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Thread: SIT-A-LONG with Jundo: MIRROR

  1. #1

    SIT-A-LONG with Jundo: MIRROR

    TODAY'S TALK is available as a downloadable audio file from TREELEAF Podcast ...

    ... or even better, please sit all our Zazenkai this month (or the talk and Q&A is from the 1:50:00 mark, lasts about 40 minutes) ...

    * * *

    The reading for today's talk:

    Clear, boundless Mirror has been one the most profound traditional symbols for the Mind of Zazen and one of the clearest and easiest to penetrate expressions of the way of Shikantaza.

    Zen Teacher Kokyo Henkel explains the "basics" of Mirror Awareness very nicely …

    The true nature of mind is mirror-like awareness, always just reflecting what’s happening, whether we notice this or not. It never shuts off or stops functioning, even when we’re completely engrossed in conceptual thinking or strong emotions. A mirror just receives whatever object is placed before it, neutrally and naturally. It has no opinions about the object. The mirror doesn’t prefer red over blue, it doesn’t discriminate among these things, and yet it doesn’t block them out, reject them, or alter them in any way. It is just open receptivity, without adding any commentary. … All these qualities of the mirror are also qualities of the nature of mind, the naturally present open awareness of Buddha-Nature.

    … During zazen we can open to this receptive mirror awareness. If we try to look directly at it, try to grasp the mirror, we won’t be able to; we will only get to see our ideas of it reflected in it. Therefore the practice is, rather than trying to see the mirror, simply to be the mirror. If we try to be the mirror and also try to figure out what the mirror is, then such figuring is simply reflections on the mirror. It seems quite challenging to just reflect like a mirror, since we are so accustomed to discriminating, preferring, assessing, and getting caught up in the objects placed before us. Though it is challenging, it is also very simple, almost too simple for us to accept.

    One of the wonderful things about this mirror is that it isn’t just functioning during zazen while we are on our cushion. We take the mirror wherever we go, we can’t leave home without it. It’s always available, even in the busiest, most chaotic situations. We always have the opportunity to step back, turn around and recognize the mirror in the background.  (MORE HERE)

    Many old stories and phrasings of Mirrormind.

    The Platform Sutra tells of a competition of poems solicited by the 5th Ancestor Hung-jen in the search for a successor, His student Shen-hsiu wrote …

    The body is the Bodhi tree
    The mind a bright mirror stand
    Cleanse it with daily diligence
    See to it that no dust adheres

    This was topped, the legend goes, by the offering of the illiterate Hui-neng, soon to be the 6th Ancestor …

    Bodhi originally is no tree
    Nor the mirror a stand
    Buddha-nature is always pure and clear
    Whence can the dust come?

    Master Dogen comments, clearing things up …

    Throughout the universe in the ten directions, does there remain one speck of dust that is not the mirror? On the mirror itself, does there remain one speck of dust that is not the mirror? Remember, the whole universe [samsara, this dusty world] is not lands of dust and so it is the face of the eternal mirror

    Remember, the eternal mirror under discussion now has a time of being polished, a time before being polished, and [a time] after being polished, but it is wholly the eternal mirror. … Before being polished the eternal mirror is not dull. Even if [people] call it black, it can never be dull

    That is Master Dogen, in Shobogenzo-Kokyo (The Ancient Mirror), where he sheds light on several old mirror stories in his Dogeny way (Nishijima-Cross Translation LINK):

    He begins his dancing non-reflections with this story …

    The master [Geyāśata] says:
    The great round mirror of the buddhas
    Has no flaws or blurs, within or without.
    [We] two people are able to see the same.
    [Our] minds, and [our] eyes, are completely alike
    Dogen polishes our understanding …

    Saying that this mirror “has no blurs on the inside or the outside” neither describes an inside that depends on an outside, nor an outside blurred by an inside. There being no face or back, [nor] “two individuals” are able to see the same. Minds, and eyes, are alike. “Likeness” describes “a human being”meeting “a human being.” In regard to images within, they have mind and eyes, and they are able to see the same. In regard to images without, they have mind and eyes, and they are able to see the same. Object and subject which are manifest before us now are like each other within and like eachother without—they are neither I nor anyone else.

    In the order of Zen Master Nangaku Daie a monk asks, “If a mirror is cast into an image, to what place does its luster return?”
    The master says, “Venerable monk, to what place have the features you had before you became a monk departed?”
    The monk says, “After the transformation, why does it not shine like a mirror?”
    The master says, “Even though it is not shining like a mirror, it cannot delude others one bit.

    Dogen illuminates …

    Just this moment is miscellaneous bits of utter delusion, in hundred thousand myriads of shining mirror reflections.


    Great Master Seppō Shinkaku on one occasion preaches to the assembly, “If you want to understand this matter,
    my concrete state is like one face of the eternal mirror. [When] a foreigner comes, a foreigner appears. [When] a Chinese person comes, a Chinese person appears.”
    Then Gensha steps out and asks, “If suddenly a clear mirror comes along, what then?”
    The master says, “The foreigner and the Chinese person both become invisible.”
    Gensha says, “I am not like that.”
    Seppō says, “How is it in your case? … If suddenly a clear mirror comes along, how will it be then?”
    Gensha says, “Smashed into hundreds of bits and pieces!”

    Dogen shines on … the foreigner is the outsider, the Chinese the proverbial "insider", all beyond and right through inside and out ...

    ... “one face” means[the mirror’s] borders have been eliminated forever and it is utterly beyond inside and outside; it is the self as a pearl spinning in a bowl. … To Seppō’s present words “The foreigner and the Chinese person both become invisible,”he might add, “and the mirror itself also becomes invisible.” … “But why, when I have just asked you to give me back a concrete fragment, did you give me back a clear mirror?”

    … To insist that even when “the foreigner and the Chinese person are both invisible,” the mirror will remain, is to be blind to appearance and to be remiss with regard to coming.



    Last edited by Jundo; 06-14-2016 at 03:39 PM. Reason: Added

  2. #2
    Thank you to Sekishi for you diligent work on putting the Podcasts together.

    Gassho, Jundo


  3. #3
    Treeleaf Unsui / Engineer Sekishi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Virginia, USA


    He/him. As a novice priest-in-training, this is simply an expression of my opinion. Please take it with a grain of salt.

  4. #4
    Thank you Jundo ... I really appreciated this teaching. =)



  5. #5
    Treeleaf Unsui Shugen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Redding California USA
    Yes, thank you Sekishi (and Jundo). I listened to the podcast while mowing the lawn today. It was very clean and clear.




    明道 修眼
    As a priest in training, please assume I don't really know what I'm talking about....
    Meido Shugen
    明道 修眼

  6. #6
    Thank you, Jundo.


    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

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