Dogen Sangha Blog

  by Gudo NISHIJIMA

Japanese / German

Monday, October 2, 2006

Gakudo-yojin-shu (2) No. 1. Establishment of the Will to the Truth

This original text of Gakudo-yojin-shu in the computer was presented by Mr. Mitsuo Ebisawa, who is a member of Dogen Sangha Kyoto. The sentences are separated into each paragraphs, making them very easy to read, and so I also follow such a method. The parts that are different from the old original text I have corrected following my book "Gakudo-yojin-shu-kowa, or A Lecture of Gakudo-yoji-shu."

(The Text)

No. 1. To Establish the Will to the Truth

The word of Bodaishin, or the Will to the Truth, has many other titles, but they can be identified totally into one word, Bodaishin.

Master Nagarjuna says. "We can also call the mind, which can grasp that the situations of secular societies are so flexible and instant, as the Will to the Truth." And such a kind of intuitive mind is also called Bodaishin, or the Will to the Truth.

Therefore I think that it might be possible for us to call those many kinds of expressions of the mind totally with the title of Bodaishin, or the Will to the Truth.

Truly speaking, when we reflect the instantaneousness of the present moment, our selfish mind does not occur, and consciousness of fame and profit does not appear, therefore we sincerely worry about the fact that time and light run away much too fast. Then our practicing the truth can be so sincere as if we were putting out burning hair.

We have to reflect that our physical strength is not so strong, therefore our sincere efforts intend to follow the efforts of Gautama Buddha, who always walked with his steps utilizing only his tiptoes.

Even though the very beautiful and admirable cries of kimnara or garuda(both are the names of birds in ancient India, which are famous for their beautiful cries,) exist in the morning, the blown wind of our death in the evening will erase the beautiful cries completely. And even though Mosho, or Seishi (both are famous beautiful ladies, who are favored by Chinese Emperors), have very beautiful faces and figures, if we die in the morning, our sight will be shut like a drop on the leaf in the morning.

However, if we left bondage and restriction of what we listen to, or what we look at, it might be possible for us to fit with the order and situation following the will to the truth. From the ancient time to the present, when we listen to the situation of people, who are scarce in their knowledge, or when we look at people, who are narrow-minded, in almost all cases they have fallen down into pitfalls of fame and profit losing the life of Buddhist Truth forever.

It is so sorrowful and it is so regretable. We should know such kinds of sad situations without fail.

Even though they have read so many excellent Buddhist Sutras of both the figurative and the real, or even though they have received so many excellent books of the concrete and the secret, if they haven't thrown away fame and profit wholly, it is competely impossible for them to be esteemed for their having started to have the will to the truth already.

Some say that the will to the truth is the mind of the supreme and truly balanced consciousness, therefore it does not relate with famous rumors, or sufficient foods and clothes. Some say that it is intuitive understanding that one moment at the present includes three thousand things and phenomena in it. And some say that it is the Buddhist teachings that anything does not appear at the present moment at all, or some say it is the mind, which is going to enter into the world of Buddhism.

Such poeple as these have never known the will to the truth, but they are blaming the will to the truth at random because of having their wrong explanations. Therefore we can say that they are people who are far more distant than anyone who is studying Buddhist teachings.

For trial, reflect on your own mind, which has fallen down into the selfish mind or the greedy mind to get some profits. Are they harmonized into substance and form of oneness between a mind and the three thousands of miscellaneous things and phenomena? Do they experience the gate of the truth where any consciousness is not born?

Oppositely, even though there are so much deluded mind of craving fame and loving profit, it is very surprising that there is almost nothing that can be called the will to the truth at all.

Since the ancient times, there have been the cases of the saints who have got the truth and the rule of the universe. Even though they have pretended to be the same as ordinary secular people, there is no saint who has had any kind of evil thought for getting fame or profit at all. They did not have even any kind of attachment to the rule of the universe at all. Therefore it is not necessary further for us to say anything about the case of secular attachments.

What is called the will to the truth is just the mind, which has been described in the paragraphs before, as the mind of reflecting the instantaneousness of the world, is also one example of it. It is completely different from what mad people are prone to indicate at all.

