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Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Rule of Cause and Effect (2) Concrete examples of Bad Causes

I remember that when I attended the Conference of Religious Research at Komazawa University in 1984, I gave a talk on the total divisions of all the Chapters in the Shobogenzo following the criteria of the philosophies of pain, accumulation, self-regulation, and morals. And at that time I distributed the Four Philosophies of pain, accumulation, self-regulation, and morals to the four Chapters, "Shinjin-Inga, or Deep Belief in Cause and Effect" (89), "Shizenbiku, or The Bhiksu in the Fourth Dhyana" (90), "Sanji no Go, or Karma in Three Times" (84) and "Daishugyo, or Great Practice." (76). In the last blog I described the Chapter "Deep Belief in Cause and Effect", today I would like to describe "The Bhiksu in the Four Dhyna". In this Chapter, Master Dogen enumerated several concrete bad causes, which are as follows:

(The numbers inside the parentheses indicate the ordinal number of each Chapter)
1) A monk had experienced only the four phases in the practice of Zazen, but he misunderstood that he experienced the four phases of Buddhist lives. But when he was going to die, he was not in the proper situation to go to the happy life. And so he thought that we was cheated by Gautama Buddha.
2) A student of Master Upagupta, even though he experienced only the four processes of experiences in Zazen, misunderstood that he had experienced the four processes of his Buddist life totally. But when he was traveling in his trip, he was going to commit a sin with a woman, and he recognized that the woman was his own Master himself.
3) When we want to study Gautama Buddha's teachings, it is very important for us to know the orders of the studies.
4) We should know that Gautana Buddha's Teachings are completely different from the teachings of Confucianism, or Taoism.
5) We should know that Gautama Buddha's teachings are just the Truth, which transcends both the problems of existence and non-existence.

From this we can clearly notice that Master Dogen's Buddhist view, as well as Gautama Buddha's Buddhist view, are concentrated on the problems of the true Buddhist viewpoints.


Blogger Mike Cross said...

The True Dharma Eye is a means of liberating the body from blind reaction. In other words, it is an instrument of consciousness. It is not a viewpoint. A person's viewpoint is always liable to be wrong. Even a buddha's viewpoint is liable to be wrong. But the True Dharma Eye is always true.

What Master Dogen bequeathed to us in Shobogenzo should not be expressed as Nishijima Roshi has expressed it as "true Buddhist viewpoints." It should be expressed as Master Dogen expressed it himself: The True Dharma Eye.

2:25 AM, January 21, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

In his Hardcore Zen blog of January 17th, Brad Warner wrote:
"Ever since I started writing and doing talks I’ve attracted a seemingly endless stream of guys who want to challenge my Enlightenment. But for any of you who happen to be reading this, I said it in my book and I’ll say it here again: I am not now, nor will I ever be Enlightened."

This is a nice example from the present day of a view which is never the True Dharma Eye. It is just danken-gedo, the nihilistic view of non-Buddhism.

In chapter (89), Shinjin-Inga, Master Dogen wrote: "Even if in form they resemble monks, those who hold such wrong opinions are not the Buddha's disciples at all. They are just non-Buddhists."

9:02 PM, January 21, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

Rick, You asked me: "Has anyone ever told you that you're too attached to words?"

In a similar vein, on your blog of January 8th, you wrote:

Zen, if you know it's history, has been called "a special transmission outside the scriptures, Not dependent on words and letters..."

This view is just a concrete example of a bad cause.

You have no idea what hardship I went through translating Master Dogen's Shobogenzo so that stupid people like you could be freed from your false conceptions by reading Shobogenzo. But you clearly haven't read at all what Master Dogen has to teach in Shobogenzo about so-called KYOGE-BESTUDEN. Rather you list your favourite book as Brad Warner's Hardcore Zen.

What kind of laziness or stupidity is it that leads you to read Hardcore Zen instead of reading Shobogenzo itself?

2:25 AM, January 22, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

A Buddhist master of the past said:

"Relying wholly upon Zazen without studying philosophy or religious precepts is the attitude of the person who lives the Zazen life. As Buddhists, it is necessary to believe that if we practice Zazen every day, our actions are neither good nor bad (though they will surely be judged as such by others), but merely the inevitable process of our unfolding toward truth."

