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Jundo
08-21-2016, 05:10 PM
Case 62 never ends, and so we jump to Case 63, Joshu Asks About [Great] Death ...

https://books.google.co.jp/books?id=Cg0sBPvvs0gC&pg=PA196&lpg=PA196&dq=joshu+asks+about+death+book&source=bl&ots=psAqAdMsQD&sig=JOwolVt4JGblrFys46Xs54r2_6s&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiZ7Jy9-dLOAhWBHJQKHVQdD1QQ6AEIIDAA#v=onepage&q=joshu%20asks%20about%20death%20book&f=false

(I have changed the title of the case slightly, as the Koan is addressing the "Great Death" of the self and Enlightenment that is fully and transcends all mere matters of life and death!)

The discussion of this Case by Yamada Koun is fairly short and good (pardon me for being a lazy bones this week and just cutting and pasting from him so much this time! gassho1 ) ...

http://www.sanbo-zen.org/shoyoroku_63.pdf

He and Shishin Wick point out that the references in the Preface seem largely to herald the power and equal stature of the two Teachers who appear in the story.

About the "Great Death", Yamada Koun writes ...


A “man who has died a great Death” means a person who has completely cut off any
delusions and concepts. When that happens, a new life suddenly appears. Jsh seems to be
referring to himself. He says in effect: “I have died the great death and come again to life. How
will you treat me?”

As you know, when all concepts die away, the new life of your true self appears. It is
only then that the activity of a religious person emerges. Actually, however, there is no living
and dying. Precisely where there is no living and dying, he fabricates living and dying in
coming this way to Tsu. Thus, precisely in the great death there is the great life. There is a
division into two. You could say that Jsh is revealing the essential world with his words. As
you know, even if I raise this stick, this is the complete manifestation of the essential. When I
consider it, the essential world is the world of not a single thing. It is the world of the fraction I
often cite, whose numerator is alpha and whose denominator is a circle containing the figure
eight on its side symbolizing emptiness and infinity. I had the feeling that, in raising a staff, I
was showing that world. Actually, however, when we speak of the essential self, we make a
temporary division into the numerator and denominator. But the essential self is the entire
fraction itself. When I show this kotsu (Roshi shows his stick), the essential world and the
phenomenal world are completely one in being shown here. I tend to say the world of emptiness
or oneness. That may seem to be showing the world of the denominator. But actually it’s the
fraction itself; it is the fact itself that is shown. Although I am showing both the phenomenal
and the essential, it is actually revealing the fraction itself. That is how I would like to view
this statement of Jsh. What does Tsu say in reply?

I offered my own little comment on this in another thread today ...

http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showthread.php?14663-Can-enlightenment-experiences-be-trusted&p=183433&viewfull=1#post183433

The reference to light and dark in the next sentence can be a little confusing, for the simple reason that the "dark" is where all things become one and whole, while in the "light" things appear separate and dividied (the word "Enlightenment" is a western translation of words like "Satori", and thus can be a little misleading because we usually think of "darkness" as representing ignorance while "seeking the light" means wisdom.) We see this in the lines from the Sandokai (Identity of Relative and Absolute, which we chant during our Monthly Zazenkai)


The dark makes all words one;

The brightness distinguishes good and bad phrases.


In his commentary on the Sandokai, Suzuki Shunryu Roshi points out that "Dark" here is not a negative sense and the usage of those terms in many Chinese Zen writings is not as we use them in the west. In fact, "when we have the lights on" in a room, everything in the room appears separate and standing apart, with different shapes and colors and pieces, some good things and some bad, beautiful and ugly things. However, in a dark room, all the separate, broken up things vanish into oneness and wholeness! In Buddhism, of course, that "one and wholeness" is a medicine for always only seeing the world as broken, divided, good/bad, beautiful/ugly.

Now, some people thus may think that this "light" world of broken, divided, good/bad, beautiful/ugly is "ignorance ... AND IT IS, and we need to stop only seeing the world (and our self) that way! In our ordinary life, before Buddhist Practice, we may only encounter the world in this broken, sometimes beautiful sometimes very ugly way. HOWEVER, notice that the Sandokai poem does not say that the "dark" world of wholeness, oneness is the final destination. In fact, the poem points to something much more profound:

Light is also darkness

As to the Appreciatory Verse, Yamada Roshi translated the first line somewhat differently from Shishin: "The castle of poppy seeds, the rock of the kalpa – they subtly exhaust the beginning". Yamada comments:


This first line of the Verse is also referring to Jsh and Tsu. The “castle of poppy
seeds” is a reference to eternity in Buddhism. Imagine a castle measuring 40 miles on each side
and filled with poppy seeds. Every hundred years a bird comes and eats one poppy seed. It
would take forever for the poppy seeds to disappear. It thus symbolizes an endlessly long time
span.

