanations for how the world works), unable to access a modern Buddhist library, or to "Google" a reliable source to check some point, or to ask a real expert outside one's limited circle, being beholden to only one teacher at a time (no matter how poor a teacher), with no knowledge of the human brain and some very important discoveries of science ... and after all that effort ... getting sick and dying at the age of 40 from some ordinary fever. (Can you even imagine trying to listen to Dogen Zenji recite "live" a Shobogenzo teaching from way across the room ... without a modern microphone and PA system and "Youtube" to let one replay it all? I suppose many never heard a word!)

    The "Good Old Days" were not necessarily the "Good Old Days".

    In contrast, in many ways, the average lay person practicing today has very many better circumstances for practice than those monks in 13th century Eihei-ji. For that reason, it is time to re-evaluate the place and power of lay practice.

    Now, we need the monastic way ... and we need the "in the world way" ... supporting each other.
    Cook from p 87

    Hixon from p 85

    WOW! How lucky are we to be Zen Practioners in this era of our evolution? How truly great is the work of Dogen? How valuable the Treeleaf Jewel? Gassho zak

  3. #3

    Re: 10/1 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Nagarjuna

    Couldn't we just say "Forget about Words" and we're done ? Just taking the Gem, the Mind, Life, the Nameless as is. I dont know.
    Gassho
    Peter

  4. #4

    Re: 10/1 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Nagarjuna

    When Kapimala spoke to Nagarjuna, of the wish fulfilling gem, it was to point him to undefiled original mind. The mind with everyone at birth. When "I - less" eyes look, original mind fulfills the wish. What great skillful means of pointing by Kapimala. Gassho zak

  5. #5

    Re: 10/1 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Nagarjuna

    I agree with Jundo, today lay practice has the immense advantage of having access to numerous teachings (just take the treeleaf recommended book list for example), or all the videos from Jundo and Taigu, this is a BIG advantage. And its also true that todays "daily life" is much more fast, distracting, everybody (who is selling something) is fighting for our attention, trying to raise desires in us.

    But what is home leaving ... I'll ask that to my non thinking mind for a while.

  6. #6

    Re: 10/1 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Nagarjuna

    Were Keizan alive and I in possession of a stick I would promptly give him a solid WHACK on the head. I understand the motive, allow the tradition to prosper, water the blossom so it flourishes, had he not been so, we may not be here discussing him today.

    But really? "Demons and Animals"?

    Truly if one wanders away with no guidance, it is easy to fall off track. Just as well, leaving suffering to try to escape it is like trying to leave one's shadow. It only works until the sun comes up once again.

    Let jewels be jewels, people be people. You could never make them more valuable. I think, however, sometimes the rusty nail that finds its way into our foot is a great deal more precious than that shiny stone we hold onto (unless we lose it that is). Let that piercing be your teacher!

    From a guy who stuck his had in very hot water and managed to laugh it off, what an idiot I can be :P

    Taylor

  7. #7

    Re: 10/1 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Nagarjuna

    This gem has no form, nor is it formless, it is not even a gem.
    Emptiness = interdependence. The gem is filled with the cosmos, “not gem” items make up the gem. Experience oneness, the gem disappears, and “the insubstantial universe appears coherently as insubstantial brightness of Wonderful Mind.”

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    n the past, one had to run to a monastery, as Keizan says, to "leave home" ... finding companions and teachers and a place to practice. Thus, Keizan says to find a monastery. However, is that so true in our day and age ... and, perhaps, do "householding lay folks" have much today that was only available in the monasteries of old?
    Buddhist have been quite generous in sharing knowledge on the internet. Google a topic and countless sites pop up. Now smart phones offer internet anywhere/anytime. I believe it is changing our thinking because information is so accessible. I find myself when writing on a topic and stuck I will Google just to see what pops up…sometimes stimulating a new thought and breaking through an impasse. Digital technology does have downsides, if one is prone to distraction or does not know how to judge the credibility of info then such technology may prove to be a problem.

    Gassho,
    BrianW/Jisen

  8. #8

    Re: 10/1 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Nagarjuna

    Hiyas, very good matter raised here, as some one who has left home, while keeping a home (family, house, job etc) I found some stinging truth for myself here

    Nagarjuna ultimately learns, though he has left home he was still lugging the house he built. Seeing Kapimala at ease in his humble home, beaconing him, showing him the true jewel, Ngarjuna lets go of the the mani- jewel's formless form, realizes and finally leave home completely.

