Dogen Sangha Blog

  by Gudo NISHIJIMA

Japanese / German

Monday, June 12, 2006

Fukan-Zazen-Gi (1) Commentary

MASTER DOGEN AT KENNIN-JI

Master Dogen became a Buddhist monk in the year 1212, at Enryaku-ji in Kyoto. He practiced the life of a Buddhist monk there for about 3 years. Noticing, however, that the training in Enryaku-ji at that time was too concentrated upon intellectual consideration, he went to visit Master Eisai at Kennin-ji in Kyoto, and eventually he moved to Kennin-ji.

Because Kennin-ji belongs to the Rinzai Sect, we can suppose that Master Dogen also received a Koan from the Master, and that he also considered the meaning of the Koan during Zazen as a method to get Enlightenment. Such a method is different from the practice of Zazen itself. But Master Dogen was a very sharp-minded person, so much so that it was likely impossible for him to have the misunderstanding that he had attained the so-called Enlightenment, when the fact was he had not attained anything. Therefore we can suppose that he might have worried about the fact that he hadn't experienced so-called Enlightenment at all.

Perhaps then Master Dogen had doubts about whether Zazen, as it was practiced in Japan at that time, was true or not. So he might have begun to want to go to China, in order to research the true Buddhist practice of Zazen, which was done in China at that time.

But at that time Master Butsuju Myozen, who had become the second Master of Kennin-ji succeeding Master Eisai, might have had the same idea as Master Dogen. Butsuju Myozen also had the hope to visit China to experience the real situation of Chinese Buddhism and Zazen directly. So Master Myozen and Master Dogen decided to visit China together in order to get Enlightenment there.

MASTER MYOZEN AND MASTER DOGEN IN CHINA

Unfortunately, Master Myozen fell ill about two years after they arrived in China. He died in Tendozan Keitoku-ji on 27th May, 1225.

Master Dogen continued traveling to several Chinese Buddhist temples, one by one. He hoped to meet a true Buddhist Master, by whom he (Master Dogen) could be satisfied. On the 1st of May in 1225, Master Dogen met Master Tendo Nyojo, who had become the Master of Tendozan Keitoku-ji. After that, Master Dogen studied Buddhism under Master Tendo Nyojo until his return to Japan in 1227.

The value of the historical fact that Master Dogen met with Master Tendo Nyojo is very great. Before meeting with Master Tendo Nyojo, Master Dogen practiced Zazen on the basis of the idea that by practicing Zazen practioners could get Enlightenment, which is different from the actual practice of Zazen itself. It was due to Master Dogen's great concern about the fact that he couldn't get the so-called enlightenment, that he visited China.

But Master Tendo Nyojo's Buddhist teachings were completely different from what Master Dogen expected. As Master Dogen described in the Shobogenzo chapter entitled 'Gyoji' (Chapter 30), Master Tendo Nyojo proclaimed that, "To practice Zazen is just to get rid of body and mind. It is not necessary for us to burn incense, recite Buddha's names, confess our sins, or read Sutras, at all. But if we just sit, everything has been got already since the beginning." These words suggest that "To practice Zazen is just to make the autonomic nervous system balanced and get rid of the consciousness of body and mind. If we practice Zazen solely, the getting rid of the consciousness of our body and mind has already been realized since the beginning."

This way of thinking is one of the most important principles of Buddhist philosophy. Zazen is never any idea that the method is to practice Zazen, and the aim is to get Enlightenment. The practice of Zazen is not to be viewed as some instrumental means to a separate end called Enlightenment. Zazen is just the act of sitting at the present moment. So it is absolutely necessary for us to think that in Zazen the aim and the method are perfectly combined into one by the act of sitting itself. Therefore it is very important for us to practice Zazen as the first enlightenment, and it is not necessary for us to worry about if, or when, the second enlightenment will come. The first enlightenment is just the practice of Zazen itself at the present moment. The second enlightenment is just the perfect understanding of the Buddhist philosophical system based on the Buddhist practitioner's sincere daily life on the basis of practicing Zazen.

MASTER DOGEN'S HOMECOMING

Master Dogen returned to Japan in 1227. He was 27 years old. Upon return, someone asked him, "What have you brought back from China?" At that time he answered "Nothing." And then he added, "If it is necessary for me to say something, it might be (what I have brought is) The Flexible and Soft Mind." And we can interpret his words to indicate our body and mind, as they are, in the balanced state of the autonomic nervous system.

WRITING FUKAN-ZAZEN-GI

Master Dogen, who had come back from China, stayed in Kyushu for a while, then he entered Kennin-ji in Kyoto once again. At that time we can think that he might have had a very strong feeling of duty to spread the true Buddhism in Japan, the Buddhism he had studied and learned under Master Tendo Nyojo in China. He wrote about this situation in the Shobogenzo chapter entitled 'Bendo' (Chapter 1.), saying it was as if he was carrying a very heavy burden on his shoulders. Therefore we can think of "Fukan-Zazen-Gi" as Master Dogen's proclamation for opening his teachings.

There are two different editions of Fukan-Zazen-Gi. One is called "Shinpitsu-Bon", and the other is called "Rufu-Bon." The "Shinpitsu-Bon" means the edition that was written in his own calligraphy, and "Rufu-Bon" suggests the edition that has been spread widely to the public.

"Shinpitsu-Bon" was written with a style of Chinese characters that was new at the time, and so it was designated as a National Treasure. It has been preserved in the Eihei-ji Treasury, where it remains at present.

After reading it again and again, I suppose that "Rufu-Bon" has been revised and polished a great many times by Master Dogen himself. So I think that "Rufu-Bon" might be the fully accomplished version and the best version to be used as the standard edition of Fukan-Zazen-Gi.

53 Comments:

Blogger Mike Cross said...

By “getting rid of body and mind,” Master Tendo meant getting rid of the state in which the parasympathetic nerves are dominant (“consciousness of body”), and also the state in which the sympathetic nerves are dominant (“consciousness of mind”). This is one interpretation. But it is based just on the physical conception.

By “getting rid of body and mind,” Master Tendo meant liberating the action of sitting from the the two dualistic conceptions with which we civilized human beings typically limit ourselves; namely, “body” and “mind.” This interpretation is based on mental negation of intellectual conceptions. Therefore it is just based on the mental conception.

Therefore how can either of these two interpretations, based on the physical and mental conceptions, ever be adequate to explain the real meaning of Master Tendo’s words?

By “getting rid of body and mind,” Master Tendo described the action of a human being who is just sitting. A human being is not a body or a mind, but an individual human being -- yellow or white, wise or stupid, sacred or profane, enlightened or unenlightened, parasympathetic dominant or sympathetic dominant, it doesn’t matter: an individual human being is, in reality, never a body or a mind, but always one human being, a human unit of being. Unfortunately, however, it is almost impossible for us human beings to realize what we are. We are deeply convinced, maybe even at the cellular level, by the dualistic conception that we are a heavy body animated by a mind.

Therefore Master Dogen, understanding the above situation very clearly, compassionately instructed us:

(1) Sit in the full lotus posture relying on your illusory dualistic conception that you are a body, regulating your physical form.
(2) Sit in the full lotus posture relying on the opposite illusory conception that you are a mind, turning inward your attention, mentally deciding to stop this, that, and the other.
And thus, by these expedient means,
(3) Sit in the full lotus posture as the action of getting free from those two illusory conceptions.

(1) and (2) construct a framework, from which to go beyond. Master Dogen didn’t just say: “Go beyond.” He said: “Here is a very exact and strong framework. Construct it for yourself, and then break out of it.”

