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Thread: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

  1. #1

    Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

    This is likely very flawed, but is the best way I can think to describe my point at the end of the Zen and God thread:


    The principal of Non-Duality is like this: A bar magnet is a single magnet. This is the original nature, the source, reality, at-one-ment, suchness. But to say there is no negative or positive force is foolish. We know this to be true. Such is the way with right and wrong, good and evil, God and Mara, etc. All One, all the same suchness, yet there are polarities to all of existence. Note the lines of magnetic force and the symbol they resemble.




    The continual circle, which may have points in opposition along it’s continual surface is the same. All one, all the same, nothing to add or take away, all suchness. Yet standing on one point of the circle polarizes the opposing point.





    And yet still, they are One. Co-existent, unable to be removed from one another without the cessation of existence of them both. Not Two, Not One. It is so much MORE than One, but never many, never divided, never Two.

  2. #2

    Re: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

    My understanding of non-duality is no doubt flawed as well - but the way I understand it is that we can only apprehend non-duality through a 'lucid' appreciation of duality. (I am trying to grasp this after reading Hee-Jin Kim).

    The above book (Eihei Dogen - Mystical Realist) has made me realise that I can't just make up my own version of Zen as I'm going along. I've been taking on terms like 'suchness', 'thusness' etc without really understanding where those terms come from. Dogen was working with/and against a whole backdrop of historical tradition, etc and I really feel I need to understand this backdrop a bit more.

    The difficulty I'm having is that sitting zazen seems so 'pure' - but the thought behind it (the history/tradition) is highly intellectual (there's no escaping this) - and finding a balance is hard.

    The reason I'm writing this here is because I don't actually know/understand how the dichotomy between good and evil is conceptualized within Zen - but there's bound to be a whole lot of complexitity of thought behind what might seem like a simple answer :roll:

    .... and whatever comes to me through sitting - it mightn't be Zen at all - and I'm a bit concerned that I'm just borrowing zen words to somehow clothe my experience - and will that lead to inauthentic practice :?

    Gassho

    Willow

  3. #3

    Re: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

    Just remember that in the same way that "enlightenment" transcends our understanding the current concept of the good and evil dichotomy that you hold may not be the original understanding of the concept. Perhaps the reason the backdrop is intellectual is that all things begin with the one continual ever progressing and unquantifiable Mind. The first words of the Kybalion are "all is mental, all exists in Mind" where else could we start?

  4. #4

    Re: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

    The mind naturally sees things in dualities. That is what it does. You and other. Night and day. Enlightenment and delusion. Birth and Death. Although intellectually we can understand the idea that all is talking about the same thing, yet still our minds don't quite believe it. Or better still, doesn't quite get it.

    Non-duality cannot be understood by the mind. And it doesn't need to be. It has to be experienced. It has to be understood from a whole new place. Place of no mind. No self. No no self, and no no mind.


    Just sitting, allowing all to be just as it is without any interferences, you will taste for yourself what noon duality is.

    More thoughts from deluded little ol'me

  5. #5
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

    Duality is not so natural, actually.

    Chet

  6. #6

    Re: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

    Thank you seiryu and chet. Don't. Know natural. Or not. As far as dualism.

    Willow, suchness doesn't. Really care about zen thinking so your practice of just sitting is always authentic.

  7. #7

    Re: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Seiryu

    Just sitting, allowing all to be just as it is without any interferences, you will taste for yourself what non duality is.

    More thoughts from deluded little ol'me

    Hi Willow. I often have the same thoughts/worries. We should both listen to Seiryu here.

    Gassho,
    Alan

  8. #8

    Re: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

    No matter where you stand on the Circle, there always appears to be a completely opposite point. This is duality. This is often still true even once you've walked around to that once opposite point, and are looking accross at the place you began. Realising that this is what you've done, that you never left the path and that all extremes are really just different views of the same beginningless and endless Circle, this is non duality.

  9. #9
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnsonCM
    No matter where you stand on the Circle, there always appears to be a completely opposite point. This is duality. This is often still true even once you've walked around to that once opposite point, and are looking accross at the place you began. Realising that this is what you've done, that you never left the path and that all extremes are really just different views of the same beginningless and endless Circle, this is non duality.
    Why are we talking about hypothetical circles in regards to reality? All useful talk about reality is broken-but-acknowledges-it's-brokenness. It's talk that tries to wrap it all up it a neat little package with a bow on top that is suspect, IMHO.

