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Thread: Realizing Genjokoan - Chapter 5 - Last Portion

  1. #1

    Realizing Genjokoan - Chapter 5 - Last Portion

    Dear Genjoers,

    Well, as Ango and Jukai season has come to rest this year, a good time to return to Rev. Okumura's Realizing Genjo Koan. We pick up with the final pages of Chapter 5, bottom of page 66 to the end. It is a good place to resume.

    I feel that, in these pages, Rev. Okumura is pointing to our transcendence of the self/other divide in a couple of more very nice ways, helping us experience that interflowing of our small "self" and all of the wide world. So, he points to how we usually experience sensations such as, for example, how we drink a glass of milk (he does not mention this particular example in the book, but others like it). Our language conveys the usual divided way we see the experience such as:

    I (my subject) drink (something I experience doing) milk (separate object) which came from a cow (another separate thing), fed on grass (more separate thing) nurtured by the sun (even more separate thing).

    Yes, we realize that the milk will become our body ("we are what we eat"), and in that sense so does the cow, grass and sun that are contained in the milk.

    However, we can also "rewrite" the sentence in a more Zenny way perhaps to convey something of the experience when all gets blended together, and subject and object merge, perhaps:

    I drink milk which came from a cow, fed on grass nurtured by the sun.

    becomes a single verb which is:

    ... drinkingmilkcowgrasssunIsungrasscowmilkdrinkinging cowsunIgrassdrinkingmilk ....

    Reminds me of German somehow. Or scrambling the whole above even further ...

    ... irssgkoainnasisuarnkunckcdsindiIgIiriwlgngdnsnkusn mmkrwckmigrroglinoswilgs ...

    which maybe is just this drinking right here in every swallow ...

    Something like that.

    In any case, one can experience or, at least, know deep in the bones that "I drink milk" is actually this immediate sweet taste of cows and field, sun and moon, all the world and the farthest star too, including all the past and future.

    You see a glass of milk on a table, and your hand reaches out to grab it ... but the whole "loop" of "sun, grass, cow, milk, glass, table, light photons, eye, brain, thirst, desire, hand, reaching, tongue, tasting" is actually one single phenomenon ... one loop that embodies and includes the whole world as part of the process, even a moth fluttering in Tunisia 1000 years ago and a grain of dust on a planet several light years away. That loop is actually your greater "you" as much as your own nose or your own backside (but before it goes to your head, your "you" is actually just swept up in the process too, a link in the chain).


    That is one heck of a glass of milk!

    I think that the last phrase in today's readings, "when one side is illumined, the other side is dark" is something like when we see the wholeness the separation is hidden, when we see the separation the wholeness is hidden ... but actually we can know both as true at once. In my own book (The Zen Master's Dance), to be published this year, I said the following, rewriting this Genjo passage a drop for readability ...

    When one sees the forms or hears the sounds of the world fully and wholly with body and mind [free of judgment, free of mental categories, transcending “me, my, mine”], one intimately understands without separation. Then, it is not like some object and its reflection in a mirror, and it is unlike the moon and its reflection in distant water, whereby one side is illuminated and the other side is left in the dark.

    Most of us feel cut off from life much of the time, as if our self and the rest of the world were separate. Frictions and disappointments come out of this sense of separation. But there is a way to experience life so unified, so intimate, that such frictions and disappointments drop away. It takes a sense of separation to have tumult and trouble. So, let’s just stop feeling that separation! Give up sticking so stubbornly to this sense of our separate selves via our Buddhist practice. Then, one sees both sides at once, wholeness and separation, completion and lack, as two sides of a single no-sided coin, and all is illuminated.
    Gassho, J (who is mildly lactose intolerant actually! )

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-27-2020 at 04:11 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    It takes a sense of separation to have tumult and trouble


    doyu sat/lah today
    自己を忘れ、他人のために生きる

  3. #3
    Oh nice, I've been looking forward to re-starting this...

    Gassho,

    Heiso (Neil)

    StLah

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Heiso View Post
    Oh nice, I've been looking forward to re-starting this...

    Gassho,

    Heiso (Neil)

    StLah


    Gassho,
    Seibu (Jack)
    Sattoday/lah

  5. #5
    Eco not ego.

    Glad to start this back.