Whether you understand it or not, the real meaning of sitting in the lotus posture is only (3). Even if you think the real meaning is (1) or (2), in fact the real meaning is always only (3). The action of sitting itself has (3) inherent in it. Therefore Master Dogen recommended us not to worry about whether we understand or not. Just sit in the lotus posture.

Because I believed in and followed this instruction, I understood at last, like this. Therefore I would like to offer myself as evidence that, even if, for reasons I do not clearly understand, Gudo Nishijima has decided to try to explain everything with the autonomic nervous system, his promise of the second enlightenment is not empty, but real.

By the way, if anybody wants to read the translation of Shinpitsu-bon, they can find it on my Fukan-zazengi Blog.

1:07 AM, June 13, 2006  
Blogger MikeDoe said...

Mike:

"Whether you understand it or not, the real meaning of sitting in the lotus posture is only (3). Even if you think the real meaning is (1) or (2), in fact the real meaning is always only (3). The action of sitting itself has (3) inherent in it. "

If you do understand this then I would suggest to you that whilst you hold on to the idea that sitting in ONLY the Lotus position will achieve this then there is a flaw in your conception.

If it is true that we are human beings that are not body and mind but instead, one inseparable thing then it must also be true that this is true whether we are sitting in the lotus position or standing up or even standing on our heads. A truth that is a truth cannot only be true when doing just one thing and cannot only be realisable in just one body position.

I would suggest to you that sitting in full lotus position with body and mind dropping off is merely the preliminary training and nothing more. For, if you can only achieve this in one position and not with some sort of mental intention (I hesitate to use the word conscious) then the journey has barely just begun.

I seem to recall that after Buddha had sat under the Bodhi tree (for we assume 9 years) he got up and walked away - no longer in the full lotus position.

I again return to my previous comments. You have made more progress alone than you have done so previously. So perhaps for now the only person who can and should teach Mike Cross is Mike Cross.

I also would like to Support Jules' previous comment. I see no master game plan here. I see one man shouting a lot at his old teacher in a public place.

7:17 AM, June 13, 2006  
Blogger Lone Wolf said...

"Zazen never has any idea that the method is to practice Zazen, and the is aim to get Enlightenment. Zazen is just the act of sitting at the present moment. So it is absolutely necessary for us to think that in Zazen the aim and the method are perfectly combined into one in the act of sitting itself. Therefore it is very important for us to practice Zazen as the first enlightenment, and it is not necessary for us to worry about when the second enlightenment will come, or not."

Thank you for this excellent teaching Gudo Nishijima Roshi.

I was reflecting on the phrase "Act at the present moment". Does ACT mean the constant flux or changing of each moment, moment by moment? I can see where my interpretation of the man walking down the path ( no motion in the future, past, or present) made the present moment seem stuck or froze like a thought grasped. Therefore I feel the present moment is act (change, flux) and act at the present moment is reality. Would this interpretation of "Act at the present moment" be the same as your meaning Roshi?

3:08 PM, June 13, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

(1) I know that Gudo Nishijima directed me towards sitting in the full lotus posture on the basis of a PHYSICAL conception -- keeping the spine straight vertically to balance the autonomic nervous system.

(2) I know that FM Alexander called his work “the most MENTAL thing there is.” Not only that, but I know FM Alexander’s niece Marjory Barlow, and other Alexander teachers such as Nelly Ben-Or, clearly pointed me in the direction of getting free of attachment to unconscious habits and conceptions -- i.e., dropping off body and mind. So not just blind physical exercise, but using the mind in movement and non-movement to go in the direction of dropping off body and mind.

(3) I know that Master Dogen directs us in Shobogenzo to sit in the full lotus posture as the DROPPING OFF OF BODY AND MIND. So, not only to drop off body and mind as in Alexander work, in any old movement or position, but to diligently practice, as the dropping off of body and mind, just the physical act of sitting in the full lotus posture.

Whether I should revere Gudo Nishijima on the same level as Master Dogen, or only revere him on level (1), I do not know.

Is it that Gudo understands (3) intuitively, non-semantically, but he has not clarified it yet on the semantic level? I persist because I believe that such a possibility exists. There were many such cases during our Shobogenzo translation partnership.

When I was a child I was an advanced reader -- ahead of the children in the year above me at school. At the same time, I am descended from miners; the attitude of a miner is in my blood. So, like a miner of knowledge, I have dragged up to the surface what I have dragged up.

How best to transmit what I know to others, I do not know. I hope that, because what I have dragged up is very valuable, some person out there who knows how to exploit raw material may recognize the value of the knowledge I have mined. I know what I know. But where to go with this knowledge, I do not know. How to begin the task of transmitting it to others, I do not know.

It seems that many obstacles are in the way. And one of the biggest obstacles might be the lack of clarity, at the semantic level, of my living connection with Master Dogen’s teaching, that is, Gudo Nishijima himself.

5:43 PM, June 13, 2006  
Blogger MikeDoe said...

Mike:

"How best to transmit what I know to others, I do not know. I hope that, because what I have dragged up is very valuable, some person out there who knows how to exploit raw material may recognize the value of the knowledge I have mined. I know what I know. But where to go with this knowledge, I do not know. How to begin the task of transmitting it to others, I do not know. "

You only think you have found something of great value because you are attached to results and feel that after years of toil what you have found must be worth something.

So much painful toil has perhaps been necessary because of your insistence of using AT within the context of Zazen instead of perhaps just sitting without aim or purpose beyond just sitting. It is also perhaps due to the narrowness of your own research and investigations.

I know Dogen is not the least bit clear of how to achieve "body and mind dropping off" beyond saying that through diligent practice of Zazen such a thing can occur. That this is true without doubt. I do not know why Dogen never clarified things beyond this. There could be many reasons why he did not.

I do however now know that other traditions - particularily arising from Tibet have created very clear and very precise instructions about how exactly one may approach such a thing. That these things work are not in doubt. I am of course referring to Mahamudra and in particular the later stages of Mahumdara practice which is know as Vipassana. I have made some brief links to relevant texts on my blog.

Having done my own research and spoken in depth to someone who practices Vipassana I am happy that what they practice has no real difference to what I do beyond the fact that they have initially a formal structure to work within and that I have instead worked (like yourself perhaps) within an intuitively driven method. The fact that neither method nor results are different is something I cannot ignore. The only difference is that one uses intuition from the start and the other uses cognition initially until sufficiently trained that intuition can take over. This I suspect merely reflects the cultures of origin and nothing more.

It is good that you have found AT useful and it is good that your recent practice has born some fruit. I hope your method continues to bear fruit for you, but it would be unwise for you to consider it as something new and valuable until you have seen what is already around.

If you can by coal at Wal-Mart then creating a mine in your own garden may be seen as the hard way to do things. But, if you did not know that Wal-Mart existed or that they sold coal or you did not have a car then a coal mine in the back garden may be the only expedient means available.

8:50 PM, June 13, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

Master Dogen said that we should sit in the full lotus posture (1) with body, (2) with mind, (3) as the shedding of body and mind.

(1) is physical effort to do.
(2) is mental effort not to do.
(3) is true spontaneity -- not doing, and not not doing, but just action itself.

Without clear understanding of (2), there is no clear understanding of the difference between (1) and (3).

9:16 PM, June 13, 2006  
Blogger MikeDoe said...

Master Dogen said that we should sit in the full lotus posture (1) with body, (2) with mind, (3) as the shedding of body and mind.

