SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Fukanzazengi LXXII

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Koan study was a vital part of Master Dogen's philosophy. It was and remains so today. Koans are vital for understanding Zen views beyond mere words, and are a subject of intense focus and experience ...

Just not --during-- the sitting of Zazen.

We see in the past that those who transcended the ordinary and transcended the sacred and those who died while sitting or died while standing, relied totally on this power. Moreover, changing of the moment through the action of a finger, a pole, a needle, or a wooden clapper; and exact experience of the state through the manifestation of a whisk, a fist, a staff, or a shout, can never be understood by thinking and discrimination. How could they be known through mystical powers or practice and experience? They may be dignified behavior beyond sound and form. How could they be anything other than criteria that precede knowing and seeing? [Nishijima]

In surveying the past, we find that transcendence of both mundane and sacred and dying while either sitting or standing have all depended entirely on the power of zazen. In addition, triggering awakening with a finger, a banner, a needle, or a mallet, and effecting realization with a whisk, a fist, a staff, or a shout-these cannot be understood by discriminative thinking; much less can they be known through the practice of supernatural power. They must represent conduct beyond seeing and hearing. Are they not a standard prior to knowledge and views? [SZTP]


(Master Dogen's Koan Collection, translated by Master Gudo Nishijima)
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