Dogen Sangha Blog


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Saturday, December 31, 2005

Pursuing the Truth (4) The Real Contents of the Enlightenment

Enlightenment is to really experience that we are just living in the Real World, which is different from the area of mental consideration, and the area of sense perception. Therefore it is a simple fact that we are just living in the Real Fact at the present moment. About 2 thousand and several hundred years ago, Gautama Buddha found such a simple fact, and he taught such a simple fact to many people who liked to study the Truth sincerely. Such people made their efforts to experience the Truth directly. Such a kind of human effort has continued for ages because Zazen, the practice of Buddhism, is enormously effective for human beings to get the Truth, or Happiness.
However, fortunately even in the scientific area, the reason why the practice of Zazen is so effective for us to become happier and healthier, has become clarified, and so it has become very clear why the practice of Zazen helps us. It might be very happy situations that in 19th, 20th, 21st Centuries the Modern Psychology and Physiology have developed so much, and it has become very clear that in our body and mind there is a nervous system, which is called the autonomic nervous system, and which is divided into two parts, the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. And the sympathetic nervous system is much related with the mental function, and the parasympathetic nervous system is much related with the sensuous function. And when the strength of sympathetic nervous and the strength of parasympathetic nervous system are equal, then there occurs a state, which is called Sunyata. The Sunyata is our original state, and when our autonomic nervous system is in balanced, our body and mind are quiet, our physical conditions are healthy, we can be active, and our behaviors of daily life are moral. When we are practicing Zazen every day, we can keep ourselves balanced.
Gautama Buddha's Teachings were born by relying upon his daily practice of Zazen. The reason why human beings can keep being original, healthy, active, and moral, hasn't be clarified for 2 thousand and several hundred years. But, relying upon the excellent western philosophy and science we have clalified the True Situations of Valuable Zazen for the first time.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Pursuing the Truth (3) What is the Enlightenment

Gautama Buddha, who experienced that Ascetisism was not only useless to attain Enlightenment, it was just an obstruction to the attainment of Enlightenment. Thus, he left the forest of the ascetic life decisively. The practitioners of asceticism were certain that Gautama Buddha left the forest of Asceticism because of some lack of endurance on his part, and so they laughed at Gautama Buddha, and reproached him. However, it could be supposed that in the contents of his brain there might be only Gautama Buddha's very pure intention to pursue the Truth, and there might not be anything other than his pure intention of pursuing the Truth. Therefore Gautama Buddha had left the forest of Asceticism without recognizing anything in the criticism of the practitioners of Asceticism at all. When Gautama Buddha was walking along the river called the Nairanjana, a girl named Sujata, looking at Gautama Buddha's so withered and humble conditions, presented her dried gruel to Gautama Buddha.
Eating the dried gruel, Gautama Buddha became a little vigorus, and recovered a small part of his human characteristics. Then he began to pursue the Truth relying upon another way, one that is a bit similar to Yoga practice. Because the practice, which was done by Gautama Buddha, was a posture, which was esteemed as the best in Yoga practices. Gautama Buddha had begun to practice the practice of sitting, which is the same as the practice of Zazen today. After continuing such a kind of practice for several years, Gautama Buddha was practicing Zazen one Winter morning, when he noticed that he did not live in the area of mental consideration, or in the area of sensual perception, but he recognized that he was just living in the area of Reality. As a description of a Sustra, it is described that "Mountains, rivers, grass, and trees, have totally become the Truth," and it was also described in the Shobogenzo that "Mountains, rivers, and the earth have become the Truth." Therefore we can understand that at that time Gautama Buddha experienced that this world is just Reality, and this world is just the Truth. What we produced in our brain can never become the truth, and what we perceived through our sense perception can never be the truth or Reality. What we do just at the present moment is just the Truth, and it is just Reality. That suggests that the very gorgeous and so excellent Idealism and Materialism can never be the Truth. They are just a kind of delusion, or illusion, and our act, which has been done at the present moment, is just the Reality, just the Truth. And furthermore, what we do at the present moment is just the real existence of the Universe, and so the oneness of our human act, and
the real Universe are just Reality itself. That is just the simple fact at the present moment, and it is just Enlightenment.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Persuing the Truth (2) Asceticism