(1) is a physical effort to do.
(2) is a mental effort that is not operating at the conscious cognitive level A mental effort to Do or not Do is the same thing.
(3) is spontaneous, is allowing action itself to arise. HOWEVER....

If I were to play golf with Tiger Woods then it may well be that spontaneously I could score a hole-in-one. Tiger Woods could also spontaneously score a hole-in-one.

If I was a gambling man then I would bet on Tiger Woods every time.

It may well be that a hole-in-one is a spontaneous event. However, Tiger Woods has had the training and perhaps the native skills to allow such an event to sponatenously arise more than other people can.

It is important not to confuse the fact that something is spontaneous with the fact that the ground for such a spontaneous thing can be thoroughly prepared.

It is also important to consider the fact that something for one person which is a spontaneous happing may for another person now be in the realm of 'conscious' control (Shen).

If you can achieve this now after 20+ years of meditation why was it that you could not do it after 10 years or 1 years of meditation? Was it that you have become very good at been spontaneous? Have you learnt how to be lucky? Or perhaps have you learnt how to prepare the ground so that body and mind may be shed.

12:12 AM, June 14, 2006  
Blogger siapac said...

A belief that one has knowledge important enough to be the subject of a determined plot to surpress it must be frightening indeed, but believing in that is vastly superior to accepting the idea that one has a mental disorder. It is far easier to disregard reality; and/or to simply incorporate the people who seemingly try to discourage you from this idea into a complex fantasy, rather than deal with the problem of a disfunctioning nervous system.

12:41 AM, June 14, 2006  
Blogger Pierre Turlur said...

For the beloved teachers of my lineage:

I put my faith in Jizo. Not in Buddhist philosophy, quoting scriptures, Dharma Combat or great shouts. I don't try to defeat or fear to be defeated. I put my faith in Jizo, Eternal open-mindedness, heart of the non judgemental state, core of not knowing. I put my faith in love. In love, I am nothing and nobody. Just like every single one of us. A pure and round moon shines. Three wild geese fly over the lake. Upon its surface, only one shadow can be truly seen.

10:41 AM, June 14, 2006  
Blogger Pierre Turlur said...

Dear Siapac,

I have heard this again and again... One might disagree with Mike's style and see that he is very angry, he often goes too far (challenging, insulting and even bullying people, Nishijima Roshi, James, me...)) but to speak about mental disorder is too much and too easy. It takes a lot to listen to what he has to say but I really think it is the most valuable teaching about the real meaning of Zazen.I am eternally grateful to him and, at the same time, I don't want and need to sound or behave like him. It is just not my cup of tea. Many people would benefit fom dropping their pre-conceived ideas and investigate the directions he points out. And please, if I may say, in the light of one moon, the ten thousand things have but one shadow.

2:28 PM, June 14, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

True peace is the balance of opposites. But it is a much more dynamic opposition than people are prone to suppose. To think that we have grasped it intellectually is always our mistake. It is a mistake which we should not be afraid to make, again and again and again. Because sincere pursuit of the truth inevitably includes this mistake.

This teaching of peace as a balance of opposites is just my Master’s teaching, which I received face to face over many years. It is necessarily related with balance of the autonomic nervous system, from one point of view.

Pierre Turlur, who preaches love: Do you truly understand this point of view? Do you truly understand the view which opposes it? And do you truly understand the viewpoint of sitting in the full lotus posture as just the transcending of this opposition?

If so, I wonder why you are aimlessly wandering on a sightseeing trip around foreign lands, preaching about the pure and round moon? I wonder if you have ever noticed a white crescent moon in a smog-filled sky? Or is it that only the pure round golden moon, reflected in the pond of a gorgeous Kyoto temple, is your “cup of tea”?

4:11 PM, June 14, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

Our intention to sit in the full lotus posture is a flower in space. Our conception of what sitting in the full lotus posture is, is a flower in space. Our attention to the process of sitting in the full lotus posture is a flower in space. Our decision to channel our energy into sitting in the full lotus posture, and not to leak our energy into lesser matters, is a flower in space.

This intention, conception, attention, and decision, are flowers in space that we should investigate primarily. The full golden moon and the white crescent moon, the nine-stripe and the seven-stripe kashaya, the translation of Shobogenzo into English -- these are all lesser varieties of flowers in space, inferior varieties of flowers in space.

A man of clouded eyes sees flowers in space like this.

Flowers in space do not bloom at random; they observe the rule of the Universe, the natural order of things.

Sitting in the full lotus posture is the King of Samadhis. Other samadhis, for example, samadhi as balance of the autonomic nervous, are far inferior to it. They are subordinate to it. They do not argue with it.

Dharma-heirs of clear eyes such as Michael Luetchford, Brad Warner, and James Cohen, write and publish their books, letting their Clarity of Eye be known to all. Now Pierre Turlur manifests himself also as a man in whose clear eyes the moon shines pure and round.

Master Dogen would say: KANASHIMU BESHI. It is lamentable.

It is truly lamentable.

11:16 PM, June 14, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

What Master Dogen said when he was 27 was what he said when he was 27. What he said when he was 44 was that the life-blood of Master Bodhidharma was only the practice of sitting in the full lotus posture. Not Nothing, and not Soft and Flexible Mind, and still less balance of the autonomic nervous system, but only the practice of sitting in the full lotus posture.

The right foot goes on the left thigh, the left foot on the right thigh, and flowers in space open from the ground.

If you wish to understand, sit in the full lotus posture four times a day for 20 years.

That was Master Dogen's viewpoint in 1244, when he wrote the chapter of Shobogenzo called Zanmai-O-Zanmai, The Samadhi that is King of Samadhi, 20 years after meeting Master Tendo Nyojo.

Four times a day for 20 years. One can suppose that when Master Dogen looked at the insides of his lower legs in 1244, they might have been bald for a long time already.

So, after 20 years of sitting in the full lotus posture, he preached: Just sit in the full lotus posture.

Master Dogen preached:
(1) Sit in the full lotus posture, bodily.
(2) Sit in the full lotus posture, mentally.
(3) Sit in the full lotus posture as the dropping off of body and mind.

Master Dogen did not preach, and did not intend:
(1) It is permissible to have a dominant parasympathetic nervous system (and sit).
(2) It is permissible to have a dominant sympathetic nervous system (and sit), but:
(3) It is vital to have a balanced autonomic nervous system (and sit).

If Gudo wishes to express Master Dogen’s fundamental intention in terms of the autonomic nervous system, he should express it like this:
(1) Just sit in the full lotus posture (not caring two hoots if your parasympathetic nervous system is in the ascendancy).
(2) Just sit in the full lotus posture (not caring two hoots if your sympathetic nervous system is in the ascendancy).
(3) Just sit in the full lotus posture (dropping off the useless and cumbersome baggage of the theory of balance of the autonomic nervous system).

Master Dogen’s fundamental teaching will be understood in my age, not because of Gudo Nishijima’s teaching about the autonomic nervous system and soft and flexible mind, but because of my sitting in the full lotus posture, four times a day, for 20 years, and counting.

Pierre Turlur, my Dharma-heir, complains that my style of teaching is not his “cup of tea”? Why? Is it because of something wrong in my attitude to sit in the full lotus posture four times a day, and criticize people who preach Buddhism as if they knew? Or is it because he is a bone-headed Frenchman who, despite my efforts to teach him, still thinks deep down that he knows best, that his old French ways are right?

5:27 PM, June 15, 2006  
Blogger Misha Num said...

