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Thread: Realizing Genjokoan - Chapter 11 - First Half to P 168

  1. #1

    Realizing Genjokoan - Chapter 11 - First Half to P 168

    Hello Birds In Flight,

    This time, we will read the first half of Chapter 11, finishing just before "The Source of Bird and Fish Imagery" on p. 168.


    I kinda feel that this section actually is making the same point again and again, but approached from different angles and with some of Masters Dogen and Hongzhi's flights of fancy poetry and swimming imagery.

    The sky and the water are boundless emptiness, open undivided and unobstructed possibility fertile for creation. And you (and all of us) are the bird and fish, that sky or water come to life, bringing action and life to it. In fact, the bird and fish are not just --in-- the sky or water, but the bird is the sky flying, the fish is the sea swimming (and the sky is the flying birding, the birding is the swim seaing ).

    Thus what you do is the life you bring to the clear canvas of sky and sea. Swim big, swim gracefully, and you add big and grace. Fly small or ugly, and you bring smallness and ugliness to the party.

    Like that.

    In my upcoming book, "The Zen Master's Dance," I put it like this ...

    What a picture Dōgen paints of the deep interconnection and identity of everything, including our lives! Here he describes how life is a field of opportunity, and how it is up to us to make something of it. Of course, we are not totally free to do and be what we want, no more than a fish can leave the water or a bird can fly without the air. Nonetheless, where and how the bird or fish travel within their given medium, and with what grace and energy, is largely up to them.

    Thus, practice never stops because the features and variety of our lives never stop, so we practice right here where we are. In this place and setting, in this facet of the whole, our practice brings life to life. This is the sea in which we sail or swim, the stage upon which we dance, the sky where we fly. The dancer brings the dance to life by being the dance. We are the life of this earth, and like the fish in the water and birds in the sky who bring water and sky to life, all this world is our extension, not merely our location.

    This is your place, your life right here, and you cannot be anywhere other than where you find yourself so long as you are alive. So please live this life well and experience this place wisely. The possibilities, if not quite endless, are greatly up to you. We human beings cannot change all the circumstances in which we find ourselves, but within our realms we have more power than we know to range freely. Please swim or fly your course with grace and skill.
    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLentAHand
    Last edited by Jundo; 05-25-2020 at 01:38 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    Thank you Jundo for this Ch11 appetizer.

    ZM'sD pre-ordered...I'd be foolish not too!

    Gassho, Chris stlah

    Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk
    Last edited by Yokai; 05-25-2020 at 02:41 AM.

  3. #3
    I feel like a lot of this section is dancing around the subject, but only because it has to. How can we use such a dualistic language to explain a very non-dualistic concept? The English language has so many words to represent so many things, and our default sentence structure lends itself to a dualistic nature. Every sentence involves an object and a verb, and at that instance they're already separate, which I think is sort of the point of all of this. Words and sentences can only take one so far, which is why the practice is so important. Without the practice these ARE just words. But then without words how do you communicate the practice? I suppose that's where the whole "mistaking the pointing finger for the moon" comes into play.

    Sometimes I feel like Dogen's entire intent is to mess with the language and structure until you just throw up your arms and say "You know what, I'm just gonna go sit!" and I find that when I sit, and then approach the writing and just let it flow, it clicks much easier. I can't explain WHY it makes more sense, because to explain the point would miss the point. (Something about the Dao that can be told of is not the eternal Dao...Shout-out to Lao Tzu). Dogen can be frustrating, but I feel like it's intentional, and when it clicks it really clicks. I just can't think too hard about it. Sort of like those magic eye puzzles that you have to unfocus your eyes a little bit to see it, but if you focus too hard it goes away.

    But then, just sit. Sit and be within it all, because it's all connected, here and there are both and neither. What a weird place to be, the cushion. I probably missed the entire point of this section, but I had fun reading and writing about it, so let me know what everyone else thinks!

    Gassho,

    Joshua
    SatToday/LaH

    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk
    Last edited by Bokucho; 05-28-2020 at 06:47 PM.

  4. #4
    Thanks Josh, I love your personal reflections in para 2

    Gassho, Chris stlah

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by SlappyPenguin View Post

    Sometimes I feel like Dogen's entire intent is to mess with the language and structure until you just throw up your arms and say "You know what, I'm just gonna go sit!" and I find that when I sit, and then approach the writing and just let it flow, it clicks much easier. I can't explain WHY it makes more sense, because to explain the point would miss the point. (Something about the Dao that can be told of is not the eternal Dao...Shout-out to Lao Tzu). Dogen can be frustrating, but I feel like it's intentional, and when it clicks it really clicks. I just can't think too hard about it. Sort of like those magic eye puzzles that you have to unfocus your eyes a little bit to see it, but if you focus too hard it goes away.
    I use the "magic eye puzzle" analogy a lot in explaining Zen ... right before your eyes, yet so hard to see.

    I don't think that Dogen was just messing with folks, but he was messing with language to express .... something. I compare it to jazz music a lot, and what Coltrane did to the standards (or what Picasso did to a table, Hendrix to the Star Spangled Banner etc.). As a matter of fact, I wrote a whole book kinda centered on that theory!

    Give a read and listen to this, see if it helps ...

    SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Dogen - A Love Supreme
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...A-Love-Supreme

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  6. #6
    Big flying, big swimming. Feels like the Magnanimous Mind recommended to the Tenzo. _()_

    gassho
    shonin sat & lah today
    Visiting unsui, take with salt. तस्माद् अस्तित्वनास्तित्वे नाश्रीयेत विचक्षणः।

  7. #7
    Reality remains reality regardless of what we think of it, because thinking is just thinking; thinking can not change reality
    In my book I highlighted many passages in this section but to me this is the standout and really the key.

    I really like this phrase too.

    Although the boundless moonlight is reflected in each drop of water, we must still care for the drop

    Tairin
    Sat today and lah
    Last edited by Tairin; 05-31-2020 at 03:31 PM.

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