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Thread: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 78

  1. #1

    BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 78

    Case 77 never ends, yet now we move on to Case 78 - Ummon's Farm Rice-Cake ...

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

    After the seeming complexity of the last two Koans, seeming to dance the relative and absolute in various formuli and symbols, we now come back to an affirmation of utmost simplicity.

    Today's Koan finds the teaching which even transcends ideas of Buddhas and Zen Ancestors in the simplest, plainest, most taste-free of things, an unadorned rice cake.

    This Koan reminds me of a couple of others which compare the Buddha's Truth to the most ordinary of things ...

    Tozan was asked by a monastic, “What is Buddha?” Tozan replied, “Three pounds of flax.”

    A monk asked Seigen,“What is the essence of Buddhism?” Seigen said, “What is the price of rice in Roryo?”

    ... or even the profane ...

    A student of the way asked Ummon, “What is Buddha?” Ummon replied, “Dried shitstick.”

    Shishin's comments also compare dressing, eating, peeing and defecating, and the "flies in the latrine," to that which transcends Buddha and Ancestors.

    In the Preface, the boundless, priceless open of heaven covers all the separate things, with their relative measures and values, which fill the earth.

    The line about "a hundred schemes" seems to mean all the fancy formuli and philosophizing about this. Isn't there someone who known how to dance the dance, advance and retreat in this world of duality, without all that?

    But truly, are all these Koans that we have seen, both the complex or simple, expressing something different or the same?

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    Last edited by Jundo; 06-18-2018 at 10:39 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    Thank you Jundo. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    Sat/LAH

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post

    But truly, are all these Koans that we have seen, both the complex or simple, expressing something different or the same?
    Slept like hell. New dog barked all night long.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

  4. #4
    Wrote this originally

    I don’t get this one at all. Not even the commentaries make much sense to me. That’s fine. I don’t need to get them all.
    Then sat thinking about rice cakes and Jishin’s new dog. I remembered that when I was a kid, I used to put peanut butter on plain rice cakes to make them more interesting.


    Wick mentions that Master Ummon appears in this book plus Gateless Gate and Blue Cliff Record more than any other master. I know the Book of Equinimity is generally Soto Zen and the other two are generally Rinzai Zen. Having never studied that closely, what makes one collection more treasured by one branch of Zen than the other? Is it the style of stories or just tradition? Some stories appear in more than one collection.


    Tairin
    Sat today
    Last edited by Tairin; 06-21-2018 at 11:04 AM. Reason: Edited with the help of Jishin’s new dog
    泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods

  5. #5
    Eishuu
    Guest
    I liked this one. It seems to be saying the farm rice cake is plain, taste things for what they are, their individual flavours, without wanting them to be different. It sounded rather like the flavour of Zen itself. And also that everything is the same - the rice cake, the painted rice cake, your original nature. I was struck by the last sentence "When you realise the essence of that farm rice cake, the essence of the ten thousand things will be revealed".

    I liked the statement "As long as you think you can hide your demons somewhere else, they will torment you from their hidden place. You had better bring out your demons". My interpretation of that is that you had better face all the parts of yourself, especially all your greed, hatred, etc. It made me think about what my particular demons are.

    I wonder if all the koans are pointing to the same thing, but are different ways in or dealing with different blocks to realisation? I haven't done a lot of koan study but have noticed some speak to me more than others.

    Gassho
    Eishuu
    ST/LAH

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Tairin View Post
    I don’t get this one at all. Not even the commentaries make much sense to me. That’s fine. I don’t need to get them all.
    Not so tricky really. Just realize the magnificent, the undivided, the absolute, the sacred Buddha as all things, the most mundane, simple, even profane. You are looking right at this and are this too. Piece of cake... or rice cracker.

    I do have a question though. Wick mentions that Master Ummon appears in this book plus Gateless Gate and Blue Cliff Record more than any other master. I know the Book of Equinimity is generally Soto Zen and the other two are generally Rinzai Zen. Having never studied that closely, what makes one collection more treasured by one branch of Zen than the other? Is it the style of stories or just tradition?
    In fact, the Blue Cliff Record is cherished by everyone, is said to have been brought back from China by Dogen (who, according to one legend, spent the night before his departure back to Japan in hand copying the same, an impossible task if he had not been assisted by a god), and many of the Koans which Dogen dances in Shobogenzo and elsewhere stem from there. It is a bit more complicated to read as the 100 Koans there have had added to them layer upon layer of poetic comments upon comments by later masters, but it is cherished in Soto Zen as well.

    The Mumonkan (Gateless Gate) was compiled about the same time Dogen was in China, so not clear if he knew of it. In any case, the structure is a bit more geared to the Rinzai style of contemplation of the Koan for passage and the "Kensho" experience.

    In a nutshell.

    Gassho, Jundo

    SatTodayLAH
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  7. #7
    Tasteless buddha = spicy buddha = yummy buddha = yucky buddha = food as Buddha. My mom was a very good cook, but every once in a while she made a clunker of a meal or just something my brother and I didn't like (brussel sprouts = buddha, ugh!). My dad (a buddha) would always eat whatever was on his plate, no matter what, and never complain, making a special point about it when us kids would. He explained that he grew up in the depression and served in the air force during Korea, so he learned to eat whatever is presented and be grateful for it. My privileged brother and I didn't really understand too well. This koan and the commentaries brought that long ago memory back, and I get it a lot better now. I'm sure he would eat a farm rice cake like it was the finest steak, and if I could be/do better at dropping the food taste duality I started this post with then so would I. Hmm, I already sat today, but I think I will have a mindful dinner instead of my usual mindless meal. I bow at the dinner bell.
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

    I sat today

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa View Post
    Tasteless buddha = spicy buddha = yummy buddha = yucky buddha = food as Buddha. My mom was a very good cook, but every once in a while she made a clunker of a meal or just something my brother and I didn't like (brussel sprouts = buddha, ugh!). My dad (a buddha) would always eat whatever was on his plate, no matter what, and never complain, making a special point about it when us kids would. He explained that he grew up in the depression and served in the air force during Korea, so he learned to eat whatever is presented and be grateful for it. My privileged brother and I didn't really understand too well. This koan and the commentaries brought that long ago memory back, and I get it a lot better now. I'm sure he would eat a farm rice cake like it was the finest steak, and if I could be/do better at dropping the food taste duality I started this post with then so would I. Hmm, I already sat today, but I think I will have a mindful dinner instead of my usual mindless meal. I bow at the dinner bell.
    Made me remember my mom's pot roast.

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  9. #9
    Where did all those meals go? We wouldn’t be here without them. Children need the rice cakes their parents give them to grow, with all the love and labor they contain. Then they can pass nourishment and love and recipes and memories of rice cakes on to their own loved ones.

    There is no replacement for the loving action of making the rice cake. Children in shelters away from their parents can not live on painted rice cakes.

    Gassho
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
    She/her.
    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).

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