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Thread: Body and Mind Not Two

  1. #1

    Body and Mind Not Two

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post

    Maybe the style is a bit hard for kids too. This is the scene where Dogen's Teacher, Master Rujing, castigates a monk for sleeping during Zazen ...

    Maybe the translation could be nicer too. (All that the original says in Japanese is, "Zazen is to sit with body and mind as one.")

    Gassho, J

    Can you break this out to a separate thread and address this phrase, "Zazen is to sit with body and mind as one?" The illustration seems to be recounting Dogen and Tendo Nyojo. I've only ever heard this translated as "body and mind drop [or fall] away," which in Zen terms is similar to becoming "as one," but doesn't seem to fit with my interpretation of the meaning of the phrase. I recall that addressing the sleeping monk, Tendo Nyojo smacks him and says "body and mind falling away," which breaks something open in Dogen. Dogen then later says to Tendo Nyojo, "I totally get it. Falling away body and mind," reversing the order. My interpretation is: in the first phrase, body/mind is the subject and what that body/mind is doing is falling away. Dogen, however, understood that the falling away is the subject, and what that falling away is doing is being body/mind. That's quite a different situation for us. Am I way off? Sitting "with the body and mind as one" doesn't easily fit that interpretation. What has been the mainstream accepted meaning of that phrase? (I'm also thinking of Fukanzazengi, "body and mind will themselves drop away.)

    Shinshou (Daniel)
    Sat Today
    Last edited by Shinshou; 05-03-2019 at 05:37 PM.

  2. #2
    Hi Shinshou,

    The comic book is not so well written. The usual phrase in Japanese is body and mind (or "bodymind") are "one" or "not two," which simply means that body and body are considered one whole in sitting and physiological union. A stable posture of body, for example, is conducive to a stable and balanced mind. Suzuki Roshi put it this way in ZMBM:

    Our body and mind are not two and not one. If you think your body and mind are two, that is wrong; if you think that they are one, that is also wrong. Our body and mind are both two and one. We usually think that if something is not one, it is more than one; if it is not singular, it is plural. But in actual experience, our life is not only plural, but also singular. Each one of us is both dependent and independent.
    We sometimes say they are "one," but also "not two" because they are a whole in some ways, but mind and body are distinct in other ways. I think that the comic means that body and mind should be stable, balanced and harmonious in sitting.

    The teaching of "bodymind (or body and mind) dropped away" is not really about that. Body and mind dropped away in Zazen is (as I describe it) when the needs, desires, concerns, frictions of the hungry mind and the uncomfortable body are settled, calmed, "paid no nevermind" and forgotten, whereby the frictions disappear and the hard borders of subject and object soften or fully drop away. Since subject and object were no longer divided, he said, "bodymind falls aways, falls away bodymind."

    Does that help? It is late, so I must head to bed. Body and mind now need their rest.

    Gassho, J

    Last edited by Jundo; 05-03-2019 at 06:24 PM.

  3. #3
    Yes, that's helpful.

    Shinshou (Dan)
    Sat Today

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