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Thread: Fukan Zazengi Question

  1. #1

    Fukan Zazengi Question

    In the last paragraph:

    Please, honored followers of Zen, long accustomed to groping for the elephant, do not doubt the true dragon.
    I understand the reference to the elephant - the old tale of blind men groping the elephant, one thinking the ear is a leaf, the other the leg is a tree, etc and that the elephant also represented wisdom? and mental strength in Indian philosophy - a metaphor for trying to grasp the Buddha-dharma with the intellect or concentration, OK.

    What does the dragon represent in this passage? A general power, or experiential force, something more specific? I know in China, the dragon represents the emperor, the masculine aspect, and is a rather unpredictable and aggressive nature, also responsible for weather. Not sure how that relates.


  2. #2

    Re: Fukan Zazengi Question

    Hi Skye,

    It refers to this story (as told here by Taitaku Phelan in her lectures on Fukanzazengi) ...

    [It] refers to a story about a man who lived in early China and who loved dragons, or at least images of dragons. In Asian mythology, dragons lived both in underwater palaces and dwelt in clouds with the power to cause rain, and they were considered a symbol of good fortune. This man had collected paintings and carvings of dragons which he had throughout his house. One day when a real dragon heard of the manís love for dragons, he came to visit. But when the real dragon appeared, the man was terrified. Donít be fooled into thinking that reading about Buddhism and fantasizing about Zen practice are enough Ė jump in and taste the truth for yourself through your own living practice. There is a saying in Zen, pictures of rice cakes cannot satisfy hunger.
    It means (in contrast to the visually impaired group and the elephant), do not run from the present, complete truth right in front of your nose and get lost in the bits and pieces of experience, perception, philosophy. A moment of Zazen is the True Dragon, is enlightenment itself.

    My 100 episode series of "Sit-a-Longs" on Fukanzazengi including a section on that line ... but it is now gone. However, just sit a moment of Zazen, and the meaning ... and the True Dragon ... all come back!

    Does that help? Don't miss reality when it bites you on the butt!

    Gassho, Jundo

  3. #3

    Re: Fukan Zazengi Question

    Wonderful - thanks! I had a feeling there was a story behind that reference - it seems there usually is :mrgreen:


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