    Is it rainy or sunny where you live?

    Chet

  10. #10

    Re: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

    Just live doing good ... seeking a way beneficial and healthful to self and others (not two, by the way)

    Just live avoiding evil ... seeking not to harm self or others (not two, by the way)

    Do one's best in the endless grey situations life presents, where some harm cannot be avoided despite a great good.

    All the while, cast off all thought of doing good or doing evils, drop away Karmic results, forget all seeking (for the mountain does not think the cold wind evil) ...

    ... nonetheless do one's best!

    Is that so hard? It ain't rocket science.

    I do not know if that is God's way, or Karma's way or Mankind's way or carved into the very fabric of the universe way ...

    ... but it tends to make a good, balanced, peaceful life-world-self for your self and those around you (not two, by the way).

    Dogen wrote (in Shobogenzo Shoaku Makusa .. Not Doing Evils) ...


    Ancient buddhas say:

    Not doing evils,
    devoutly practicing every good,
    purifying one's own mind:
    this is the teachings of all buddhas.

    ...

    In the above quotation the term "evils" refers to [what is called] morally evil among the categories of morally good, morally evil, and morally undefined. Its moral nature, however, is uncreated. The natures of morally good and morally undefined likewise are uncreated. They are untainted, they are the real aspects, which is to say that these three categories of moral nature encompass manifold varieties of dharmas ...

    ...

    It is not that evils do not exist, but that there is only "not doing." It is not that evils do exist, but that there is only "not doing." Evils are not emptiness; it is "not doing." Evils are not form; it is "not doing." Evils are not "not doing," for there is only "not doing." For example, spring pines are neither non-existent nor existent; they just are not done. Autumn chrysanthemums are neither existent nor are they non-existent; they just are not done. The buddhas are neither existent nor non-existent; they are "not doing." Pillars, lamps, candles, whisks, staffs, and so forth, are neither existent nor non-existent; they are "not doing." One's own self is neither existent nor non-existent; it is "not doing."

    ...

    Because this is so, to act on the assumption that "if [evil already] is 'not doing,' then I can just do as I please" would be exactly as [mistaken as] walking north while expecting to arrive in [the south].

    ...

    Every good is not existent, is not non-existent, is not form, is not emptiness, nor anything else; it only is devoutly practicing. Wherever it fully appears, whenever it fully appears, it must be devoutly practicing. In this devoutly practicing, every good will certainly fully appear. The full appearance of devoutly practicing is itself the kôan, but it is not production and destruction, it is not casual conditions.

    The same is true regarding the entering, abiding, and departing of devoutly practicing. Devoutly practicing even one good among the every good causes the entirety of dharmas, the whole body, and reality itself to devoutly practice together.

    http://scbs.stanford.edu/sztp3/translat ... ation.html
    Gassho, J

  11. #11

    Re: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

    Hello,

    yet again a very interesting thread...however as I stumble over the word God a lot here on the forum these days, I am kind of a bit surprised to be honest. Almost all my old time Pagan friends had a long period of dealing with their theist baggage before making a conscious move towards a different mindset and practise...and after that period of really coming to terms with their personal baggage "God", I hardly ever heard anyone mention God in relation to their own religious practise anymore - only in terms of religious history.

    I am just surprised that God comes up this much here at all to be honest....nothign wrong with that let me add...just a bit odd from my POV.


    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen

  12. #12

    Re: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

    Why are we talking about hypothetical circles in regards to reality? All useful talk about reality is broken-but-acknowledges-it's-brokenness. It's talk that tries to wrap it all up it a neat little package with a bow on top that is suspect, IMHO.

    Is it rainy or sunny where you live?

    Chet
    Chet gives us this as a teaching. In truth, there is great wisdom in what he says. But we talk about hypothetical circles in regards to reality for the same reason we talk of imaginary Buddhas and non-existant Dharmas. Didn’t the Buddha himself say in the Diamond Sutra, “For this is the teaching of all Buddhas and all Dharmas, but just as the Tathagatta says these words, he must recall them, for there are no Buddhas and no Dharmas in existence.”? All useful talk about reality is broken, true, but for all that – it is no less imperative that we talk about it anyway. And yes, my circle talk is just as broken as all the rest and I admit that I have neither bow nor box to wrap it up with.

