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Thread: 3/25 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Dongshan

  1. #1

    3/25 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Dongshan

    Dongshan is considered the root of the 'Soto' line of Zen. In fact, his name gives us the Chinese Character "to" in "Soto".

    Now, a key into this thorny maze might be found near the end of Master Keizan's talk (the bottom of pg. 197 in Cook). How do the insentient and the sentient preach the Dharma, and how can the preaching of the insentient be heard? (Let me paraphrase a bit.) "Within us, when the divisions of ordinary and sacred do not arise or cease in the least way ... nor thoughts of sentient or insentient ... there is heard a subtle consciousness that sweeps away being or nonbeing, and is keenly aware." ... then all things accord with true reality, all things sentient and insentient preach the Dharma.

    Hixon takes up this same theme and the opening Koan, perhaps in a way that makes it clearer than the presentation of Master Keizan in Cook.

    Perhaps, when we stop listening with merely the 'ears', we can begin to hear the nonsentient preaching of the Dharma.

    And ... on the part about his mother! Well, what can I say beyond that it was a different time with different standards. In those days, "homeleaving" meant just that, and cutting off ties to society and home was so much valued. Mom even thanked him for letting her die of a broken heart .... or so he dreamed (was it just his guilty conscious?). Perhaps his seeming coldness was actually a beautiful sacrifice on his part, and a gift to his mother. That's what Keizan seems to say.

    On the other hand though, perhaps Dongshan was so wise about some things, but still a jerk as a son?! He would not be the first brilliant Zen teacher to make some stupid, selfish choices in one part of his/her life (see several recent examples). Frankly, seems Dongshan was pretty "heartless", no matter his subtle understanding of the "Heart Sutra". He could hear the "sentient beings" preaching the Dharma, but not the cries of his own mother!

    Cook from 193
    Hixon from 179

    Gassho, J

  2. #2

    Re: 3/25 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Dongshan

    The idea of all creatures teaching the dharma has only started to make my neurons work. I've been thinking a lot about Dogen's sentence
    That the self advances to the ten thousand things and confirmed them is called delusion.
    That the ten thousand things advance and confirm the self is called awakening
    Before, I tended to view zen practice as a way to advance the self, but while reading "realizing Genjokoan" by Shokaku Okumura,little by little I' m turning towards this dharma of the ten thousand things.

    Any further references, ideas, practices and whatever that you can drop here to help Rimon to continue this quest are more than welcome

    Gassho

    Rimon

  3. #3

    Re: 3/25 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Dongshan

    Rimon,
    as you might remember from Genjo-Koan, Dogen say something similar:

    "Driving ourself to practice and experience the myriad dharmas is delusion. When the myriad dharmas actively practice and experience ourselves, that is the state of realization" (Nishijima/Cross translation)

    "To carry yourself forward and experience myriad things is delusion. That myriad things come forth an experience themselves is awakening" (Tanahashi translation)

    I'm sure Okumura has a another wording which might help

    _()_
    Peter

  4. #4

    Re: 3/25 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Dongshan

    Thanks a lot for your comments, Peter. Finding the right wording helps me a lot in my practice.
    I tended to view meditation as equivalent to keep deep focus on something, but as I continue my practice and my readings, I realize that deep focus by itself doesn't take you anywhere. It is just another way of trying to push yourself towards the four thousand things.
    Now I try to view my practice the way Jundo stated: moving towards the goal, but feeling free at the same time to attain anything. That's the way, I think, the myriad things come to verify us: we are just open to the here and now without any self oriented goal to push against reality.
    Yesterday I was re-reading Dogen's "Instructions to the cook" and I saw it more clearly: if you devote to cook the meal, paying close attention to what the different vegetables are "telling you" on how they will taste best, and you forget about any goals on doing a superb dinner and impress your guests, then all the vegetables verify you.
    Of course the tricky part is telling to yourself: "Now I'm going to make a stew without any goals in mind." It is a little bit like "Now, don't think about an elephant"

    Paradoxical Gassho

    Rimon

  5. #5
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: 3/25 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Dongshan

    Syd;

    Is that how to get rid of elephants? If it is , it works because I don't see any elephants here

  6. #6
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: 3/25 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Dongshan

    Oops!!

  7. #7
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Re: 3/25 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Dongshan

    If you know that wherever you go, you go alone, then there is never a moment when all things do not accord with this true reality.Cook p198.
    A great quote.... somewhere there is a place that knows this truth.

    The 'nonsentient' place that isn't touched by the senses or conditions. To call it a subtle nonsentient consciousness is really powerful. That place that touches all existence, which is all existence since the beginning.... not us..nonsentient!!
    But it doesn't exist without outer form, the conditioned, the relative..us and our world.

    I am thinking now of Jinyu's old man walking. How wonderful!

