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Thread: The essential nature

  1. #1

    The essential nature

    I'm reading The Gateless Gate, the one with commentary by Koun Yamada. I'm not reading this to "work through" the koans; I simply want to become familiar with the stories and anecdotes that are in the koans.

    In the commentary to "The Barbarian Has no Beard," there is a discussion of "the essential nature."

    "The essential nature has no form, no color, no weight, no length, no place, no concepts, no taint or blemish attached to it. Is is perfectly pure. [. . .] If the whole universe were to be completely destroyed, the essential nature would continue to exist because it is empty..."

    It seems to me that a way of imagining the "essential nature" is that it is what is left when there is no form, no color, no weight, no length, etc. Any thoughts?

    Gassho,

    Kirk

    Sat
    -----
    I know nothing.

  2. #2
    You already are the essential nature so you donít needto imagine it

    Sat/lah


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

    I may be wrong and not knowing is acceptable

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    You already are the essential nature so you don’t needto imagine it

    Sat/lah


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
    I am a novice priest. Any resemblance my posts may have to actual teachings about the Dharma, living or dead, is purely coincidental (and just my attempt to be helpful).

  4. #4
    There is the danger of "reifying" such terms as "essential nature" or "Source" or "Original Face" (i.e., turning them into an object or thing), which is cautioned against by most Zen folks. This is fluid, moving, changing, can't be nailed down like smoke or a breeze or (the image I use in my book, "Zen Master's Dance") an ongoing dance that cannot be held in place, in which you and I and all things and events are both dancers and just the dance itself. A process, a flow, a storm ... moving, changing, dancing, not fixed and frozen (although also fully manifesting as the "things" which falsely appear fixed and frozen in the world, like stones and mountains) ...

    Also, when you think of something as an "object" or "thing" we naturally tend to think of it "out there" separate from our subjective "in here." That is another risk. As Rich said, "You already are the essential nature so you don’t need to imagine it,"

    Also, when we think of "essential nature" we tend to think that it is somehow something apart from toasters and fish, tin cans and you and me, yesterday and feelings and the kitchen sink. It is what is when we drop from mind "toasters and fish, tin cans and you and me, mountains and stones, yesterday and feelings and the kitchen sink" BUT ALSO it is precisely "toasters and fish, tin cans and you and me, mountains and stones, yesterday and feelings and the kitchen sink" too.

    In other words, "The essential nature has no form, no color, no weight, no length, no place, no concepts, no taint or blemish attached to it. Is is perfectly pure" AND YET "The essential nature IS PRECISELY form, color, weight, length, place, concepts, taint and blemish" for (as the Heart Sutra teaches) "form is not other than emptiness, emptiness precisely form."

    There is also this Koan (also from my book) ...

    A monk asked Master Dasui, “When the fire rages at the end of all eons and the whole universe is destroyed, is this destroyed or not?”
    Dasui responded, “Destroyed.”
    The monk then said, “Then this goes along with that?”
    Dasui said, “This goes along with that.”
    The monk asked Master Longji, “When the fire rages at the end of all eons and the whole universe is destroyed, is this destroyed or not?”
    Longji said, “Not destroyed.”
    The monk said, “Why is this not destroyed?”
    Longji responded, “Because this is the same as the universe.” (Book of Serenity, Case 30)

    That which is timeless, which transcends all the individual things of the universe and passing time, is also manifesting and playing out as all those individual things and passing time. So, in one sense, when all the separate things and passing time come to an end, the timeless ends too. Where they go, the timeless goes. However, from another perspective, because that which is timeless and transcends all things is not just the things and passing time, it is not destroyed. We might say that, as the waves rise and fall, appear and vanish, it is the sea rising and falling, appearing and vanishing. Yet we can also say that the sea does not vanish with the wave. Thus, the vanishing is unvanishing, and the unvanishing is vanishing.
    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 03-31-2020 at 11:02 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  5. #5
    I like this koan:

    Why does Jundo have no beard?



    Gassho, Jishin, __/stlah\__

  6. #6
    Because he went to Japan seeking Zen (but couldn't find razor blades)

    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

  7. #7

  8. #8
    From the Gateless Gate ...

    Case 4: The Western Barbarian with No Beard

    Wakun said, "Why has the Western Barbarian no beard?"

    Mumon's Comment

    Study should be real study, enlightenment should be real enlightenment. You should meet this barbarian directly to be really intimate with him. But saying you are really intimate with him already divides you into two.

    Mumon's Verse

    Don't discuss your dream

    Before a fool.

    Barbarian with no beard

    Obscures the clarity.
    This is about the Barbarian who came to China bringing Zen, Bodhidharma, well known for his beard ...



    To say that Bodhidharma has no beard is something like saying the Jishin does not take pictures of animals ...

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...l=1#post257414

    It is not really about that other Barbarian from the west, Jundo, or our "essential nature" ... except it is ... for Jundo and Jishin, the animals, "essential nature" and Bodhidharma's beard are not two.

    Bodhidharma has no beard because there is no separate "Bodhidharma" or separate "beard" or separate "West" for one to "have" the other. Better said, there is "having" beyond a haver and a had.

    Jishin never "takes" a photo of a snake because there is no separate snake or separate Jishin or separate camera for the taking! All is "took" from the start!

    But all this talk of intimacy can't help but divide things in two ... so let's just sit ... Bodhidharma and snakes, beards and Jishin just sitting. That is our real "study" of no student and no studied, beards and no beards.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 04-01-2020 at 04:18 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    I like this koan:

    Why does Jundo have no beard?



    Gassho, Jishin, __/stlah\__
    I like this answer:

    Because the beard has Jundo.



    Gassho, Jishin, __/stlah\__

    PS:. Jundo's answer off course is the best one.
    Last edited by Jishin; 04-01-2020 at 04:21 AM.

  10. #10

  11. #11
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  12. #12
    I want to share some lines by dainin katagiri I have read some time ago, but I find very interesting about our true nature, Buddha nature or however we want to label it:

    This present moment is just arising, just being. The present moment is not something you can hold on to. The moment you can hold on to is already your idea of the moment. It is not the real moment. The real moment is constantly working, arising, disappearing, appearing. In buddhism, this is called emptiness. This is why, according to Buddha's teaching, all beings are impermanence. They are impermanence because of impermanence. There's nothing particular that creates impermanence. In this respect, both cause and effect are exactly impermanence in themselves. Emptiness or impermanence means there is nothing to compare, nothing to hold on to, nothing to ignore. It means just appearing, that's all.

    This is the basic nature of existence.

    Emptiness, Buddha-Nature, impermanence exist forever. This means, impermanence is immutable. It just is. That's why impermanence is Buddha-Nature.
    Gassho
    Ben


    Stlah

  13. #13
    And yet ... there is something, moving on and on ...
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  14. #14
    Barbarian with no beard

    Obscures the clarity.
    And yet, there is no such thing as ownership

    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

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