    We often say, “Zen is beyond words and syllables.” And this is true, but it doesn’t stop us from talking about it any way. These conversations, which for some reason always end up eliciting some form of the question, “Why are we talking about this anyway?” are necessary to help in opening the heart and (M)ind of the student of Zen to catch even the most fleeting glimpse of that which caused Mahakashyapa to laugh. We work to save the many beings, even though we know that beings are numberless and delusions are inexhaustible. We understand that we cannot experience enlightenment / kensho / realization / etc by talking about it, but we also know that sitting still in “Noble Silence” won’t help either. So what are we to do? Do we just sit still at our computers, never typing in a character, leaving these forums blank and all the threads with one page and titles like “…”?

    Or do we do what we can, use what tools we have, broken or incomplete thought they might be, and begin to build an understanding that will change and grow as we begin to understand?

    That’s a good question, I think. Why, when we are all perfectly aware that discourse is part of the Path of Understanding (and yes I mean whole and complete understanding, not simple intellectual ‘knowledge’), why do we seem to have an aversion to it? Why do we talk about the Way only to deride talking about the Way?

    I have said this before, and I must say it here again. Everything is sitting, but our understanding of it is key. The whole act of sitting becomes something new when we acknowledge its Original Nature. Otherwise, without this understanding, all we are really doing is flattening a cushion.

  13. #13

    Re: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

    Hello Chris,

    my two Unsui cents would suggest that it's not about acknowledging or understanding our original nature at all, instead it is about knowing it intimately -and acting from that basis. Reality/Buddha nature doesn't need to be acknowledged at all, Zazen is the Soto way of cultivating this marrow-knowing from the inside out.

    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen

  14. #14

    Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra (Thurman translation)

    Then the venerable Sariputra said to the goddess, "Goddess, how long have you been in this house?"

    The goddess replied, "I have been here as long as the elder has been in liberation."

    Sariputra said, "Then, have you been in this house for quite some time?"

    The goddess said, "Has the elder been in liberation for quite some time?"

    At that, the elder Sariputra fell silent.

    The goddess continued, "Elder, you are 'foremost of the wise!' Why do you not speak? Now, when it is your turn, you do not answer the question."

    Sariputra: Since liberation is inexpressible, goddess, I do not know what to say.

    Goddess: All the syllables pronounced by the elder have the nature of liberation. Why? Liberation is neither internal nor external, nor can it be apprehended apart from them. Likewise, syllables are neither internal nor external, nor can they be apprehended anywhere else. Therefore, reverend Sariputra, do not point to liberation by abandoning speech! Why? The holy liberation is the equality of all things!

  15. #15
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnsonCM
    Why are we talking about hypothetical circles in regards to reality? All useful talk about reality is broken-but-acknowledges-it's-brokenness. It's talk that tries to wrap it all up it a neat little package with a bow on top that is suspect, IMHO.

    Is it rainy or sunny where you live?

    Chet
    I have said this before, and I must say it here again. Everything is sitting, but our understanding of it is key. The whole act of sitting becomes something new when we acknowledge its Original Nature. Otherwise, without this understanding, all we are really doing is flattening a cushion.
    I used to think this too, but now I'm not so sure. It's not that we shouldn't say something - nor should we try out-zenning each other, nor trying to please teachers or peers.

    There was something about your analogy that seemed too neat to me, not that I'm an authority of any kind. Sometimes I talk with my friends about philosophy - but there creep in these glimpses of understanding where I realize that most of it is playful, but some of it is this....pride(?)... this luxuriating in the imagined beauty of
    my own cleverness and understanding. It's really quite embarrassing to see these glimpses - but illuminating too.

    So, I'm suspicious of 'this is like this other abstract-but-simple thing' sort of arguments.

    Chet

  16. #16

    Re: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnsonCM

    That’s a good question, I think. Why, when we are all perfectly aware that discourse is part of the Path of Understanding (and yes I mean whole and complete understanding, not simple intellectual ‘knowledge’), why do we seem to have an aversion to it? Why do we talk about the Way only to deride talking about the Way?
    Because its dangerous in the sense that the talking can lead one into a dream, a delusion, a confusion. But if the talking leads one to actually just sitting or the just sitting mind then its a wonderful thing.

    There were times when some zen masters felt that talking was so dangerous that when asked a question they would only do something like hold up one finger or hit the ground.

