SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Genjo Koan XV

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In realizing our fundamental nature, it is first necessary to appreciate the fiction which is our sense of self. We are each a set of factors and conditions that have fallen together temporarily as an 'individual'.


You are a folded paper crane that believes it can fly.* **


* But before you become overly depressed at your non-existence, keep in mind that such knowledge is liberating. It reveals that mental limitations on 'who you are' were also a fiction all along.

* * And, anyway, by another of Master Dogen's "simultaneously true" alternative perspectives (that we'll discuss in a day or so), your individual self is as real as real can be, actualized and confirmed by the whole universe. In fact, you are the only "you" in the whole universe (can you be another?), and are the universe too. Paper cranes can fly.

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To study the buddha way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be actualized by myriad things. When actualized by myriad things, your body and mind as well as the bodies and minds of others drop away. No trace of realization remains, and this no-trace continues endlessly. When you first seek dharma, you imagine you are far away from its environs. At the moment when dharma is correctly transmitted, you are immediately your original self. [Aitken & Tanahashi]


To learn Buddhism is to learn ourselves. To learn ourselves is to forget ourselves. To forget ourselves is to be experienced by millions of things and phenomena. To be experienced by millions of things and phenomena is to let our own body and mind, and the body and mind of the external world, fall away. [Then] we can forget the [mental] trace of realization, and show the [real] signs of forgotten realization continually, moment by moment. When a person first seeks the Dharma, he is far removed from the borders of Dharma. But as soon as the Dharma is authentically transmitted to the person himself, he is a human being in his own true place.
[Nishijima]


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