Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: Realizing Genjokoan - Chapter 8 - P 118 to End

  1. #1

    Realizing Genjokoan - Chapter 8 - P 118 to End

    We return to from p 118 (Life, Death, and "Time") to the end of the chapter on p. 126.

    But Page 118 is just Page 118 with its own before and after (and likewise for every sentence, word, letter or part of a letter of Page 118), and likewise for Page 126 and all other pages.

    Do not think that Page 118 turns into Page 119.

    Time is like a book ... the start of the book flows into the end of the book, but the end of the book flows into the start of the book ... yet we can only read the place where we are now reading in the book.



    Master Dogen presents not just one vision of time ... but many times, flowing in all directions, each containing each other (page 118 contains page 126, and page 126 fully expresses page 118) and the timeless (the universe is just a book that is all before and after and now and somehow beyond all measure, as the past seems written but the future is unwritten and made real by the Karma of the past and our actions now).

    All this is not just philosophy, but various ways to think (and non-think) about the time(s) of your life.

    The poems by Master Uchiyama on the last pages are stunning, if ya ask me.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 04-09-2020 at 01:50 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    I think the analogy of the seed, tree, firewood and ash is very clear.

    “There is always some gap between the actual experience of the present moment and our thoughts about the present moment and how we define it; the present moment is ungraspable even though it is the only actual moment of experience. Yet when we open the hand of thought in zazen, we let go of our story and sit right here, right now, in the present moment”


    “For example, a Japanese Sōtō Zen priest named Reverend Dōyū Ozawa lost both of his legs when he was a young soldier in World War II. When he returned from the war, he went through many difficulties in dealing with the loss of his legs. After much struggle, he decided to view himself in each moment as having just been born as he was at that time, without legs. In that way he could accept the reality of his life without legs in each present moment. After this change in view he was always smiling and he was able to live a rich, positive life.”
    This is a wonderful perspective. Five years ago I lost a lot of my hearing due to a sudden event. I’ve since come to accept that it is what it is but in my mind I often compare my hearing now vs my hearing pre-accident. When I do that there is the inevitable lament for what I’ve lost. My turning point really happened about 9 months ago when I decided to accept that I needed the assistance hearing aids.

    As always I appreciate Okumura’s writings here.


    Tairin
    Sat today and lah
    泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods

  3. #3
    To me this is one of the key chapters because it touches upon what for many people, including myself, seem to be fundamental issues. Does that imply that other issues or notions are less important to me? No not at all, and there is no ostensible implication of any hierarchy whatsoever.

    Yet there are certain aspects of this chapter that I, due the contradictory nature of Dogen’s views, would like to discuss with all of you here. I have taken the liberty to summarize my findings of the entire chapter because, to me, they are intertwined.

    It makes a whole lot of sense that the Buddha talked about anatman rather than atman. Atman implies a permanent and unchanging something within us, but the Buddha argued that there is no such thing. The Buddha said that only five aggregates exist in the universe, and, even these are impermanent and dynamic.

    The ambiguity arises when Okumura says that Dogen “emphasized having faith in the principle of cause and result beyond the present lifetime.” Now to me there are several ways to interpret this. I could take it that he is saying that because of our mutual interdependence, everything in the present is a result of what was there before the current present moment. Everything affects everything else in some way. The more traditional approach would be to view his words as a given that he believed in more than one lifetime or, as Okumura later says about himself, having the hope of more than one lifetime. I know that Dogen emphasizes living in the present because, essentially, that is what is real experience rather than thoughts/concepts about the past/present/future.

    If this were to be true for Dogen then he is also contradicting himself here because having more than one lifetime implies that something migrates to the new life. If, however, anatman is considered, there is nothing to transmigrate so having more lives seems out of the question then at least on an individual level. Perhaps, because I have not yet turned 50, I do not consider it seriously to hope for more than one lifetime because it simply doesn’t make sense. It would just be another concept created by my mind to hope for another lifetime beyond the one I am living right now.

    Then Okumura argues that: “If there is no rebirth, I will have nothing to do after my death and I will have no need to consider my practice.” The first reaction that boiled up in me was: “why not?” Perhaps I am jumping to conclusions because this reminds me a bit about someone who practices Christianity and if someone told them that there is no heaven to look forward to, the person might see no more reason to consider practicing Christianity. It feels as if there is something missing, or perhaps I should take both sides into consideration differently.

    One more thing I also realized is that we can perceive the concepts of life, death, and time only because we live long enough to witness them. If, for example, we only lived for a day or even a week, most things would seem permanent to us and it would take many lifetimes to make the next generation understand what impermanence entails concerning the lives/objects in the universe.

    I think that ultimately I agree with Uchiyama saying "Reality prior to division--Herein lies unlimited depth."

    I was wondering what other sangha members feel about rebirth, transmigration, and the issues I put forward.

