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Thread: LIVING by VOW: Sandokai - pp 218-231

  1. #1

    LIVING by VOW: Sandokai - pp 218-231

    Hi All,

    Today LIVING by VOW: Sandokai - pp 218-231 (ending at "Darkness and Light").

    I sometimes use this finger puppet image to try to convey what Okumura Roshi is describing today .... We are like these individual finger puppets, stuck in their unique and separate identities ... who cannot see (without Practice) that they are each simultaneously also just the whole hand, and maybe even the little child behind it.



    And to come to know our self in these two ways (which are not two) I sometimes compare to this old optical illusion. In this way, piercing ths puzzle is very much like the young lady and the old crone. Can you see both? (Post here if you can't, and I will give a clue) ... Once one sees it one sees it.



    Why is this so important to our Zen Way (and not just Zen, but most "Eastern Philosophies" that emphasize some "absolute" nature, from Daoism to Vedanta). I tried to briefly describe why in the Introduction to the new book on Dogen I am writing (and hopefully soon finishing). As I said last week, I (and Dogen too, I feel) phrase things a little more "mystically" than Okumura Roshi sometimes, but same point:

    Master Dogen, and the other great Zen Masters of the past, discovered [that the] friction and fear of “opposing” requires a world of separate things to “oppose” each other, while dropping away the sense of separation into some “Wholeness” removes all chance of “opposition.” One encounters a singular nature to reality, a unity, which is simultaneously this world of multiplicity. If it takes “two to tangle,” and if this world is “not just one, yet not two either” (a singular, flowing whole which is also this world of separation and multiplicty), then the world’s problems untangle even as they tangle. In fact, if there is a separate person (you or me) who experiences that there exists an apparently “outside” situation viewed as a “problem,“ the “problem” must vanish when thoughts of “viewer” and “viewed,” “inside” vs. “outside” drop away. Because the sense of “viewer” and “viewed” fall away, we might sometimes call such knowledge a “viewless view.” Likewise, our Practice involves dropping off our subjective judgments on situations as good or bad, happy or sad, problems or not problems. All is “just what it is” without judgments. We do so even as we continue to live by another perspective (simultaneously present with the “perspectiveless” beyond separation) of a life of good and bad, happy and sad, problems or not problems, you and me, and all the other separate people and things. Then, one encounters a world filled with good and bad, separate people and things, yet transcendent of the same at once.

    One does this in our Zazen (Zen meditation) and all our Zen Buddhist Practice. That is where the sense of separation drops away in Wholeness, even as we live in a world of separation too. Very simple to explain really.

    Of course, realizing this, getting it into our bones and letting us live this is what our Practice is about.
    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    Last edited by Jundo; 05-12-2018 at 04:37 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    Just ordered this book, hope to catch up. Funny thing, I've seen this optical illusion many times and I can never see the old crone, even when people give me clues. The weird thing about optical illusions is that you can always see one of the images, or the other, but never both at the same time. I suppose this mechanism is behind all the dualisms we create in our lives, our socities and institutions.
    Last edited by Mitka; 04-29-2018 at 11:59 AM.

  3. #3
    Thank you Jundo. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    Sat/LAH
    RINDO SHINGEN
    倫道 真現

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew View Post
    Just ordered this book, hope to catch up. Funny thing, I've seen this optical illusion many times and I can never see the old crone, even when people give me clues. The weird thing about optical illusions is that you can always see one of the images, but not the other, but never both at the same time. I suppose this mechanism is behind all the dualisms we create in our lives, our socities and institutions.
    The young woman's chin and cheek is the old woman's hook nose, the necklace is the old woman's mouth, the young woman's ear is the old woman's eye, and the bottom of the young woman's neck is the old woman's pointy chin.

    How about now?

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    The young woman's chin and cheek is the old woman's hook nose, the necklace is the old woman's mouth, the young woman's ear is the old woman's eye, and the bottom of the young woman's neck is the old woman's pointy chin.

    How about now?

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    I see it now.

    Gassho,
    Matthew
    SAT

  6. #6
    Thank you, Jundo.

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    Sat/LAH

  7. #7
    Thank you, Jundo. I got the book a little late and have just finished reading
    the Heart Sutra section (which considerably changed some crucial points
    of looking at it). Now I'm catching up with the Sandokai..

    Gassho
    Washin
    sat

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew View Post
    The weird thing about optical illusions is that you can always see one of the images, but not the other, but never both at the same time.
    In Shikantaza Zazen, one come to see both at once as one, two yet not two, and the viewer just such too. It is like saying that most people are caught in daily thoughts and emotions which are thick clouds. Free of all that, there is the clear, boundless, open sky where the moon shines bright unobstructed by clouds.

    But in Shikantaza, one comes to know the open, boundless, bright moon that shines right through and a the clouds, illuminating all. They were not the same, yet not two (the Heart Sutra and Sandokai are about this fact).

    The Old Woman and Young Woman, not one not two, seen at once as one,

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  9. #9
    Thank you Jundo

    Something that really struck me in this particular reading is how much the language (Chinese and Japanese) supports the concepts. Ji and Ri both have many meanings that would be very contextual to the conversation. At the same time Ji and Ri consistently refer to concepts that carry through. Of course English has words like that too but there isn't a single word in English that means both "unity" and "absolute". It just points out a challenge in the adaption of these concepts to the West. Maybe that's part of the reason why we need to talk more and use more words to express something that comes (presumably) easier in the East.

    As a side note: I've started learning sign language recently which is really providing me a good perspective on language because structurally sign language is very dissimilar to English.

    More related to this particular section.... the example of the hand and the fingers (which we've seen before) is a wonderful one that really helps me visualize what is being expressed.

    Not one, not five. :-)


    Tairin
    Sat today & LAH
    Last edited by Tairin; 04-29-2018 at 02:02 PM.

  10. #10
    If you would like a Mahayana Buddhist vision of the Relative and Absolute on steroids ....

    Looking In, Looking Out
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...In-Looking-Out

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

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