    Hixon pg.86, 87
    We should remain instead in or near the monastery, the ceremonial context, close to our teacher,whether lay or monastic, struggling in community or communion to awaken to the source of all wisdom teaching.
    There is no isolated self realization.

    Plenty more I would quote!!

    Gassho
    Shohei

  9. #9
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    East Texas
    Posts
    1,241

    Re: 10/1 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Nagarjuna

    Apparently, in buddhist math a triple negative (not form, not empty, not a gem) is a positive. OOPS, no, wait, it's neither a negative, nor a positive, nor neither of the not-two :lol:

    I really liked this from Hixon:
    Awakening is like removing our focus from the fingers and placing our attention fully in the palm. The fingers are the various wisdom traditions, including Buddhism. The fingers are personal and communal identity. These fingers still remain harmoniously functional, but the new orientation in the palm is unique.
    And this from Keizan (moving some quotes around):
    People think that being around others and being involved in various activities prevents them from becoming tranquil, so they want to live alone in mountain forests and do zazen, practicing the Way quietly.... [But] our founder Eiehei Dogen has admonished us against living alone.... [And] none of the masters of recent times has enjoyed solitary living. [So] if you live in mountains and valleys while neglecting to practice what should be practiced and not reaching what should be reached, you will be like monkeys. You could not be more lacking in the MInd of the Way.
    So what about those guys in the movie Amongst White Clouds? I wonder.

  10. #10
    Treeleaf Unsui Kyrillos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Montgomery Illinois USA
    Posts
    513

    Re: 10/1 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Nagarjuna

    Yeah Alanla, what about those guys in the Chinese mountains, or for that matter those guys in their houses in the rural villages of Illinois??? AS I said in the thread about "Amongst White Clouds", I was happy to hear (again) that teaching of the Buudha of "different illnesses, different medicines". It does not have to be the same for everyone, nor should it be. I don't know what is going on in the hermitages elsewhere, or over at this monastery, or that home where practice is observed, nor should I care, and certainly nor should I judge. In my hermitage I do my own laundry, sometimes bashing my old clothes on the rocks strenuously attempting to exhaust the ignorance out of them. Sometimes I have to apply the caustic of lye and bleach on stubborn stains, and sometimes I just let the cold clear water rush through the cloth to loosen the soil. Whatever it takes!

    What I am seeing in the stories of the Patriarchs are stories of all of us; places from where we all come from before we are able to see our Original Nature, or understand the Jewel for what it is. The Patriarchs are presented to us lineally but perhaps they can also be seen as the multidirectional petals of the crysanthemum radiating from the center they all share - Buddha; and so equally important yet the same for the entire flower to exist.

    Gassho,

    Seishin Kyrill

  11. #11
    Senior Member Hogo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    LaCenter, WA.
    Posts
    483

    Re: 10/1 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Nagarjuna

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa
    I really liked this from Hixon:

    Awakening is like removing our focus from the fingers and placing our attention fully in the palm. The fingers are the various wisdom traditions, including Buddhism. The fingers are personal and communal identity. These fingers still remain harmoniously functional, but the new orientation in the palm is unique.
    This was also I think my favorite part of this reading, as a little bell went off at this point.
    I paused for a bit and looked at my hand thinking of all the paths I have recently taken in life in the pursuit of wisdom and happiness.
    I always seem to end back where I started. Hmmm...
    Gassho ~ Dave.

  12. #12

    Re: 10/1 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Nagarjuna

    Keizan or I seem to have gotten way off track on this one.
    Something must have been in our eyebrows.

    I like this from Hixon, bent to my own understanding:

    The truth is not a doctrine, home, personal or communal identity, or
    agenda. I like that quite a bit.

Similar Threads

  1. 3/18 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Yun-yen
    By Fugen in forum "BEYOND WORDS & LETTERS" BOOK CLUB
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 05-02-2011, 01:53 AM
  2. 3/4 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Shitou
    By Jundo in forum "BEYOND WORDS & LETTERS" BOOK CLUB
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 03-25-2011, 09:50 AM
  3. 2/26 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Qingyuan
    By Jundo in forum "BEYOND WORDS & LETTERS" BOOK CLUB
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 03-15-2011, 05:06 PM
  4. 1/14 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Hui-K'o
    By Jundo in forum "BEYOND WORDS & LETTERS" BOOK CLUB
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 03-14-2011, 03:35 AM
  5. The transmission of the light: we need you...
    By Taigu in forum TREELEAF COMMUNITY: Topics about Zazen, Zen, Buddhism & MORE ZAZEN!
    Replies: 21
    Last Post: 08-28-2010, 08:41 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •