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  1. #1

    Informal Reading Group: REALIZING GENJOKOAN 2021 Edition Begins Week of 11 April 2021

    Gassho, Sangha,

    A small and informal group of folks interested in contemplating (or recontemplating) the excellent text Realizing Genjokoan: The Key to Dogen's Shobogenzo by Shohaku Okumura with a foreword by our friend Taigen Dan Leighton have arisen in another thread. We will begin reading and discussing in the week of 11 April to allow interested members who do not yet have a copy of this book to acquire one.

    Realizing Genjokoan is an unparalleled introduction to Dōgen Roshi's Shōbōgenzō (Genjōkōan is the first chapter of Shōbōgenzō) and is a delight to read. As Taigen says in the first line of his foreword, "This book is a treasure." And indeed it is. All who would like to deepen--or begin--their understanding of Dharma with this commentary on the foundational text of our school are invited to join us.

    Realizing Genjokoan: The Key to Dōgen's Shōbōgenzō by Shohaku Okumura is published by Wisdom Publications, ISBN 978-0-86171-601-2. This is the link to the US Amazon page for the book, not to promote Amazon as a source but so that you can see what you are looking for. During the week of 11 April we will read and discuss Taigen's foreword and the first chapter; just the first 11 pages. Please feel invited to join us.

    Gassho,
    Nengei
    Sat today. LAH.
    Last edited by Jundo; 04-03-2021 at 07:22 PM.

  2. #2
    Thank you, Nengei, for starting this thread. I look forward to the discussion.

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    Sat/lah
    On (Warm)
    Kai (Sea)

  3. #3
    Member Seikan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Location
    Massachusetts, United States
    Thank you Nengei. I'm really looking forward to this.

    Gassho,
    Seikan

    -stlah-


    Sent from my Pixel 4a (5G) using Tapatalk
    聖簡 Seikan (Sacred Simplicity)

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Onkai View Post
    Thank you, Nengei, for starting this thread. I look forward to the discussion.

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    Sat/lah
    Quote Originally Posted by Seikan View Post
    Thank you Nengei. I'm really looking forward to this.

    Gassho,
    Seikan

    -stlah-


    Sent from my Pixel 4a (5G) using Tapatalk
    Ditto

    Gassho,
    Tom

    SatLah
    “Do what’s hard to do when it is the right thing to do.”- Robert Sopalsky

  5. #5
    thank you!

    risho
    -stlah

  6. #6
    Thank you, Nengei. Very much looking forward to reading and discussing.

    Gassho, Jim
    ST/LaH

    Sent from my SM-T510 using Tapatalk
    No matter how much zazen we do, poor people do not become wealthy, and poverty does not become something easy to endure.
    Kōshō Uchiyama, Opening the Hand of Thought

  7. #7
    thanks nengei



    aprapti

    sat

    Let silence take you to the core of life (Rumi)


    Aprāpti (अप्राप्ति) non-attainment

  8. #8
    Thank you Nengei!
    Gassho, Nikolas
    Sat/Lah

  9. #9
    Perfect. I am in the midst of reading Jundo’s book but I expect I can handle the overlapping time frame.

    Thank you for organizing this.


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

  10. #10
    Thank you, Nengei.

    Gassho
    Meishin
    stlah

  11. #11

  12. #12
    I will follow along. Even if you don’t hear me much I will be listening. Thank you for this opportunity.

    Doshin
    St

  13. #13
    Thank you Nengai.

    Gassho,

    Ryūmon

    sat
    -----

    流文

    I know nothing.

  14. #14
    Thank you. Wonderful choice.

    Gassho.

    ST

  15. #15

    Informal Reading Group: REALIZING GENJOKOAN 2021 Edition WEEK 1, 11-17 April

    Gassho, friends. This is the beginning of the first week of our informal Realizing Genjōkōan reading group. For a description of the book and what we are doing, please visit this thread.

    This week we are reading through page 11 in the paperback version. This includes
    - the Foreword by Taigen Dan Leighton,
    -Shohaku Okumura's Preface,
    -Okumura's translation of the text of Dōgen Roshi's Genjōkōan, and
    -the first chapter of commentary, called Chapter 1: Dōgen Zenji's Life and the Importance of Genjōkōan.

    As your colleague only, in this undertaking, I gently suggest that you not let yourself get bogged down in the foreword and preface. Read them if you like, as they do provide context on the importance of Genjōkōan, but it would also be fine to not read them, or to read them later.

    Once you have read and considered this week's portion, please do come back to this thread and comment. I will list some question ideas below, but these are just ideas I had while reading. My understanding is as full of holes as anyone's, so please feel at liberty to come up with your own questions, or no questions. If you read, but don't feel that you want to comment on this week's portion, please do post that. Any discussion helps me, and probably others, to keep going.

    I find Genjōkōan is at once simple and profound. It is brief but has a depth that is challenging to reach. In translation (I have no comprehension of Japanese) it seems plainly written and impossible to fully understand. I like to think that this was intentional on Dōgen's part. In reading Dōgen's writings, I find two things quite helpful, so I will tell them to you and you can decide for yourself. The first is to read Genjōkōan aloud (a trick I learned to use when I don't want my mind to wander or have to read the same paragraph fifteen times). The second is to re-read Genjōkōan regularly, perhaps even with each new section or chapter of the book. As I said earlier, it is brief.

    The first chapter of Okumura's commentary is a quick description of Dōgen's life, and is interesting on its own.

    Some questions I thought were helpful to think about, from this week's portion:
    1. What is dharma?
    2. Does realization require delusion?
    3. What is the self?
    4. Do realization and delusion exist among all sentient beings, or only humans?
    5. Dōgen writes that there are inexhaustible characteristics in what is beyond what we can see, and also within what is right in front of us. How is this borne out or refuted by the advancement of scientific knowledge?

    I am looking forward to what you write about this week's portion of Realizing Genjōkōan. I am ready to learn from your insights. Also, I am in charge of absolutely nothing. All ideas about what we should be doing here are invited. I am simply reading along with you, and hoping for glimpses of realization along with you.

    Gassho,
    Nengei
    Sat today. LAH.
    Last edited by Nengei; 04-13-2021 at 04:00 AM.

  16. #16
    PS The timing is such that we should be able to finish this text before Ango begins, and be ready to dive into Ango study.

    Gassho,
    Nengei
    Sat today. LAH.

  17. #17


    Thanks

    Doshin
    St

  18. #18

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Nengei View Post
    3. What is the self?
    Oh, sure, that's an easy one. Once we got this sorted out, we don't need to read any more. :-)

    Gassho,

    Ryūmon

    sat
    -----

    流文

    I know nothing.

  20. #20


    aprapti

    sat

    Let silence take you to the core of life (Rumi)


    Aprāpti (अप्राप्ति) non-attainment

  21. #21


    Thank You

    SAT Lah

  22. #22


    Gassho,
    Tom

    SatLah
    “Do what’s hard to do when it is the right thing to do.”- Robert Sopalsky

  23. #23
    I am reading along. One request though, can we use the chapter names rather than page numbers? Printed page numbers rarely line up with the Ebook numbering.


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

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Tairin View Post
    I am reading along. One request though, can we use the chapter names rather than page numbers? Printed page numbers rarely line up with the Ebook numbering.


    Tairin
    Sat today and lah
    Good point
    gassho, shokai
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    May we all grow together in our knowledge of the Dharma

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Tairin View Post
    I am reading along. One request though, can we use the chapter names rather than page numbers? Printed page numbers rarely line up with the Ebook numbering.


    Tairin
    Sat today and lah
    Certainly. I will update the post at the top of this thread to reflect that. Thank you for the excellent suggestion.

    Gassho,
    Nengei
    Sat today. LAH.

  26. #26
    Wonderful initiative Nengei, I have been wanting to dive into Dogen's teachings for some time now, and from the videos that I have seen of Shohaku Okumura, I am a fan! So I will be reading along, excited

    Gassho, Tomás
    Sat&LaH

  27. #27
    Thank you!

    risho
    -stlah

  28. #28
    Hi Guys,

    After briefly discussing with Nengei, I am merging the "Realizing Genjokoan" discussion threads into a single thread for housekeeping purposes. In this way, we can centralize the whole discussion here.

    It truly is a wonderful book, and a marvelous gateway into Dogen and the Shobogenzo.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  29. #29
    What a mind-blowing text

    I really like your questions Nengei, so I will answer these directly. I feel like a few questions for each chapter is a great way to get the conversation going.

    1. What is Dharma?

    I understand Dharma as:

    a) The Buddhist teachings (although Hindu teachings also employ the word Dharma).
    b) Reality itself.
    c) Every aspect that is part of that reality.

    2. Does realization require delusion?

    “Those who greatly realize delusion are Buddhas. Those who are greatly deluded in realization are living beings”. Delusion that is not recognized is present in those who are not Buddhas. To become liberated, one must recognize delusion, therefore realization cannot happen without delusion. In fact, the Buddhist path formulates liberation as the extinction of the three poisons: desire, aversion, and delusion.

    3. What is the self?

    “To study the Self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be verified by all things”. Dogen points to the non-existence of the small self and how one discovers the Self when this small self and the small selves of all things drop off. From my perspective, this means that when we are free from conceptual constructs, including the view of an intrinsic, permanent, independent, solid and fixed self, we see reality as it is, whole and complete.

    4. Do realization and delusion exist among all sentient beings, or only humans?

    “There is practice-enlightenment – this is the way of living beings”. I think Dogen points to realization and delusion among all sentient beings, as is common in Mahayana Buddhism.

    5. Dogen writes that there are inexhaustible characteristics in what is beyond what we can see, and also within what is right in front of us. How is this borne out or refuted by the advancement of scientific knowledge?

    “We only see or grasp as far as the power of our eye of study and practice can see”. I agree with Dogen on this. Even though we can know an incredible number of things through scientific research, we will always have more questions. I believe (and this is purely from a subjective perspective) that we will never answer all questions about reality. Even though our methods may be more refined by the day, we will always operate from a subjective perspective that is limited. Also, the relationships and interconnectedness that compose this reality are infinite.

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Tomás Sard View Post
    What a mind-blowing text

    I really like your questions Nengei, so I will answer these directly. I feel like a few questions for each chapter is a great way to get the conversation going.

    1. What is Dharma?

    I understand Dharma as:

    a) The Buddhist teachings (although Hindu teachings also employ the word Dharma).
    b) Reality itself.
    c) Every aspect that is part of that reality.

    2. Does realization require delusion?

    “Those who greatly realize delusion are Buddhas. Those who are greatly deluded in realization are living beings”. Delusion that is not recognized is present in those who are not Buddhas. To become liberated, one must recognize delusion, therefore realization cannot happen without delusion. In fact, the Buddhist path formulates liberation as the extinction of the three poisons: desire, aversion, and delusion.

    3. What is the self?

    “To study the Self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be verified by all things”. Dogen points to the non-existence of the small self and how one discovers the Self when this small self and the small selves of all things drop off. From my perspective, this means that when we are free from conceptual constructs, including the view of an intrinsic, permanent, independent, solid and fixed self, we see reality as it is, whole and complete.

    4. Do realization and delusion exist among all sentient beings, or only humans?

    “There is practice-enlightenment – this is the way of living beings”. I think Dogen points to realization and delusion among all sentient beings, as is common in Mahayana Buddhism.

    5. Dogen writes that there are inexhaustible characteristics in what is beyond what we can see, and also within what is right in front of us. How is this borne out or refuted by the advancement of scientific knowledge?

    “We only see or grasp as far as the power of our eye of study and practice can see”. I agree with Dogen on this. Even though we can know an incredible number of things through scientific research, we will always have more questions. I believe (and this is purely from a subjective perspective) that we will never answer all questions about reality. Even though our methods may be more refined by the day, we will always operate from a subjective perspective that is limited. Also, the relationships and interconnectedness that compose this reality are infinite.
    I like the questions and these answers. The more we look, the more there is to see. The more we learn, the more there is to understand.

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    Sat/lah
    On (Warm)
    Kai (Sea)

  31. #31
    Love the questions! They lead me to more questions

    1. What is dharma?

    The Ultimate
    Buddha's teaching
    Phenomena

    2. Does realization require delusion?

    Shunryū Suzuki in "Not Always So" mentions that our practice has to be rooted in delusion.
    But can you really ever fully get rid of delusion considering how our minds work?
    Isn't it a little bit like in this sort of sleep paralysis that you realise you're dreaming and you don't like the dream so you desperately try to wake up. When you wake up, after a short relief you realise that you "woke up" in another dream and it goes on and on...

    3. What is the self?

    I think I've asked myself a question "Who am I" when I was around 13 years old. 23 years later I'm no wiser. Christianity didn't offer answers, Buddhist enquiry so far revealed what I'm not. I can relate to the statement that “deep awareness of the fact that the existence of the self is not a personal possession.” Throughout the whole experience of life so far one thing is certain : the sense of "I am". However even that is not constant as I "lose" this sense every time when falling asleep. Is there a source to "I am"?

    4. Do realization and delusion exist among all sentient beings, or only humans?

    There are stories in Buddhism of animals who showed great sacrifice and compassion and as a result were born as a human in next life. There are examples of Bodhisattvas purposely choosing to be reborn in animal realms to carry on Dharma.

    5. Dōgen writes that there are inexhaustible characteristics in what is beyond what we can see, and also within what is right in front of us. How is this borne out or refuted by the advancement of scientific knowledge?

    Isn't scientific knowledge another form of consciousness?
    Imagine you are stuck in a room and you don't change anything in it. Depending on the state of your perception and mind the room will appear different : in zazen the room will be different than if you were to sit in there under influence of alcohol, again it would be different if you were sitting there on psychodelics, or sober and bored, or sober and involved in thoughts... Which you and the room are the true ones?

    Gassho
    Sat

  32. #32
    Hello guys!
    Quick question: How would you describe delusion?
    Gassho, Nikolas
    Sat/Lah

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Nikos View Post
    Hello guys!
    Quick question: How would you describe delusion?
    Gassho, Nikolas
    Sat/Lah
    I think of delusion as not perceiving reality as it is, or how it works, including seeing things through the lens of strong emotion or self interest. That is the most obvious meaning to me, and there may be a deeper definition, and I'd like to know what it is.

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    Sat/lah
    On (Warm)
    Kai (Sea)

  34. #34
    I'm joining late, but look forward to participating

  35. #35
    The above may not be what you were asking. If so, I apologize. I think delusion can be experienced in countless ways, but leads to suffering.

    Gassho,
    Onkai,
    Sat/lah
    On (Warm)
    Kai (Sea)

  36. #36
    basically, not knowing of emptiness, i.e. impermanence and interconnectedness of all dharmas

    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

  37. #37
    Thank you Onkai and Shokai! I like and agree with both of your answers
    Gassho, Nikolas
    Sat/Lah
    Last edited by Nikos; 04-16-2021 at 10:27 AM.

  38. #38
    Broadly speaking, Dharma is Buddhist teachings. This definition is tricky with some practitioners limiting Dharma to teachings directly attributable to Buddha, while other practitioners include teachings by additional, acknowledged scholars and some practitioners include lay commentaries. A student does not have to look far to find teachings and teachers with just enough true Buddhism to sound authentic but which include all manner of non-Buddhist ideas. A cautious student is constantly challenged to be skeptical and ask of new teachings – “Is it true?”

    Delusion takes many forms. We delude ourselves into thinking that our “self” is real and permanent, rather than a construct of our own minds. We further delude ourselves into believing that this “self” is the center of the universe, and that every phenomena, every thing, feeling, thought is correctly viewed only as it relates to this “self”. Based on our experiences, we create biased prejudices, preferences, opinions and we delude ourselves into believing that these biased perceptions are a universal fixed truth shared by everyone, rather than an impermanent unique conception of the world. We mistakenly seek refuge in money, fame, beauty, possessions and delude ourselves into believing that these will give us lasting happiness, rather than seeing that they are impermanent and empty, and provide temporary pleasure at best. Through our clothing, our homes, our cars, our lifestyles, we create a costume, an armor, a uniform that we delude ourselves into believing is our true self, and we suffer as we struggle to maintain this illusion. Through the realization of these delusions, through Zazen, we can peel back these delusions and reveal our true Buddha-nature.

    Conventionally, the self is “I”, “me”. However, upon examination, we discover that not only is this “self” impermanent and empty, it is also only a construct fabricated by my own mind. Understanding non-self, no-self allows someone to see the connection with others and with all things. Greed, jealousy, anger, attachment become much easier to overcome when there is no “I vs them”. It is much easier to understand another person’s point of view when you realize that all viewpoints are the same.

    Does realization and delusion exist among all sentient beings, or only humans? Realization requires the ability for self-examination. Do non-humans have this ability? I have no idea.
    The advancement of scientific knowledge continues to support the idea that inexhaustible characteristics exist in what is beyond what we can see. The discovery of microscopic viruses, bacteria, of molecules, atoms, photons, of seemingly daily discoveries in every scientific field demonstrate how much we do not yet know.

    Gassho

    Dick

    Sat/lah

  39. #39
    What is the self?

    This is a question I find I don’t ask myself nearly as much as I used to. I know longer see it as a critical question to get an answer to. I am not sure if it is this practice or age (or more likely both) that has changed my perspective. Certainly getting married changed my view of self. Suddenly my self extended to another person. What I did, thought, or said had an impact on my wife and vice versa. Becoming a father pushed that border even further. Now there was yet another being that while separate wasn’t exactly separate from me. If I extend that I see that my self expands around me, to and from. My self is extended by my karmic actions. I think this is what Jundo refers to as “softening the hard edges”.

    Thank you for the discussion


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

  40. #40
    1. What is dharma?

    What isn't?

    2. Does realization require delusion?

    When I answer yes, it comes from delusion.
    When I answer no, it comes from delusion.
    When I disappears, so does the question.

    3. What is the self?

    The cracks, crevices, and rough spots the flow of reality gets caught on.

    4. Do realization and delusion exist among all sentient beings, or only humans?

    When a human claims to know a lion's mind, he's lying.

    Gassho, Jim
    ST/LaH


    Sent from my SM-T510 using Tapatalk
    No matter how much zazen we do, poor people do not become wealthy, and poverty does not become something easy to endure.
    Kōshō Uchiyama, Opening the Hand of Thought

  41. #41
    Jim - I like those answers quite a bit.

    1. What is dharma? Traditionally, the historical Buddha's teaching(s) passed down to us but, ultimately, everything.

    2. Does realization require delusion? Realization and delusion are based on perspective. I really love Dogen's idea that we make a mistake of avoiding the mundane for the sacred, but we don't realize that all of it is entirely sacred. Right now for me that means soothing my baby's cries, changing diapers feeding, worrying if he's breathing (like every 5 minutes. hahah). From one perspective you could say that lack of sleep is chaotic and mundane, but there is nothing more sacred. I absolutely love it. I think Jundo's Gratitude comes back to this too. If we view everything in our life from a point of gratitude what is delusion? It's all so beautiful.

    Yet still there is poop to clean up and babies to feed and starving people to feed. All at the same time.

    3. What is the self? What?!!! What is this!

    4. Do realization and delusion exist among all sentient beings, or only humans? I don't know

    Gassho

    Risho
    -stlah

  42. #42
    I will be reading along as well. From the preface a few things:

    * Okumura says he came to his understanding of Genjokoan through his "own experience of zazen and daily life practice" (recommends that all do this). I found this an interesting inversion - it's not that Genjokoan is a text exclusively for teaching practice, but you come to meet Genjokoan through practice
    * On a related note on his first reading of Genjokoan in 1965, the only part he understood was "Therefore, if there are fish that would swim or birds that would fly only after investigating the entire ocean or sky, they would find neither path nor place". I interpret this (along with other things Okumura said in the preface) that zazen is the sacred aspect of Zen that stands for life itself i.e. the "just living" of life
    * He talks of his teacher Uchiyama Roshi who, when Okumura received his novice ordination as a Zen monk, said "If you want to be my disciple, you must walk with your own feet in the direction I am walking". I loved that and for some reason it produced a little lump in my throat - something about the humility of that wise old master. This was how he learned about "swimming in the ocean of Buddha Dharma"
    * The metaphor of the fish and the ocean is obviously extremely important to Okumura and he returns to it again and again. The cover of the book shows a representation of this metaphor with a fish swimming in a vast ocean

    Looking forward to reading Genjokoan many times as we go along, and exploring it with all of you through Okumura's teaching.

    Gassho,
    Kevin
    Sat Today
    Last edited by Kevin M; 04-18-2021 at 02:50 PM.

  43. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin M View Post
    I will be reading along as well. From the preface a few things:

    * Okumura says he came to his understanding of Genjokoan through his "own experience of zazen and daily life practice" (recommends that all do this). I found this an interesting inversion - it's not that Genjokoan is a text exclusively for teaching practice, but you come to meet Genjokoan through practice
    * On a related note on his first reading of Genjokoan in 1965, the only part he understood was "Therefore, if there are fish that would swim or birds that would fly only after investigating the entire ocean or sky, they would find neither path nor place". I interpret this (along with other things Okumura said in the preface) that zazen is the sacred aspect of Zen that stands for life itself i.e. the "just living" of life
    * He talks of his teacher Uchiyama Roshi who, when Okumura received his novice ordination as a Zen monk, said "If you want to be my disciple, you must walk with your own feet in the direction I am walking". I loved that and for some reason it produced a little lump in my throat - something about the humility of that wise old master. This was how he learned about "swimming in the ocean of Buddha Dharma"
    * The metaphor of the fish and the ocean is obviously extremely important to Okumura and he returns to it again and again. The cover of the book shows a representation of this metaphor with a fish swimming in a vast ocean

    Looking forward to reading Genjokoan many times as we go along, and exploring it with all of you through Okumura's teaching.

