May 2007 Archives

SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Wake Up!

Here's a little mindfulness practice, from around the house ...

... something as ordinary as setting the alarm clock each evening ...


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SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Volunteer

For information on volunteer organizations, please look here. Please write me about selecting an activity that is good practice for you (and for finding similar groups for our international sitters):

My teacher, Nishijima Roshi, recorded the following on how to sit Zazen. However, I encourage those who have need (for health reasons or the like) to sit in other balanced positions that we'll discuss in the coming days:


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SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Fukanzazengi XXIV

Inmo no ji o en to hosseba, kyû ni inmo no ji o tsutome yo.

If we want to attain the matter of the ineffable, we should urgently practice the matter of the ineffable. [Nishijima]

If you want to realize such, get to work on such right now. [SZTP]



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When is a house a 'home'? ... When is a house your 'home?' ... When is that home 'you'?

Then [the consciousness of] body and mind naturally drops off, and the original face appears. [Nishijima]

Body and mind of themselves will drop away, and your original face will manifest. [SZTP]



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PLEASE NOTE: PICTURE QUALITY IS JUMPY DUE TO TECHNICAL PROBLEMS
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Our TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES appear to be corrected, and so ... please enjoy 'the face in the Jelly Jar' ...

Shinjin jinenni datsuraku shite, honrai no menmoku genzen sen.

Then [the consciousness of] body and mind naturally drops off, and the original face appears. [Nishijima]

Body and mind of themselves will drop away, and your original face will manifest. [SZTP]


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SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Fukanzazengi XXI

"Dropping Off Body and Mind" versus "Dropping Off Body and Mind" ...

Then [the consciousness of] body and mind naturally drops off, and the original face appears. [Nishijima]

Body and mind of themselves will drop away, and your original face will manifest. [SZTP]



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SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Fukanzazengi XX

The world and all the world's things (you among them) ... there, yet not there till our mind makes it so:

Then [the consciousness of] body and mind naturally drops off, and the original face appears. [Nishijima]

Body and mind of themselves will drop away, and your original face will manifest. [SZTP]



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SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Fukanzazengi XIX

Shinjin jinenni datsuraku shite, honrai no menmoku genzen sen.

Then [the consciousness of] body and mind naturally drops off, and the original face appears. [Nishijima]

Body and mind of themselves will drop away, and your original face will manifest. [SZTP]



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Subekaraku ekô henshô no taiho o gakusubeshi,

So cease the intellectual work of studying sayings and chasing words. Learn the backward step of turning light and reflecting. [Nishijima]

Therefore, put aside the intellectual practice of investigating words and chasing phrases, and learn to take the backward step that turns the light and shines it inward. [SZTP]

8th Century Master Shitou Xiqian (Sekito Kisen in Japanese) wrote, "Turn around the light to shine within, then just return."



Contemporary Ch'an monks meditating at Fayuan Monastery, Beijing, China

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SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Fukanzazengi XVII


On the Zafu ... and perhaps there come sensations of timelessness ...the hard borders between self and world may soften and fade ... you feel wonderfully at home in life ... desire, anger, jealousy, greed all release their hold ...

And just then, your rational mind seeks to put words to it, to intellectually analyze the experience ... "Yeah, but ... just why do I feel this way?"

Even if rational analysis is possible (it usually is, for ours is not an irrational philosophy ... even if its logic is a different logic from the typical Western kind) ... the experience will have suddenly changed, or been subtly lost.

Yueni subekaraku gon o tazune go o ou no gegyô o kyûsubeshi.

So cease the intellectual work of studying sayings and chasing words. [Nishijima]

Therefore, put aside the intellectual practice of investigating words and chasing phrases, [SZTP]



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SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Fukanzazengi XVI

Moreover, remembering the natural sage of Jetavana park, we can still see the traces of his six years of upright sitting.We can still hear rumors of the transmitter of the mind-seal at Shaolin [Bodhidharma], spending nine years facing the wall. The ancient saints were like that already: how could people today fail to practice wholeheartedly? [Nishijima]

Consider the Buddha: although he was wise at birth, the traces of his six years of upright sitting can yet be seen. As for Bodhidharma, although he had received the mind-seal, his nine years of facing a wall is celebrated still. If even the ancient sages were like this, how can we today dispense with wholehearted practice? [SZTP]

The 'mind-seal' is the seal connecting each of us, and all phenomena, when the mind but realizes that fact. It is as five fingers that are too one hand, a vibrant city that is but the life of its single streets, a lonely treeleaf that is just the branch and tree it springs from. More than mere connection between two things, it is a simultaneous perception of difference and no difference. What is some 'you' and all that 'you' consider 'not you'? Each is, is not, and is the other. The wholehearted practice of Zazen helps us see what’s been all along, and is quite ordinary.


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SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Fukanzazengi XV


Just one more balding, slightly fat, middle aged ex-hippy with an earring and a beard ...