    The will to the truth is the same action as just sitting. (don't know where this came from but it sounds like good speech :lol: )

  17. #17

    Re: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich
    There were times when some zen masters felt that talking was so dangerous that when asked a question they would only do something like hold up one finger or hit the ground.
    Sounds like a reasonable approach to me ...
    _()_
    Myoku

  18. #18

    Re: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich
    There were times when some zen masters felt that talking was so dangerous that when asked a question they would only do something like hold up one finger or hit the ground.
    Yes, we can talk and philosophize about these subjects ... whether God is 1 or 6 or 1/2 or none or all of those. Is God purple or red or is God all colors? Does God have a nose, and does He scratch it when it itches?

    But notice that God or Gods ... if there is/are a God(s) ... has not posted a comment.

    Or, maybe God has ... through all of us! 8)

    Or, maybe God (if God talks) talks in a language hard to hear.

    Or, maybe silence is the best description of God!

    Or, maybe silence is the best description of Silence!

    Or hitting the ground, holding up a finger or yelling MU! or KWATZ!!

    Or all of the above, and none of those, at once.

    So ... just chop wood, fetch water. If there is a God, perhaps She made you, the wood and water simply for that.

    Whatever the case ... stand silent ... yell KWATZ! ... scratch your nose ... chop wood.

    Gassho, Jundo

  19. #19

    Re: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

    Brains are stupid; the mind lies. How are my little gray cells supposed to comprehend the true nature of the universe when it refuses to believe that these two coffee tables are the same size? http://www.michaelbach.de/ot/sze_shepardTables/ It's fun to exercise the little guys, and to dream up all sorts of grand delusions (I make my living that way ... occasionally), but I wouldn't trust my head jelly to tell me the truth about anything. For that I'll turn to my ass.

  20. #20

    Re: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Dogen wrote (in Shobogenzo Shoaku Makusa .. Not Doing Evils) ...
    Y

    ...

    It is not that evils do not exist, but that there is only "not doing." It is not that evils do exist, but that there is only "not doing." Evils are not emptiness; it is "not doing." Evils are not form; it is "not doing." Evils are not "not doing," for there is only "not doing." For example, spring pines are neither non-existent nor existent; they just are not done. Autumn chrysanthemums are neither existent nor are they non-existent; they just are not done. The buddhas are neither existent nor non-existent; they are "not doing." Pillars, lamps, candles, whisks, staffs, and so forth, are neither existent nor non-existent; they are "not doing." One's own self is neither existent nor non-existent; it is "not doing."

    ...



    http://scbs.stanford.edu/sztp3/translat ... ation.html
    Gassho, J
    Jundo, I don't even have a glimmer of understanding on this. Could you try saying it differently? Grassho, Grace.

  21. #21

    Re: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Seiryu
    Non-duality cannot be understood by the mind. And it doesn't need to be. It has to be experienced. It has to be understood from a whole new place. Place of no mind. No self. No no self, and no no mind.
    I came across this passage from the Malunkyaputta Sutta:

    "Then, Malunkyaputta, with regard to phenomena to be seen, heard, sensed, or cognized: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself. When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Malunkyaputta, there is no you in connection with that. When there is no you in connection with that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress."

  22. #22

    Re: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Graceleejenkins
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Dogen wrote (in Shobogenzo Shoaku Makusa .. Not Doing Evils) ...
    It is not that evils do not exist, but that there is only "not doing." It is not that evils do exist, but that there is only "not doing." Evils are not emptiness; it is "not doing." Evils are not form; it is "not doing." Evils are not "not doing," for there is only "not doing." For example, spring pines are neither non-existent nor existent; they just are not done. Autumn chrysanthemums are neither existent nor are they non-existent; they just are not done. The buddhas are neither existent nor non-existent; they are "not doing." Pillars, lamps, candles, whisks, staffs, and so forth, are neither existent nor non-existent; they are "not doing." One's own self is neither existent nor non-existent; it is "not doing."
    Jundo, I don't even have a glimmer of understanding on this. Could you try saying it differently? Grassho, Grace.
    Hmmmm. I will try.

    There's this wondrous Wholeness ("Emptiness") in which there are no separate "things" to be done, nothing lacking and in need of doing, no separate "people" to be doing things, i.e., Emptiness is a great "Not Doing" (even though Emptiness is, by a simultaneously true perspective, also this world of things to do, good and bad, and people to do them!). So, Dogen is playing on both Emptiness as a great "Not Doing" and playing on the phrase "Don't do bad (evil)". Got the pun?