Master Dogen is very clear and, in practise, his words are manifest, like those of all the patriarchs.

I agree entirely with what you write Mike Cross and it has been my experience of zazen. It is impossible to know but I can imagine that this is true for many zazen practitioners who did not either make a critical mistake in their attitude early on or were misled.

I contend with the fact that you and you alone have discovered something extraordinary - you are merely and rather repetitively describing what is apparent to many. It would seem that because you made a mistake or were misled, you practised erroneously for a long time then when you righted yourself with the help of FM Alexander'd teaching, you felt it was a revelation to you alone.

What is also apparent is that you cannot practise what you preach. You can sit on your arse for as many years as you feel necessary but nobody cares. Your life, your work, your mission will pass into dust and vanish in air. You have achieved nothing, you have realised that nothing was for achieving. But you still cannot release your death grip on attainment.

You preach freedom from views, you preach freeing ourselves from body and mind but you are a slave to both, to your obsessive zazen ("four times a day for 20 years") and to your 'understanding.'

When you write of the birds in your garden, the master appears. When you do battle unto death with the father that does not love you and continues to ignore your narcissistic whining, you sink into hell and breathe fire.

What would Mike Cross be without his strongly held attitudes to 'his' body and 'his' mind? Might he be a free man, happy in his garden with his birds? Might he attract students like birds to his table? Might his message be as clear as the sky above him?

Stop this deadly grappling with yourself on the internet and practise what you preach. It is more familiar to many more than you think. Of course that just makes you another one of us, rowing in the same boat rather than the somewhat irritating cox that keeps crashing his boat into the bank before his crew can get their stroke.

11:29 PM, June 15, 2006  
Blogger Pierre Turlur said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:43 AM, June 16, 2006  
Blogger 123Twist said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:14 AM, June 16, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

Understanding the importance of Gudo Nishijima's historical mission, I stayed in Japan for 13 years, and served him. As evidence of that, you have the Shobogenzo translation.

Seeing the flaw in Gudo Nishijima's teaching, I have devoted myself for 12 years to investigation of FM Alexander's discoveries.

Finally, I understand clearly why Master Dogen wrote that there is sitting on the basis of mind, which is not the same as sitting on the basis of body; that there is sitting on the basis of body, which is not the same as sitting on the basis of mind; and that there is sitting as dropping off body and mind, which is not the same as sitting as dropping off body and mind.

My understanding is the result of these last 25 years of pursuing the truth of Zazen, both on the basis of Gudo Nishijima’s fundamental teaching, which is physical, and also on the basis of the opposite conception, which is mental. Therefore, no, unfortunately, there is no-one who has the same understanding as me. If anyone wants to get the same understanding as me, they have to meet me, to sit with me, and to listen to my teaching with body and with mind.

I do not preach freedom from views; I preach sitting in the full lotus posture as the dropping of views. And I practice what I preach. It is utterly different from sitting in the full lotus posture as freedom from views.

You, Misha Num, who say that you are already familiar with what I am preaching: For a start, would you like to emerge from behind the cowardly parapet of internet anonymity, and tell us about your own experience of the face-to-face transmission from Gudo Nishijima?

If you have no such experience, then you do not understand at all even the beginning of what I am preaching. Not so much as a hundredth or a thousandth of it.

Gudo Nishijima single-handedly recovered the true meaning of Shobogenzo through efforts that extended for most of the 20th century. But there is a flaw in his teaching. The flaw in Gudo Nishijima’s teaching has been manifested very conspicuously by the Master himself in this blog. Master Dogen instructed:
(1) SHIN NO KEKKAFUZA SUBESHI. We should sit in the full lotus posture, bodily.
(2) SHIN NO KEKKAFUZA SUBESHI. We should sit in the full lotus posture, mentally.
(3) SHINJINDATSURAKU NO KEKKAFUZA SUBESHI. We should sit in the full lotus posture as the dropping off of body and mind.
Hearing this instruction through the filter of his theory of the autonomic nervous system, Gudo only understood one SUBESHI out of three. But one out of three in my Master’s case, compared with the case of a lickspittle calling himself Misha Num, who proclaims himself to be on the same level as me, might be like the separation between heaven and earth.

1:08 AM, June 17, 2006  
Blogger Drunken Monkey said...

"And I practice what I preach."

Good one. It would only take looking at comments on other articles, to see that you do not practice what you preach.

Do tell us your experience of zazen and the alexander technique.

1:41 AM, June 17, 2006  
Blogger Lone Wolf said...

(1) Materialism
(2) Idealism
(3) Zazen or act in the present moment

2:46 AM, June 17, 2006  
Blogger MikeDoe said...

"Therefore, no, unfortunately, there is no-one who has the same understanding as me."

I think this will be your epitath.

First there was Buddha. Then there was Mike Cross.

In the intervening centuries no-one else has understood Buddha's teachings of the dropping off of mind and body.

How fortunate we are that we have Mike Cross who is willing to share his great insight if only we would all bow down and worship him.

Who needs to worry about Nagarjuna and the path of Buddha "which leads to the relinquishing of all views" when you have the prophet of Mike Cross to tell us which views it is that should and should not be relinquished.

5:10 AM, June 17, 2006  
Blogger Grim said...

Sometimes I think the darkness is terrible. And I run around shouting, shining a bright lantern in everyones faces. I fear for their well-being because the darkness is vast.

But sometimes I think the darkness is not so terrible at all. And I sit down and enjoy a quiet night. One might see my lantern if I have one and we might sit together and have a quiet talk.

6:25 AM, June 17, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

It is very difficult for us to understand the virtue which, in Master Dogen's teaching, sitting in the full lotus posture has.

After 65 years devoted to investigating Master Dogen's teaching, with body and with mind, it is still difficult for Gudo to understand it. And it is also very difficult for me to understand it.

If what my sitting causes me to say surprises others, it also surprises me.

But yes, I think that people who are sincere in their desire to follow and to spread Master Dogen's truth, should serve and follow me. I agree with the view of people who criticize me, that there is no special personal virtue in me that makes me worthy of being served. The virtue is all in the practice of sitting in the full lotus posture.

If you want to understand this virtue, I recommend you to study the whole of Shobogenzo in detail, and on that basis spend 20 years at least devoted to sitting in the full lotus posture, neglecting lesser matters. But even then you won't understand the virtue which, in Master Dogen's teachings, sitting in the full lotus posture has.

5:19 PM, June 18, 2006  
Blogger So Daiho Hilbert said...

My goodness, all this talk about sitting zazen and what did a dead guy mean 800 years ago. Interesting conversation, I suppose, but I wonder really, what Master Dogen would think. Dropping away a state of mind? A state of being? A state at all? Just be your Zen and forget the rest.

10:57 AM, June 19, 2006  
Blogger 123Twist said...

Dear So-Daiho-Hilbert-ROshi,

Yes, yes, yes. We all know this. So, what harm is little talk between sitting?

May I respectfully ask? It is little unusual to call own name "Roshi." I think it something other people call you in traditions of Asia (Sometime they write on address of envelop too, in letter to Zen priest who not "Roshi" But never send such letter to self!!). And, it is something to be earn by long years, like scars and wrinkle. Rather like "So Daiho-Hilbert Genius." So, how come you title own name with Roshi, in all due humility?

Gassho, H

5:57 PM, June 19, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

Dear Hilbert Roshi,

I appreciate at least your attitude to manifest yourself in the world, and not to worry about small mistakes that you might be making. Your attitude is not like the attitude of a petty little weasel who hides behind the cowardly parapet of internet anonymity. I refer to “123twist.”

