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Thread: LIVING by VOW: Sandokai - pp 205-218

  1. #1

    LIVING by VOW: Sandokai - pp 205-218

    Hi All,

    I am going to take the pass of the baton from Shugen, who did such a beautiful job in hosting our reflections on the Heart Sutra. We will now turn to the "Identity of Relative & Absolute," (or "Merging of DIfference and Unity"), the Sandokai, to page 218. The Sandokai is also one of the fundamental Chants and Teachings in our Soto Zen Tradition.

    I want to say, however, that as I was rereading the Heart Sutra pages of the book, I noticed a bit of a difference in approach and flavor between how I sometimes express "Emptiness" (the focus of both the Heart Sutra and Sandokai) and how Okumura Roshi seems to express it. I have not really noticed so much before when I have read Okumura Roshi. Perhaps Okumura Roshi tended to emphasize primarily the freedom which comes in recognizing the impermanence and lack of self existence in things, and that "Emptiness" is also not a "thing," without speaking too much of what is "Emptiness" besides that. In contrast, I tend to add some very positive descriptions about Emptiness which you probably have heard from me before, e.g.:

    Emptiness might be better expressed as the Flowing Wholeness of all things, as all of reality flows in out and as us. It is not a "thing," but is a lovely dance which the universe is doing, and we are that dance.


    I did not detect that Okumura Roshi was quite so focused on this positive aspect of "Emptiness" in his Heart Sutra descriptions.

    However, that is okay, and actually ties in very much with our discussion of the history of the origins of Zen Buddhism in China in this week's readings. Okumura Roshi describes some of the complex history, and early varied flavors of Zen. I must tell you that the story seems to have been even more complicated, with many teachers and Sangha ... often with very different approaches ... who only later were depicted as all under the umbrella of Zen.

    My question is: Does it matter, or bother you, that there are so many flavors of Zen ... the same in Absolute nature, yet different in relative nature ... today or through the centuries? Or, does it add something to have so much variety? Can more than one flavor be "right"?

    Gassho, Jundo

    SatTodayLAH

    PS - I remind you of our next book in the book club:

    "WHAT IS ZEN?" by NORMAN FISCHER and SUSAN MOON
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...and-SUSAN-MOON

    We will start that in a few weeks.
    Last edited by Jundo; 04-13-2018 at 04:01 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    Thank you both Jundo and Shugen ... these have been wonderful readings and reflections. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    Sat/LAH

  3. #3
    Member Seishin's Avatar
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    Thank you both. Much as I have valued reading Living By Vow, I'll play catch on the latest installment when I return from the UK and things settle down a bit. However, I've just put Realizing Genjokoan on my tablet and will be reading that while "travelling".


    Seishin

    Sei - Meticulous
    Shin - Heart

  4. #4
    I am reading the book on a Kobo which insists on providing its own page numbering. Can someone tell me what section of the book page 218 is?



    Tairin
    Sat today
    泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods

  5. #5
    Member Getchi's Avatar
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    Than you jundo,

    I was very concerned, and angry, in my quest for "TRUE" buddhism. It became worse when I was introduced to mahayana style systems, with boddhisatva, buddhas etc. Then came "zen" and its complex history from China, the cntrl asia n ba sin, gandharŕ and not mention canton and lushan where entire cultures away and the idea of soutrn barbrian was a real social class. How would I ever get the right teaching?

    But as my main interest was in jhana and how it affected the mediator, I came to an understanding that we are all speaking metaphor in a desire to define an unnŕmeablč truth.

    Poetry of the heart, in a more positive sense.

    Now I realize shikantaza in th is style, is the one method of all buddhas. It is king of samadhi and also wisdom as practice.

    Thank you.

    Gŕssho,
    Geoff
    Sattojday
    LaH.


    Ps jundo the article you posted on pure land and zen was very eye opening :gassho:
    Nothing to do? Why not Sit?

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Tairin View Post
    I am reading the book on a Kobo which insists on providing its own page numbering. Can someone tell me what section of the book page 218 is?



    Tairin
    Sat today
    Please stop at "Spiritual Source and Branching Streams"

    Gassho J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  7. #7
    Thank you, Jundo. I am not bothered by the many schools of Zen, but when I was reading this chapter I was totally confused, and mapped out in an Excel spreadsheet the different lineages, only to find that the point of this section was that there is really no division of the dharma. I know that the Soto way is better for me than the Rinzai approach (which wasn't mentioned in this section), but I've been reading a book by someone of the Rinzai tradition, and I can see that it is going about something similar and does incorporate shikantaza, while we learn from koans. Different styles may be suitable for different people.

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    Sat

  8. #8
    Thanks for mentioning that about your differences in description of emptiness, Jundo. I had noticed it, it seems to a novice like me that every teacher describes it a bit differently. I find yours to bring me to the more positive place of emptiness as “everything” rather than “nothing.” Perhaps because my particular mind wants to control, categorize, and somehow make sense of everything and the antidote for that is just to let “it” be ungraspable.

    Gassho
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
    I am a novice priest. Any resemblance my posts may have to actual teachings about the Dharma, living or dead, is purely coincidental (and just my attempt to be helpful).

  9. #9
    My question is: Does it matter, or bother you, that there are so many flavors of Zen ... the same in Absolute nature, yet different in relative nature ... today or through the centuries? Or, does it add something to have so much variety? Can more than one flavor be "right"?

    It doesn’t bother me at all. There are many paths up the mountain.

    For me actually having many flavours helps me fight the “us vs them” tendency. It reminds me to not get hung up in the Soto way is better than Rizai way. Shikantaza over Koan study? Depends on what calls to you. Not two.


