Discussion in 'Buddhism' started by CobblersApprentice, Jul 23, 2019.

  1. This thread, for me, will be to post various little snippets from my reading of Dogen's various works. Either his direct words, or commentary upon them. Obviously, anyone can comment.

    EDIT:- to emphasise, I am quoting, not teaching. Again, as explained before, I do not necessarily endorse anything.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 23, 2019
  2. Just to kick it off a couple of his direct words:-

    First, one I have posted elsewhere....

    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.

    And second.....

    As the story of Magu Baoche tells, although the wind’s nature is always present, to “feel the wind” we must “wave a fan.”
  3. And to finish for now, a comment by Hee-Jin Kim in his book "Eihei Dogen: Mystical Realist"

    (Dogen was)...emphatic in pointing out that the original intention of dependent origination* was not to probe into the process or causation of origination so much as it was to envision the state in which all the conditions and forces of the world were functionally interdependent. The idea of dependent origination was not a theoretical explanation but a soteriological vision

    *Technical Term:- Dependent Origination. (Pali = Paṭicca-samuppāda) is said to be the heart of right view or right understanding. It is an understanding that is also the beginning of the eight-fold path, or an understanding that gives rise to a life of wisdom and freedom. The Buddha went on to say that when a noble disciple fully sees the arising and cessation of the world, he or she is said to be endowed with perfect view, with perfect vision—to have attained the true dharma, to possess the knowledge and skill, to have entered the stream of the dharma, to be a noble disciple replete with purifying understanding—one who is at the very door of the deathless. So, this is a challenge for us.

    What the paṭicca-samuppāda actually describes is a vision of life or an understanding in which we see the way everything is interconnected—that there is nothing separate, nothing standing alone. Everything effects everything else. We are part of this system. We are part of this process of dependent origination—causal relationships effected by everything that happens around us and, in turn, effecting the kind of world that we all live in inwardly and outwardly.

    It is also important to understand that freedom is not found separate from this process. It is not a question of transcending this process to find some other dimension; freedom is found in this very process of which we are a part. And part of that process of understanding what it means to be free depends on understanding inter-connectedness, and using this very process, this very grist of our life, for awakening.

    (Note:- the above is a explanation simply cut and pasted from a Buddhist website)
  4. My own comment:-

    I think this comes from a commentary by Dogen himself on an exchange of words between a couple of zen guys, maybe "master" and "master" or master and pupil. The usual sort of thing, maybe a few slaps around the face followed by deep bows - as Thomas said somewhere, "tricky guys."

    I think of what a Pure Lander said once, of how we set the sails then wait for the wind to blow. We do what we can do, then "wait for heaven's will." The wind of Other Power is always blowing.

    My eyes being hindered by blind passions,
    I cannot perceive the light that grasps me:
    Yet the great compassion, without tiring,
    Illumines me always.

    (Shinran, from "Hymns of the Pure Land Masters")
  5. Just one more for now, this from Hee-Jin Kim in his book "Eihei Dogen:Mystical Realist".

    Faith and enlightenment are often regarded as two antithetical ideas, so much so that Zen Buddhism can be mistakenly thought to be exclusively the religion of enlightenment, while faith is an inferior or foreign element, or at best a preliminary step to enlightenment. But in Dōgen’s thought, faith and enlightenment interpenetrated one another so that without one, the other could not be fully meaningful. The inferior status of faith was repudiated once and for all by Dōgen; it now became for him the very core of enlightenment.
  6. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

    Sep 25, 2003
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    Just to say, CA, I so like this thread I'm fearful of RSI if I click 'like' as often as I should.
    wil likes this.
  7. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

    Sep 25, 2003
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    This is probably grabbing the wrong end of the stick, or maybe even a different stick altogether, but it's one of those lightbulb moments for me ...

    This struck me because I wonder how much people like myself spend thinking about genesis and the eschaton, when really past and future are what they are ... what matters is, as the saying goes, 'right here, right now'.

    It was René Guénon's expostion on metaphysics that first led me to conceive the 'multiple states of being' as all connected, and that this world and this life is not isolated nor out on a limb, but actually right in there ... 'effected by everything that happens around us and, in turn, effecting the kind of world that we all live in inwardly and outwardly.' Not only this world, but all worlds ... that life is not only successive, but simultaneous.
  8. You may just call me Cobblers if you wish.....:)
  9. Very much like the view expounded in the Flower Ornament Scripture I'm told, which at about 1400 dense pages is just a little bit daunting for a Pure Lander
  10. Well, after receiving just a little encouragement I shall continue. Just to say that at the moment I am simply cut and pasting from my Cyber Notebook, various bits that on reading I wanted to keep. Ziggy Stardust is keeping me busy at the moment without mixing in further has its limits.
  11. So, a few more:- From Hee-Jin Kim...

    The crucially important point to note is that in Dōgen, opposites or dualities were not obliterated or even blurred; they were not so much transcended as they were realized. The total freedom in question here was that freedom which realized itself in duality, not apart from it.