    Gassho,
    Kevin
    Sat Today

    Beautiful
    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

  44. #44
    Informal Reading Group: REALIZING GENJOKOAN 2021 Edition WEEK 2, 18-24 April

    Deep bows to you, Sangha, for your introspection and wisdom on the first section of reading of Realizing Genjōkōan. There are many wonderful thoughts here, and great insight.

    It is not mine to comment back or to "steer" any of you. I am reading along with you. I am asking questions along with you. I am learning along with you. I am putting my socks on, cleaning a house, and getting through my days along with you. I hope you read the sections, and stay in touch with Genjōkōan, but I am happy to be able to read your thoughts about our discussion, either way.

    This week we are reading through page 21 in the paperback version. This includes chapter 2, "The Meaning of "Genjōkōan." For me, the first paragraphs of this chapter set me up to think that the chapter will be as dry as sand in a desert. It's not that way at all, though! Okumura's exploration of the meaning of the word Genjōkōan is rich with teaching. Parts of this chapter are some of my favorite in the book. I hope that you find it so, as well.

    A look ahead: next week's portion will be the following chapter, which is lengthy. You may want to start reading ahead, a little.

    Once you have read and considered this week's portion, please come back to this thread and comment. I will list some question ideas below, but these are just ideas I had while reading. My understanding is as full of holes as anyone's, so please feel at liberty to come up with your own questions, or no questions. If you read, but don't feel that you want to comment on this week's portion, please do post that. Any discussion helps me, and probably others, to keep going. To be clear: these questions are not an assignment, and they have no authority whatsoever.

    1. Okumura offers a few different interpretations of kōan, and focuses most of his discussion on this portion of the word Genjōkōan. He suggests that Dōgen's choice of kanji implies meaning. Still, I wonder whether there was an individual meaning that was Dōgen's intention, or whether the collective meanings of this word are important. Or, maybe none of that matters because the greater meaning comes from context. Thoughts?

    2. Is my individual practice different from community practice? Should it be? How does Okumura answer this question?

    3. What are our particular struggles with "put[ting] aside our uniqueness" and "find[ing] the middle way" as discussed by Okumura, in our time and in our Sangha?

    4. What is the self?

    5. Is enlightenment within this one word?

    I look forward to your thoughts about The Meaning of Genjōkōan.

    Gassho,
    Nengei
    Sat today. LAH.
    Last edited by Nengei; 04-19-2021 at 03:51 AM.

  45. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by Nengei View Post
    2. Is my individual practice different from community practice? Should it be? How does Okumura answer this question?
    Okumura roshi uses the example of the Tenzo. When the cook is in the kitchen preparing the meals, that's his practice and his responsibility alone. No other person can do it for him. And yet, his practice affects all other members of the community since meals are for people to consume. That way his practice becomes the community's practice.
    As I see it, that's how it should be. My life is mine to live and no one can do the 'living' for me. But I am a social animal too. I live for others and others live for me. I am there to support people and I expect people to support me. I only wish I could see the more subtle ways of this truth. I feel one aspect of the self is hidden in it too. But then, that's why we practice zazen every day!

    Gassho, Nikolas
    Sat/Lah

  46. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by Nikos View Post
    Okumura roshi uses the example of the Tenzo. When the cook is in the kitchen preparing the meals, that's his practice and his responsibility alone. No other person can do it for him. And yet, his practice affects all other members of the community since meals are for people to consume. That way his practice becomes the community's practice.
    As I see it, that's how it should be. My life is mine to live and no one can do the 'living' for me. But I am a social animal too. I live for others and others live for me. I am there to support people and I expect people to support me. I only wish I could see the more subtle ways of this truth. I feel one aspect of the self is hidden in it too. But then, that's why we practice zazen every day!