The same holds for the “rock of the kalpa.” This time we have the image of a cubic rock
measuring 40 meters on each side. Every hundred years an angel descends from heaven and
brushes the rock with her feather cape. A kalpa is the time it would take for the entire rock to
disappear! The ancients were certainly imaginative! These images are much more vivid than a
bunch of zeros lined up, and easier to understand. These lines are saying that it is without
beginning and without end. It is endless time. This is what is meant by the lines “they subtly
exhaust the beginning.” This means that both Jsh and Tsu have clearly grasped that world.

Likewise:


The living eye in the ring illumines vast emptiness. The “living eye” is the eye
of satori. This line also refers to both Jsh and Tsu. The ring has a hole in the middle. ... The eye of satori is used to see the ring. That means seeing the surrounding ring. You
can see the ring as the phenomenal world, and the hole as the world of emptiness. To illuminate
vast emptiness means to see that emptiness with the eye of satori. That means clearly realizing
that the phenomenal world is empty. And although it is empty, it appears clearly like this.


Both Yamada and Shishin explain the "goose and fish" reference as understanding directly, not beating around the bush.

So, have you seen the light, or does this all leave you in the dark? :p

Gassho, J

SatToday

Zenmei
08-22-2016, 12:21 AM
So the clearest way the Zen masters can say "be direct" is "the message does not depend on the goose and fish"?

The one hand has been imparted.

The light bulb has been turned on, and now I'm in the dark.

Gassho, Dudley
#sat

Onkai
08-22-2016, 12:59 AM
With all the explanations, I have some intellectual understanding of the koan, but deep down, I'm confused.

Gassho,
Onkai
SatToday

Hoko
08-22-2016, 01:24 AM
Crossing over into emptiness is wonderful for in darkness all things are one! Great Joshu and Toshi have crossed the river together in the great vehicle that is the "bottomless boat".

"How about when both people meet?"
After returning from the Great Death how does one greet another?
In the light of day of course.

Being direct; not mucking about with goose or fish, Toshi will not tolerate Joshu prowling around in the dark!

Gassho,
K2
#SatToday


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Jundo
08-22-2016, 02:38 AM
With all the explanations, I have some intellectual understanding of the koan, but deep down, I'm confused.

Gassho,
Onkai
SatToday

Yeah, that's what the sitting and realizing is for ... sinking into such and letting such sink in, until one realizes that there was no place to sink at all. [monk]

Gassho, J

SatToday

Jishin
08-22-2016, 11:34 AM
A Jishin who has died a great Death means a Jishin who has completely cut off any
delusions and concepts. When that happens, a new life suddenly appears. Jishin seems to be
referring to himself. Jishin says in effect: I have died the great death and come again to life. How
will Jishin treat Jishin?

As Jishin knows, when all concepts die away, the new life of Jishin's true self appears. It is
only then that the activity of Jishin's religious person emerges. Actually, however, there is no living
and dying. Precisely where there is no living and dying, Jishin fabricates living and dying in
coming this way to Jishin. Thus, precisely in the great death there is the great life. There is a
division into two. You could say that Jishin is revealing the essential world with his words. As
you know, even if Jishin raises this stick, this is the complete manifestation of the essential. When Jishin
considers it, the essential world is the world of not a single thing. It is the world of the fraction Jishin
often cites...

This koan is a piece of cake. It's all about Jishin and Jishin knows Jishin better than any Jishin. :)

Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

Onkai
08-22-2016, 09:28 PM
With all the explanations, I have some intellectual understanding of the koan, but deep down, I'm confused.

Gassho,
Onkai
SatToday


Yeah, that's what the sitting and realizing is for ... sinking into such and letting such sink in, until one realizes that there was no place to sink at all. [monk]

Gassho, J

SatToday

Thank you, Jundo. I will contemplate as well as sit some more.

Gassho,
Onkai
SatToday

Tairin
08-24-2016, 10:51 PM
The light bulb has been turned on, and now I'm in the dark.