    Which for me can be considered with......

    There is no independently existent objective reality.
    -There is no independently existent subjective reality.
    -The world (objective reality) and the self (subjective reality) are co-essential elements of a single unified reality.

    (Which as far as I remember, was direct Dogen)

    Another, this really beyond me in many ways. I think I have referred to it before on the forum, as being related to the well known story of some guy who dreams he is a butterfly, then awakes and (much like myself at times) loses track of just who he is, essentially. Dogen was certainly speaking of that original story, and saying in effect, that one thought/idea of who one is was as good as another, that all "views" as such are illusion.

    Anyway, enough waffle.....

    What concerned Dōgen most was not to eliminate illusion in favor of reality so much as it was to see illusion as the total realization—not as one illusion among others, but as the illusion, with nothing but the illusion throughout the universe until we could at last find no illusion. Only if and when we realized the nonduality of illusion and reality in emptiness could we deal with them wisely and compassionately.

    Which I need a bit of help with.......:confused:
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 24, 2019
  12. OK, just one more (my Costa coffee was extra extra hot)

    Direct Dogen....

    The true learning of the Way is not dependent on one’s native intelligence or acquired learning, nor on cleverness or quickness. This should not be construed as an exhortation to become like the blind, the deaf, or the fool. Truth does not employ erudition and high intelligence; so do not despair of being endowed with slowness and inferior intelligence. For the true learning of the Way should be easy.

    I think of a little OT verse....... "And a little child shall lead them"
  13. With one eye on other threads, a few words of another who gives consideration to Dogen....

    "Since the tathāgata garbha is the enlightened wisdom of the Tathāgata which exists embryonically in all sentient beings, the fact that it is also the ultimate ontological basis of reality has important soteriological consequences. It means that the basis of Buddhist practice is grounded in the very structure of reality.”
  14. More here, very significant for me, given the sense of ultimate "meaninglessness" that pervades so much of atheist thinking i.e. Our universe is ultimately a chaos, not a Cosmos, there just happens to be something rather than nothing.


    The significance of the key notion of “casting off the body-mind” in the context of Dōgen’s life and thought was that zazen-only, as the mythic-cultic archetype, symbolized the totality of the self and the world and represented that in which Buddha-nature became embodied. To cast off the body-mind did not nullify historical and social existence so much as to put it into action so that it could be the self-creative and self-expressive embodiment of Buddha-nature. In being “cast off,” however, concrete human existence was fashioned in the mode of radical freedom—purposeless, goalless, objectless, and meaningless. Buddha-nature was not to be enfolded in, but was to unfold through, human activities and expressions. The meaning of existence was finally freed from and authenticated by its all-too-human conditions only if, and when, it lived co-eternally with ultimate meaninglessness.

    I think - again - of Eckhart's "Love has no why."
  15. On another thread I referred to some more words of Dogen. They are in fact the opening lines of his "Genjokoan". In the commentary by Shohaku Okumara, they are preceded by a longish explanation culminating in Mr Okumara claiming, "now we shall be able to comprehend what Dogen is saying in his opening lines. " Well, maybe!

    (1) When all dharmas are the Buddha Dharma, there is delusion and realization, practice, life and death, buddhas and living beings.

    (2) When the ten thousand dharmas are without [fixed] self, there is no delusion and no realization, no buddhas and no living beings, no birth and no death.

    (3) Since the Buddha Way by nature goes beyond [the dichotomy of] abundance and deficiency, there is arising and perishing, delusion and realization, living beings and buddhas.

    Commentary:- These first three sentences of Genjōkōan present essential Buddhist teachings from three different sources. The first sentence summarizes the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha, the second conveys an essential teaching of Mahayana Buddhism from the Heart Sutra, and the third contains Dōgen’s own teachings.
  16. That the self advances
    And confirms ten thousand things
    Is called delusion;
    That the ten thousand things
    Advance and confirm the self
    Is called enlightenment.

    Dogen (1200-1253)
  17. The above are some words of Dogen I have pondered often. I got a glimpse of daylight when I associated them with the following, which I quoted on the Grace thread.........which I opened because of encouragement from @Thomas and @StevePame , and which I had looked up - after a lapse - because of a jog from @Thomas again! Such is the world, where we all learn from each other and often lean on each other.......

    Pallis speaks of the Buddhist Icon of "touching the earth". The Buddha is seated on a lotus on the waters, where the waters symbolise existence with all its teeming possibilities. The Buddha shows the true nature of existence. His right hand points downward to touch the earth, his other supports a begging bowl which symbolises the acceptance of the gift - grace.

    In the two gestures of the Buddha the whole programme of our spiritual exigencies is summed active attitude towards the world and a passive attitude towards heaven. The ignorant person does the exact opposite - passively accepting the world and resisting grace, gift and heaven. (Pallis, from "Is there room for grace in Buddhism?" )

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