Dogen Sangha Blog

  by Gudo NISHIJIMA

Japanese / German

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Flowers in Space (Kuge)

Dear Ven Juelgen Seggelke,

I am very sorry that it seems that I couldn't find your important questions so long time, and so I would like to apologize to you for my cearless mistakes so much. And my answers for your questions are as follows.

Gudo Wafu Nishijima


Dear Sensei,

recently you were explaining sexual greed in the meaning of Dogen´s chapter “Flowers in Space” (Kuge). So I have questions about this chapter:

Q1
There is the word akasha in Sanskrit, which means space as the material element or substance,
and there is the word shunyata which means “emptiness” or balanced state in your interpretation. Both meanings are really very different. What is the meaning of “ku” in the chapter of “Kuge”?

(Gudo) The Sanskrit word "akasha" means the physical space, which we discuss in physics, but in the case of "shunyata" is the balanced state of body and mind, which occurs in the human autonomic nervous system.

Q2
What is your interpretation of:” For example, the time and place that blue lotus flowers open and spread are in the midst of fire and the time of fire. And all sparks and flames exist at the place and at the time that blue lotus flowers open and spread” ?
Para 19, Page 10, 7.th line from the top

(Gudo) For example the time and place are the two fundametal categories of reality, and so when we think about the real existence of blue lotus flowers, it is inevitable for us to recognize them just at the present moment of the hot summer and just at the hot place on the surface of a pond. Therefore in other examples even fire of spark, or fire of flame, manifest themselves in a hot place and at a hot time, it is also at a similar time and at a similar space, when and where the blue lotus flowers, manifest themselves. Without the real time and the real place, which are similar to the real time and at the real space, when and where the real blue lotus flowers exist, it is perfectly impossible for us to recognize an appearance of spark, or vigorous activity of a piece of spark at all. We should know that even in a piece of spark there are hundreds and thousunds of blue lotus flowers are spreading in the sky and on the ground. They are spreading in the past and they are spreading at the present moment. The facts that when we experience fire at the present moment and at the real place, are just the same as for us to experience real blue lotus flowers actually. We should experience exactly the real time and the real place of concrete blue lotus flowers without fail.

Q3
“Nevertheless, when the common and stupid hear the Tathagata´s words that ´What is seen by the clouded eyes is flowers in space´, they imagine that ´clouded eyes´ means the upset eyes of ordinary beings”
Para 26, Page 11, 3.th line from the bottom

Thank you so much for your help,

Yudo J. Seggelke

(Gudo) The quotation, which you have actually quoted, sugests that usually people think that Kuge, that is, just intellectual consideration, and sense perception, are called fowers in the sky, and they are wrong. But Master Dogen's interpretation is that by practicing Zazen, or Shobogenzo Nehanmyoshin, we can notice that the true meaning of intellectual consideration and sense perception, and so it is very important for us to recognize the true meaning of intellectual consideration and sense perception reling upon the practice of Zazen too.

Dear Dr Juergen Seggelke,

I used some kinds of explanatoty words in my interpretation, and so if there are still some sentences, which are not clear yet, I hope that you will ask to me the meaning further.

Gudo Wafu Nishijima

5 Comments:

Blogger Zushi said...

Dear Master Nishijima,

reading the chapter Kuge again after seeing Mr. Seggelke's questions I wondered why Dogen was speaking about a "Blue Lotos". Until today I only knew that there existed white and different types of pink and red lotus flowers.
Searching the internet I learnt that the blue lotos is the name for the sacred blue lily of the nile and it's leafes are said to have a narcotic, euphoric and healing effect and reduce pain.
In chapter Kuge Bodhidharma is quoted: "A flower opens it's five petals."
As blue and white lotus have four petals to open the blossom (pink lotos has five), up to my opinion, Bodhidharma and Dogen didn't mean the same flower.
Anyway, the place of the lotos in the fire and the flowers in space is real and true, flowers in space have the lotos in the fire as its ground.
What has all this to do with regulation of sexual desire?

Best wishes
Regina

5:20 AM, August 10, 2007  
Blogger GUDO NISHIJIMA said...

For zushi San

Thank you very much for your question. Relying upon my memory I have looked at blue lotus flowers in a park in Japan when I was in my childhood, and so I think that there are blue lotus flowers, which really exist.
I think that the blue lotus flowers are different from lilies.
I read in my Japanese dictionary that a lotus flower has 16 petals.
I interpret that the word "fire" in the Chinese Master Doan's poem might be a symbolical expression of hot weather in summer.

My interpretation of blue lotus flowers are like above.

Gudo Wafu Nishijima

9:44 PM, August 27, 2007  
Blogger Zushi said...

Dear Nishijima Roshi,

Thank you very much for your answer.

Regina Oberndorfer

1:24 AM, August 30, 2007  
Blogger Zushi said...

Dear Nishijima Roshi,

Unfortunately we didn't had a very warm summer in Germany, so I'm afraid my new planted lotos might not blossom this year, but I saw many in Kamakura this July.

Regina Oberndorfer

5:22 AM, August 31, 2007  
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