Even though Gautama Buddha was taught "the state of having nothing", which suggested indifference to property, by Alara Kalama, and "the state of trascending non thought/not non-thoughts," by Udraka Ramaptra, those two thinkers' attitudes were rather intellectual, but not so practical. However, because Gautama Buddha had his very practical attitude, he couldn't be satisfied by those two thinkers's opinions, which did not have such a practical earnestness. Therefore Gautama Buddha turned his direction 180 degrees opposite. Now he wanted to try an Ascetic life, which was also popular in Ancient India, that was Asceticism. Gautama Buddha wanted to clarify the problem of life by making his physical conditions painful as much as possible. In the case of Ascetism his attitude and practice were also so sincere that he decreased food and sleep so much that he sometimes fainted. A rumour that "Gautam died !" ran through the woods several times. But Gautama Buddha found the simple fact that as much, and as hard, as he maintained his painful physical body, his mind also withered enormously with his body, and so his mind also became more unstable. In other words, as long as he continued his Ascetic life, his life has became much more unstable day by day. It was a very important experience for him to have, because being very practical, he got a chance to know that Ascetic life can never be useful as an authentic mode of human life at all. If he didn't have such an important experience, there is the possibility that Buddhism could never have been able to deny the value of ascetic life at all.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Pursuing the Truth (1) The Two Thinkers

At the beginning of pursuing the Truth, the thinker, whom Gautama Buddha visited first, was Alara Kalama, who was living near Vaisali City with his 300 students. He might not be a Brahmanist, but he was a new thinker, who insisted to arrive at "the state of having nothing." We, human beings, usually have desire to have something, but in the case of Alara Kalama, he insisted the value of neglecting to get something. Generally speaking, human beings, have very strong desire to have something, and such a tendency is sometimes very dangerous to make human beings blind, and in such a meaning Alara Kalama might recommended us to be not greedy. But Gautama Buddha might find that the attitude of Alara Kalama was very intellectual, and not so practical. Therefore Gautama Buddha wanted to leave Alara Kalama, and visited another thinker.
The other thinker, whom Gautama Buddha visited next, was Udraka Ramaptra. It is said that the place, where Udraka Ramaptra was not far from the place, where Alara Kalama lived, but the place is not clear even today, because several places are supposed. The name of Udraka Ramaptra means the child of Rama, Udraka, and it is said that he was living with 700 studenfs together. His insistence was called "the state of non-thought/not non-thought," and so it might mean "the state of transcending thoughts and transcending sense perception." But we can guess that even though those two thinkers might have a kind of realistic philosophies, their attitudes are maintained in the area of the abstract consideration, that it was difficult for Gautama Buddha to accept their philosophical view as a kind of realism.
(Note) My descriptions in "Gautama Buddha's Personality" and "Pursuing the Truth" were mainly written relying upon "Gautama Buddha" Book 11, in The Select Works by Hajime Nakamura, by Shunjusha)

Friday, December 23, 2005

Gautama Buddha's personality (4) Leaving the family life

After worrying a long time, Gautama Buddha decided to leave his family life to become a religious monk. The leaving of family life suggests that a man or a woman becomes a monk, or a nun, for pursuing a religious truth. I suppose that Gautama Buddha had worried so much whether it is too immoral for him to leave his family without supporting them. But it was impossible for him to stop pursuing the Truth, which was his own dream for so long: to save human beings in the world through finding and sharing the real Truth of the world. Then, when he was 29 years old, one night he ordered his servant, called Channa, to bring a white horse to a garden in the castle, and Gautama Buddha left the castle secretly without anything said to his family. The servant Channa followed Gautama Bhuddha to a forest called Anupiya, but Gautama Buddha ordered Channa to go back to Gautama Buddha's parents, taking with him Gautama Buddha's gorgeous clothes as an article left by the departed. And Gautama Buddha went ahead for his research of the Truth.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Gautama Buddha's personality (3) The Will to the Truth