    Thank you for reading

    Gassho,
    Seibu
    Sattoday

  4. #4
    The idea that the only true reality is the present was really interesting. As the past has already been and the future has yet to occur (and both of these are products of the mind), the only thing we can actually engage with is the current moment now. And I assume that is what I am trying to let go of in zazen - those ideas of past and future that seem to creep in as I sit. I think this quote by Okumura sums it up well:

    "Dōgen’s teachings about time help us see the importance of living fully in the present, right now and right here. He says that we can accept our present condition and work to change conditions for the future as a practice in the present moment."

    Gassho, Paul
    Sat, LaH

  5. #5
    "Dōgen’s teachings about time help us see the importance of living fully in the present, right now and right here. He says that we can accept our present condition and work to change conditions for the future as a practice in the present moment."
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    May we all grow together in our knowledge of the Dharma

  6. #6
    I thought Okumura Roshi pointing out the contradiction between Dogen accepting that the Bodhisattva's work crosses lifetimes while at the same time emphasising the Buddha's no atman teachings was really interesting. This, to some extent, suggests to me either that this is a real religion where even the 'star' teachers don't have all the answers. Or that existence is contradictory and, just how time is not as linear as we think it is, neither are there ultimate rules and truths. Either way as a Zen dude, I'll just sit and see what happens.

    It was also interesting to read about time - how there is no present no future and actually, no present. Just a big loop. I had just listened to an interview with the theoretical physicist, Carlo Rovelli (link posted to the Science thread) and for someone who just about scraped high school physics it was a real eye opener especially as he talked about many similar points.

    Gassho,

    Heiso

    StLah

  7. #7
    “She thought to herself, "This is now." She was glad that the cozy house, and Pa and Ma and the firelight and the music, were now. They could not be forgotten, she thought, because now is now. It can never be a long time ago.”
    ― Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House in the Big Woods

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

  8. #8
    This, to some extent, suggests to me either that this is a real religion where even the 'star' teachers don't have all the answers.
    I agree with you here Heiso. To be honest, that's the appeal of Zen to me. I think that the masters, like Dogen, share their perspective and their understanding of life, and it's up to us what to take from their words. And so we sit zazen in the present moment!

    Gassho, Nikolas
    Sat/LaH

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Nikos View Post
    I agree with you here Heiso. To be honest, that's the appeal of Zen to me. I think that the masters, like Dogen, share their perspective and their understanding of life, and it's up to us what to take from their words. And so we sit zazen in the present moment!

    Gassho, Nikolas
    Sat/LaH
    I've just seen that Brad Warner released a video called 'I don't know is the Ultimate Truth", so we're in good company!

    Gassho,

    Heiso

    StLah

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Heiso View Post
    ... 'I don't know is the Ultimate Truth"
    Recall that when Master Bodhidharma told Emperor Wu, "I don't know" when asked "Who are you?", Bodhidharma was not pleading ignorance.

    He simply meant that there is no "I" to know some "object" to know that is apart, nor any stagnant thing to grasp, thus the Greatest Knowing.

    Blue Cliff Record (Hekiganroku, Biyan Lu) #1
    Book of Serenity (Shoyoroku, Congrong Lu) #2
    Emperor Wu Asks Bodhidharma


    Emperor Wu of Liang asked Great Master Bodhidharma,
    “What is the ultimate meaning of the holy truth?”
    Bodhidharma said, “Vast and void, no holiness.”
    The emperor said, “Who are you facing me?”
    Bodhidharma said, “I don't know.”
    The emperor did not understand.
    Finally, Bodhidharma crossed the Yangtze River.

    Tenkei's Comment:

    Ultimately, Bodhidharma does not know Bodhidharma, the emperor does not know the emperor. When they meet, they do not know each other. Even Shakyamuni Buddha and Vairochana Buddha do not actually know. Is the Buddha's Heart Seal something that can be transmitted, or is it ungraspable? Grab your nose and find out.
    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 04-16-2020 at 01:07 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  11. #11
    I found Okamura Roshi's description of time to be very interesting, more specifically his discourse on the 'present moment'. I've always found the instant in time described as the 'present' to be fairly elusive, wondering if it was ever experienced, being gone by the time it was observed. So I read with interest his description of the present having no length of time at all, how could it if it truly is the present? Not even just an 'instant', no time whatsoever. Furthermore, if it has no length of duration, how can it exist at all? Even though the present moment is our only actual moment of experience, it is completely ungraspable by our minds. This all seems to lead back to practicing Zazen, living the reality of time moment by moment as we sit.

    Gassho,

    Ryoku

    ST/LAH

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Recall that when Master Bodhidharma told Emperor Wu, "I don't know" when asked "Who are you?", Bodhidharma was not pleading ignorance.

    He simply meant that there is no "I" to know some "object" to know that is apart, nor any stagnant thing to grasp, thus the Greatest Knowing.



    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Thank you, Jundo. A nice reminder that whenever I think I have a conceptual understanding of no-self, by habit I regularly forget!

    Gassho

    Heiso

    StLah

Posting Permissions

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