To call yourself "Roshi," from the point of view of a petty little yellow weasel, might be a breach of etiquette. But on a scale of 0 to 100, how important might Master Dogen rate a breach of Japanese etiquette by a non-Japanese? Not far from 0, I think. Master Dogen himself, I think, was not such a petty little weasel. And neither is Gudo Nishijima -- at least the man I served 20 years ago was never like that.

You raise two important questions: (A) Really, what Master Dogen would think? (B) What it means for us, today, to “Just be our Zen.” I would like to explain to you why, for me, the two questions are intimately related:

If your Master gives you a task of pumping water, then what does it mean “to be your Zen” other than pumping that water will all your physical and mental power?

If your Master gives you a task of translating Shobogenzo into English, then what does it mean “to be your Zen” other than considering with your whole body and mind exactly what the poetic scribbles of a Japanese monk, who died 750 years ago, meant.

What would Master Dogen think? According to his own testimony, repeated in Shobogeno Zazengi, Fukan-zazengi Rufu-bon, et cetera, primarily, Master Dogen would think the state of not-thinking. How can the state of not-thinking be thought? It is beyond thinking. This is the secret of sitting-Zen.

It is beyond thinking. In other words, truly “to be your Zen” is totally beyond all our useless conceptions of Zen -- like water flowing downhill, without the slightest interest in the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

The water flows downhill spontaneously. Looking at it, a Zen Master might say “Just let it be. Just let it flow.” That is fine.
But sometimes, in order to cause the water to begin flowing, somebody has to work a pump for a certain length of time -- say, 10, 15, or 25 years.

In Master Dogen’s teaching, the true meaning of thinking is like this. This is what he meant by “Think the concrete state of not-thinking.” The spontaneous process, like water flowing downhill, is the ultimate secret, and "It is beyond thinking." But thinking is sometimes useful to initiate the process, like working a pump.

So we need to have talk like this, not in order to be free from petty mistakes, but just in order to lead all living beings to realization of the Buddha's truth.

8:01 PM, June 19, 2006  
Blogger siapac said...

Crossism occurs in two classic forms. The BAD Cross syndrome and the POOR Cross syndrome. The BAD Cross syndrome tends to be more raging and sadistic than the other type. This affliction in all its forms tends to be organized around aggression, from sadomasochism to a lingering hostile mood. The POOR Cross tends to see himself as an innocent victim and is often mild and contrite. Crossism is an insidious disease which probably developed as a secondary personality characteristic, fused into a more or less dysfunctional coping style, and became the dominant pattern. The probable root cause of the disorder was in his parenting experience, in particular, the breast-feeding experience. Successfully breast-fed infants develop the capacity to feel supported and a tolerance for frustration. Unsuccessfully breast-fed infants (those who viewed the experience as "bad" in some way) develop a distinct inability to experience self-satisfaction, tolerance, and positive relationships. Internalization of the bad experience leads to the initiation of provocative and confirmatory interactions with others, mostly through splitting (seeing things as yellow-white, good-bad, weak-strong) and projection (accusing others of having the disowned aspects of your self). A full-blown BAD Cross perceives threats in everything other people say and do, often exploding in manic, counter-phobic episodes. The full-blown POOR Cross views the world as basically unfair and persecutory, countering his anticipation of discomfort with either antisocial behavior or grandiosity. One of the cardinal symptoms of his faulty interpretation of reality is that it cannot be shaken, only stirred.

11:29 PM, June 19, 2006  
Blogger Drunken Monkey said...

"To call yourself "Roshi," from the point of view of a petty little yellow weasel, might be a breach of etiquette."

Back to the racist name calling again, are we , Mike Cross?

Mr Roshi, before responding to Mike Cross, please have a look at his past comments. Very enlightening. Shows true character representative of many years of zazen.

1:00 AM, June 20, 2006  
Blogger cromanyak said...

Siapac,

From my own experience what's even worse than anger or self pity is talking about someone in front of their face as if they were an inanimate object.

5:53 AM, June 20, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

Typically, Japanese people (e.g. my wife) have yellow skin, and they worry very much about whether their actions are judged by others as good or bad, because they are very much afraid to be excluded from their group. The attitude of 123twist to criticize others for not keeping the precepts, to attach so strongly to correct use of the term “Roshi,” et cetera, is a very typical example of such Japanese behavior. He thinks he is right, because he knows the rule, and he identifies himself self-righteously with it, before his Master and his Master's group.

But such rightness is the rigid rightness of a sravaka. The right direction of a bodhisattva can never be like that. Therefore, Master Dogen’s teaching in Fukan-zazengi, both Shinpitsu-bon and Rufu-bon, is: “Don’t think good and bad. Don't care about right and wrong."

Gudo Nishijima knows this teaching very well, and he taught it to me, face to face. For example, standing together on a train in Tokyo, I told the Master that I found French women so attractive. "Yes," the Master replied. "Very beautiful. But rather difficult to control." Then loud laughter.

Therefore, even though the Master seems to affirm the words of 123twist and criticize my wrong attitude so severely, I cannot help but wonder whether the real situation is really like that, or not. The real situation is not so simple; not simply a matter of sticking to the rules. Therefore Master Dogen wrote a chapter of Shobogenzo called The Complicated.

7:39 AM, June 20, 2006  
Blogger Brad said...

Nishijima Sensei, I wanted to thank you for allowing me to stay at your apartment last week. I truly enjoyed our conversations. I was especially impressed with your positive attitude towards this blog. I can tell that you really believe it is a tremendous tool for spreading Buddhist philosophy.

I'm just 42. But sometimes I think that I'm too old for the Internet. But I wasn't even born the year you became 42. So it's truly amazing what you're doing within this very new medium.

Though I've heard your theory about the autonomic nervous system over and over for more than a decade, it has taken a long time for the full significance of it to really begin to become clear. I look forward to further postings and, as I said last week, I am always happy to help you with this job in any way I can.

12:39 PM, June 20, 2006  
Blogger GUDO NISHIJIMA said...

For Mike Cross San

Your comments today have become a little normal, and so I would like to add my comments.

In the first paragraph "But it is based just on the physical conception." is wrong. Master Tendo Nyojo is a Buddhist monk, and so he never speak anything on the basis other than Buddhism. If you think that when we explain Buddhist theory on the basis of the autonomic nervous system, such explanations belong to only physical interpretations, your such interpretation is completely wrong. The reason why we utilize the autonomic nervous system for explanation of Buddhism, comes from that the autonomic nervous system is the point of contact between body and mind.

12:56 PM, June 20, 2006  
Blogger Lone Wolf said...

Thank you Gudo Nishijima Roshi for explaining the "second enlightment" in detail in the comment section of the last post.

As Brad mentioned, I also think it's truly amazing that you chose to use computer technology to teach Buddhism globally. Thank your very much for your efforts in sharing this understanding with the world.

1:24 PM, June 20, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

In modern civilization, the science of the living body is called physiology. The science of the human mind is called psychology.