Because of his father's care, Gatama Buddha seemed to be happy, but actually his situations were not so stable. Since his young age he was so seriously eager to know whether there existed really the Truth, or not in the world, and he thought that if the truth really existed in the world, he wanted to grasp the Truth by himself exsactly. Therefore even though he got married and had got a son, he was always suffered from the worry whether he should become a monk, or not. Gautama Buddha was not free to go to the town because of the father's order, but one day he tried to get out of the castle. First he tried to get out from the east gate, but he met a person, who was a so seriously aged man. Therefore he wanted to get out through the south gate, but he met a person, who was seriously ill, and so he wanted to get out through the west gate, but he met a procession of a funeral ceremony. Therefore he wanted to get out the castle through the north gate, and then he could look at a monk, who was walking serenely and quietly, and looking at the monk Gautama Buddha was attracted so much harder to a monk's life.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Gautama Buddha's personality (2)

The King, who was the father of Gautama Buddha, was afraid so much that Gautama Buddha would begin to have so much interest in the religious problems and want to become a monk, and so the father gave very beautiful and comfortable residences to Gautama Buddha, and he supplied so many beautiful ladies to serve Gautama Buddha. Of course Gautama Buddha was a very healthy stout young man, and so we can guess that he might enjoy his joyful life in the comfortable residences. And on the other way Gautama Buddha was skillful and strong in many kinds of sports and marcial arts, and so he always wan in many competitions of such a sports or marcial arts. And it is said that the reason, why he could get his beautiful lady Yasodara as the wife, was also caused from his brilliant win in some competition. Furthermore he got a son after getting married, and so it might be impossible for him to be unhappy at that time. But actually speaking, as he seemed to be much happier, he became much more unhappy, because his strong intention to pursue the Truth became so stronger enormously.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Mr. Mike Cross's Criticism

(Note) Dear Mr. Mike Cross. Even though you told me that you like to erase your criticism against me from my blog, I would like clearly request you should not to erase them for ever. Because the facts that you criticized against me are very important historical facts, and so the criticism is very important data for me to critisize your so-called Buddhism. So I think that you are responsible to maintain your criticism against me for ever. In such a meaning I would like to request you to maintain your criticism against me as a historical data for ever. And if you have erased them already, I think that you should recover them totally as your responsibility.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

(Note) Mr. Mike Cross's opinion

After having begun my blog, my student called Mike Cross expressed his opinion, which is completely different from Gautama Buddha's teachings. The reason, why I do not answer his opinion recently at all, comes from that even though I expressed my Buddhist opinions to him for more than 10 years at least, his opinion was always an one-sided idea, which is based on the theory of Alexander Techinic, and so I have stopped almost all discussions with him. The reason, why I have begun to send my blog to all people on the earth, comes from that I want to explain the fundamental Buddhist principles to poeple, who are diligent to study true Buddhism whole-heartedly. I think that my blog will continue for a year at least, and after finished my blog, many people will understand why I refused Mr. Mike Cross's opinion from the view point of Buddhism.

Gautama Buddha's personality (1)

Buddhism, that is Gautama Buddha's teachings, were established by Gautama Buddha in Ancient India about from 5th Century to 4th Century B.C. He was the first son of Suddhodana, who was the king of a district called Kapilavastu, and so Gautama Buddha was at a position to succeed his Father's position as the king. Just after Gautama Buddha's birth, his father showed his first son to a physiognomist, and then the physiognomist said that "If your son maintain his life in a secular societies, he will become a great king, who will govern the whole world of India, but if he become a monk, he will become a
very great thinker, who will save all people in the world. Therefore the king, who was the father of Gautama Buddha, wanted for his son to become the king of the whole India than becoming the great thinker, who will save all people in the world. Therefore the King gave three residences, which were very comfortable for Gautama Buddha to stay there for the four seasons, and he made his efforts for his son to maintain himself in his secular life without becoming the great thinker, who could have an ability to save the whole people in the world. However Gautama Buddha was a very clever boy, and at the same time he was a very sensitive one since his childhood. One day he was watching a farmer, who was cultivating the fields in the castle. At that time the farmer cut an earthworm in the ground. Just at the moment, a bird, which was flying in the sky, suddenly came down to the field, and picked up a piece of the earthworm to come back to the sky. And looking at the scene, Gautama Buddha was very shocked, and he noticed that all living beings have to kill other living beings for maintain their own lives without any exception.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Buddhism and Realism

