Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: A Dharma Reflection on Dogen's "Spring and Autumn"

  1. #1

    A Dharma Reflection on Dogen's "Spring and Autumn"

    Attachment 6425


    As a part of my Zazen practice, I read a sutra, something Dogen has written or a Koan. The last two weeks I have read Dogen's "Spring and Autumn" Discourse in Shoboegenzo . Wanted to share some thoughts with everyone on what within it helped me better practice Shikantaza .

    First of all the discourse itself centers around one Koan between Master Dongshan Wuben and a monk that goes as follows:

    "Dongshan,Great Master Wuben,was once asked by a monk- When cold or heat comes how do we avoid it?Dongshan said:Why don't you go where there is no cold or heat?Dongshan then said "When it is cold,cold finishes the monk.When it is hot,heat demolishes the monk"

    Dogen goes on to give his own commentary of it but he does it I feel in the most unique way through the koans of another their capping verses to this verse of which he gives his own commentary to their while giving a commentary on the general koan. I'm only going to focus on two of these and his conclusion:

    The first one that stood out to me is from Master Hongzhi:

    "When you take up this dialogue,it us like you an dme playing a game of go . If you do not respond to my move ,I will swallow you up . only when you penentrate this ,will you understand the meaning of Dongshan's words I, Tiantong cannot help adding this note:

    I see no cold or heat whasover.
    The great ocean has dried up.
    Let me tell you, a giant tortoise is lying in front of you.
    it's funny you are setting up a fishing pole on the sand."

    Dogen says of these words

    "You play go with yourself;the opponents become one.Thus steadying your words your mind and turning your body, examine Hongzhi's words,If you do not respond to my move. That means you are not yet you"

    Will say with this virus a lot of the world and my thoughts have been like a lying tortoise right in front of me.Tortoises are huge . So are my thoughts at time during Zazen they are sometimes intense,painful during this time but they are right in front of me . The lies though of the Tortoise at times I would say are kensho too not only painful hot fears but cool enlightening moments of ease where I can understand that I do need to take care of an essential thing within my own life and that is ok. Despite the pain and the kensho though they are not the fundamental point but if I let them pass by just sitting I'm living into the fundamental point.

    The next verse that stood out was from master Changling here it is:

    "Within differentation there is oneness.
    Within Oneness there is differentiation.
    Drifting in human world hundreds of thousands of years,
    again and again we want to depart but cannot.
    In front of the gate just as before weeds abounds."

    Now what stood out to Dogen was the differentation he asks the question:

    "What is within differentiation?"

    To me the koan sounds almost like an abbreviated version of the Heart Sutra because "Without form ,there is form" yet the gate so reminds of the compassion I feel so much called to myself during this time while what seems like being surrounded by a whole mess of weeds of people employing so much binary thinking to others where I cannot just see or resonate with their binary myself maybe it has always been this way . What may be my compassion could cause certain people pain. Just as one person's utopia is another's dystopia. Yet after I sit the first act I want to do is one of compassion after being in the unity of purpose that is Shikantaza . Yet still are different, and yet I sit.

    Dogen in concluding scoffed at the very notion of these verses by saying:

    "Various masters of different generations smacked their lips in presenting their capping verses,but they did not come close to Dongshan.......This is most pitiful."

    He wondered himself why he had to go through such a discourse . The discourse I feel being his own verse but he does encourage something from it :

    "Only after you understand the meaning of cold,and activate cold and heat permeate the moment of cold and heat , and activate cold and heat should you add a capping verse to the words of Dongshan"


    Well I find during this time of Covid-19 I have experienced and will continue to experience the hot and cold of life and others. Not the Katy Perry song but my own fear and my own joy so I'm going to add my own verse here as I experience the hot and cold typing here in the moment:

    "Sitting at the Gate of Compassion.
    The enlightened Tortoise lies as weeds teach.
    Utopia arising.
    Dystopia Becoming.
    One simple moment,one simple sitting.
    Avalokiteshvara guides.
    What will come?
    What will we become?
    Nothing."

    Dogen enocourages us all in this discourse to "Investigate this directly" in regards to the koan . I would encourage you to read yourself "The Autumn and Spring " Discourse which can be found here :

    https://www.thezensite.com/ZenTeachi.../064shunju.pdf

    Write your own capping verse if you feel so moved and may we sit togther in sangha with the enlightened tortoise and weeds soon.

    Gassho
    ST
    Metta

    Karl
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by karlmalachut; 04-24-2020 at 08:13 AM.

  2. #2
    Thank you, Karl. You expressed some beautiful things.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  3. #3
    Thank you, Karl! This inspired me to go back and read the fascicle for myself.

    Which translation were you using?


    Cold and hot
    Pain and pleasure
    Gain and loss.

    On the cushion I find none of these.

    Yet, here I sit in the afternoon sun,
    like a ginger tom by the fire.

    Between heaven and earth
    Not so much
    as a cat's whisker.



    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday/lah-
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Kokuu View Post
    Thank you, Karl! This inspired me to go back and read the fascicle for myself.

    Which translation were you using?


    Cold and hot
    Pain and pleasure
    Gain and loss.

    On the cushion I find none of these.

    Yet, here I sit in the afternoon sun,
    like a ginger tom by the fire.

    Between heaven and earth
    Not so much
    as a cat's whisker.



    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday/lah-
    Kokuu,

    I use the Kaz Tanahashi translation.

    ST
    LaH

    Karl

  5. #5
    I use the Kaz Tanahashi translation.
    Thanks, Karl.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday-
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  6. #6
    Much gratitude for this teaching, Karl

    Gassho,
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH
    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).

  7. #7
    Differentiation

    Time and again,
    Why, I do not not know,
    I have dived beneath the waves
    Hoping to see the back side of the moon.



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

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Shōnin Risa Bear View Post
    Differentiation

    Time and again,
    Why, I do not not know,
    I have dived beneath the waves
    Hoping to see the back side of the moon.



    gassho
    shonin sat/lah today


    (Me too! I don't know why either! )

    Gassho,
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH
    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).

  9. #9
    Inspired by Karl, I have made the Talk for our upcoming Treeleaf 4-Hour Zazenkai this weekend, to dance with Master Dogen's "Spring and Autumn" ...

    It will be hot hot hot!

    May 1st-2nd, 2020 - OUR MONTHLY 4-hour Treeleaf ZAZENKAI - Commencing Spring Retreat!
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...ing-Retreat%21

    Our Zazenkai also kicks off our 1st Annual(?) Treeleaf SPRING RETREAT!!!

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  10. #10
    Thank you very much Karl and much gratitude.



    Ghasso
    Bobby
    SatTodayLAH
    "When you do something, you should burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself."
    Shunryu Suzuki

Posting Permissions

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