The point of contact between body and mind is action. Scientific investigation of action, or “the use of the self,” was pioneered in practice by FM Alexander and championed by his student John Dewey -- for example, in 1923, John Dewey wrote:

“After studying over a period of years Mr. Alexander's method in actual operation, I would stake myself upon the fact that he has applied to our ideas and beliefs about ourselves and about our acts exactly the same method of experimentation and of production of new sensory observations, as tests and means of developing thought, that have been the source of all progress in the physical sciences; and if, in any other plan, any such use has been made of the sensory appreciation of our attitudes and acts, if in it there has been developed a technique for creating new sensory observations of ourselves, and if complete reliance has been placed upon these findings, I have never heard of it. In some plans there has been a direct appeal to "consciousness" (which merely registers bad conditions); in some, this consciousness has been neglected entirely and dependence placed instead upon bodily exercises, rectifications of posture, etc. But Mr. Alexander has found a method for detecting precisely the correlations between these two members, physical-mental, of the same whole, and for creating a new sensory consciousness of new attitudes and habits. It is a discovery which makes whole all scientific discoveries, and renders them available, not for our undoing, but for human use in promoting our constructive growth and happiness.” (http://www.alexandertechnique.com/articles/dewey/)

Scientific, objective investigation of the function of the autonomic nervous system belongs to physiology. Subjectively, disturbance of the autonomic nervous system is experienced as emotion, or feeling. But the point of contact between nervous system as objective body and nervous system as subjective mind, can never be anything other than the whole human being in action.

Again, the point of contact of object and subject, body and mind, is not the autonomic nervous system. The point of contact is the action of the whole human being. Therefore Gautama Buddha transmitted to us the practice of sitting in the full lotus posture.

Objective study of samadhi as balance of the autonomic nervous system belongs just to phsyiology. Investigation in practice of samadhi as the balanced state of accepting and using the self, exists both in Buddhism and in the work of FM Alexander. But the Samadhi which is King of Samadhis exists only as the Buddha-Dharma. It is just the act of sitting in the full lotus posture.

Therefore Master Dogen wrote Fukan-zazengi.

Because a lighter produces a spark that ignites a flame, it is possible for us, relying on the 2nd law of thermodynamics, to initiate as a spontaneous process the burning of a dry stick of incense. Human civilization at the beginning of the 21st century might be like a dry stick of incense. Fukan-zazengi might be like a spark. Perhaps it is a slim chance. But is there any better bet on which to gamble this fleeting dew-drop life?

5:06 PM, June 20, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

Brad: I can see from your profile photo that you are fixing your head on your spine by pulling in your chin. There is no freedom in that. It will lead to neck and shoulder pain in future, or other problems, if it hasn't done so already. Pursuing balance by pulling in the chin is like heading north to Tierra del Fuego, or like fixing the pivot of a weighing scale. OK, so you are only obeying instructions. But that's what guards at Auschwitz said. Gudo's instruction to his students regarding posture in Zazen was unenlightened, and wrong. That's it. There is no getting around it. If you don't see the mistake, you will be no better than a father passing on the cycle of child abuse from one generation to the next.

5:59 PM, June 20, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

In considering the matter of upright posture, FM Alexander investigated scientifically how the head should be used in relation to the back, in order to facilitate integrated working of the human organism.

The approach of Kodo Sawaki, Taisen Deshimaru, Gudo Nishijima, et cetera was and is not scientific but religious. They transmitted a religious belief about what the right position of the head is -- with the chin pulled back into the neck. Where in Shobogenzo or Fukan-zazengi does Master Dogen say anything about this wrong position? Nowhere. Where did this wrong teaching come from? I do not know. Not from Buddhism. Maybe Master Kodo picked it up on the parade ground while he was in the Japanese army.

Ironically, Alexander’s attitude is totally true in Buddhism, whereas the attitude of Sawaki, Deshimaru, and Nishijima goes against Gautama Buddha’s fundamental instruction that each Zazen practitioner should be a light unto himself.

Two years ago my student, Alex Gould, visited Gudo Nishijima in Tokyo. The Master tried to “correct” my student’s posture by direct physical intervention -- pulling Alex’s chin back against his neck, and pulling the whole neck column back. It was the same intervention that I experienced more than 20 years before. My response to that was to notice that Gudo Nishijima is a very stubborn, stupid, and arrogant man. A very religious man -- whose response to me has been similar to the Pope’s response to Galileo.

7:58 PM, June 20, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

Physical effort to sit in a good lotus posture can never be the dropping off of body and mind.

But mental effort not to care about good or bad posture can lead to the spontaneous process of body and mind dropping off -- because of the benevolence of the 2nd law of thermodynamics, aka the Dharma.

Therefore, we should make our physical effort to sit in the lotus posture, half lotus or full lotus, bad or good, and we should make our mental effort not to think good or bad, not to care about right and wrong, but just to sit.

This is Master Dogen's teaching in Fukan-Zazengi. SHOSHIN TANZA simply means "sit upright." It does not mean "make bad posture into good posture." It means: Just sit, not caring about good or bad.

Gautama Buddha said: The Dharma is good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end. How can it depend on my physical effort to sit in a good posture?

9:05 PM, June 20, 2006  
Blogger GUDO NISHIJIMA said...

For Mike Cross San

This morning I could have time to discuss only your first paragraph. And I said that the autonomic nervous system is the organ, which conect body and mind. Therefore if you think that the autonomic nervous system is related with only the physical conception, I think that your interpretation might be wrong.

In the second paragraph what is the meaning of "mental negation of intellectual conceptions."? Do you understand the meaning of such a strange expression?

In the third paragraph, of course, Master Tendo Nyojo is just a Budhist, and so his idea based on the fusion of physical and mental factors.

In the fourth paragraph you have written that "We are deeply convinced, maybe even at the cellular level, by the dualistic conception that we are a heavy body animated by a mind." But I think that this description is just an ordinary poeple's conditions, and so it is completely different from Buddhist situations. But your idea does not includes any difference between ordinary poeple and Buddhist Masters.

Therefore Master Dogen says to us, "Even though sometimes our legs are painful, or we are sleepy, we should continue our Zazen (1), and even though sometimes our mind is full of delusions, anxiety, or worry, we should continue our Zazen further (2), but at last we should practice Zazen losing distinction between body and mind (3).

Therefore the problem is not our understanding, but real facts in Zazen.

It is not true that just (3) is Zazen, but Master Dogen says (1), (2), and (3) are all Zazen. Without (1) and (2), (3) can never occur. The problem is not understanding, but facts.

Therefore the enlightenment is always real.

On the relation between Shinpitsu-bon and Rufu-bon, I think that Shinpitsu-bon was written first, but, after that, Master Dogen corrected Shinpitsu-bon several times by Master Dogen himself, and so I think that the contents of Rufu-bon might be much more reliable than Shinpitsu-bon.

10:15 PM, June 20, 2006  
Blogger Drunken Monkey said...

Mike Cross, if master Gudo's method of zazen is not correct in conjunction with Buddhism, then why are people who have recieved dharma transmission (taking it with a pinch of salt) from Master Gudo, have a thorough understanding intellectually, intiutively and act in accordance to buddhist lifestyle, whilst you are acting on the contrary. I don't want to nitpick on your actions, but Gudo and co are awesomely cool, whilst you have some issues that I wouldn't consider cool.
I know that we should drop all prior views when it comes to buddhism, but this is common sense attitude. Nobody wants a slightly angry zen master who preaches and uses bad language as well.
Its also hard to accept that Mastah Gudo has been using a wrong technique which causes pain and bother, but I don't see him being in an abnormal state. Maybe you should stop reading off of Alexanders works and snap back into reality. Reliable Scientists regard it as pseudo science at best and to me it sounds like something highly questionable. Like crystal healing or whatever.

Thanks once again Master Gudo Nishijima for another article that has inspired me. Is it possible to explain a bit about karma in your following articles, or in the comments of your blog. Would calling my brother a nitwitted smelly pig (for being one) cause me undesireable karma. And why would the universe care about such verbal abuse?