As I described before, I interpret that the human civilization has entered into the age of realism since the middle of the 19th Cetury, I think that actually in the Ancient India in the 4th Century B.C. a thorough going Realistic philosophical system has been established by a excellent genius, and the excellent genius indicates Gautama Buddha. At that time there was no characters for discribing thoughts in India, and so many monks memorized Gautama Buddha's lectures, and later those memories were recorded into Buddhist Sutras, and the Buddhist thoughts have been maintained to the later age. Relying upon such a method Gautama Buddha's Buddhist thoughts have been maintained to the later age, during such a historical tradition in a long age, there have been so many differences in interpretations of Buddhist theories, Therefore the Buddhist thoughts have been divided into so many complicated different philosophy, that, actually speaking, buddhist philosophy has become so complicated and so confused philosophy. I think, however, during about 2 thousand and 5 hundred years, there were 2 exellent Buddhist thinkers at least, who were, the one is an Indian Buddhist Monk Master Nagarjuna and the other is a Japanese Monk Master Dogen. I have been Much atracted by Master Dogen's Buddhist thoughts since my age of 17 years old and have been continued the studies, lectures, practice of Zazen for more than 60 years, but at that time I have notised that a Japanese Buddhist Monk called Master Dogen have understood that Gautama Buddha's teachings were just Realism. Therefor it was not clear that whether Gautama Buddha himself had a realistic interpretations of Buddhism, or not. However, about 23years ago, I have met a chance to read Mulmadhyamaka-karikah (from here MMK) in Sanskrit. And at that time it was very difficult for me to read MMK, and so for the first time even though I read it tens of times or hundreds of times, it was impossible for me to understand it. Without giving up to make my efforts, I gradually understood the meaning, and I noticed that the main reason, why I could not understand it, comes from that even though MMK was written on the basis of Realism, but I did not know such an important principle at all. Therefore I clearly noticed that it is very important for us, when we want to understand Buddhism, to realize that Buddhism is just a philosophy, which is based on Realism completely.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Philosophy of Act (4) Pragmatism

On the other hand a philosophy, which is called Pragmatism, was established in the United State. For example, one of the leader of Pragmatism, Dewey criticized that generally philosophies concentrate their efforts to discuss abstract philosophical problems leaving from our daily life, and so he made his efforts to study miscellaneous things and phenomena on the basis of our common daily life. And he also realized that the most important matter in our dayly life is just our act, which is done at the present momwent, and whether it is the most suitable for our act at the present moment to meet with the circomsances. And I think that the Pragmatism in the United State is also a kind of philosophy of act in the 20th Century.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Philosophy of Act (3) Phenomenology

A German philosopher called Edmund Husserl also noticed that Idealistic philosophy and Materialistic philosophy belong to intellectual consideration, and he also wanted to have much more realistic philosophy, and so he had much interest in the real phenomena, which is the point of contact between the subjective person and the objectine circumstances. And in such meaning, Husserl was very diligent to reserch miscellaneous phenomena, and I think that such an attitude for him to combine the subject person and the objective circumstances by utilizing real entity called phenomena, is also one example of the realistic philosophy of act.

Friday, December 9, 2005

Philosophy of Act (2) Philosophy of Life

A German philosopher Dilthey criticized that Idealism has become onesided to the intellectual consideration, and it lacks substance, which is much related with life. And he insists that it is necessary for philosophies to pursue the real facts, which are related with life itself, and he made his efforts to overcome the philosophies, which were devided into Idealism and Materialism. He utilizes a method of intuition to grasp the vigorous substantial facts in our daily life, and I think that such a realistic efforts also belong to the new streame of philosophy, which wants to grasp the real facts in human life with the intuitive method directly. People usually think that Nietsche, Bergson, Dilthey, Simmel, belong to this lineage too.

