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Thread: Realizing Genjokoan - Chapter 7 - First 6 Pages, to P 98

  1. #1

    Realizing Genjokoan - Chapter 7 - First 6 Pages, to P 98

    Dear Seekers of What Cannot Be Sought,

    We will read the first 6 pages, to the end of page 98. For those on Kindle, that is a little less than half of the chapter, ending just before he really starts discussing in detail "If one riding in a boat watches the coast ... "

    Okamura Roshi begins with a little review of the opening lines of the Genjo, beginning with the passage about the perspective of practice, delusion and realization, life and death, Buddhas and ordinary beings. Then there is expressed in the second line the great sweep of emptiness where all these separate categories wash away.

    Then he comes to the third line in which they reappear, yet somehow changed. Okamura Roshi emphasizes that, here, each of these things fully stands on its own feet, and also fully contains its opposite (e.g., life is fully life, and death is fully death, and life fully contains death while death fully expresses life).

    That is right. But in my book on the Genjo, I will emphasize one more meaning for this third line: That here, in a world of life and death, practice and realization, the second line is still fully present too. In other words "there is life and death, yet there is no life and death." In this way, somehow, we fully experience death in the time of death, and we know that death is just another face of life, AND ALSO we know that there is no birth or death at all! That fact leaves our experience of death very different, because ... by gosh ... there is not death at all! There is, of course ... yet not.

    Next, he has those lovely words about delusion being our trying to force ourself on life, get it to meet our demands and expectations and be subject to our judgments. In enlightenment, in contrast, we just let the whole world be the whole world as it is, and to flow into the self.

    Finally, he speaks about how, when most folks are starting on the road of practice in Zazen, they are hoping for some pay-off, to fix some problem or recover from some sickness etc. But, when we put down that hunting mind, the real repair and recovery is known. This is counter-intuitive perhaps, but so important, I feel.

    He closes our reading this week with some descriptions of the "original person," and that "The entire universe is sitting, using this body and mind" in Zazen.

    Any impressions?

    Gassho, J

    ST+lah
    Last edited by Jundo; 03-02-2020 at 12:53 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    I have been reading anecdotes in "The Record of Tung-shan" and this echoes what I see there. It's T'ang time yet here is everyone practically whispering their questions and answers. An offhand remark strikes Tung-shan and he goes away, thinks it over a bit, ands decides to vow henceforth to be more "respectful." When I sit alone, it's never alone. That nearby rock or chair or the singing bird by the window are practicing as [if they are] the whole universe. It may be best here just to stop and bow. Thank you, Dogen. Okamura. Jundo. _()_ _()_ _()_

    gassho
    doyu sat today
    I'm a visiting unsui from Bird Haven Zendo. Take what I say with a box of salt. Mmm!

  3. #3
    i am finally caught up and ready to read this section. On my kindle I believe the location to stop is 1694.

    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.

  4. #4
    It can be difficult at times to practice without any expectation of something to be gained. Human desires can be very subtle and if not acknowledged, practice can be another object for our mind to seek. I read this and understand it but to live with that understanding, actually practice in that way, can be more of a challenge. All I can do is revisit this teaching, over... and over. On the other hand wanting to understand, gain wisdom, etc. is unavoidable, and it is that ‘wanting’ which makes it possible for us to seek an understanding of death, that life exists with it, living and dying are happening together, as one.... thank you Jundo.

    Gassho,

    Ryoku

    ST/LAH

  5. #5
    I like the impression Okamura Roshi gives of trying to catch enlightenment, 'conveying oneself toward all things' but when we tire of fighting the way-seeking mind all we can do is sit - it reminds me of searching all around the house for my glasses and only when I've checked the very last place and sat down exhausted and frustrated do I find the glasses were on my head the whole time. I suspect most of us have had that moment of insight at the beginning of our practice and chased it.

    Gassho,

    Heiso

    StLah

  6. #6
    The quote below by Shohaku Okumura seems to summarise how many people that I have spoken to initially come to practice:

    The search for truth, for the Dharma, or for a spiritual path almost always begins as the desire to solve some problem or answer some life question.

    There is then a danger that this initial desire to solve a problem is continued into daily practice where we become goal oriented in our sitting.This is one of the hardest things to do - to drop all goals - especially when our Western society is all about atraching goals and targets to our activities.

    Gassho Paul
    Sat, lah

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