Results 1 to 18 of 18

Thread: "To Meet the Real Dragon"

  1. #1

    "To Meet the Real Dragon"

    Have many of you read this book by Nishijima Sensei? I just bought it from Amazon.
    Gassho,
    Onken

  2. #2
    I have never read it. Who is the author?

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  3. #3

  4. #4
    It does look interesting...pretty good reviews anyway.

    Gassho,
    Mark

  5. #5
    Hi,

    I have written the following in the past, so this is a good time to repost it since Nishijima Roshi is my Teacher.

    Nishijima Roshi is a dedicated Shikantaza teacher and translator of Shobogenzo and some other Buddhist writings. Many years ago, he came up with a couple of very useful and interesting ways to describe what Dogen was teaching, the subject of the "To Meet The Real Dragon" book. One is an idea called "Three Philosophies and One Reality", and the other is that Zazen has a medical and physiological aspect in the body, which he terms "balance of the autonomic nervous system."

    Both are interesting ways for Nishijima to describe what he was encountering on the Zazen cushion, and felt that he saw in Dogen's writings and other Buddhist texts.

    The problem is, I believe, that Nishijima ran a bit "hog wild" with the ideas at that point, trying to squeeze each sentence of Shobogenzo, in a nearly one to one correspondence, into each of the four categories of view that Nishijima Roshi suggests, then going on and doing the same with the Four Noble Truths, and recently in a very forced translation of Nagarjuna's MMK. Nishijima took a pair of interesting ideas that are very helpful to Buddhist Practice, and made them forcibly fit everything and the kitchen sink ... a mistake I feel. My very gently telling him so a few years ago was not welcomed by him (especially as he became older), and caused some rift between myself and some of his students who didn't want any of Nishijima's ideas questioned. It is one of the few points where I really really really disagree with my teacher. I sometimes say that, once he came up with his ideas, Nishijima Roshi took to explaining the whole world with his idealism/materialism/realism paradigm and "balanced ANS" idea ... and sometimes each works, sometimes not. (Although I always was trying to convince him that there are many many physiological aspects in addition to the ANS, the fact is Nishijima was still something of a pioneer in the Buddhist world 50 years ago to say that much of what we do is a physical effect of the brain and nervous system)

    So, I would be a bit cautious about that otherwise marvelous book.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-09-2012 at 11:54 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  6. #6
    Got it for christmas last winter and read it right away. I think its a pretty good book and some of its comments about zazen and our daily practice did a lot for me. Moreover I think its one of the very, very few books that really cover it from absolute beginner (in the sense of never heard about zen and its pratice) to long time practicing students. Enjoy Onken, and dont rush it
    Gassho
    Myoku

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I have never read it. Who is the author?

    Gassho, Jundo

    Well played

    Daido


  8. #8
    By the way, talking about strange dreams and insightful stuff: I dreamt that I was requesting a dokusan with Nishijima roshi who did not want to see me and I was running like an headless chicken telling everybody: do you realize this? Roshi doesn't want to see me!!!I woke up very entertained at my own stupidity and a bit ashamed too.

    The thing is that I have never met him, and have never felt the need to. I did meet him through my teacher, Mike Chodo Cross, and also many other blokes.
    Although I respect his work, his practice and the way he opened it to the world, I totally share Jundo's caution about the ANS and all that.

    And yes, a good book.

    gassho


    Taigu
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  9. #9
    Hi,

    And now Nishijima Roshi, 93 years old, is of such poor physical and mental strength that he has withdrawn from public life, stopped his translation work and other teaching activities, and is in the care of his daughter who will not allow visitors. Unfortunately, years of Zen Practice do not protect us from old age and the effects of time ... whatever we might also know beyond all that.

    In truth, the last 10 years or so were very difficult with Nishijima Roshi, almost the identical situation I experienced with my grandmother and, after a series of strokes, with my mother. Each became increasingly confused, had up and down days when they were more present than others, and sometimes what I can only describe as moments of slipping into a stubborn age related dementia. It became increasing hard to speak with him on some days, although the next day he would seem fine and his old warm and welcoming self. In the end, it was very hard to meet him and, I am afraid, that was true by the time Taigu first came to Tokyo.

    Buddhist teachers are not free of the mental and physical effects of aging any more than anyone, although perhaps we should be better trained at recognizing the mind's tricks and games than most. Recent similar situations developed with other teachers including now 104 year old Joshu Sasaki of Mt. Baldy Zen Center and the late Joko Beck in her final years.

    I hope still to be able to see him, but Brad, Peter and others appear to have stopped trying to reach out to his daughter and are also in the dark.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-10-2012 at 12:54 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  10. #10
    That's a shame Jundo,

    Gassho
    Gary
    Drinking tea and eating rice.

  11. #11
    It is what it is, Gary, and we all get old. Even the Buddha, in his last years, expressed in the old Suttas the ailments of age. We can simply send love and Metta.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-11-2012 at 01:02 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  12. #12
    Post deleted
    Last edited by Taigu; 07-10-2012 at 10:29 AM.
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  13. #13
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Sarnia, Ontario Canada
    Posts
    2,075
    Blog Entries
    119
    Jundo; thank you for the update


    Much metta to our wonderful Dharma Grandfather, Nishijima Roshi
    gassho, Shokai, still learning the way and knowing nothing
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    Just another itinerant monk; go somewhere else to listen to someone who really knows.

  14. #14
    Yes Jundo, metta to Nishijima Roshi.

    Gassho
    Gary
    Drinking tea and eating rice.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hi,

    And now Nishijima Roshi, 93 years old, is of such poor physical and mental strength that he has withdrawn from public life, stopped his translation work and other teaching activities, and is in the care of his daughter who will not allow visitors. Unfortunately, years of Zen Practice do not protect us from old age and the effects of time ... whatever we might also know beyond all that.

    In truth, the last 10 years or so were very difficult with Nishijima Roshi, almost the identical situation I experienced with my grandmother and, after a series of strokes, with my mother. Each became increasingly confused, had up and down days when they were more present than others, and sometimes what I can only describe as moments of slipping into a stubborn age related dementia. It became increasing hard to speak with him on some days, although the next day he would seem fine and his old warm and welcoming self. In the end, it was very hard to meet him and, I am afraid, that was true by the time Taigu first came to Tokyo.

    Buddhist teachers are not free of the mental and physical effects of aging any more than anyone, although perhaps we should be better trained at recognizing the mind's tricks and games than most. Recent similar situations developed with other teachers including now 104 year old Joshu Sasaki of Mt. Baldy Zen Center and the late Joko Beck in her final years.

    I hope still to be able to see him, but Brad, Peter and others appear to have stopped trying to reach out to his daughter and are also in the dark.

    Gassho, J
    Thank you for this Jundo and much metta for Nishijima Roshi.

    Gassho,
    Michael
    真 眼

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  16. #16
    Thanks for the update.
    That is a great book.
    _/_
    Rich

  17. #17
    Thanks for everyone's reply's. I look forward to reading the book.
    Gassho,
    Onken

  18. #18
    disastermouse
    Guest
    Nishijima? Never heard of him.

    Maybe lineage causes problems just in the way it causes one teacher to feel responsible for every perceived error of his students and vice versa. I guess it's just the blessing/curse of lineage.

    Or I'm wrong.

    Chet

Similar Threads

  1. "WHY ONE AND NOT THE OTHER?" - Blog post from Dhamma Musings
    By chicanobudista in forum TREELEAF COMMUNITY: Topics about Zazen, Zen, Buddhism & MORE ZAZEN!
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 06-26-2012, 01:04 AM

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
  •