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Philosophy of act (1) Existentialisme

I guess that many people might feel strange reading words "philosophy of act." Because it is very rare for us to find such words usually in any book, or any article, and so forth, and when we think about the reason, it is very clear that the words were produced by myself.
In my study of Buddhism for more than 60 years I noticed the existence of special philosophy in it. In Buddhism, act is not only an idealistic concept, or a materialistic sense perception, but it is a very realistic fact just at the present moment, and the real act at the present moment is the fundamental basis of Buddhist philosophy.
But such a concept of "real act," can be found not only in Buddhism, but in Western philosophies I think that it can be seen.
For example I think that a Danish philosopher called Kierkegaard has such an idea. He was a very sincere Christian, but looking at so strong tendency of Materialistic Political idea, he was afraid that whether it was possible for Christianity to be maintaid, or not. Therefore he made his enormous efforts to establish his own new philosophy, which can be useful for him to guard Christianity. And he established a philosophy, which was based on human existence at the present moment. In such situations his philosophy does not belong to Idealistic philosophy, or materialistic philosophy.
And a german philosopher Nietsche followed Kierkegaard's tendency. Nietsche had much interest in the Ancient Greek Civilization, and he yearned the bright and human Greek Civilization so much. Therefore he revered the human freedom and human efforts so much, and wanted to transcend both the dualistic Idealism, and the dualistic Materialism by real act. In such situations I think that Nietsche was also a philosopher, who want to transcend Idealism and Materialism utilizing the philosophy, which is based on act.
And German Philosophers called Jaspers and Heidegger progressed such kinds of philosophy, which is based on human existence at the present moment, to explain human beings much more real on the basis of act. And Heidegger wrote his book entetled with "Sein und Zeit" or "Existence and Time", but the contents are very similar to the real time at the presnt moment.

Sunday, December 4, 2005

Estimation of Idealism and Materialism (2)

About the 12 ~13 Century, however, a big change has begun. That is Renaissance. Before that time the Catholic Charch proclaimed on the movement of heavenly bodies that the Earth was fixed, and the Sun was moving over it. But a few astronomers, including Copernicus, recorded the time and the place, when and where the Sun arised and went down in the West, and they researched the real movement of the Sun. But surprisingly if they assumed that the Earth was without motion, and the Sun was moving, the data, which they had collected, could never be identified with their records, and if they supposed that the Earth was going around the Sun, and the Sun was stable, it was possible for them to identify the motion of the Earth and the Sun with their data. Therefore the astronomers began to insist that the Earth was not motionless, but it was always going around the Sun.
But their insistences were completely opposite to the insistences by the Catholic Charch. Therefore the Charch requested to stop for them to insist such a different theory. The Catholic Charch caught those astronomers, and some of them were killed by stake. But the Facts were the Facts.
Because of those facts, people have begun to change their thinking method gradually. They began to doubt miscellaneous secular insistences, which were believed by people without any reason, and they wanted to know all things and phenomena on the basis of their own perception, and the Age of schientific research has begun. After that, the scientific researches have been developed so much, and many kinds of industries were established, and the Capitalistic Societies have begun.
In such situations many kinds of important historical facts occured, for example, the Reformation, the Independence of USA,
the French Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, the World War 1.
People have begun to believe in the power of economical value, martial power, big industries, big properties, and Idealistic philosopies has been invaded so much by the Materialistic philosophy, but at he same time it might be almost imposible for human beings to arrive at so gorgious economically rich societies. Therefore I think that the Materialistic philosophy was also so valuable for human histories.