I have strongly attached to these words since first reading them 25 years ago.

How can we know that which we are unfolding toward? How can we say categorically that what we are unfolding towards is not our own Enlightenment?

In my opinion to categorically deny the possibility of one's own future Enlightenment might be a kind of arrogance, and a kind of bad cause. How can we know and say such a thing categorically?

Belief in "a special transmission outside the scriptures" might also be a kind of arrogance.

To study the scriptures, or to translate the scriptures, word by word, page by page, for hundreds or thousands of pages, is humble work. It cannot be done in one brilliant flash. If one does it sincerely, it is an endless process of realizing that one's former understanding was mistaken.
For example,nowadays I would translate JIJUYO ZANMAI as "the samadhi of accepting and using the self." But 12 years ago, I didn't translate it like that. It is clear to me now that my understanding 12 years ago was off-target. I do not know that my understanding now has hit the target, but I can say with unshakable confidence that my previous viewpoint was wrong.

Unshakeable confidence is not the same as arrogance. Arrogance is thinking that one's view is right. True confidence had to do with seeing where one has gone wrong, and consequently being able to see where others are going wrong.

11:32 PM, January 22, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

Dear Rick,

In Chapter 90, Shizen-biku, Master Dogen criticizes arrogance, for example, in the case of the bhiksu in the fourth dhyana, all of whose mistakes stemmed from arrogance. At the same time, Master Dogen relates how the student of Master Upagupta, after recognizing the arrogance of his former view, eventually confesses, is taught the pivot of the Dharma, and becomes an arhat. So Master Dogen's criticism of arrogance is not always so damning.

However, Master Dogen's criticism of so-called Buddhist teachers who promoted fallacious teaching for their own fame and profit is very very damning indeed--especially in chap. 73, Sanjushichibon-bodai-bunbo.

Kyoge-betsuden is a typical example of a fallacious teaching.
In Shobogenzo chap. 24, Bukkyo, Master Dogen writes: "Do not, through belief in the fallacy of a separate transmission outside the teachings, misunderstand the Buddha's teaching."

In my view, Brad Warner's denial of the possibility of his own enlightenment in the future is also a fallacious insistence in Buddhism.

I noticed on your blog that (1) your attitude towards kyoge-betsuden is somewhat affirmative, and (2) you list Hardcore Zen among your favourite books. The two points are not necessarily related, but anyway I am afraid that you have been influenced by a teacher who is not true; namely, Brad. I have not read Brad's book, but a few years ago Brad emailed me an article about posture in Zazen which, from my experience in Alexander work, I could see to be totally fallacious. When I gave Brad my feedback for the article, he did not thank me for my feedback, and in fact did not respond to my email at all. I suppose that he didn't expect to get such negative feedback from me, but expected his viewpoint, which he thinks to be true, to be affirmed.

In pointing out the teaching of Brad and others as false, it may be that unconsciously I am imitating the attitude of Master Dogen, who in Shobogenzo criticized so unmercilessly any viewpoint which was even slightly off the middle way.

Probably this is why others perceive me to be arrogant, and their perception may be accurate. Who am I to imitate Master Dogen? I do not even know whether I am true or not. I only know that the way I used to practice Zazen, trying to arrange myself into the right posture, was false.

Nishijima Roshi seems to be on very good terms with Brad Warner. He has noted the success of Brad's book and is expecting Brad to turn his translation of Master Nagarjuna's MMK into something both literal and understandable, as happened with his Shobogenzo translation and me. Nishijima Roshi is no longer so affirmative of me; rather he has long been suspicious of my enthusiasm for FM Alexander's discoveries, and is afraid that I have some "evil plan" to make Dogen Sangha a non-Buddhist group.

When Brad, my junior by many years, devoted a post on his blog to mocking and insulting me as Mr. Angry, I could not stop myself from reacting emotionally. This may have been a kind of political suicide.