  8. #8

    Re: 3/25 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Dongshan

    Quote Originally Posted by Shokai
    Oops!!
    See what I mean? Elephants always return! :lol:

  9. #9

    Re: 3/25 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Dongshan

    Hiyas
    The heart of this understanding is not only spoken or heard - though Dongshan longed to grasp it.
    From our past masters we learn the lesson that is often repeated many times for all, that the "answer" and the teaching are time sensitive
    Ripening through all inclusive practice (though even saying all inclusive is dangerous as it implies there may be something other than this or something that could be excluded or is not included) the moment was right for Dongshan's ear to be opened by the very ordinary words, to the very extraordinary "ordinary"

    Gassho
    Shohei

  10. #10

    Re: 3/25 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Dongshan

    Without intending to abuse your extreme kindness, I would like to be a parrot for a minute and repeat a couple of my favorite sentences. This text impressed me so profoundly that I cannot stop repeating the sentences to myself. So now, I would like to blow into the wind a little bit.

    From Hixon's:

    "The proclamation of nonduality by all phenomena occurs simply through phenomena appearing as phenomena."

    "All phenomena are awakened sages who have put down their burdens by realizing that no burdens were ever put upon them in the first place."

    "Yet what appears to us as earthly nature is Buddha nature as well."

    "This is not only our life but the life of the entire Universe."

    "Just this! Just this!."

    "Why seek Mind
    somewhere else?
    Wandering freely, I meet
    my own true nature everywhere,
    through all phenomena.
    I cannot become it,
    for its already me.
    "

    ......

    From Cleary's:

    "Words will never explain to you."

    "Just this is it."

    "Don't seek from others
    Or you'll be estranged from yourself.
    I now go on alone -
    Everywhere I encounter It.
    It now is me, I now am not It.
    One must understand in this way
    To merge with being as is."

    "If you know that wherever you are you go on alone, you will never be apart from being as is."

    "Don't make the mistake of understanding it as like fences or walls."

    "If you try to grasp this, you cannot get it...If you try to get rid of it, you cannot separate from it; because it is forever with you."

    "Rushing, hurrying, dying here, being born there, eating when hungry, sleeping when tired - all is 'teaching'...Therefore everything is always teaching, clearly, unceasingly."

    Thank you very much for patience.

    Sunyata

  11. #11

    Re: 3/25 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Dongshan

    Quote Originally Posted by Shokai
    Oops!!
    OUCH!!! I elephant just stepped on my foo.

    Did any you lost an elephant?

    Or has this beast been inside my mind all along?

    ;D

    Sunyata

  12. #12
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: 3/25 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Dongshan

    I certainly hope it didn't hurt your foo.

  13. #13
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: 3/25 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Dongshan

    This chapter reminded me that everything we encounter is our teacher. The problem is that us students aren't always listening to our teachers. Like regular students, we get distracted; there's a lot more going on in our lives than school, so sometimes it's hard to pay attention. Also, sometimes we don't get the lesson until well after the test, resulting in OOOPS and AHA at the same time.

    Zen gets a bad rap sometimes, and maybe deservedly so, because monks say things like how they are training to be like a rock, which seems so cold and heartless... to say nothing of leaving your mother to die locked outside in the cold! But the subtlety in such statements gets lost in our dualistic thinking. A rock (or walls or roof tiles, etc.) is just one teacher among many, many of them quite warm sentient beings.

    Finally, what really jumped out at me in this chapter was how the message was there is nothing to seek because you are already whole, because I just finally figured that out and posted about it in the "What makes you whole?" thread. Good timing!

  14. #14

    Re: 3/25 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Dongshan

    Just what is this teaching of "non-attachment"? Gassho Shogen

  15. #15

    Re: 3/25 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Dongshan

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Now, a key into this thorny maze might be found near the end of Master Keizan's talk (the bottom of pg. 197 in Cook). How do the insentient and the sentient preach the Dharma, and how can the preaching of the insentient be heard? (Let me paraphrase a bit.) "Within us, when the divisions of ordinary and sacred do not arise or cease in the least way ... nor thoughts of sentient or insentient ... there is heard a subtle consciousness that sweeps away being or nonbeing, and is keenly aware." ... then all things accord with true reality, all things sentient and insentient preach the Dharma.
    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa
    This chapter reminded me that everything we encounter is our teacher. The problem is that us students aren't always listening to our teachers. Like regular students, we get distracted; there's a lot more going on in our lives than school, so sometimes it's hard to pay attention. Also, sometimes we don't get the lesson until well after the test, resulting in OOOPS and AHA at the same time.
    So how can we hear this preaching? The problem is that we tend to habituate to what is going on around us. In short, we cease to pay attention. Could it be as simple as just paying attention?

    Gassho,
    Jisen/BrianW

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