    So, he is saying something like "oh, sure there are evil actions in this world, but ultimately all is the "Not Doing" (Emptiness). On the other hand (another simultaneously true perspective), there is no evil in Emptiness ... and it is all the "Not Doing" too. In whatever case, it is all Emptiness, the "Not Doing". Flowers and trees are also beyond either existence or non-existence (they exist, but then again, not really) ... and are all Emptiness, the "Not Doing". Same with Buddhas, candles, stones, ... and Grace ... all there but not there ... all the "Not Doing"! God or no God ... still, all the "Not Doing". 8)

    Even forget about words and labels like "form vs. emptiness" ... and just throw yourself in the great "Not Doing"

    Do you get a bit of Dogen's word play here? (Or is "nothing doing" with my explanation? :wink: )

    Gassho, J

    PS - Dearest Grace, even being with a loved one in hospice is the Great "Not Doing". :?

  23. #23

    Re: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Porpoise
    I came across this passage from the Malunkyaputta Sutta:

    "Then, Malunkyaputta, with regard to phenomena to be seen, heard, sensed, or cognized: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself. When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Malunkyaputta, there is no you in connection with that. When there is no you in connection with that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress."
    Thank you, a nice passage with a South Asian Buddhist "Theravadan" feel. Not quite the emphasis on "Emptiness" of the Mahayana, such as Dogen above, but a lovely way to express "non self" too. Perhaps it might be interpreted as something like ... if what is seen is just seen, without thought of seen or seer, subject or object, or mental judgments and categorizations about what is being seen ... then the "you" is out of a job.

    In Emptiness too there is no separate seen or seer, judgments and categorizations ... and the "you" is out of a job.

    So, not so different really.

    Gassho, J

  24. #24

    Re: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo

    Hmmmm. I will try.

    There's this wondrous Wholeness ("Emptiness") in which there are no separate "things" to be done, nothing lacking and in need of doing, no separate "people" to be doing things, i.e., Emptiness is a great "Not Doing" (even though Emptiness is, by a simultaneously true perspective, also this world of things to do, good and bad, and people to do them!). So, Dogen is playing on both Emptiness as a great "Not Doing" and playing on the phrase "Don't do bad (evil)". Got the pun?

    So, he is saying something like "oh, sure there is evil actions in this world, but ultimately it is all the "Not Doing" (Emptiness). On the other hand (another simultaneously true perspective), there is no evil in Emptiness ... and it is all the "Not Doing". In whatever case, it is all Emptiness, the "Not Doing". Flowers and trees are also beyond either existence or non-existence (they exist, but then again, not really) ... and are all Emptiness, the "Not Doing". Same with Buddhas, candles, stones, ... and Grace ... all there but not there ... all the "Not Doing"! God or no God ... still, all the "Not Doing". 8)

    Even forget about words and labels like "form vs. emptiness" ... and just throw yourself in the great "Not Doing"

    Do you get a bit of Dogen's word play here? (Or is "nothing doing" with my explanation? :wink: )

    Gassho, J

    PS - Dearest Grace, even being with a loved one in hospice is the Great "Not Doing". :?

    Ahh--I missed the pun.

  25. #25

    Re: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo

    Thank you, a nice passage with a South Asian Buddhist "Theravadan" feel. Not quite the emphasis on "Emptiness" of the Mahayana, such as Dogen above, but a lovely way to express "non self" too. Perhaps it might be interpreted as something like ... if what is seen is just seen, without thought of seen or seer, subject or object, or mental judgments and categorizations about what is being seen ... then the "you" is out of a job.

    In Emptiness too there is no separate seen or seer, judgments and categorizations ... and the "you" is out of a job.

    So, not so different really.