The consciousness, in which any kind of idea does not occur at the present moment, or the consciousness, in which the three thousands of miscellaneous things and phenomena appear really, is just the splendid act, which manifests itself after establishing the will to the truth. Therefore we should never mingle the difference of the two cases at all.

When we practice Zazen privately for a while forgetting ourselves, then the will to the truth will become very familiar to us.
Therefore we can say that the 62 wrong viewpoints other than Buddhism come inevitably from the viewpoints of self.
When the viewpoint of self occurs inevitably, please practice Zazen quietly to reflect on the self, whether or not it really exists.

What is the real substance of what we have inside and outside our body and mind?

The body, the hair, the skin, are received from father and mother. Both the red drop of ovum and the white drop of semen do not belong to us completely, and so they can never be ourselves.

Mind, will, consciousness, and wisdom make our life continuous, but it is not clear what is called the breath of exhalation and inhalation in conclusion. Therefore the breath is not ourselves. And so the mental function of mind, and so forth, and the physical function of breath, both are not so preferable as ourselves.
The people, who are deluded, prefer one of them, but the people, who are clear in understanding, leave the problem.

People usually, however, consider the self of no-self, or attach to the life of not being born. They do not practice the Buddhist practice, which they should do, and they do not cut the emotional conditions of secular societies. They usually hate the real rule of the universe, and they usually want to get the wrong rule of the world.

Aren't they making very serious mistakes in such ways?

11 Comments:

Blogger Mike Cross said...

Detachment from fame and profit inevitably tends towards its opposite.

Fukan-zazen-gi is totally in the middle way and I revere it wholeheartedly, not only for its meaning but also for its sound. For example: KON SAN MAZU BOKU RAKU SURO KOTO O. Like a drum. BOM BOM BOMBOM BOMBOM BOMBOM BOMBOM BOMBOM BOM.

Gakudo-yojin-shu is not on the same level. You can keep it. To put it in the same category as Fukan-zazen-gi as "introductions" is a kind of insult to Fukan-zazen-gi.

BOM BOM BOMBOM BOMBOM BOMBOM BOMBOM BOMBOM BOM.

BOM BOM BOMBOM BOMBOM BOMBOM BOMBOM BOMBOM BOM.

3:31 AM, October 05, 2006  
Blogger Jordan&TheTurtle said...

Mike Cross,
What did Gakudo-yojin-shu say about you to cause you to spit venom at it?

I put it in the category of a very old text written by a Zen master whose influence is felt to this day. I will enjoy reading it and considering it as I do everything I have read from Maser Dogen. Presently I feel that they all have merit today.
You say otherwise?


Gassho

1:11 PM, October 05, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

When buddha sits like Buddha sitting like Buddha, like a dragon that found water, neither the fear paralysis response nor the Moro reflex show, from the beginning, any remaining trace.

KON SAN MAZU BOKU RAKU SURU KOTO O.

Not only introductory meaning, but the conclusive sounds of being struck, tumbling down and landing -- KON,SAN... mazu-boku-raku-suru-koto... O.

Yin, Yang: knocked down, fall down, drop down, so that nothing’s left.

This, That: knocked down, fall down, drop down, so that nothing’s left.

4:19 PM, October 05, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

J & T:

Gudo has done his best through his life to transmit the whole of Master Dogen's teaching from Japanese into English -- from his side, as a Japanese,for whom English is a second language.

What I see from my side, as an Englishman who has studied Master Dogen's writings in their original Japanese, is a different aspect. I see that I can guide people like you to understand the true meaning of just Fukan-zazen-gi, not only in English but also in Japanese, if you have the motivation to understand it in the original.

I am telling you that, even though Japanese is not your native language, you can understand Fukan-zazen-gi in Japanese, if you want to. I know because I have done it. For Gudo it is still not easy to understand that non-Japanese can understand Fukan-zazen-gi in the original. But I know that you can, if you want to.

The translation of Fukan-zazen-gi by Gudo and me that you can find on my blog is the best I can do, but it is not adequate. I am still working on it, every day.