    Gassho, Nikolas
    Sat/Lah
    I like that Nikolas

    Doshin
    St

  47. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by Nengei View Post
    1. Okumura offers a few different interpretations of kōan, and focuses most of his discussion on this portion of the word Genjōkōan. He suggests that Dōgen's choice of kanji implies meaning. Still, I wonder whether there was an individual meaning that was Dōgen's intention, or whether the collective meanings of this word are important. Or, maybe none of that matters because the greater meaning comes from context. Thoughts?
    While searching for Dogen's meaning is certainly one approach to a text, I'm not sure the fact an interpretation fits Dogen's meaning is ultimately the most important criteria. Interpretations are layered on the text by different commentators, and it seems that multi-layered approach creates both a poetic richness and many fingers pointing at the moon.

    2. Is my individual practice different from community practice? Should it be? How does Okumura answer this question?
    SN 47.19
    Trans by Bhante Sujato
    At one time the Buddha was staying in the land of the Sumbhas, near the town of the Sumbhas called Sedaka. There the Buddha addressed the mendicants:
    “Once upon a time, mendicants, an acrobat set up his bamboo pole and said to his apprentice Medakathālikā, ‘Come now, dear Medakathālikā, climb up the bamboo pole and stand on my shoulders.’
    ‘Yes, teacher,’ she replied. She climbed up the bamboo pole and stood on her teacher’s shoulders.
    Then the acrobat said to Medakathālikā, ‘You look after me, dear Medakathālikā, and I’ll look after you. That’s how, guarding and looking after each other, we’ll display our skill, collect our fee, and get down safely from the bamboo pole.’
    When he said this, Medakathālikā said to her teacher, ‘That’s not how it is, teacher! You should look after yourself, and I’ll look after myself. That’s how, guarding and looking after ourselves, we’ll display our skill, collect our fee, and get down safely from the bamboo pole.’
    That’s the way,” said the Buddha. “It’s just as Medakathālikā said to her teacher. Thinking ‘I’ll look after myself,’ you should cultivate mindfulness meditation. Thinking ‘I’ll look after others,’ you should cultivate mindfulness meditation. Looking after yourself, you look after others; and looking after others, you look after yourself.
    And how do you look after others by looking after yourself? By development, cultivation, and practice of meditation. And how do you look after yourself by looking after others? By acceptance, harmlessness, love, and sympathy.
    Thinking ‘I’ll look after myself,’ you should cultivate mindfulness meditation. Thinking ‘I’ll look after others,’ you should cultivate mindfulness meditation. Looking after yourself, you look after others; and looking after others, you look after yourself.”

    3. What are our particular struggles with "put[ting] aside our uniqueness" and "find[ing] the middle way" as discussed by Okumura, in our time and in our Sangha?
    Uniqueness has a dreary sameness. Toss it out with dirty dishwater, self, and other things that you are finished with.

    4. What is the self?
    What we threw out with uniqueness and dirty dishwater.

    5. Is enlightenment within this one word?
    Enlightenment is not found in words. Words are not found in enlightenment. But it's a devil of a challenge to give directions without words.

    Gassho, Jim
    ST/LaH

    Sent from my SM-T510 using Tapatalk
    Last edited by JimInBC; 04-21-2021 at 05:16 AM.
    No matter how much zazen we do, poor people do not become wealthy, and poverty does not become something easy to endure.
    Kōshō Uchiyama, Opening the Hand of Thought

  48. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by Nengei View Post
    This week we are reading through page 21 in the paperback version. This includes chapter 2, "The Meaning of "Genjōkōan." For me, the first paragraphs of this chapter set me up to think that the chapter will be as dry as sand in a desert. It's not that way at all, though! Okumura's exploration of the meaning of the word Genjōkōan is rich with teaching. Parts of this chapter are some of my favorite in the book. I hope that you find it so, as well.
    I am joining this reading late. I'm currently reading chapter 2 and enjoying the discussion on the meaning of the kanjis in Genjōkōan. I did not expect to find this part of the book so interesting at all, like Nengei said, it is not dry but very fascinating. Then, I look forward to reading through your discussions on the topic, as I did for chapter 1. I hope to catch up to where you are all at, but if I don't catch up, I just want to say now I'm happy to have been inspired by this group to start this reading


    Charity
    sat

  49. #49
    Thank you Nengei. I’ll start on this week’s reading.

    FYI... The Meaning of Genjōkōan is Chapter 2 in the Kobo version of the book.


    Tairin
    Sat today and lah
    Last edited by Tairin; 04-19-2021 at 01:31 AM.

  50. #50
    Domo, Tairin-san. That was a typo on my part, now corrected.

    Gassho,
    Nengei
    Sat today. LAH.

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