Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: The Handbook Of Authentic Buddhism - Nishijima Roshi - Thoughts?

  1. #1

    The Handbook Of Authentic Buddhism - Nishijima Roshi - Thoughts?

    Hello all,

    I by happen chance stumbled across a video of Brad Warner talking about a book written/translated by one of Nishijima Roshi's dharma heir's Mike Luetchford.

    You can find a link to the book here:

    http://www.shobogenzo.net/index.php/...ntic-buddhism/

    Jundo, I think members of our Sangha will find this link/book in the coming months and may have questions for you about this teaching.

    So although I don't have a particular question yet, I know you wrote/translated a book about his teachings (I just purchased it and I will read it) and of course, spent years learning from him.

    I was wondering your thoughts on this? Maybe you have not seen it yet.

    I am just trying to learn more about our lineage.

    Has anyone else read/seen this book?

    Thanks in advance,

    Gassho

    Ippo,

    SatToday
    Last edited by Ippo; 01-14-2020 at 02:55 AM.

  2. #2
    Hi Ippo.

    This is a great find, and a real treasure. it is like finding lost Beatles studio recordings in an old trunk, for us his old students.

    However, I usually say the following about my Teacher's way of expressing and interpreting things sometimes. I try to be objective, and say that he had a couple of very personal ideas and theories in seeking to express Dogen and the experience of Zazen ...

    ==========

    l will say this about my Teacher, Nishijima Roshi: He was someone who sat Zazen for 75 years, encountered great balance and clarity in Body and Mind, and then tried to express that balance and clarity in western philosophical terms and medical-physiological terms. More than a few of his ideas were brilliant, ahead of his time. But he was not a doctor or trained philosopher, so some other ideas he developed in trying to express and explain Buddhism, Zazen and world history were, well, a bit personal to him, and he tended to run rather far with those ideas.

    Among the brilliant and innovative, he was something of a pioneer to say that much of what we do in Zen practice is a physical effect of the brain and nervous system. Few were saying this when he first asserted so. Now, we put monks in MRI machines, and all this is accepted. Nishijima was very influenced by some of the research on meditation by Dr. Herbert Benson and, earlier, by Karl Menninger of Harvard who spoke of the so-called "relaxation response.(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbert_Benson) On the other hand, Nishijima himself was not a scientist, just a Zazen fellow, so developed some rather personal and a bit simple scientific layman's ideas about what was happening in the body and brain derived from those ideas such that he tended to put down all the good effects of Zazen to Benson's ideas of balance in the parasympathetic nervous system. (I always tried to convince him that there are many many physiological aspects in addition to that, which we now understand better because the body is a complex thing with many many systems in play)

    l don't think that Nishijima (from my discussions with him) totally rejected the traditional 4 Noble Truths, but he did propose another way to look the the 4 Noble Truths to supplement that. l'm not sure that Nishijima was right about that. Nishijima developed a perspective on Dogen's Zen which Nishijima called the "3 Philosophies and 1 Reality" that was brilliant (if you ask me). However, he tried to stuff the 4 Noble Truths into the formula, and l don't think it really was a good fit.

    So, what are the "3 Philosophies and 1 Reality"? ln a nutshell, some people (idealists) long for a world as they feel it ideally "should be", perhaps (in some religions) an other-worldly state or heaven or nirvana which is "ideal" opposed to this fallen and imperfect world of the flesh where we live.

    On the other hand, some other people think of this universe as just blind processes, dead matter that happened to come alive as us, going no place in particular. (I really abbreviate the description ... but this is generally a materialistic view of the world). Although seemingly dispassionate and "coldly objective" about the world, this view will often cross the line into asserting that the world is "meaningless" or "pointless" or "survival-of-the-fittest cruel" or just "we are born, we work, we die" ... some such bleak thing. He also sometimes uses "material" to mean the "world of the flesh," this sometimes disappointing and hard life as opposed to the above idealized "world of the spirit" found in most religions.

    Both those views tend to judge that there is something lacking in the present state.