My idea is that my students should study Fukan-zazen-gi in detail, both the original and in translation. So when we come together, we sometimes recite Fukan-zazen-gi in Japanese. Again, I set my Dharma-heir, Pierre Turlur, the task of translating Fukan-zazen-gi into French. But so far he has been too busy with miscellenaous other matters, such as sewing me a 9-stripe kesa. Frankly, I would much prefer to have a good translation of Fukan-zazen-gi in French than to have the 9-stripe kesa. That doesn't mean I hate the 9-stripe kesa. But if any student of mine even suspects that the 9-stripe kesa might be on the same level as Fukan-zazen-gi, then I would like to strike that student physically on their thick French skull and shout: “Don’t insult Fukan-zazen-gi!”

Master Dogen taught us in Shobogenzo chap. 63, Hensan, that thorough exploration is, for example, to get to the bottom of only one sentence of Fukan-zazen-gi. It doesn't necessarily mean rambling through unpolished Japanese-style English translations of everything Master Dogen wrote.

As Gudo wrote in a previous post, everything that is necessary to write about Zazen is written in Fukan-zazen-gi. My idea is that we should just explore Fukan-zazen-gi, as thoroughly as we possibly can.

When I read Gakudo-yojin-shu 20 years ago, I reacted to it according to my own faulty sensory appreciation. My reaction was not in the middle way. I tried to identify myself as on the side of the good, the right, the true, on the opposite side to the fame and profit seekers. I am still prone to do that, as my reaction to the mirror of James Cohen has shown. The fault was not in Gakudo-yojin-shu, but in me. I was wrong. My reaction was bad. But fortunately, the teaching of Fukan-zazen-gi is very clear about wrong and bad. Don’t even consider it. Don’t care two hoots about it.

5:02 PM, October 05, 2006  
Blogger Reckless said...

WTF, Mike Cross. You would physically attack someone for insulting fukanzazengi? What makes you different from an Islamic fundamentalist then?

You are nuts dude, get yourself checked out.

10:45 PM, October 05, 2006  
Blogger Jordan&TheTurtle said...

Mike Cross,
I may differ from you here slightly.
I don’t think that Buddhism is meant for those who speak and read Japanese anymore than any other language, be it Pali or Sanskrit. Most of what I enjoy in reading Buddhist theory is what I find in universal truths. I hope that these universal truths can be translated into any language…

As for your reference to enacting violence, there is a time and place for breaking precepts. In literature they are often associated with helping a peer or monk or student or master come to realization. However when this becomes redundant it loses its meaning.

Gassho


Reckless,
Mike Cross has a Buddha nature, as do you.

Gassho

4:05 AM, October 06, 2006  
Blogger MikeDoe said...

Mike:
To almost any question your answer seems to be 'study more'.

I think you have it backwards.

Dogen and Buddha and others wrote what they did to explain what they had already experienced.

If you do what they did there will be less need for study because you too could experience what they experienced.

Not all questions can be answered with words or study.

4:19 AM, October 06, 2006  
Blogger Pierre Turlur said...

For the time being, I read the Fukanzazengi in myriad forms and sounds: gutters, trees, colours, mud, whatever comes in my way. And the kesa is far bigger that a patchwork sewn by hand. It is regrettable that arrogant Zen brats ignore that clear fact.

4:57 PM, October 06, 2006  
Blogger JundoCohen said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:11 PM, October 07, 2006  
Blogger JundoCohen said...

Thank you, Roshi, for your beautiful translation of the Gakudo-yojin-shu.

No fame, no profit. No thought of name or gain. Nothing to add or subtract from being, this moment.

Here is the Koan:

If nothing to gain, what use is that Will to the Truth? Why would Dogen or Nishijima bother to write an essay if no gain to be derived from their actions?

There is no "opposite" to it, for no opposition, no conflict. It is not a matter of the words that are used, because it is a moment of life not needing thought or language.

It is simply to experience the Zen way of living:

As we "do" what we must do in life, there is nothing to do, nobody doing, nothing to be done.

No matter where we go, whatever road we must choose, we are moving no other place at all.

Whatever life presents to us is just what is presented, no merit or demerit to it.

No "greedy" mind, filled with craving, for it is all right here already. No "selfish" mind, for there is nothing to which to cling.

All the choices we must make in life, yet simultaneously we may drop all thought of choosing, of like and dislike.

Life is constant change, let it be so. Gutters, trees, colours, mud, whatever comes in your way.

"Our sight will be shut like a drop on the leaf in the morning," and all is vanities. Still, what state are we in when all thought of "life" or "death" are dropped? They are not to be contrasted, and one is not a "beginning" while the other is an "end."