    Tairin
    Sat today
    泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Tairin View Post
    My question is: Does it matter, or bother you, that there are so many flavors of Zen ... the same in Absolute nature, yet different in relative nature ... today or through the centuries? Or, does it add something to have so much variety? Can more than one flavor be "right"?

    It doesn’t bother me at all. There are many paths up the mountain.

    For me actually having many flavours helps me fight the “us vs them” tendency. It reminds me to not get hung up in the Soto way is better than Rizai way. Shikantaza over Koan study? Depends on what calls to you. Not two.


    Tairin
    Sat today
    Nicely said Tairin!

    We all wear shoes, but one size doesn't fit all. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    Sat/LAH

  11. #11
    On a very basic level, when someone finds a path that leads towards wisdom, peace and compassion, I believe we should celebrate that and encourage them to continue.

    Having spent many years without much in the way of spiritual or moral guidance, Soto Zen has given me a framework within which to cultivate wisdom, peace and compassion.

    It can be stimulating to discuss different approaches and interpretations but it's the fruit of one's practice that really matters to me.

    Gassho,
    Enjaku
    Sat LAH
    援若

  12. #12
    Reading through this section again it struck me that the concepts of difference/relative/phenomenal and unity/absolute are two aspects of One Mind really has parallels to Yin/Yang. It seems obvious knowing that Chan/Zen really was strongly influenced by Taoism. I am surprised that Yin/Yang isn't explicitly called out. Not one. Not two. I am guessing this is due to some historical conflict for patronage in China that links to Zen's Taoist roots are played down.


    Tairin
    Sat today

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Tairin View Post
    Reading through this section again it struck me that the concepts of difference/relative/phenomenal and unity/absolute are two aspects of One Mind really has parallels to Yin/Yang. It seems obvious knowing that Chan/Zen really was strongly influenced by Taoism. I am surprised that Yin/Yang isn't explicitly called out. Not one. Not two. I am guessing this is due to some historical conflict for patronage in China that links to Zen's Taoist roots are played down.


    Tairin
    Sat today
    Hi Tairin,

    There has been some historical writing lately on how Chan developed as Indian Buddhism met Taoist (specifically so called "Dark Learning" Taoism) and other Chinese sensibilities.

    http://www.chinaknowledge.de/Literat...s/xuanxue.html

    https://books.google.co.jp/books?id=...taoist&f=false

    There was an influence later, within Japan as well. However, the influence was indirect and, as they were also rivals, that influence was downplayed. Also, there are definite differences, especially in the aspect of Taoism which is like alchemy and a search for immortality.

    But where do you see the connection to "Yin/Yang" specifically? That is not so clear to me.

    Gassho, Jundo

    SatTodayLAH
    Last edited by Jundo; 04-15-2018 at 10:45 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    But where do you see the connection to "Yin/Yang" specifically? That is not so clear to me.
    Well my understanding is that Yin and Yang are essentially opposites representing female/male or passive/active or light/dark etc and yet the symbol for YinYang is a circle that contains both and actually each side has elements of the other.
    The section we are reading also stresses seemingly opposites relative/absolute, Northern/Southern, etc and yet declares they are all part of One Mind.

    Maybe I am stretching this too much. I know in Buddhism we say “not one, not two” yet in Taoism the duality is stronger.


    Tairin
    Sat today
    泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods

  15. #15
    Hi Tairin,

    I feel where you are coming from.

    I might say that yin/yang is not quite the same, as they are generally viewed as two opposite poles or forces ... yin (negative/passive/female) and yang (positive/active/male) that are opposed and which we must balance.

    The relative and absolute are identity to the eye which can see, as in Master Hakuin's famous words ... like water and ice. Or, perhaps better said Warren, like "Tairin" and "Warren". Or, like matter and energy perhaps, they are just the same (says Einstein) yet not.

    That said, many Zen folks were interested in non-Buddhist Chinese beliefs such as yin/yang in the past (just like some Zen folks today might be interested in Christianity or football). So, sometimes (such as in the Hokyo Zanmai that Kyonin has been recently offering some talks on) one will see references to such things in Zen. However, they were never really a part of Zen or Buddhist beliefs. Yin/yang is more an ancient form of fortune telling or, perhaps, an attempt to explain the forces by which the universe works before we had some understanding of modern physics, chemistry and such.

    Perhaps we might say that the relationship is beyond yet right through and at the heart of both "same" and "opposite."

    Gassho, Jundo

    SatTodayLAH
    Last edited by Jundo; 04-16-2018 at 09:32 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  16. #16
    Thank you for the explanation Jundo.


    Tairin/Warren.
    Sat today
    泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods

  17. #17
    The different flavours of Buddhism, or Buddhisms as James Ford recently described them in a recent article, don't bother me at all, in fact I find it quite interesting to contrast and compare - I came here from the Tibetan tradition and while some aspects have a fundamentally different tone, many more are fundamentally the same.

    What does bother me is seeing how closed minded some practitioners are when it comes to the different schools of Buddhism, clinging to the idea that their chosen way is not just the Right way but the Only way. Just as some of us like vanilla flavoured ice cream, others chocolate, and some others bacon, and then those of us who don't like ice cream at all, so different flavours of Buddhism will resonate with each of us in different ways - and that's a good thing I think, because it encourages practitioners to take responsibility for their path, question their experience and develop compassion and wisdom in an authentic way, rather than going alone with a bunch of rules all coming from one place without choice. I'm not advocating cherry picking amongst the various traditions for the right fit, but rather finding that heart/mind connection, that sensation of recognition and homecoming which is beyond explanation - and that requires choices.

    Gassho
    Meitou
    satwithyoualltoday/lah
    Last edited by Meitou; 04-18-2018 at 07:22 PM. Reason: logged out before checking.
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

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