    Gassho, J
    I've been rereading Genjokoan again and I've been struck several times by the way Dogen re(visions) the Heart Sutra: it's almost as though he's tipping his hat at the Theravada tradition a little. Without going into too much detail, when the Heart Sutra says, "form is emptiness, emptiness nothing but form" we all know that Dogen famously writes "Form is nothing but form, emptiness nothing but emptiness." He does this in order to kind of kill the language of duality occurring in The Heart Sutra. What's more interesting to me is this: whereas the Heart Sutra focuses on the idea of emptiness heavily, saying essentially that the five aggregates, because there are empty, don't exist: "no form, no sensation, no perception, no formation, no consciousness," it's almost as though Dogen wants to save us from a mistaken understanding when he refers to the five aggregates as instances of Prajna Paramita: "The twelve sense fields are instances of Prajna Paramita Also there are eighteen instances of prajna: eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind " etc..." In any case, this is striking to me because while the Heart Sutra focuses on emptiness, Dogen basically is suggesting that just because the five aggregates are empty doesn't mean that they don't express reality; doesn't mean that we don't still live through them; doesn't mean that we can just discard them; doesn't mean that they are the hurdles to enlightenment; in fact, what I think Dogen is getting at is that these aggregates are expressions of impermanence and no-self, which is reality. In this way, while still focusing on the Mahayana idea of emptiness, I feel as though Dogen tips his hat to the Theravada tradition, kind of winking, saying, "Yeah, we can work with these aggregates; impossible to escape them anyway, and why." Of course, I could be way off.

    Anyway, just a ramble.

    Gassho,
    Alan

  26. #26

    Re: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

    Thank you Alan.

    I sometimes say that, for Dogen, the separate things, people and events of the world are so unreal when viewed as Emptiness, that they all come back the other way ... thus rebounding each as Real as Real can be, each a precious jewel in its own way. All is a dream perhaps ... but a dream of a dream within a dream, a dream that is just plain wonderfully dreamy! Dream On, Oh Dreamer!

    I also want to highlight what Dogen wrote in Shoaku Makusu too ...

    Because this is so, to act on the assumption that "if [evil already] is 'not doing,' then I can just do as I please" would be exactly as [mistaken as] walking north while expecting to arrive in [the south].

    ...


    Every good is not existent, is not non-existent ... it only is devoutly practicing. ... Devoutly practicing even one good among the every good causes the entirety of dharmas, the whole body, and reality itself to devoutly practice together.


    It may all be a dream in Emptiness, including good and evil just a dream. But what happens in this dream can be greatly up to us. So, even though "doing good" is a dream, and there is nothing to do ... we should devoutly practice doing good. Do good, and the whole of reality does its best too.

    Something like that.

    Whether there is a God or no God ... do Good.

    Gassho, J

  27. #27

    Re: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo

    I sometimes say that, for Dogen, the separate things, people and events of the world are so unreal when viewed as Emptiness, that they all come back the other way ... thus rebounding each as Real as Real can be, each a precious jewel in its own way.

    That's a wonderful way of saying it. So Precise. Thank you.

    Gassho,
    Alan

    (oh, and I meant to say I was re-reading Realizing Genjokoan; the specific part from Dogen was from Maka Hannya Haramitsu)

  28. #28

    Re: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

    thanks for that Alan/Jundo - I still find the heart sutra challenging to understand.

    Gassho

    Willow

  29. #29

    Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    It may all be a dream in Emptiness, including good and evil just a dream. But what happens in this dream can be greatly up to us. So, even though "doing good" is a dream, and there is nothing to do ... we should devoutly practice doing good. Do good, and the whole of reality does its best too.
    I think I read this ten times. I wholeheartedly agree with what you say here. This dream is the only reality we get and what happens in it can indeed be greatly up to us! Very nicely put, thank you.

    Gassho,
    Pontus

  30. #30

    Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by alan.r
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo

    Thank you, a nice passage with a South Asian Buddhist "Theravadan" feel. Not quite the emphasis on "Emptiness" of the Mahayana, such as Dogen above, but a lovely way to express "non self" too. Perhaps it might be interpreted as something like ... if what is seen is just seen, without thought of seen or seer, subject or object, or mental judgments and categorizations about what is being seen ... then the "you" is out of a job.

    In Emptiness too there is no separate seen or seer, judgments and categorizations ... and the "you" is out of a job.

    So, not so different really.

