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Thread: SHOBOGENZO: 1. Bendowa 'On the endeavour of the way'

  1. #51
    No need to apologize, Shingen. And I am happy to see you understand. Nishijima has done an amazing work transmitting to our teachers and brothers and his understanding of Shobogenzo was cursing very deep; in the case of this translation the English rendering with its many qualities ( precision, faithfullness to the original, amazing notes)as well as its flaws ( lack of Jazz and poetry, odd English at times) are up to my amazing teacher, like all of us a bloke who is a blend of wisdom and madness.



  2. #52
    So. . .one might say, "His 'cursing' was 'coursing'?"^^


  3. #53
    Mike cross does a daily translation of asvaghosa's buddhacarita at

    quite interesting to see how a translator thinks behind the scenes. You'll also learn a little about mike.

  4. #54
    So I just finished reading Bendowa, took some notes and read it again. Such a beautiful piece. I agree Karasu the line, "When we let it go, it has already filled the hands," really speaks to me. Another that got me was, "The practice is not confined to the sitting itself, it strikes space and resonates, like ringing that continues before and after a bell." Wow! This clearly resonates that teachings I've seen in this Sangha. That zazen is both on and off the zafu.

    "In general, the state of the buddhas is unthinkable, intelligence cannot reach it." This reminded me of my recent discovery after sitting one day that this cynical rationality and intellectualism that I've hidden behind cannot grasp the Truth. If it could every scholar and genius would have uncovered Nirvana. Typically, rationalists and intellectuals are a rather somber brood.

    I enjoyed the story about Zen Master Hogen and Sokko as well. I wonder, what are your interpretations on the phrase, "The children of fire come looking for fire?" Sokko believes that he understood it, was rebuffed and then given the answer again and realized the Buddha-Dharma. I can only taste the meaning of the line on a different level than the typical thinking mind. It's as if I understand but cannot put it into words.

  5. #55
    Nameless, I am with you on that one. "The fire spirits are here to look for fire" escapes my understanding too. The only thought I have is that we can only experience our own nature and experience. What else would a fire spirit look for? I imagine I am off-track or there is more to it than that.

    "When even for a moment you sit upright in samadhi expressing the buddha mudra in the three activities, the whole world of phenomena becomes the buddha mudra and the entire sky turns into enlightenment."

    This sentence is incredibly powerful for me. As fingers pointing as the moon go this is a pretty good one to describe how zazen can feel.

    "At this moment, all things actualize true awakening."

    All things are just being as they as so as we awake, so do they.

    "This broad awakening comes back to you and a path opens up to help you invisibly. Thus, in zazen you invariably drop away body and mind, cut through fragmented concepts and thoughts from the past, and realize essential buddha dharma.'

    Funny, isn't it, that the things that run around our head in analysis after analysis can drop away and seem so much less important when we sit? I'm not too sure what the invisible path is, though. Any ideas?

    "Because earth, grass, trees, walls, tiles, and pebbles in the world of phenomena in the ten directions all engage in buddha activity, those who receive the benefits of the wind and water are inconceivably helped by the buddha's transformation, splendid and unthinkable, and intimately manifest enlightenment."

    There seems to me to be an echo of the Mountains and Rivers sutra here. What are the benefits of wind and water? This may have a symbolic meaning or is it as simple as the uncontrived nature of both of those things which flow freely? Inconceivable and unthinkable both seem to point to the fact that the nature of awakening is beyond conception. This reminds me of a saying in one of the Christian traditions - whatever you think God is, it's not that. Thought cannot grasp it, only the experience of all those natural phenomena engaged in activity with nothing extra.

    As a sidenote, the above is not to be taken as knowledgeable commentary but more thinking aloud by a novice student who has difficulty remembering where he has left his keys.

    Would love to see other people's thoughts about this fascicle.


  6. #56
    BENDOWA keeps taking me to GENJOKOAN. The initial 3 sentences of GENJOKOAN seem to me to be the most basic dharma talk possible outside of the Buddha Shakiamuny, the essential Dogen.
    It all reminds me of the koan FIRST THERE IS A MOUNTAIN, THEN THERE ISN'T, THEN THERE IS, when the last mountain is the very Universe-in-the-moment of realization in play with the relative world we all know so well. Not two sides here.
    BENDOWA has many references on letting it all come to you. Sitting with an agenda defeats the purpose, but do it anyway, the agenda will drop, don't grasp. It is the release of grasp that brings in Reality; even before the release, enlightenment is there, always.
    The practice, the Buddha body mudra of zazen, is it. No "is it" even, merely IT. It is a gateless gate. The appearing and disappearing is from the point of view of the relative world. The absolute alone is also not IT.
    IT is not both either.
    I should read it again.
    Probably many more times.
    We are not dealing with the hole here folks, it is more like the doughnut itself.
    In gassho,
    Last edited by Ed; 08-03-2013 at 03:23 AM.
    "Know that the practice of zazen is the complete path of buddha-dharma and nothing can be compared to is not the practice of one or two buddhas but all the buddha ancestors practice this way."
    Dogen zenji in Bendowa

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