    Gassho,
    Tyler

    SatToday

  6. #6
    Hello Jundo,

    Is it okay that I "catch up" and read 1-5, then once I have read 5 comment here?

    I just discovered this wonderful part of the forum .

    Gassho,

    Ippo,

    Sat/Lah

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Ippo View Post
    Hello Jundo,

    Is it okay that I "catch up" and read 1-5, then once I have read 5 comment here?

    I just discovered this wonderful part of the forum .

    Gassho,

    Ippo,

    Sat/Lah
    Of course, you may catch up ...


    ... so long as you also know that there is nothing lacking and no place to go too.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Of course, you may catch up ...


    ... so long as you also know that there is nothing lacking and no place to go too.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Understood

    Thank you!

    Gassho,

    Ippo

    SatLah

  9. #9
    Now that I through this year's Ango and Jukai, I'd very much like to return to learning Realizing Genjokoan. I've even added Genjokoan to my spelling dictionary so it doesn't mark it with a big red line, something I would never do with students, only careful suggestions in green pen. I'll have to review ch. 1-3, and catch up with 2-5, so please have patience with me, the senior of the group. Please allow me to tell you that staying away from Facebook has become a habit, so I'll have time to "get the work done of focus and release." Even my pain has been less. I was able to sit for 40 or 45 minutes this morning, I am released. So, what say you? Shall we commence reading?
    Tai Shi
    sat/lah
    Gassho
    "As the Buddha designed it, the Sangha's responsibility is to keep their vows, learn and practice the Dharma, and teach and guide the lay people. The lay people in turn, provide the requisites for life..." So are not the lay people the Sangha? Thubten Chodron.

  10. #10
    As I find commentary in Chapter 2, unity is one, and one is unity, social is social, and individuality is individuality. So, I live a social, or societal life and I live a life alone. I am contemplative, and I realize in others. I act on my own, and, yet, answer to others. Volition must be communal. I have responsibility to myself and to the community, and the Kangi show just this; as one is a public law, yet is tempered by the light of compassion, I act alone being responsible, and with information, act for others. For example, my wife and I married under Iowa law, and together we excepted this agreement with the State of Iowa, that we would bear financial, and "other" acts together. When we (in love) produced our daughter, we acted together as two becoming one, and we were alone in each of our own decisions back when we undertook our marriage contract. Together, we agreed to give birth to a child. We separately enjoyed this bonding, and together we bear the responsibility to bring that life "up." Thus, we employed a social contract (act) to remain as individuals together. Because we accepted this bond, together we raised this one life, child, to womanhood, where she now departs under her own decisions, and not under our social shield. These are one interpretation of marriage, and the one my wife and I undertook. Now that we are seniors, and one of us becomes the weaker, this in no way nullifies the agreement that we in individually undertook in our joint agreement. Now the strength of each truly combines our resources, financial, physical, intellectual, emotional, and indeed even in space, yet in separate space. And in each area we are also separate. Thus, our social agreement to stay together as long as we can deal with each other or one dies. This holds for us. Individually together under the legal agreement that we are both comfortable with now. Step into the now. Space is emptiness. Emptiness is spaced, BUT space is space--emptiness is emptiness for one assumes the other. And, each of us dies alone.
    Tai Shi
    sat/lah
    Gassho
    Last edited by Tai Shi; 01-30-2020 at 02:02 PM. Reason: qualification
    "As the Buddha designed it, the Sangha's responsibility is to keep their vows, learn and practice the Dharma, and teach and guide the lay people. The lay people in turn, provide the requisites for life..." So are not the lay people the Sangha? Thubten Chodron.

  11. #11
    I have not read chapter 5, yet, Jundo's description of milk interdependence as one reminds me of Thich Nhat Hanh-- his original description of the interdependence of all things throughout the earth starting with a sheet of paper. Also in German a Rhino is Panzernashorn, Armored nose horn. Tai Shi, sat, Gassho.
    "As the Buddha designed it, the Sangha's responsibility is to keep their vows, learn and practice the Dharma, and teach and guide the lay people. The lay people in turn, provide the requisites for life..." So are not the lay people the Sangha? Thubten Chodron.