My criticism of Nishijima Roshi is not a new thing--that started even before we properly began work together on the Shobogenzo translation. But the criticism has not endeared me to Nishijima Roshi's Dharma-heirs, especially the ones who have never met me face to face but only judge me from my emails.

So, finally, Nishijima Roshi has asked me to leave Dogen Sangha before the end of this month. Meanwhile, it seems that other members of Dogen Sangha have gone ahead and re-published Book 2, even though I have not agreed to this. What can I do about it? Fight a legal battle? I don't think so.

So, for the time being, I sit in Zazen and thrash about on these blogs. If you say that the predicament in which I now find myself stems from my arrogance and tendency to pre-supposition, you may be right.

Still, while not without doubt, the greater part of me continues to believe that my actions are neither good nor bad, just the inevitable process of Zazen unfolding toward the truth of Zazen.

I have written too much, again.

4:01 AM, January 23, 2006  
Blogger Shonin said...


You can still get Shobogenzo bk.1, at amazon UK:

7:09 PM, January 23, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...


Luxury? What are you talking about?

Listen, we human beings with our big neocortex are all too attached too words, and are all prone to be intellectually arrogant. At the same time, we are all prone to jump stupidly to erroneous conclusions based on limited information. So neither you nor I said anything original in our mutual criticisms of each other. We might just as well have called each other "you human being."

But you called me first!

You shouldn't be put off buying Shobogenzo just because one of the translators has fallen way below your expectations. Is the lotus flower tainted by the muddy pool from whence it emerges?

4:04 AM, January 24, 2006  
Blogger GUDO NISHIJIMA said...

For Mike Cross San

The True Dharma Eye is a practice of Zazen itself, and so it really liberates both body and mind actually. Therefore Zazen is always true.

Shobogenzo is just a practice of Zazen, and so it is just the criteria of body and mind, therefore it is Buddhist physical condition and Buddhist viewpoint.

For Mike Cross San (again)

The first enlightenment is the balance of the autonomic nervous system, and so it can not be recognized usually, therefore I think that Brad San's expression is right.

The recognition of the separated existence of the enlightment from Zazen is called joken gedo, that is, the idealistic view of non-Buddhism.

The quotation, which you used in your comment that "Even if in form they resemble monks, those who hold such wrong opinions are not the Buddha's disciples at all. They are just non-Buddhists." is never related with the existence or non-existence of enlightenment, it only relates with the exsistence or non-existence of cause and effect, but you have easily substituted cause and effect for existence or non-existence of enlightenment. I think that if such a kind of substitution is always done easily, there can never exist any kind of possibility in reliable logical discussions at all.

For Rick San

I agree with your opinion that he has very sharp intellectual mind, and so he has so strong tendency to attach to miscellaneous
verbal expression, but I think that he does not like to look at the real facts at all.

I agree with Rick San's opinion in Mike Cross San's view to Brad San's interpretations.

For Mike Cross San

It is true that Master Dogen is not agreeable to the idea of KYOGE-BETSUDEN.

But I revere both Shobogenzo and Hardcore Zen to promote Buddhism in the modern age.

For Rick San

I think that your criticism to Mike Cross San might be true.

For Mike Cross San

Even though many Buddhist monks revere Zazen so much, in the case of Master Dogen he loved to study Buddhism theoretically so much too, and this is also Master Dogen's attractive point especially.

Unfolding attitude may suggests a fact of being enlightened, but we can not say that
an unfolding attitude is just enlightenment.

Brad San does not deny the existence of Enlightenment, but he says that the real enlightenment is not so clear as usual people expect it.

Master Dogen denied the existence of "a special transmission outside the scriptures."

On the understanding the meaning of JIJUYO ZANMAI, I have taught to you since you have become my student for the first time, but I feel happy that you have understood the true meaning of the words recently for the first time.

I think that unshakable confidence is never the same as any kind of arrogance, but I wonder whether your expression, for example, "stupid people like you" is permissible in England society, or not.

For Rich San

I also think that what Mike Cross San says to you that you and others, who have read Hardcore Zen, are either lazy or stupid, is very arrogant.