Sorry if this doesn't make any sense, Im pretty tired and frustrated with my brother right now.

P.S For the convience of some, my name is Komal Bedi. First name translates as Lotus flower. RoAr.

11:29 PM, June 20, 2006  
Blogger Jules said...

There are two different editions of Fukan-Zazen-Gi. One is called "Shinpitsu-Bon", and the other is called "Rufu-Bon." The "Shinpitsu-Bon" means the edition that was written in his own calligraphy, and "Rufu-Bon" suggests the edition that has been spread widely to the public.

Nishijima Roshi,
Are there important differences between the two editions that you feel deserve special attention? Or is it simply that Master Dogen spent more time working on Rufu-Bon?

4:42 AM, June 21, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

Not to care about good and bad, but just to sit in the full lotus posture.

It is a very simple teaching, but it runs contrary to the conceptions that usually govern us -- for example, a conception like pulling in the chin in order to have a good posture, in order to make the autonomic nervous system balanced.

Therefore we should come back again and again, at least twice a day, for 10, 15, or 25 years, or even for 65 years, to the simple teaching:

Don't think good and bad posture. Don't care about right and wrong posture. Just sit upright, right foot on left thigh, left foot on right thigh. Just to sit is all.

Hail to the King of Samadhis.

6:51 AM, June 21, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

Last night I drank wine and watched England play Sweden in the World Cup, and so after practicing Zazen in my intoxicated state, I posted my comment but failed to notice that I should reply to Nishijima Roshi’s arguments.

In reality, a human being is always a unity. “Body” and “mind” are opposite conceptions of that unity. They are intellectual conceptions. They originate in our intellect. Without the human intellectual mind, those conceptions don’t exist. When we investigate the situation in practice, as happens in Alexander work, to free the self from the influence of those dualistic conceptions of “body” and “mind” requires a mental effort--an effort of thought. This effort of thought is mental but it is not only intellectual, because those dualistic conceptions are deeply rooted in us. This is why I wrote of “mental negation of intellectual conceptions.” In short, in order to be free from the dualistic conceptions of “body” and “mind,” we need to make an effort of thought.

Even though originally there is no “body” and “mind” in reality, we have to make an effort to drop off those dualistic concepts of body and mind. Fukan-zazengi has clear instructions for how to make such effort: First sit upright in the lotus posture. This is physical effort. Then, once the physical form has been regulated, sitting still, think the concrete state of not thinking. This is mental effort.

Not only ordinary people, but Buddhist masters also are deeply convinced, maybe even at the cellular level, by the dualistic conception that they are a heavy body animated by a mind.

But among Buddhist masters, one or two might be able to understand a little their own situation to be governed by false conceptions. Such a Buddhist master is called in Shobogenzo a man of clouded eyes.

The difference between true Buddhist masters and ordinary people is that ordinary people do not even begin to recognize how much they are governed by dualistic conceptions, and so, for example, sometimes those ordinary people think that, as Buddhist masters with clear eyes, they should share their clear understanding with many others by propogating their own writings and commentaries -- I think, for example, of Michael Luetchford, Brad Warner, and James Cohen.

Facts depend on human consciousness. Enlightenment also is a fact that depends on human consciousness. But the laws of nature do not depend on human consciousness. When I go to France, I am sometimes surprised by how vigorously the grass has grown while I was not there -- it is a comical reminder of the egocentricity of the human mind. The Dharma does not depend on human consciousness.

I think that the 2nd law of thermodynamics is incredibly real. The Dharma is incredibly real. In comparison, enlightenment is not always so real.

Ordinary people, however, are prone to be more interested in Enlightenment than in the Dharma itself.

Ordinary people who say that they belong to the so-called Soto Sect, because they have never seen Master Dogen’s true teaching even in a dream, usually profess that they are not interested in Enlightenment. But their attitude is also a kind of reaction to their attachment to a false conception of Enlightenment. Actually they are still very interested in Enlightenment. Brad Warner’s teaching is a very nice example of such stupidity.

Cause and effect in him might be like this: (a) Eagerness to be a famous punk rocker/enlightened Zen Master; (b) in reaction to this eagerness, disappointment that he cannot realize his original dream of being an enlightened Zen Master; (c) in reaction to this disappointment, attachment to the view that it is totally impossible for him to realize the fact of Gautama Buddha’s anuttara-samyak-sambodhi (supreme integral awakening), but there are Buddhist conceptions in Shobogenzo that he can grasp with his intellect and use to become famous; and (d) on the basis of this wrong view, proclamation to others of the utterly wrong view that “proper posture is required” -- including the absurd practice of pulling in the chin.

In short, I think that Brad’s wrong teaching of “proper posture required,” and his attitude to lick the arse of Gudo Nishijima while slandering and disrespecting me, might all be rooted originally in his will to fame.

Facts like enlightenment depend on human consciousness. The 2nd law of thermodynamics, wether we are conscious of it or not, works. If I truly didn’t care at all about good and bad, how might my sitting in lotus be? Probably the working of the 2nd law would be more conspicuous -- my breathing would be deeper and freer, et cetera -- but a conclusive answer to this question I do not know. I only know that I am a man of clouded eyes who shall continue asking the question.

5:58 PM, June 21, 2006  
Blogger GUDO NISHIJIMA said...

For MikeDoe San

I agree with your idea. If Mike Cross San's storm does not blow, we can enjoy our very comfortable discussions, but unfortunately during Mike Cross San's storm is blowing, I do not like to say anything about his storm.


For Lone Wolf San

I agree also with your opinion. I think that your explanation of act has hit the target very clearly. An act is never series of time, but an instant fact at the preent moment.


For Mike Cross San

I will only endure your storm.


For MikeDoe San

I am very sorry that I do not have any idea about Tibetan Buddhism and Thera-vada Buddhism.


For Mike Cross San

I would like to pass your comments.


For MikeDoe San

I am sorry that it is not so understandable for me to talk about a playing Golf.


For siapac San

I am very sorry that I couldn't understand what you write.


For Pierre Turlur San

Unfortunately I couldn't understand what you says.


For Mike Cross San

I would like to pass your comments. (the three comments)


For Misha Num San

Unforunately what you says are also difficult for me to understand as much as what Mike Cross San says.


For Mike Cross San

I would like to pass your comments.


For Drunken Monkey San

I think that you hit the target, but it might be impossible for Mike Cross San to answer your question.


For Lone Wolf San

I think that what you write is the targets.


For MikeDoe San

If you truely think so, I do not say anything only with smiling.


For Grim San

I agree with what you have said.


For Mike Cross San

I would like to pass your comments.


For So Daido Hilbert-r0shi San

I think that what you wrote does not include anything, which is meaningful.


For 123Twist San

In Rizai Sect the title of Roshi is much revered, but in Soto Sect it means similar to San.


For Mike Cross San

I would like to pass your comments.


For siapac San

I would like to know whether Mike Cross San has felt so happy, or so unhappy, after reading siapac San's comments.


For Drunken Monkey San

Don't you think that what he writes is all a kind of pretension?


For cromanyak San

I think that what you wrote is true.


For Mike Cross San

I would like to pass your comments.


For Brad San

Thank you very much for your visiting from US. I enjoyed so such the talks of Buddhism with you too.

After becoming 86 years old and having hurt the lower spine, to post Dogen Sangha Blog through the world is my most important job, which I can do. Therefore I concentrate my efforts to spread Buddhism relying upon the blog, and I feel very happy in my situations to be able to work for such a valuable job.

