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Thread: 3/19 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 4-1 to 4-5

  1. #1

    3/19 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 4-1 to 4-5

    Some wonderful opinions and teachings this week by Teacher Dogen ... on opinions and teachings, teachers and how to hear them ... ... 04-01.html

    Students of the Way, you should not cling to your own views. Even if you have some understanding, you should practice self-reflection; there must be something lacking to your understanding and there might be a more profound understanding for you. Visit various teachers far and wide and investigate the sayings of our predecessors. Yet do not cling too firmly even to the words of those of former times. Nevertheless, thinking that your views might be mistaken, even though you believe them to be true, if there is something superior you should follow it.
    .... the boy could be a teacher of the emperor .... From this we understand that we should not necessarily rely on the words of the ancients but we should grasp just true reality. Although having doubt is not good, it is also bad to attach ourselves to what we shouldn’t take for granted or to refrain from questioning what we should question.
    Ponder the fact that someone realized the Way by hearing the sound of bamboo; that another clarified the Mind at the sight of peach blossoms9. ... Stones often strike bamboo yet not everyone who hears the sound clarifies the Way. Only through the virtue of long study and continuous practice, with the assistance of diligent effort in the Way, does one realize the Way or clarify the Mind.

    ... Although the color of peach blossoms is beautiful, they do not bloom of themselves; they open with the help of the spring breeze.

    Practicing the Way is also like this. This Way is inherent in each of us; still our gaining the Way depends upon the help of co-practitioners. Though each person is brilliant, our practicing the Way still needs the power of other people [in the sangha]. Therefore, while unifying your mind and concentrating your aspiration, practice and seek the Way together. A jewel becomes a vessel with polishing; a human being becomes benevolent and wise with refining. What jewel glitters from its inception? Who is brilliant from the outset? You must polish and refine. ... .
    Gassho, J

  2. #2

    Re: 3/19 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 4-1 to 4-5

    An ancient has said, “Associating with a good person is like walking through mist and dew; though you will not become drenched, gradually your robes will become damp.”1 This means that if you become familiar with a good person, you will become good yourself without being aware of it.
    In ancient times a boy who attended Mater Gutei (Judi)2, without noticing when he was learning or when he was practicing, realized the Way because he had served as a personal attendant to the master who had been practicing for a long time.
    Similarly if you practice zazen for a long time you will suddenly clarify the Great Matter and will know that zazen is the true gate [to the buddha-dharma].
    Inspiring words, thank you for spreading the mist and dew to you all, I get drenched even if I am far away. There is so much truth in the teachings. Also this principle of being with a good person is also applicable in daily life, once I heard saying of a buddhist teacher if you don't know, take a look around and look at his "entourage" or surroundings and the people that are with that person. Being a human being in a good sense of the word is inspiring for others as well, and there is no effort or cramping to change others, it flows from itself.

    Joris Ensho

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  3. #3

    Re: 3/19 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 4-1 to 4-5


    Do not cling to anything, not just your own view.
    Clinging is all part of that which we call dukkha...

    What is a teacher?

    I often get the question "What is a teacher?"

    A teacher is "something that teaches something to something".

    It can be a teacher teaching a student how to read or sit.
    It can be a stone teaching you not to kick it because it will hurt if you do.
    It can be nothing teaching nothing to nothing.
    It can even be me teaching you what a teacher is. ... acher.html

    The primary point you should attend to is detaching yourself from personal views. To detach yourself from personal views means to not cling to your body.
    attach yourself to anything.
    Attachment is all part of that which we call dukkha...

    There are differences between the teaching schools and those other than the teaching schools (Zen)2. However, they both show the ungraspability of the body from beginning to end and assert egolessness as the essential point in practicing the Way. If you first realize this reality, the true Buddha-Way will manifest itself clearly.
    Same, same but different.
    All are roads that lead up the mountain, just on different paths.


  4. #4

    Re: 3/19 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 4-1 to 4-5

    These passages are a very good lesson for me as I listen, learn and practice.