Saturday, December 3, 2005

Estimation of Idealism and Materialism

Eaven though Buddhism criticises Idealism and Maereialism, we should never esteem the value of Idealism and Materialism light. Because both Idealism and Materialism have promoted human civilizations so enormously in many important points for thousands of years, and so we can never think the historical value of Idealism and materialism light at all.
In the case of Idealism, the history of Idealism might trace back to the origine of human beings, but even in the history it traces back to the Ancient Greece. A Greek philosopher, called Platon (427-347B.C.), insisted that all things and phenomena in this world are functions of reason, and the external world, which we can perceive, are all images of reason. And to proove such facts, he utilized the universal existences of mathemaic principles through the world. He insists that all things and phenomena are reasonable, therefore we can understand every thing on the basis of reasonable theory. And I think that the reverence of reason in European countries was so important for development of the Western Civilization.
The Idealism met with Christianity when Christianity entered into Roman Empire, and it is said that the famous Christian Father, called Augustinus, relied upon Platonic philosofical system, and also a very famous Theologian, called Thomas Aquinas in the medieval times, is based on Aristoteles's philosophical system, who was a student of Platon.
Furthermore in the modern age, Decartes, Spinoza, Leipniz, and so forth, had also tendency of Idealistic thoughts to, and later in Germany, there was a powerful lineage of Kant, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, and so forth, which was called the German Idealism, and they insisted their idealistic thoughta so clearly. Among them, for example, Hegel insisted that all thinges and phenomena of the world are manifestation of the World Spirit.

Friday, December 2, 2005

Denial of Idealism and Materialism

(note) In this blog I do not use the Sanscrit words in Palasan Roman, because I am afraid that such kinds of words will change into strange characters in another soft.

When we think that Buddhism is a religion, which believe in the real existence of this world, we have to think that it is necessary for us to deny both Idealism and Materialism. Because Realism is also an independent philosophy from Idealism and Materialism, we can never expect the coexistence of Realism and Idealism, or the coexistence of Realism and Materialism. Therefore in Buddhism, for example, Master Bokuzan Nishi-ari (1821-1910), a former Abbot of Soji-ji Temple, said in his book, entitled "Shobogenzo Keiteki, or Opening the truth of Shobogenzo," that "Materialism (Danken-Gedo) and Idealism (Joken-Gedo) are enemies against Buddhism." And Master Nishi-ari studied Buddhism before the Meiji Restoration (1867), and so we can think that before the Meiji Restoration Japanese Buddhism had very clear recognition that Buddhism can never be identified with Idealism, or Materialism. By the way some Materialists identify Realism with Materialism, but this interpretation is completely wrong in Buddhist interpretation. Because Materialism does not include spiritual value or meaning, but Realism accept the existence of spiritual value, or value of meaning, and so it is very important for us to distinguish Realism from Materialism. In Chinese and Japanese Buddhism we use two words Danken-Gedo and Joken-Gedo , and Danken-Gedo means Materialism, and Joken-Gedo means Idealism.

Thursday, December 1, 2005

What is the Enlightenment

When we think about what is the Enlightenment, it is our real experience that we are, not in the world of mind, or in the world of matter, but we are just living in the real world actually, not only intellectually, or perceptively.
I guess that many people complain that such a simple fact can be recognized by everyone easily. But actually I think that there may be many people, who think that they are living in the world of mind, and at the same time there are many people, who think that they are living in the world of matter. And when we think the reason why such a strange fact occurs, the reason can not be known before the 20th century, and it was known in the 20th century, when the scientific knowledge of
psychology and physiology have developed so much.
However fortunately in 20th century human civilization has developed so much, and so it has become clear that in human body and mind, there is a nervous system, which is called the autonomic nervous system. And the autonomic nervous system is devided into two parts, that is, the sympathetic nervous system, and the parasympathtic nervous system. And the sympathetic nervous system is much related with human ability to think, and the parasympathetic nervous system is much related with human ability to perceive. Therefore a man, who has rather strong sympathetic nervous system, is prone to have an idealistic personality, and so he usually has consciousness, that he is living in the world of mind, and a person, who has rather a stronger parasympathetic nervous system, is prone to have an materialistic personality, and so he usually has consciousness, that he is living in the world of matter. And this facts suggest that whether we have a little stronger sympathetic nervous system, or a little stronger parasympathetic nervous system, decides whether we are idealist or materialist.