Gassho, Dudley
#sat

Hi Dudley

I am not sure if you typed this in jest but it really has me thinking and nicely illuminates (pun intended) Jundo's comment further above. If all is one then it is my senses that deceive me. Seeing the tree as the tree separate from the sky and separate from me. Again it brings me back to the "not one" "not two".

Gassho
Warren
Sat today

Zenmei
08-24-2016, 11:16 PM
Hi Dudley

I am not sure if you typed this in jest but it really has me thinking and nicely illuminates (pun intended) Jundo's comment further above. If all is one then it is my senses that deceive me. Seeing the tree as the tree separate from the sky and separate from me. Again it brings me back to the "not one" "not two".

Gassho
Warren
Sat today

Joking and serious. Not one.

I really like the idea of darkness being a unifying force. I've never been comfortable with "enlightenment". I think "endarkening" makes more sense to me. When we put out the fire, the shadows on the wall of the cave disappear.

Grasshoppers, Dudley
#sat

Jundo
08-25-2016, 12:24 AM
Joking and serious. Not one.

I really like the idea of darkness being a unifying force. I've never been comfortable with "enlightenment". I think "endarkening" makes more sense to me. When we put out the fire, the shadows on the wall of the cave disappear.

Grasshoppers, Dudley
#sat

Yes, the early translators and missionaries to Asia took the word "Enlightenment" (as in the Renaissance) or "illumination" to translate Bodhi (The root budh, from which both bodhi and Buddha are derived, means "to wake up"), and we have many expressions in English such as "getting a bright idea" or "seeing the light" or "shed a light on the problem" ...

... and "to be in the dark" means ignorance in English, plus "darkness" is seen as a symbol of depression and blindness or even evil.

It is simply that the Chinese did not share in such Western meanings and symbolism.

What we deal with here might be described as a certain Light which shines all through small human concepts of light and dark, and a Goodness that transcends small human ideas of good and bad. It is certainly not ignorant and evil!

Gassho, J

Jundo
08-25-2016, 01:17 AM
The Sandokai (Identity of Relative and Absolute), a core text of Soto Zen which we chant each month during our Zazenkai, teaches ...


...

The subtle Source shines clear in the light;

The branching streams flow in the dark.

...

* All spheres, every sense and field

intermingle even as they shine alone,

...

The dark makes all words one;

The brightness distinguishes good and bad phrases.

...

Light is also darkness,

But do not think of it as darkness.

Darkness is light;

Do not see it as light.

Light and darkness are not one, not two

Like the foot before and the foot behind in walking.

...

* Listen, those who would percieve this subtle matter:

* Live well your time by night and day!

Suzuki Roshi has a long unedited Teaching on this ...


First I will explain the two terms mei and an, “brightness” and “darkness.” Brightness means relative, dualistic world of term and words, you know—the thinking world or visible world in which we live. And darkness means, you know, absolute world where there is no exchange value or materialistic value or spiritual value even—the world our words does not reach—the world our thinking mind cannot reach. Beyond words, beyond thinking there is world. This is the world of absolute—the opposite to the world of relative or dualistic world.



And it is necessary for us who live in realm of—realm of duality to have good understanding of the absolute, which may be the idea of deity or god, usually. But in Buddhism, we do not, you know, have any idea about deity or about god because the absolute is the absolute because it is beyond our understanding or dualistic thinking. But we cannot deny this world of absolute, or a kind of idea of deity.


But as people may say, Buddhism is atheism. Maybe so, you know, because we have no particular idea of God. We know there is, but we don’t want to know what it is, because we know that the absolute is absolute because our dualistic mind cannot reach. And we know that our—we know the limit of our thinking mind or intellectuality. Buddhists intellectualize our intellectuality, so we do not say anything about the absolute. But there is. That is what we mean by an. An is, you know, “darkness, utter darkness.”



Mei is “sun and moon.” Mei—the character mei is—means “sun and moon”: 明 [mei].

...

And actually darkness itself is brightness, actually, you know. Dark or bright is within your mind, you know, because within your mind you have some standard or degree or measurement, you know, how bright this room is, you know. If it is, you know, usually—unusually bright we say this room is bright. If it is unusually dark, you know, you say it is dark. But it is, you know—you can say this room is bright; at the same time, you c- [partial word—”can”]—someone may say, this room is very dark.” Someone who came from San Francisco may say, “Oh, Tassajara is very dark.” Someone from—came out of cave, may say, “This Tassajara is very bright, like a capital city.” So bright or dark is not—is within ourselves—within. Because we have some standard we say bright or dark, but actually brightness is darkness and darkness is brightness.