By the way my disciple called Peter Rocca has begun to sell our Shobogenzo by Gudo Nishijima and Mike Cross (Book 2. and Book 3.) utilizing the method of POD through Amazon. Therefore I would like to ask you to have a contact with Mr Peter Rocca.

I understand your attitude.

For Mike Cross San

The reason, why Master Dogen used so strong and exact expressions in his book, does not come from the reason why he is permissible to be arrogant, but it comes from his strong love to promote the Buddhist Truth to maintain in human civilization for ever.

It is true that Master Dogen denied the theory of Kyoge-betsuden, but Brad San does not deny Master Dogen's idea, but he speaks that the fact of enlightenment is not so clear in our cosciousness. I have repeated this conclusion so many times to you.

Why do you express your so childish and rude words that "a teacher who is not true; namely, Brad." Is it a common habit in English societies? Why is it possible for you to explain the method of practicing Zazen from the basis of AT theory? Why can you suppose easily that no feed back from Brad San just suggests his affirmation of your opinion? Your opinion is always so subjective as usual. We are always pursuing the Truth only, and so I think that it is always necessary for us to throw away our subjective thinking attitudes completely.

As I say, Master Dogen's attitude to be exact and strong to criticize, does never come from his emotional situations, but it comes always his love of the Tuth.

Without the true posture there is nothing true in the Universe at all.

Do you remember that we have had so sincere discussions of Buddhism by email on every 2 or 3 days for more than ten years continiously? At that time I had so strong expectation for me to pursuade you into Buddhism at last. But after the more than ten years unfortunately I have to give up my trial completely.

Unfortunately it is completely impossible for me to think that AT theory is perfectly same as Buddhism.

When I was looking for a person who rewrites my English translation of MMK into a fluent English, only one person, who proposed me, was Brad Warher San. Of course there was Michael Lutchford San, but my translation is completely different from his interpretation, and so I did not agree with our cooperation with him at all.

On the republishing our Shobogenzo I asked Mike Cross San opinion several times, and he didn't refuse it, but his answer was very vague. Therefore I asked my disciple called James Cohen San's opinion, who is a lawyer, and he clearly exlpained that I have an independent lawful right to reprint the book without a cotranslater's agreement, and so I asked my disciple Peter Rocca San by pleasenting a small amount of money for his new job.

By the way if I write a little on Windbell Publications, I invested a some amount of money as the capital, and later I paid some amount of money several times to the company as my investment. I asked Michael Luetchford San to work for as a president of the company, and I maintained myself as a main stockholder. As an usual condiions of a new small company first any one did not get any amount of maney, but a few monthes before the closing company Luetchford San requested a small amount of money to receive as a reward, and looking at the economical situation of the company, I agreed with his proposal. But several months later he wanted to close the company to continue the job as his personal job, but I was not agreeable for me to do so, then I wanted to close the company. At that time I wanted to reward to three members, who were very diligent in working for the company, that is Michael Luetchford San, Yoko Luetchford San, Jeremy Pierson San, and Emma Gibson San, and I requested Luetchford San to follow the principle of equality in dividing the shares. For Mike Cross San, we have got some amount of money from the Japan Foundation for promoting the English translation of Shobogenzo, and so I didn't get any money from the Fund, and I suplied it totally to Mike Cross San without getting any money for me from the Fund. Even though Mike Cross San complains me the scarcity of his reward, but I think that thinking about the situation of the company I have done my best even to him. There were other three stockholders Noboru Yamamoto San, Cabriele Linnebach San, and Saito Taijun San, and I requested to Luetchford San to pay some amount of money, but he didn't pay any money to them at all, I heard. In my case I utilized not so few numbers of books for my presents to my students and friends, and I feel happy that I could many cipies of my book to be able to present to them. Therefore even I invested rather big amount of money, I do not have any idea to prevent for Mike Cross San to publish our books by himsef, but if he change the contents of the books , I request him to eraze my name from the books.

For Justin San

Thank you very much for your information.

For Rick San

Thank you very much for your eforts.

For Mike Cross San

I will continue my pursuit of the Truth until my death.

8:36 PM, April 24, 2006  

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