    Gassho, J
    I've been rereading Genjokoan again and I've been struck several times by the way Dogen re(visions) the Heart Sutra: it's almost as though he's tipping his hat at the Theravada tradition a little. Without going into too much detail, when the Heart Sutra says, "form is emptiness, emptiness nothing but form" we all know that Dogen famously writes "Form is nothing but form, emptiness nothing but emptiness." He does this in order to kind of kill the language of duality occurring in The Heart Sutra. What's more interesting to me is this: whereas the Heart Sutra focuses on the idea of emptiness heavily, saying essentially that the five aggregates, because there are empty, don't exist: "no form, no sensation, no perception, no formation, no consciousness," it's almost as though Dogen wants to save us from a mistaken understanding when he refers to the five aggregates as instances of Prajna Paramita: "The twelve sense fields are instances of Prajna Paramita Also there are eighteen instances of prajna: eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind " etc..." In any case, this is striking to me because while the Heart Sutra focuses on emptiness, Dogen basically is suggesting that just because the five aggregates are empty doesn't mean that they don't express reality; doesn't mean that we don't still live through them; doesn't mean that we can just discard them; doesn't mean that they are the hurdles to enlightenment; in fact, what I think Dogen is getting at is that these aggregates are expressions of impermanence and no-self, which is reality. In this way, while still focusing on the Mahayana idea of emptiness, I feel as though Dogen tips his hat to the Theravada tradition, kind of winking, saying, "Yeah, we can work with these aggregates; impossible to escape them anyway, and why." Of course, I could be way off.

    Anyway, just a ramble.

    Gassho,
    Alan
    I liked that very much Alan,

    Gassho,
    /Pontus

  31. #31

    Re: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by alan.r
    I've been rereading Genjokoan again and I've been struck several times by the way Dogen re(visions) the Heart Sutra: it's almost as though he's tipping his hat at the Theravada tradition a little. Without going into too much detail, when the Heart Sutra says, "form is emptiness, emptiness nothing but form" we all know that Dogen famously writes "Form is nothing but form, emptiness nothing but emptiness." He does this in order to kind of kill the language of duality occurring in The Heart Sutra. What's more interesting to me is this: whereas the Heart Sutra focuses on the idea of emptiness heavily, saying essentially that the five aggregates, because there are empty, don't exist: "no form, no sensation, no perception, no formation, no consciousness," it's almost as though Dogen wants to save us from a mistaken understanding when he refers to the five aggregates as instances of Prajna Paramita: "The twelve sense fields are instances of Prajna Paramita Also there are eighteen instances of prajna: eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind " etc..." In any case, this is striking to me because while the Heart Sutra focuses on emptiness, Dogen basically is suggesting that just because the five aggregates are empty doesn't mean that they don't express reality; doesn't mean that we don't still live through them; doesn't mean that we can just discard them; doesn't mean that they are the hurdles to enlightenment; in fact, what I think Dogen is getting at is that these aggregates are expressions of impermanence and no-self, which is reality.
    Hi Alan,

    Kind of a technical Buddhist philosophical point, but I don't get the feeling that Dogen was particularly referring to merely the 5 Aggregates in a strict Theravadan sense as ultimately not empty. What one sees here and throughout his writings is the feeling that all Dharmas, all things of life and the world (and that includes the Aggregates) are so thoroughly empty-beyond&right-through&through-empty that they wonderfully spin around into being as Real as Real can be ... there but not there but there again, each a sacred precious jewel in its own way.

    Dogen's vision was very wide ... boundless in fact, and right down to seeing the jewel in every atom.

    Gassho, Jundo

  32. #32

    Re: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Hi Alan,

    Kind of a technical Buddhist philosophical point, but I don't get the feeling that Dogen was particularly referring to merely the 5 Aggregates in a strict Theravadan sense as ultimately not empty. What one sees here and throughout his writings is the feeling that all Dharmas, all things of life and the world (and that includes the Aggregates) are so thoroughly empty-beyond&righ-through&through-empty that they wonderfully spin around into being as Real as Real can be ... there but not there but there again, each a sacred precious jewel in its own way.

    Dogen's vision was very wide ... boundless in fact, and right down to seeing the jewel in every atom.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Hi Pontus. Thanks for the kind words.

    Hi Jundo. Yes, I can definitely see now how Dogen isn't necessarily referring to Theravada, since he certainly isn't referring only to the Five Aggregates and his scope is much wider in the passage. Perhaps, more to the point, it is me "reading" Dogen a particular way, and when I hear or see five aggregates, which is so important in Theravada, it's difficult to think of anything else (clearly a conceptual attachment of mine!). Thank you for that clarification.

    In any case, I didn't mean to imply that he doesn't see the aggregates (or anything else) as ultimately not empty. Rather: all things expressions of impermanence and no-self. All things so-empty-they-are-real-as-real-can-be. (I'm tempted to put in quote from a Terrence Malick movie here, the last (I think) line of The Thin Red Line: "All things shining.").

    Thank you, Jundo.

    Gassho,
    Alan

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