  12. #12
    Hi everyone. I don't have the physical book, does anybody have a Kindle location for where we are starting from again? I remember in other posts someone gave a Kindle location.
    Paul
    Sat today, lah

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by PaulinLondon View Post
    Hi everyone. I don't have the physical book, does anybody have a Kindle location for where we are starting from again? I remember in other posts someone gave a Kindle location.
    Paul
    Sat today, lah
    From "The Moon in Water" ... last few pages of the chapter.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  14. #14
    It's lovely to be back reading Rev. Okumura, I find his writing very comforting.

    I particularly liked his very literal interpretation of 'You are what you eat' which I think kind of aligns with how I explain 'emptiness' and 'non-self' to my (relative) self - that I am an accumulation of atoms (some of which were possibly inherited from a 1000 year old Tunisian moth) and when I am no longer in this form those atoms will go on to be something else.

    I also liked the reminder that 'enlightenment' isn't an end-goal or a destination, it is a constant process of moment to moment realisation. Or not. It depends which side of the moon (or coin) we chose to view the world through.

    Now I'm off to listen to some Pink Floyd.

    Gassho,

    Heiso

    StLah

  15. #15
    Member Seishin's Avatar
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    I think that civilization, created out of humanity’s desire for happiness and prosperity, has begun to function in nature as cancerous cells function in the body. Although human beings are part of nature, they have produced a society that has begun to grow out of harmony with nature. This disharmony is a result of the attempt to manipulate the natural world into conforming to the agenda of human desires. We have killed numberless living beings and destroyed huge parts of natural ecosystems in order to build cities, and we call this “development.”

    Okumura, Shohaku. Realizing Genjokoan: The Key to Dogen's Shobogenzo . Wisdom Publications. Kindle Edition.
    This small part resonated with me during the reading of this section, that I had to look up when Realizing Genjokoan was written/publish, as I have felt this way for many years even decades I guess. Ironic that 10 years from its publication, many of our world leaders and politicians are still in denial of the damage our so called species continue to impact on our planet and are either dragging the heels or even digging them in, when it comes to actively seeking solutions - especially when the technology is out there to combat these issues. So I offer Metta to these poor deluded souls.

    Back to Jundo's intro after my wee vent.

    I always find the water analogy refreshing .............. as is the water. I often see this as the epitome of "oneness". I can lay awake listening to the rain, thinking that the process of evaporation/precipitation and all the elements involved to make that happen, means the water I drink has been cycling this planet for eons and could have come from any of the four corners of the world. I imagine evaporation in the Pacific ocean, leading to rainfall in the Andes, flowing in rivers to the Atlantic. A tropical storm over the Indian Ocean resulting a downpour in Africa, rivers feeding the Mediterranean and the process repeating until a reservoir is filled in France and the water finds its way to my tap and eventually my glass, which is filled with the Universe and I with it, not I not us. Without the Universe, no Sun, no evaporation, no water, no us. True interdependence. Simples


    Seishin

    Sei - Meticulous
    Shin - Heart

  16. #16
    A monk asked Master Chao-chou, "Has a dog the Buddha Nature or not?" Chao-chou said, Moo!

    Sorry, couldn't resist.

    Gassho, Shinshi

    SaT-LaH
    空道 心志 Kudo Shinshi
    I am just a priest-in-training, any resemblance between what I post and actual teachings is purely coincidental.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Seishin View Post
    I always find the water analogy refreshing .............. as is the water. I often see this as the epitome of "oneness". I can lay awake listening to the rain, thinking that the process of evaporation/precipitation and all the elements involved to make that happen, means the water I drink has been cycling this planet for eons and could have come from any of the four corners of the world. I imagine evaporation in the Pacific ocean, leading to rainfall in the Andes, flowing in rivers to the Atlantic. A tropical storm over the Indian Ocean resulting a downpour in Africa, rivers feeding the Mediterranean and the process repeating until a reservoir is filled in France and the water finds its way to my tap and eventually my glass, which is filled with the Universe and I with it, not I not us. Without the Universe, no Sun, no evaporation, no water, no us. True interdependence. Simples
    That's beautiful, Seishin. I do appreciate a good pun too.

    Gassho,

    Heiso

    StLah

  18. #18
    This section of chapter 5 really resonated with me. Modern society conditions us to perceive ourselves as discrete entities acting selfishly in our own little bubbles, with a complete disconnect from everything around us. For me, this really gets to the core of what is wrong. If only more people could connect to our environment at a deeper level, we would be in a more compassionate world. As Rev Okumura says:

    We are intimately connected to things in our environment, so much so that they are actually part of us. We are all the things that we experience; we are created by them.

