Dogen Sangha Blog

  by Gudo NISHIJIMA

Japanese / German

Monday, October 9, 2006

Gakudo-yojin-shu (3) No. 2 To study the True Dharma without fail when we meet the chance to study it.

(The Text)

The following suggests that, if a very sincere and reliable person presents his whole-hearted words to the ruler, the sincere words sometimes have a strong power to turn over the whole world actually.

And it is said that if Gautama Buddha has given his short words to someone, there is no one, who does not change his or her mind into Buddhism, at all.

But, in the case that the ruler does not have excellent wisdom, he does not have the ability to accept the advisor's kind opinion, and if the person, who listens to Gautama Buddha's teachings, does not have enormously excellent ability, it must be impossible for him to accept Gautama Buddha's advice at all.

The fact that there are people who do not change their fundamental viewpoint from their own former one to Buddhism, might come from the fact that it is completely impossible for them to cut their habitual attitudes to follow the common daily life and death.

Therefore in the case that the whole-heartedly sincere advice of the person hasn't been accepted, the facts suggest that it has been impossible for the country to realize an adequate goverment and good policy yet.

(Comments)

Master Dogen says that if we meet Gautama Buddha's teachings, it is necessary for us to study them without fail. And I think that the reason why he says so might be that Gautama Buddha met with the enormously confused ancient Indian society, where Danken-gedo, or Materialism, which was insisted upon by the six non-Buddhist thinkers, and Joken-gedo, or Idealism, which was insisted by Brahmanists, were the guiding viewpoints. Gautama Buddha sacrificed his total life to solve the contradictory conditions of the two absolutely reasonable philosophies, that is, the one is the usually intellectual philosophy, and the other is the unique Buddhist philosophy, which is based upon a practical, actual, or real basis. Gautama Buddha was been utimately successful in finding the logical method of the four philosophies. I guess that Master Dogen also recognizes that Buddhism is the ultimate truth through the world, and so he expects everyone to study Buddhism without fail.

Therefore Master Dogen explains that even in secular societies, there are many examples that the words of the truth have enormously strong power, which can turn the whole social situations over completely. So similarly in philosophical societies, Master Dogen insists that relying upon Gautama Buddha's teachings we can change the human societies completely, if Gautama Buddha's philosophy will be understood eaxactly and actually, and then there can be an absolute change of all human societies relying upon Gautama Buddha's philosophical system at last.

2 Comments:

Blogger JundoCohen said...

Hello Roshi,

I sometimes summarize your point about the Buddha's teachings this way for my students. Please correct me if not exactly as you would wish to say it ...

In the schools of Idealism that existed in ancient India (and in Western philosophy and religions), the "True" and the "Sacred" were found in some "Heaven" high above and far apart from lowly and sullied Earth, in some "God(s)" very different from human beings and their ordinary and harsh lives, and in ideas of "Perfection," "Good" "Just" etc. far removed from this rough, cruel and generally dissatisfying society we call home.

At the opposite end of the scale, the "materialism" of Indian and Western philosophies has tended to teach that this world we live in is but meaningingless matter, cold, dead, pointless and "going nowhere." Life is a senseless hickup of the cosmos, and we are nothing more than conglomerations of DNA, clusters of atoms that evolved to breed and die. End of story. Pretty bleak.

In contrast to those extremes, Buddha taught that this very world in which we live ... with all its tragedy, violence, rough edges when judged by human eyes ...is perfectly just-what-it-is, life moving as it moves, its cold carbon a diamond when seen with eyes that would neither add a drop to it or take a drop away. "Going nowhere" is rather just being where-we-are. We need not compare the earth to a "greater" reality high above, for life "down here" is life itself and nothing greather or lesser to it in being that. What we do with this world is up to us. Though it may not always go in the directions we might wish and hope in our little selfish human ways, it goes precisely the way it goes, always. When we drop all idealized judgements of "Perfect" "Good" and "Just" or "imperfect" "cold" "bleak" "pointless" and all the rest, we find a world that is perfectly-this-world, doing what it does, just what it is, and occupied by people who are pefectly just what they are too. This is a kind of realism, an existential way of being. Let it be.

The fact that we have no need for a "heaven" high above does not mean that life is hell. That fact that we do not find earth to be as we might wish, does not mean that this life is without meaning, and we can also drop all judgements, and not force the world into molds limited by these extremes. In our Buddhist outlook, the world is just something that is wild, organic, going-the-way-it-goes when free of weighing by selfish human standards. Thus, let it do so unhindered.

We might be DNA, here breeding, living and someday to die. On the other hand, we are living, breathing, moment-by-moment. We are living our lives. In that way, every stone, tree, human being and other animal, each instant in time and place in space is "sacred" in just being so, is a jewel simply for being itself. Life may be a mad roller coaster, but we have the ticket and are along for the ride!

I hope that is an apt way to express these teachings. Peace, Jundo

5:05 PM, October 09, 2006  
Blogger Jordan&TheTurtle said...

Here and now.
Sometimes I want too much.
I would like to take this teaching and see it everywhere and in everything.
It seems to me we need this here and now so much.

Gassho!

11:14 PM, October 11, 2006  

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