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Thread: Shobogenzo Zuimonki

  1. #1

    Shobogenzo Zuimonki

    book 1-10

    In a dharma talk, Dogen said,

    Even if you are speaking rationally and another person says something unreasonable, it is wrong to defeat him by arguing logically. On the other hand, it is not good to give up hastily saying that you are wrong, even though you think that your opinion is reasonable.

    Neither defeat him, nor withdraw saying you are wrong. It is best to just leave the matter alone and stop arguing. If you act as if you have not heard and forget about the matter, he will forget too and will not get angry. This is a very important thing to bear in mind.

    Book 1-11

    Impermanence is swift; life-and-death is a vital matter. For the short while you are alive, if you wish to study or practice some activity, just practice the Buddha-Way and study the buddha-dharma. Since literature and poetry are useless, you should give them up. Even when you study the buddha-dharma and practice the Buddha-Way, do not study extensively. Needless to say, refrain from learning the Exoteric and Esoteric scriptures of the teaching-schools. Do not be fond of learning on a large scale, even the sayings of the buddhas and patriarchs. It is difficult for us untalented and inferior people to concentrate on and complete even one thing. It is no good at all to do many things at the same time and lose steadiness of mind.
    I would like to thank all things for bringing this text into being, which is really nothing, yet is of great use for practice.


  2. #2

    Re: Shobogenzo Zuimonki

    Another take from Dogen on a warm or cold practice environment (probably written for monks or seasoned sitters).

    book 1-14
    ....up to now, it is zazen which has been handed down and concentrated on in the communities of the patriarchs. This practice is suitable for all people and can be practiced by those of superior, mediocre, or inferior capabilities. When I was in China, in the assembly of my late master Tendo Nyojo, I sat zazen day and night after I heard this truth. When it was extremely hot or cold, monks there stopped sitting for a while because they were afraid of getting sick. At the time, I thought to myself, I may become sick and die. Still, I should just practice zazen. What is the use of clinging to this body? How can I refrain from practice when I am not sick? Dying from illness because of practice accords with my original wish. First of all, I am fortunate to be able to practice and die in an assembly under a good teacher in great China, and to be buried by such great people with an authentic Buddhist funeral. If I were to die in Japan, it would be impossible to have a funeral service performed by such people according to the Buddhist rituals. If I were to die during practice before clarifying enlightenment, I would be born into the family of Buddha again because of having established the relationship. It is meaningless to live long without practicing. It is useless. Furthermore, even if I wished to keep my body secure and healthy, I might drown in the ocean or meet an accidental death; how regrettable it would be !

    With such resolve, I continually sat upright day and night. Yet I never once got sick. Now, each of you should practice exclusively and wholeheartedly. Ten out of ten of you will attain the Way. My late master Tendo encouraged us in this way.

  3. #3

    Re: Shobogenzo Zuimonki

    Thanks Will, this is the stuff i find most helpful. Thank you for your posting, i agree it is of great use to our practice. Gassho, Kent

  4. #4

    Re: Shobogenzo Zuimonki

    Hi Harry

    Dogen himself put literature and poetry to good use methinks. Poetry, literature and everything else (from cleaning toilets to playing Thrash Metal) can be the Buddha-Way and can manifest, and be perceived to manifest, the Supreme Dharma. All in my opinion, of course.
    Yes and no. No and Yes.

    Dogen liked words, he mentions that a few times in the Zuimonki. He also mentions he should do without them. That's Dogen. That's what he was about. Practice like your hair is on fire. Don't practice too many things. Since our life is a flash of lightening, one should use it to practice the Buddha way (sitting, walking, eating, sleeping Zazen).

    It's really up to the person. That's just some of Dogen's advice. Makes sense, but practice can be done many ways from different perspectives. He had his style. Keizan had his. Shunryu had his. Big J has his. I think if you follow Dogen's advice, it would be very good for your practice, but that's just one way.

    From a practical perspective there is the very real question of how we perceive what we are creating; who does it belong to? Why are we doing it? Are we asking such questions, or need we ask such questions at all
    Well, we could ask such questions. When Dogen built a temple when he had lots of free time instead of sitting around writing poetry, and doing calligraphy, I don't think he was asking a question. It was a choice. Build a place for others to practice and study the Buddha Dharma. A great gift from Dogen. But Dogen didn't build that temple. It was built, but it wasn't Dogen that built it. That temple was built by all sentient beings past and present. It was built by air, sunlight, water, trees, Earth, Universe. There really was no Dogen at all. If there was, we wouldn't have the Shobogenzo Zuimonki. That's why Dogen bows.

    Tired now. Time for bed.


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