It is not a fight, not combat. Still, we win every war. We do not wrestle with this way of living in order to conquer (the Rinzai students, I believe, learn this hard lesson: when they drop the fight of hitting the head against a stone wall, the wall is gone. Practicing as if our hair was on fire, we just let it burn).

How to know when your practice is right, is the "Truth" we willed? When life is experienced like this, I believe.

Anyway, 100 silly words when none are needed.

Peace, Jundo

9:45 PM, October 07, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

According to Gudo Nishijima, human history is a kind of battle for supremacy that Buddhist philosophy, which is not idealism, is going to win. I am afraid that Buddhist romantics like James Cohen and Pierre Turlur have not yet understood at all.

Fukan-zazen-gi was written by Master Dogen in Chinese characters, and to translate those characters-- (1) as parts of one whole masterwork, (2) sentence by sentence, and (3) character by character--into French, is one very important concrete task. Not from English to French. But from the original text into French. Similarly, not from English into Spanish, but from the original text into Spanish.

Gudo is rather permissive in allowing our English translation to be translated from English into other languages. I do not agree with that principle. But if Gudo gives his permission, I cannot do anything about it.

Translation of Fukan-zazen-gi into our own language and Zazen itself, are essentially the same process. There must be an integrated sense of the whole body -- the whole human body, or the whole body of the text. Within this integrated awareness, detailed attention is given to individual parts, with consciousness of a certain hierarchy, or order. In both cases, the principle of antagonistic/dialectic opposition and balance/synthesis, is vital.

Fukan-zazen-gi is not anyone’s idea other the idea of Master Dogen and the lineage of buddhas before him. It exists in its original form as Chinese characters written in black ink in columns that go from right to left along one long scroll. What Pierre Turlur wrote about his effort to study Fukan-zazen-gi is a very low level of romantic idea, not based on sincere investigation of the text, just the product of his own romantic thinking.

Gudo set me the task of helping him translate Shobogenzo into English. I did so, to the best of my ability, until he decided that it was time for me to stop, at which time I stopped.

Gudo recommended me to sit Zazen four times a day, and I do so, four times almost every day without fail.

Gudo recommended me, in Zazen, to be primarily interested in the problem of upright posture, and so I have wanted to investigate the discoveries of FM Alexander.

Gudo recommended me to look for a scientific explanation of samadhi, and so I have wanted to investigate how primitive reflexes are integrated in the natural course of a baby’s development, by movement and by non-movement.

Thus, my whole life since I was 22 has been a kind of response to Gudo’s teaching -- including not only Zazen and translation work but also my decision to get married and start a family, my professional work as an Alexander teacher and developmental therapist, et cetera. Although my attitude to Gudo looks very impolite it is basically not disobedient. I think that Jim Cohen’s attitude to Gudo’s teaching is polite but disobedient. And Pierre Turlur’s attitude to me has been both impolite and disobedient.

The problem of disobedience comes from failing to understand the second paragraph of Fukan-zazen-gi. When people are proud of their own meagre understanding, such intellectual pride gives rise to a gap.

“The kasaya is the right Dharma. I who have sewed dozens of kasaya have aligned myself with right Dharma. Therefore I am on the side of right.”

“Fukan-zazen-gi is the right Dharma. I who have translated Fukan-zazen-gi perfectly into English have aligned myself with the right Dharma. Therefore I am on the side of right.”

Fortunately, the gap causes us, again and again, to lose our false self-confidence and fall into confusion. At that time, we have the possibility to come back to the principle of Fukan-zazen-gi, which has been transmitted in one line. We have the possibility to start again at square one, orienting our wrong selves once more in the right direction.

For example, Master Dogen recommended us to learn the backward step of turning light. What light does a human being have? Is it possible for us to change the direction of our light? I think that the answer to the latter question is: Yes. It is very difficult, but not impossible for us to change the direction of our light.

Thus, remembering the ancient traces of Gautama Buddha who sat upright in the full lotus posture for six years before his enlightenment, and Master Bodhidharma who sat facing the wall for nine years after his enlightenment, we can take, on the vigorous path of getting the body out, step number one.

4:42 PM, October 08, 2006  

Post a Comment

<< Home