Moreover, remembering the natural sage of Jetavana park, we can still see the traces of his six years of upright sitting.We can still hear rumors of the transmitter of the mind-seal at Shaolin [Bodhidharma], spending nine years facing the wall. The ancient saints were like that already: how could people today fail to practice wholeheartedly? [Nishijima]

Consider the Buddha: although he was wise at birth, the traces of his six years of upright sitting can yet be seen. As for Bodhidharma, although he had received the mind-seal, his nine years of facing a wall is celebrated still. If even the ancient sages were like this, how can we today dispense with wholehearted practice? [SZTP}




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SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Fukanzazengi XIV

Not going to extremes ... The Middle Way.

Iwan ya kano Gion no shôchi taru, tanza rokunen no shôseki mitsu beshi. Shôrin no shin'in o tsutauru, menpeki kyûsai no seimei nao kikoyu. Koshô sudeni shikari, konjin nanzo benzezaru.

Moreover, remembering the natural sage of Jetavana park, we can still see the traces of his six years of upright sitting.We can still hear rumors of the transmitter of the mind-seal at Shaolin, spending nine years facing the wall. The ancient saints were like that already: how could people today fail to practice wholeheartedly? [Nishijima]

Consider the Buddha: although he was wise at birth, the traces of his six years of upright sitting can yet be seen. As for Bodhidharma, although he had received the mind-seal, his nine years of facing a wall is celebrated still. If even the ancient sages were like this, how can we today dispense with wholehearted practice? [SZTP}




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SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Fukanzazengi XIII

'Just Do It' ... Just Do Zazen, Just Do Ordinary Life ... 'Just Do' by Non-Doing ...

Even if, proud of our understanding and richly endowed with realizations, we obtain special states of insight, attain the truth, we clarify the mind, we manifest a zeal that pierces the sky, [even so, we but] ramble through remote spheres that are entered with the head; we have almost completely lost the vigorous path of real acts in the area of reality. [Nishijima]

Suppose you are confident in your understanding and rich in enlightenment, gaining the wisdom that knows at a glance, attaining the Way and clarifying the mind, arousing an aspiration to reach for the heavens. You are playing in the entranceway, but you still are short of the vital path of emancipation. [SZTP]

HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT: Each day, when brushing the teeth, going to the toilet or washing the hands & face, make it a simple ritual, a practice of silent Mindfulness.



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SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Fukanzazengi XII

Here are words and philosophizing ... about not getting caught in words and philosophizing ...

Tatoe e ni hokori go ni yutaka ni shite, becchi no chitsû o e, dô o e, shin o akirame te, shôten no shiiki o koshi, nyûtô no henryô ni shôyô su to iedomo, hotondo shusshin no katsuro o kiketsu su.

Even if, proud of our understanding and richly endowed with realizations, we obtain special states of insight, attain the truth, we clarify the mind, we manifest a zeal that pierces the sky, [even so, we but] ramble through remote spheres that are entered with the head; we have almost completely lost the vigorous path of real acts in the area of reality. [Nishijima]

Suppose you are confident in your understanding and rich in enlightenment, gaining the wisdom that knows at a glance, attaining the Way and clarifying the mind, arousing an aspiration to reach for the heavens. You are playing in the [intellectual] entranceway, but you still are short of the vital path of emancipation. [SZTP]



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SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Fukanzazengi XI

Master Dogen said 'Zazen is itself Enlightenment,' there is nothing to pursue ...

Thus, as you can, do not think 'this' vs. 'that', forget 'likes' 'dislikes' ... do not think 'me' - 'not me' ... dropping all such dividing images from mind. Just Sit, in the open space in between.

This is also 'not pursuing' ...

ijun wazukani okoreba, funzen to shite shin o shitsu.


However, if there is a thousandth or a hundredth of a gap, heaven and earth are far apart, and if a trace of disagreement arises, we lose the mind in confusion.[Nishijima]

And yet, if there is a hairsbreadth deviation, it is like the gap between heaven and earth. If the least like or dislike arises, the mind is lost in confusion. [SZTP]




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SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Fukanzazengi X

Not needing to seek some special state ... that 'not needing' -is- a special state.

Not pursuing a treasure ... that 'no pursuing, just stillness' -is- the treasure.

But if you need 'not needing' ... if you mentally pursue 'not pursuing' ... the treasure of stillness can vanish in an instant.

Thus, Master Dogen said 'Zazen is itself Enlightenment,' and there is nothing else and no other enlightenment to seek ...

Thus, 'Zazen is itself Enlightenment,' even when it feels nothing of the kind.

Shika aredomo gôri mo sa areba, tenchi harukani hedatari,


However, if there is a thousandth or a hundredth of a gap, heaven and earth are far apart, [Nishijima]

And yet, if there is a hairsbreadth deviation, it is like the gap between heaven and earth. [SZTP}




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Mindfulness: A Drink of Water

The most ordinary act, such as a simple drink of water, can be made a practice of mindfulness.

Do I drink the water, or does the water drink me? In fact, there is just the act of 'drinking' in this one moment. Then, all thought of even that is dropped away.



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Apparently, our main video system (below) is functioning again, so I will use it next time
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SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Fukanzazengi IX

If you're always perfectly you, and this world always this world ... why sit? why practice?

