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Thread: Realizing Genjokoan - Chapter 3 - P 35 to P 42

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    Realizing Genjokoan - Chapter 3 - P 35 to P 42


    We will only read the pages entitled Maka Hannya Haramitsu (stopping before the last few pages of Chapter 3 entitled "Genjo Koan").

    Here is our version of the Heart Sutra that we usually chant at Treeleaf, if you want to compare it to this section.

    This section's explanation by Okumura Roshi also struck me as a little dense, even if you are already very familiar with the Heart Sutra that Master Dogen was "riffing" on in Maka Hannya Haramitsu. So, I am going to try to "sum up" this section in a few sentences:

    1- EVERYTHING ... and I mean EVERYTHING ... is empty! All is so Empty that we don't even have to bother to say or think about stuff being "Empty." The whole body, the senses, what the senses see or taste etc., mind, every element and atom (folks used to speak of earth, wind, fire, etc, as the building blocks of nature like we speak of atoms now), every blade of grass and the whole world, every moment of time past present future, all activities, the kitchen sink. They are all beyond mental categories and opposites such as "this and that," "me or you," "good vs. bad," "appearing or existing or disappearing," "sacred vs. mundane," "Buddha vs. ignorant beings" ... Empty, Empty, Empty!

    2 - Everything is so Empty that it kind of pours back into (actually, never was apart or other than) everything to make things, each and all, unique and precious, its own special jewel. (Kind of like saying that each tiny grain of dust on the mountain is Empty of separate existence and is just the mountain, but because it is just the mountain, the whole mountain is every grain of dust too ... and so every grain of dust shines with the whole grandeur of the whole mountain totally embodied in that unique and ordinary grain of dust!)

    ... And realization of all this is Wisdom (Prajna).

    3 - Even all of the Buddha's most traditional Teachings ... such as the Four Noble Truths ... are Empty. However, in fact, the whole point of these Teachings such as the Four Noble Truths is to free people from suffering. The way to free people from suffering is to have people experience the wholeness of Emptiness. Thus, realizing the Emptiness of even the Four Noble Truths and all things thereby attains the end of Suffering that the Four Noble Truths was seeking in the first place! Even Enlightenment is "Empty" and realizing so is Enlightenment!

    4 - Because this body is Emptiness and Prajna, and our activities are Emptiness and Prajna, thus our practicing now in this human body is Emptiness and Prajna, already a shining jewel in our day to day acts of polishing, a manifestation of Enlightenment.

    I like to compare Dogen to a jazz musician who "riffs" and syncopates the "standard teachings" to find some new sounds and facets in the standards. Do you see that in what Dogen did with the "old standard" Heart Sutra here? Or does Dogen's music not ring your bell so much?

    Gassho, Jundo

    Last edited by Jundo; 08-25-2019 at 04:01 PM.

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