So even though we say “utter darkness,” it does not mean there is nothing in utter darkness. There is many things. But when you have bright light you will see many things, in term of, you know, Caucasian or Japanese, you know. That’s all—man and woman, stone or lamp. This kind of thing exist in brightness.



But when we say da- [partial word] “utter darkness” or “world of absolute,” which is beyond our thinking, you may think this is some world which is quite different from our actual human world, but this is also a mistake. If you understand in that way—if you understand darkness in that way, that darkness is not which [what] we mean by darkness.

...

http://suzukiroshi.sfzc.org/dharma-talks/june-20th-1970/#more-1293



Gassho, J

SatToday

Jishin
08-25-2016, 10:41 AM
The "you knows" when included in text drive me crazy. Ouch! :)

Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

Tairin
08-25-2016, 11:46 AM
Still thinking about the enlightenment-endarkening discussion

My eyes perceive one vision made up of many objects
An orchestra or choir performance is made up of many voices
My soup has one taste made up of many flavours

In the stillness and with mindfulness we can perceive the many in the one.
In the stillness and with mindfulness we can perceive the one from the many.

Gassho
Warren
Sat today

Onkai
08-26-2016, 01:05 AM
That is beautiful, Warren. Thank you. Everyone's posts have aided my understanding. gassho1

Gassho,
Onkai
SatToday

Mitty-san
08-27-2016, 04:25 AM
I've read/pondered but have nothing to say about it.

gassho1

Paul

Sat today.

Jika
08-27-2016, 08:09 AM
Thanks for this explanation of Sandokai.

I thought "light" meant light, like talking about opposites. Take an example of opposites, now see: not one - not two.
Always wondered why it goes on so long. :)

Will appreciate Sandokai more the next time. gassho1

Gassho
Jika
#sattoday

PS: Has anyone else the feeling it would be lovely to sit with those Koan masters, to share a cup of tea, but once they open their mouths, the headache starts??

Jakuden
08-28-2016, 04:57 PM
PS: Has anyone else the feeling it would be lovely to sit with those Koan masters, to share a cup of tea, but once they open their mouths, the headache starts??

Yes Jika I agree! Personally though, I also feel a great degree of resistance to sitting at times, and to doing other things I need to do,... so I figure the Koan headache is just my mind's tantrum about having to stretch itself in directions it is not accustomed to going. It's a little like Zazen, watching my mind drift in boredom and irritation from the Koan onto whatever else it finds easier to understand. Then there comes the impatience of wanting to finish it and go on to the next one. If nothing else, the Koans seem to be a good practice of patience and concentration for the small self!

Gassho,
Jakuden
SatToday


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Jundo
08-28-2016, 04:59 PM
Yes Jika I agree! Personally though, I also feel a great degree of resistance to sitting at times, and to doing other things I need to do,... so I figure the Koan headache is just my mind's tantrum about having to stretch itself in directions it is not accustomed to going. It's a little like Zazen, watching my mind drift in boredom and irritation from the Koan onto whatever else it finds easier to understand. Then there comes the impatience of wanting to finish it and go on to the next one. If nothing else, the Koans seem to be a good practice of patience and concentration for the small self!

Gassho,
Jakuden
SatToday


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Oh, then you will love the next one! Koan 64! Right on point!

Gassho, J

SatToday

Jakuden
08-28-2016, 05:08 PM
Oh, then you will love the next one! Koan 64! Right on point!

Gassho, J

SatToday

[emoji12] Yay!
Funny I did peek ahead at it (given aforementioned impatience) and noticed it seemed relevant to discussions going on on this page lately. Darned if these Koans don't seem to find a way to pop up at the "right" times.
Gassho
Jakuden
SatToday


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AlanLa
09-02-2016, 12:09 PM
Is it about the donut or the hole in the donut?
Just enjoy the donut!
http://i495.photobucket.com/albums/rr314/alwchair/donut_zpsq9orvw0k.png (http://s495.photobucket.com/user/alwchair/media/donut_zpsq9orvw0k.png.html)
Silly, I know, but that's what popped into my head with all this dark and light as oneness talk.

As for the koan, I take refuge in the sangha in this case because what I read here gave me WAY more understanding than what I read in the book, but this one needs to be sat with for a kalpa or two. Thank you to all gassho2