What do you hope to find?

Dogen Zenji wrote :

In general, we never depart from the place where we should be: of what use, then, are the tip-toes of training? [Nishijima]

It is never apart from this very place; what is the use of traveling around to practice? [SZTP]

(The sentence momentarily cut out of the broadcast is ..."We can do this [drop resistance] to ourselves and to the world to such a degree in Zazen, that the hard borders between ourselves and the world soften, even fully disappear ..."]



Zen Monk on Pilgrimage
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A super-best selling book called 'The Secret' promises wealth, health and happiness just by visualizing the same. Think positively that you will attract a bigger bank account, and the money is yours. Thoughts become things.

Take a peak at this:

Have a look at the upcoming movie:


Buddhism also offers secrets to wealth, health and happiness, that 'thoughts become things' ... However, our 'secrets' are truly quite different.

Dogen Zenji wrote :

In general, we never depart from the place where we should be: of what use, then, are the tip-toes of training? [Nishijima]

It is never apart from this very place; what is the use of traveling around to practice? [SZTP]



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We be where we be ... so why do we so often wish to be someplace else?

Dogen Zenji wrote :

Ooyoso tôjo o hanarezu, ani shugyô no kyakutô o mochiuru mono naran ya.

In general, we never depart from the place where we should be
: of what use, then, are the tip-toes of training? [Nishijima]

It is never apart from this very place; what is the use of traveling around to practice? [SZTP]



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SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Fukanzazengi VI

I hoped to spend just one more day with these words ... maybe making them simpler with a parable ...

Master Dogen wrote in the Fukanzazengi:

Furthermore, the whole body far transcends dust and dirt:
who could believe in the means of sweeping and polishing? [Nishijima]

Indeed, the whole body is free from dust. Who could believe in a means to brush it clean? [SZTP]



Master Huineng writing his poem 'never a place for dust to gather ...'

SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Fukanzazengi V

In a famous old story, Shenxiu wrote that, in our practice, we must constantly clean and polish the body-mind to keep all free of dust. To that, Huineng responded that there's never a place for dust to gather ...

Thus, Master Dogen wrote in the Fukanzazengi:

Furthermore, the whole body far transcends dust and dirt:
who could believe in the means of sweeping and polishing? [Nishijima]

Indeed, the whole body is free from dust. Who could believe in a means to brush it clean? [SZTP]



Actual mummy of Huineng (d. 713), 6th Chan/Zen Patriarch, prior to near destruction in Cultural Revolution

SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Fukanzazengi IV

Today, on SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO, we talk trash ...


Iwan ya zentai harukani jinnai o izu, tareka hosshiki no shudan o shinzen.

Furthermore, the whole body far transcends dust and dirt: who could believe in the means of sweeping and polishing? [Nishijima]


Indeed, the whole body is free from dust. Who could believe in a means to brush it clean? [SZTP]




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Dogen Zenji wrote ...

Shûjô jizai, nanzo kufû o tsuiyasan.


The vehicle for the fundamental exists naturally: where is the need to expend effort (for seeking the truth)? [Nishijima]

The true vehicle is self-sufficient. What need is there [for] special effort? [SZTP]




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SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Fukanzazengi II

As a young man, these were Dogen's questions:

Since we all already are 'Buddha-nature' , why do we need to practice?

How are we 'originally enlightened' if we don't feel so?


Tazunuru ni sore, dô moto enzû, ikadeka shushô o karan,

Now, when we pursue the truth, the truth originally is all around: why rely upon practice and experience? (NISHIJIMA)

The Way is originally perfect and all-pervading. How could it be contingent on practice and realization? (SZTP)



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SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Fukanzazengi I

Now, on SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO, we begin our trip through Master Dogen's

Fukanzazengi (The Standard of Sitting-Zen Recommended for Everyone)

We will compare and contrast various translations, two by my teacher (Gudo Wafu Nishijima) and one by the Soto Zen Text Project ... Each day, we will take a sentence, a phrase, one word or the space between words, as we move on through ...

Today, we discuss the highlighted words:


Tazunuru ni sore, dô moto enzû, ikadeka shushô o karan,

Now, when we pursue the truth, the truth originally is all around: why rely upon practice and experience? (NISHIJIMA)


The Way is originally perfect and all-pervading
. How could it be contingent on practice and realization?
(SZTP)




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SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Broken Buddhas

On today's SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO we talk about Buddha statues ...

( And, silly me, seems that I pulled the microphone out just before the sitting ... you'll know when. Please turn the sound off at that point and just sit, timing yourself. Or, you can choose to sit with the horrible rumble, just being present with it all. Remember: there are no ugly noises or ugly Buddha statues ... even the ugly ones. )

SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Leaving Home

Today's SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO is about home, and leaving home ...

Although both lay people and monks can attain liberation,
still there is difficulty and ease ...
Family life, being disorderly and noisy, with many jobs and many duties
can be the root of hindrances ...
Thus, it is called 'very difficult'

Master Nagarjuna quoted in Shobogenzo Shukke-Kudoku


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