    However, Buddhism is an existentialist way of being in and as this life-world-just-as-it-is, meaning the world and this life before we impose our judgments and dreams upon it. We neither judge the world lacking in comparison to another ideal world, nor do we judge it cold and pointless and hopeless. We just let the world be as it is, and we go with the flow ... to such a degree that we can no longer see the divisions between ourselves and the world in the flowing. In that way, as Nishijima describes it, it swallows whole both materialism and idealism by finding this world, just going where it goes, to be ideally just what it is. And that way of seeing beyond "beautiful" or "ugly", "peace" and "war" is .... pretty darn Beautiful and Peaceful! ln this way, Material and Ideal merge into each other and are transcended. This is Nishijima's view of Buddhist "realism", his third philosophy.

    However, theory alone is not enough. More than words describing this "realistic" perspective, we must actually taste it in the practice-experience of Zazen. So, Zazen is the pure action whereby we actually experience this being of reality.

    lt is a brilliant way to look at Zen Practice. On the other hand, Roshi may have gone a little hog wild with some of these views sometimes. I miss him.

    Gassho, Jundo
    SatTodayLAH
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-15-2020 at 11:19 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  3. #3
    Jundo;
    I have a few updates on recent findings in relation to the heart (advent of the MRI era) that were discovered circa 1990 but suppressed by copy writes held by a corporation that has made a lot of money from it. Prepare to discuss briefly on Sunday.
    gassho, Shokai
    stlah
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    May we all grow together in our knowledge of the Dharma

  4. #4
    I just came across this earlier myself so will have a read and I'll keep an eye on that site for further texts.

    I had a chance to sit with Mike's London group last year, although Mike wasn't there. Nice people, I hope to get a chance to drop in again soon.

    Gassho,

    Heiso (Neil)

    StLah

    Sent from my E5823 using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    Thank you for such a thorough response Jundo.

    It's really nice to have your take on his teachings and see you disagreeing or questioning from a healthy place.

    It's obvious you cared for him deeply and he sounds like he was a wonderful teacher. I will enjoy the read that much more having read this personal accounting from you.......

    Interesting feeling when I took the time to really look at the lineage chart. A feeling came across me, not really a thought but a feeling.

    I truly am connected to/part of something so much bigger than myself...............

    Here's hoping to get in touch with that more through Zazen/Precepts/Understanding the history and teachings and of course the way I live.

    Deep Bows for this heartfelt response,

    Ippo

    SatToday

  6. #6
    Member Hokin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    Ixtlahuacan De Los Membrillos, Mexico
    Quote Originally Posted by BradR89 View Post
    Hello all,

    I by happen chance stumbled across a video of Brad Warner talking about a book written/translated by one of Nishijima Roshi's dharma heir's Mike Luetchford.

    You can find a link to the book here:

    http://www.shobogenzo.net/index.php/...ntic-buddhism/

    Jundo, I think members of our Sangha will find this link/book in the coming months and may have questions for you about this teaching.

    So although I don't have a particular question yet, I know you wrote/translated a book about his teachings (I just purchased it and I will read it) and of course, spent years learning from him.

    I was wondering your thoughts on this? Maybe you have not seen it yet.

    I am just trying to learn more about our lineage.

    Has anyone else read/seen this book?

    Thanks in advance,

    Gassho

    Ippo,

    SatToday

    Hello Ippo!

    It surprises me to read this because it happens I just downloaded it this very past morning after watching that same video by BW...I just read some few pages and feel its gonna be an interesting read...It seems it is pretty much Jukai-oriented (which makes it even more interesting for us fresh-jukaiees, I think) and with that title -"Authentic Buddhism"-, I think it could be a good study for all those people today that tend to take Buddhism's philosophy and meditation, but leave out the ethical side...which frankly makes that "Buddhism" all so inauthentic that we shouldn't even call it "Buddhism"at all...nor religion for that matter!
    But this is just a first impression after the quick eyeing I have given it so far...so I can be very wrong...
    What is sure is I am so happy we have this opportunity for reading some reflections and teachings from the teacher of our teacher..What a blessing!!!

    Gassho.
    Hokin (Arya)
    ST&LAH.

    P.s.: Thank you Jundo for your comment. Sounds like it must have been funny learning with Gudo Wafu!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •