Sit-a-Long with Jundo: Zenki -- The Whole Works (I)

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By request of some folks  in our Treeleaf Sangha, I'll be riffing for a few days on images from Master Dogen's Shobogenzo (Taigu said he may too).

I'll be sailing for awhile with Zenki -- which means "The Whole Works", this "Total Functioning," the "Fully Enlivening All-Encompassing Complete Pivot Point Right Here" of our life.

I am going to start with a passage from the middle of Zenki that is vivid and clear, and helps to understand the passages that come before and after. (The whole of Zenki is only a few pages, which we will talk about over the next couple of "Sit-a-Longs with Jundo.")  Master Dogen describes our life with the image of a sailor's sailing a boat on the sea. Usually, we see all the parts of our life as separate, or only vaguely connected... ship, sails, sailor, rope, the work of sailing, the sea, sand and shore, stars and sun.

But Master Dogen asks us to experience all of this life-self-time-world-everything-and-then-some as a great whole, moving and flowing and interpenetrating together, mutually creating and defining. And he's not talking merely poetically or lyrically  ... but means all of it, when seen with enlightened eyes.

(Click through to watch today's talk, and to "sit-a-long.") 

Dogen writes:

Life can be likened to a time when a person is sailing in a boat.
On this boat, I am operating the sail, I have taken the rudder, I am pushing the pole; at the same time, the boat is carrying me, and there is no "I" beyond the boat. Through my sailing of the boat, this boat is being caused to be a boat -- let us consider, and learn in practice, just this moment of the present. At this very moment, there is nothing other than the world of the boat: the sky, the water, the shore have a11 became the moment of the boat, which is utterly different from moments not on the boat. So life is what I am making it, and I am what life is making me, While I am sailing in the boat, my body and mind and circumstances and self are all essential parts of the boat; and the whole earth and the whole of space are all essential parts of the boat. What has been described like this is that life is the self, and the self is life.

(from Master Dogen's Shobogenzo Zenki - translation by Gudo Nishijima and Chodo Cross)

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