    First Dogen encourages the student (me) to learn as much as I can, even seeking out the teaching of other teachers; and this is something I do have a tendency to do, since I wish to learn more and more. But...then Dogen tells me to not hang onto those teachings, or any teachings or knowledge that I think I have. He enjoins me to drop the body, to forget myself with all my knowledge and to just do Zazen.

    Oh boy is that hard! I figure that I've put a lot of time and energy in learning all this stuff and I ought to be able to spout it out once in a while, just to let someone else know that I know something. I mean, what's the use of all this reading and listening if I don't speak up sometime? Maybe one day I'll be recognized as a learned teacher and get a purple robe and be able to instruct others. How will anyone know if I don't tell them?

    I don't think that we do this, but in some other Buddhist schools the monks go to meditate in cemetaries and carnel houses, with rotting corpses surrounding them so they can be reminded of the impermanence of the body. When I was in highschool, I worked several years for a funeral home, which helped me to appreciate how impermanent life is, as well as not to fear death. I have seen most of my family members, with the exception of a few cousins and my sister, dead and interred. I have officiated at most of those funerals. Whatever they thought of themselves: how talented, how handsome or beautiful, how smart or educated: they all ended, remain motionless and moldering. Thinking about how much I know or can teach; how educated or attained I am are the garments, the body, that Dogen says we need to shed. I still think of thinking, can't help it; but I also remember that I ought not to cling to that since it might be gone tomorrow. It's not the most comfortable thought, at the moment, but with practice I hope to make it more so.


    Kyrill Seishin

  5. #5

    Re: 3/19 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 4-1 to 4-5

    Quote Originally Posted by Govert
    An ancient has said, “Associating with a good person is like walking through mist and dew; though you will not become drenched, gradually your robes will become damp.”1 This means that if you become familiar with a good person, you will become good yourself without being aware of it.
    As with Govert, this passage really stood out in this weeks reading and I also thank all for the mist and dew of the teachings. I find this principle of how goodness can spread much like social psychological research showing how behaviors spread in an analogs way that certain pathogens spread. For example, if you hang out with people who tend to overeat you may find yourself overeating. A number of negative behaviors appear to spread through social networks. The other side of this is that positive behaviors are "contagious" as well. A recent study on altruism supports this proposition....even going so far to suggest a cause and effect relationship. For more on the study see


  6. #6

    Re: 3/19 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 4-1 to 4-5

    Hi all,

    4-1 -- Always more you can learn, but whether it be what you know or what you don't, clinging won't get you anywhere. How do you know if something is "superior"? Not sure about that, but not something I would worry about regardless.

    4-2 -- Pretty much the same as above and a constant reminder that the "answer" to what you seek may be closer at hand than you think or from a completely unexpected source. Question, but don't but not one, two but not two. Can drive you around in circles, but I've always felt sure there is a point to "it" and my ability to grasp it is rather insignificant in the grand scheme of things....the universe simply doesn't care what I think.

    4-3 -- You can sit forever and still learn nothing if you aren't careful. A lot of this seems to be about not having too much ego in regards to how far you have come, something Taigu refers to quite often. We start as a speck of matter and end up as many specks of matter...accepting this reality will alleviate much suffering but never all of it.

    4-4 -- Seems to be saying that if you hang around good people that good things will happen, which almost contrdicts some of the other passages above. It wouldn't appear likely that it would hurt your practice and I suppose being around the "wrong" people could be very detrimental...but running through water will make you wet? Not sure about that one.

    4-5 -- Again, it seems like we're going in circles...some will be enlightened in one way and that doesn't mean you will beome enightened in exactly that way. So, now getting water on you won't necessarily get you wet? Perhaps I don't get it. Certainly true effort should lead to positive outcomes, but nothing is ever a "can't miss" opportunity. We can get lost along the way and one should never say, "I've gone too far off the path." It's never too late.


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