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Thread: LIVING by VOW: Sandokai - pp 241-248

  1. #1

    LIVING by VOW: Sandokai - pp 241-248

    Hi All Sandokei Fans,

    We finish up the Sandokai this week (and we should finish the book next time). A reminder that our next book is this, starting in a few weeks:

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

    Between now and then, however, we will cover a few more Koans from the Book of Serenity/Equanimity ... Folks can just drop in to that.

    For today, more Absolute that is just Relative, light dark, boxes and lids, arrow points in midair ...

    The Abhidharma tried to analyze all reality into the Dharmas, includes both material and mental factors. Today we speak of the Periodic Table and the Brain. However, I don't think that it has changed the basic premise of the Sandokai, which is just the same then and now. What do you think?

    All other impressions on the Sandokai welcome. Don't waste time!

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    Last edited by Jundo; 05-20-2018 at 12:36 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    Thank you, Jundo. I liked this section, that light and dark each have positive connotations and negative connotations, but they exist together. Also, the "appropriate situation" applying to our life and work as well as being both individual and part of a community.

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    Sat

  3. #3
    Thank you Jundo ... and I have order my copy of What is Zen. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    Sat/LAH

  4. #4
    I remember doing a whole book on the Sandokai a while back here titled Branching Streams Flowing in the Dark. That was my in depth introduction to this poem, and this has been a nice refresher. Long before I got into Zen I had figured out the relativity of things to each other, how one can define the other and vice versa. I always thought it an interesting circle of thought, that there was a null quality to it because each also cancelled the other. If light/ri is defined by dark/ji, then there is no light/dark or ri/ji, or so I might get stuck if these were just thought experiments like I used to. The fun thing about Zen is that it's about the practice and not the thought experiment. If you sit zazen, like I did this morning, you begin to work with ri and ji, light and darkness, and if you sit zazen long enough you find yourself able to work with the relative and absolute in the reality of your life, at least to some degree. Now, I get shot by my own arrow points all the time, but that just shows that I keep shooting those arrows as I work on improving my aim.

    To me, the whole point of the Sandokai and all the other vows covered in this book, and all the koans that I am happy to get back to, is that you have to take it out into the reality of your life. You have to find a way to practice it, because just thinking about it (or even non-thinking about it) alone does no meaningful good. If it ain't practical, then there ain't much point to the arrow at all.
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

    I sat today

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa View Post
    I remember doing a whole book on the Sandokai a while back here titled Branching Streams Flowing in the Dark. That was my in depth introduction to this poem, and this has been a nice refresher. Long before I got into Zen I had figured out the relativity of things to each other, how one can define the other and vice versa. I always thought it an interesting circle of thought, that there was a null quality to it because each also cancelled the other. If light/ri is defined by dark/ji, then there is no light/dark or ri/ji, or so I might get stuck if these were just thought experiments like I used to. The fun thing about Zen is that it's about the practice and not the thought experiment. If you sit zazen, like I did this morning, you begin to work with ri and ji, light and darkness, and if you sit zazen long enough you find yourself able to work with the relative and absolute in the reality of your life, at least to some degree. Now, I get shot by my own arrow points all the time, but that just shows that I keep shooting those arrows as I work on improving my aim.

    To me, the whole point of the Sandokai and all the other vows covered in this book, and all the koans that I am happy to get back to, is that you have to take it out into the reality of your life. You have to find a way to practice it, because just thinking about it (or even non-thinking about it) alone does no meaningful good. If it ain't practical, then there ain't much point to the arrow at all.
    Thank you dear AlanLa for saying it all so much better than I could. I did enjoy thinking around this perspective on light and dark but in the same way as dwelling on the Abhidharma, dependent origination etc it felt it was all getting too much about thinking and not enough about doing, so I really appreciated how Okumura Roshi brings it all back to perceived real life, or the life we live every day - not getting attached to the idea of not discriminating, how we must try to bring wisdom ( prajna) into our discernment in order to live this precious life. I liked also how he goes on to talking about all things having their function, place and time, using the Japanese word 'Sho'.

    'Each one of us has to find the best place to use this body and mind. This unique body and mind exists as an intersection of difference and unity. That is the place where we can create our own unique way of life. That is our practice. '

    Gassho
    Meitou
    satwithyoualltoday/ lah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  6. #6
    Just a little reminder for folks just tuning in (I know the long time readers already know) that "dark" in a Buddhist sense does not me "black" or "evil" or "bad" in the English sense, but is instead where all things come together in Wholeness, much as all the separate things in a room disappear from sight as separate things when the lights are turned off. "Light" does not mean "bright" or "saintly" or "good" in the English sense, but conveys how separation and apparent individuality reappear when the light in the room are back on.

    In fact, "black" or "evil" or "bad" or "bright" or "saintly" or "good" are some of the opposites and categories we see in the light!

    What happens to those when they merge in the dark?

    Spoiler alert: Something Good! (Big G). A Good, Flowing Wholeness which is expressed in all the opposites and categories of the world.

    Yes, the darkness is always present in the light, and the light flows into the darkness ... separation is always Wholeness, Wholeness still in separation ... form in just emptiness, emptiness just form.

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  7. #7
    Just a little reminder for folks just tuning in (I know the long time readers already know) that "dark" in a Buddhist sense does not me "black" or "evil" or "bad" in the English sense, but is instead where all things come together in Wholeness, much as all the separate things in a room disappear from sight as separate things when the lights are turned off.
    This was a big "ah-ha!" realization for me, coming from a Protestant Christian tradition where darkness is frequently equated with sin and ignorance. Though, the opening verses of Genesis is interesting in its description of the world before Creation.

    In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
    I'm wary of making direct connections between religions, but "formless and empty" is a pretty interesting turn of phrase to describe a time before any distinctions were made between individual things. On the surface, very Buddhist?


    No merit. Vast emptiness; nothing holy. I don't know.

  8. #8
    Member Seishin's Avatar
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    Aug 2016
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    La Croix-Avranchin, Basse Normandie, France
    Hoping to get back to this section and move along with the next LBV section this week. Playing catch up as after my PC died in our March flood, the laptop threw a wobbly two weeks back and I've had to rebuild it from its base settings. Hopefully I can put the IT technician back in the box and get back to some reading.

    Thanks for the interesting comments so far.


    Seishin

    Sei - Meticulous
    Shin - Heart

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