6:12 PM, June 21, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

Thank you Nishijima Roshi.

I think that in Sanskrit, the cessation of the blowing of the storm might be called pari-nirvana. But until that time, the storm will blow. Because I would like as far as I can to prevent people from enjoying very comfortable discussions about Fukan-Zazengi, based on complacent and false assumptions about Master Dogen's fundamental teachings.

And if you did not like to commit yourself to such a life sentence of being bothered by me, I wonder: Why did you visit the Thai embassy in Tokyo in 1988? Is it that, in your old age, you have you forgotten the reason already? I wonder.

You “would like to know whether Mike Cross has felt so happy, or so unhappy, after reading siapac San's comments.” My answer is that after reading comments like that, when I sit in the full lotus posture I usually become aware of some emotional response in me. Following your idea, I recognize that what I feel subjectively or mentally as an emotional response, objectively or physically is only some disturbance in the autonomic nervous system. Also, following your example, which I have had plentiful opportunities to observe personally, in response to my personal criticisms of you, I know that it is just Buddhist practice for a Buddhist master to make his effort not to be distracted by such emotional responses. So I make my mental effort to bring my attention back to just sitting in the lotus posture. Then I become happy. Then I cannot prevent myself from making my effort to point others in the direction to which Master Dogen pointed in Fukan-zazengi.

But my efforts so far have not been successful. So the situation is not very happy. I discussed my dissatisfaction with Jeremy Pearson and he expressed astonishment. He told me that I had made such a huge contribution through my Buddhist efforts that I should feel happy. But in fact I do not feel so happy. I feel that my life so far has been a failure. When I was 10 years old I clearly established the will to the truth. Now, aged 46, whom have I led across to the far shore? So far, not one person.

I think my attempts to explain the necessity of mental effort in Zazen, or thinking in Zazen, have been too long-winded and clumsy.

But thanks to the very excellent explanation of Prof. Frank Lambert, Zazen practitioners can clearly understand the necessity to think in Zazen, relying on Prof. Lambert’s lucid and readable explanations. For example:

“It is the always-dependable direction of spontaneous energy dispersion from the oxidation of food that makes possible the total range of our energy-demanding activities as well as our very lives themselves.”

(See http://www.entropysimple.com/)

Conversely, I would like to interpret Master Dogen’s teaching for scientists like this:

Sitting in lotus with body means setting up the experiment, sitting upright, with right foot on left thigh, left foot on right thigh. (Don’t worry if the experiment takes several years to set up -- there is no hurry.)

Sitting in lotus with mind means making mental effort, thinking the concrete state of not thinking, in order to overcome the barriers to Second Law predictions. The dualistic conceptions of “body” and “mind” are included in those barriers.

Sitting in lotus as the dropping off of body and mind is just the fulfillment of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. It is the action of sitting, not as physical effort, not as mental effort, but just as spontaneous dispersion of energy.

9:03 PM, June 21, 2006  
Blogger Friend said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:08 PM, June 21, 2006  
Blogger Friend said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:10 PM, June 21, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

Dear Friend,

Master Dogen's teaching in Fukan-zazengi, which we are discussing now, is just solely to pursue the truth through Zazen, begrudging time, and becoming a rightful successor to the samadhi of grandfathers.

He doesn't recommend us to investigate our relationship with our fathers.

Anyway, if I have been useful to you as a mirror, I am happy to have been of service.

11:45 PM, June 21, 2006  
Blogger oxeye said...

"Last night I drank wine and watched England play Sweden in the World Cup, and so after practicing Zazen in my intoxicated state, I posted my comment but failed to notice that I should reply to Nishijima Roshi’s arguments."

Mikey, do you ever think that you might be better off giving up the booze?

sincerely, oxeye

10:45 AM, June 22, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

Oxeye, a bodhisattva's life is one mistake after another. We needn't worry... even though we do worry.

The fundamental purpose of the partnership between Gudo Nishijima and me was just to clarify, as exactly as possible in words, the true meaning of Master Dogen’s teaching in Shobogenzo. It wasn't just that I imposed myself on Gudo. He begged me for my help. Or has he forgotten his trip to the Thai embassy?

Therefore, as long as the old man lives, and as long as he is failing to be clear without my help, I do not give up. Even if he wants me to give up, I don’t give up. Even if people think I am crazy, I don’t give up. Human beings need clear and exact theory to point their Zazen in the right direction.

Master Dogen instructed us:

(1) Bodily sit in the full lotus posture.
(2) Mentally sit in the full lotus posture.
(3) Sit in the full lotus posture as dropping off body and mind.

Bodily sitting in the full lotus posture means making a physical effort to put one’s sitting bones on a zafu, to put the right foot on the left thigh, the left foot on the right thigh, and to sit upright.

Mentally sitting in the full lotus posture, means making a mental effort to direct one’s energy/attention, not to let it leak/wander in directions which are superfluous to the simple act of sitting.

Sitting in the full lotus posture as dropping off body and mind is sitting as the negation of dualistic concepts like good and bad, right and wrong, body and mind; it is to lose oneself in the act of sitting; it is the act of sitting as effortless entry into a spontaneous process.

Therefore, if we want to connect our experience of “sitting in lotus as dropping off body and mind” with modern scientific knowledge, which we do, the most relevant theory might be second law of thermodynamics. Because, according to Dr. Frank Lambert, “All spontaneous happenings in the material world are examples of the second law.”

(1) and (2) involve physical and mental effort, to overcome barriers (called “activation energies”) to the fulfillment of the second law. (3) describes the fulfillment of the second law itself -- a spontaneous happening in the material world.

3:30 PM, June 22, 2006  
Blogger 123Twist said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:00 PM, June 22, 2006  
Blogger Drunken Monkey said...

"He told me that I had made such a huge contribution through my Buddhist efforts that I should feel happy. But in fact I do not feel so happy. I feel that my life so far has been a failure. When I was 10 years old I clearly established the will to the truth. Now, aged 46, whom have I led across to the far shore? So far, not one person."

Yesterday, I meditated for 20 mins in the half lotus posture dictated by Master Gudo. I closed my eyes and for half of that time, my mind was absolutely blank.
Later on in the day I took the bus to my local gym and on the way I saw the most beautiful trees. The magestic beauty of the trees nearly made me cry.
Whats there not to be happy about Mike Cross?

Give up your false pretenses and desires of being recognised, it will only bring yourself suffering.
This is one of the most simplest of Buddhist teaching that you have not grasped yet, which are the 4 noble truths.
The show is over and the people have left. Yet you are still yapping like a madman. Conserve your energy and live your life. Don't be wasteful.

This is my last comment addressed to you.

5:54 PM, June 22, 2006  
Blogger So Daiho Hilbert said...

With palms together,

Thank you for reminding me about my title. I fixed the problem. My blogsite and website are connected together as part of our Temple business. The title was granted me by my teacher and is used as part of the Temple's official business and presentation, much the same as other American Zen Centers and their Teachers. I do not have it in my signature. Still, it is interesting isn't it how birds flock on such umimportant things.

Be well.

1:41 AM, June 23, 2006  
Blogger Michael said...

"Still, it is interesting isn't it how birds flock on such umimportant things."

Not nearly as interesting as why a bird named Daiho has taken pains to explain such an "unimportant thing."

3:30 AM, June 23, 2006  
Blogger SteveP said...

interest is boredom

5:45 AM, June 23, 2006  

Post a Comment

<< Home