  19. #19
    Member Onka's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Rural Queensland, Australia
    I'm still catching up but am reading everyone's thoughts.
    Gassho
    Anna
    Stlah
    On Ka
    穏 火
    aka Anna Kissed.
    No Gods No Masters.
    Life is too serious to be taken seriously.

  20. #20
    Hello,

    This is my first real taste of Dogen's writings. It is quite beautiful and I think the author has done a wonderful job.

    Jundo, I remember several of us talked on an earlier thread about Thich Nhat Hanh's kind 'mechanical' and 'materialistic' way of describing oneness. I have to admit your descriptions about this and guidance are more natural to me as it feels more like an experience.

    I think you illustrated that nicely here:

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post

    I drink milk which came from a cow, fed on grass nurtured by the sun.

    becomes a single verb which is:

    ... drinkingmilkcowgrasssunIsungrasscowmilkdrinkinging cowsunIgrassdrinkingmilk ....

    Reminds me of German somehow. Or scrambling the whole above even further ...

    ... irssgkoainnasisuarnkunckcdsindiIgIiriwlgngdnsnkusn mmkrwckmigrroglinoswilgs ...

    which maybe is just this drinking right here in every swallow ...

    Something like that.

    In any case, one can experience or, at least, know deep in the bones that "I drink milk" is actually this immediate sweet taste of cows and field, sun and moon, all the world and the farthest star too, including all the past and future.

    You see a glass of milk on a table, and your hand reaches out to grab it ... but the whole "loop" of "sun, grass, cow, milk, glass, table, light photons, eye, brain, thirst, desire, hand, reaching, tongue, tasting" is actually one single phenomenon ... one loop that embodies and includes the whole world as part of the process, even a moth fluttering in Tunisia 1000 years ago and a grain of dust on a planet several light years away. That loop is actually your greater "you" as much as your own nose or your own backside (but before it goes to your head, your "you" is actually just swept up in the process too, a link in the chain).


    STLah
    This just gives me a natural urge to sit not for any other reason than to sit...

    Thank you for this thread and book, Wonderful.

    Gassho,

    Ippo

    SatToday

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Onka View Post
    I'm still catching up but am reading everyone's thoughts.
    Gassho
    Anna
    Stlah
    I hope you're not reading ALL our thoughts

    Gassho,

    Ippo

    SatToday

  22. #22
    Back at reading, too...

    A good reminder for the interconnectedness, this eating and drinking and *itting business...
    I like how we witness this with Oryoki, our meal chants and such.

    When reading about this, I am always reminded on this "how many atoms of Buddha/Dschingis Khan/Jesus/etc. are in my own body" question.
    I once looked it up on the net and found a calculation from a mathematician, who quickly came to the conclusion, that it's not about how the atoms from the dead corpse found it's way back into the world, but about how much the subject was breathing, eating, drinking, sweating, *issing and *itting during it's life.
    There ist no 'my body's atoms', the question is wrong.

    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    古庭 KoTei / Ralf

  23. #23
    Member Onka's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Rural Queensland, Australia
    Good morning comrades
    Two bits of this portion stood out to me, one in an identifying way and one in a rectifying way.
    Page 59
    "Our self-centeredness causes many problems for us and others, so we must practice in order to live naturally and peacefully in accordance with reality. The desire to rid ourselves of self-centeredness and live in accordance with reality gives us the energy to practice zazen and study Buddha Dharma."

    and

    Page 72
    "At all times we have the potential to act with either magnanimity or egocentricity, to do either right or wrong. Both Buddha and demons are living within us, so we need to live our lives moment by moment, being led by vow and repentance."

    These passages really stuck with me because I put a lot of pressure on myself. In every way this is self-centeredness and to find peace is what drives my daily practice.
    This pressure I put on myself is, despite my reluctance to admit, driven by ego and the need to feel that I'm not a fraud or faking it (what?).
    Anyone who knows me will agree that I do the vow part of the second statement pretty well but I mostly find accepting that repentance is ok to be challenge.

    Anyway, just another barely coherent mind fart...
    Gassho
    Onka
    stlah
    On Ka
    穏 火
    aka Anna Kissed.
    No Gods No Masters.
    Life is too serious to be taken seriously.

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