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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Fukan-Zazen-Gi (4) Real Situation of Zazen

After explaining Fukan-Zazen-Gi, I would like to add some concrete knowledge on Zazen.

(1) Without practicing Zazen everyday, it is useless for us to practice Zazen

Zazen is a practice to realize the balanced state of the autonomic nervous system. Because the balanced state of the autonomic nervous system is a momentary state, if we have lost the balance for some reason in our daily life, it is necessary for us to practice Zazen as soon as possible to recover the balanced state at once. Therefore Master Dogen also recommended us to practice Zazen four times a day regularly.

However, there are many differences in human societies since the time when Master Dogen lived, and so we should select the lifestyle, which is convenient for our daily practice of Zazen. Nowadays most of us live in modern capitalistic societies, and so we usually need to get monetary income regularly. Therefore, if we want to continue our practice of Zazen everyday, we need to find an adequate time to practice Zazen, which is suitable to our daily life and also allows us time to get some monetary income regularly. In my case, I practice Zazen in the morning for 30 minutes, and in the evening also 30 minutes after retiring from Dogen Sangha in Ichikawa City. Therefore I would like to recommend all people in the world to practice Zazen everyday following their own adequate schedule.

(2) Misunderstanding of "Satori," or "Enlightenment"

It is true that there is a fact, which is called "Satori," or "enlightenment" in Buddhism, but in fact there are so many misunderstandings of enlightenment in Buddhism.

For example, some insist that if we are practicing Zazen diligently, our mental and physical conditions change suddenly, and a miraculously splendid situation manifests itself at once. But it is very important for us to notice that those kinds of miraculously splendid facts do never manifests on the earth at all. Such stories come from an exaggarated apparition, or a fantastic pretention. Because we are just living in the real world, and in the real world it is impossible for us to meet such miraculous facts at all. If we are affirmative to idealistic philosophy, we can imagine the possibility of such a fantastic story. But we, Buddhists, who are just realists, should never believe in such an idealistic story.

At the same time there is another story, which is also related to so-called enlightenment. Some Buddhist practioners insist that if we practice Zazen intensively and enormously, we can meet very strange physical situations, in which we can experience unusual and fantastic situations. If we follow an unhealthy schedule and practice Zazn in unhealthy conditions, it is true that we have to meet many kinds of physical disorders, or confusion, and we will lose our healthy and stable condition at once. Therefore it is necessary for us to think in accord with what is true, and that is that we always need to be healthy.

So there is much confusion in Buddhism, which has come from the misunderstanding of enlightenment. In the case of Master Dogen, when he was in Japan before visiting China, he had also the same misunderstanding of enlightenment. At that time he was also very dilligent in practicing Zazen in order to get enlightenment. But while visiting China, he met Master Tendo Nyojo. And Master Tendo Nyojo proclaimed that "To practice Zazen is just throwing away both consciousnesses of body and mind. If we just practice Zazen, we can get the state (of enlightenment) just from the beginning at once." Hearing this from Master Tendo Nyojo, Master Dogen realized what enlightenment was. And he noticed that the first enlightenment is just to practice Zazen itself.

(3) The True Enlightenment

The true enlightenment in Buddhism is just to practice Zazen itslf. In the Euro-American Civilization, from which we have received so many benefits, there are two kinds of value. One is the very sharp and exact intellectual consideration, which has been produced by so many excellent philosophical thinkers, and the other is the direct and clear sensuous beauty, which also has been produced by so many excellent fine artists.

However, in Buddhism we are making our efforts to transcend both intellectual consideration and sense perception to find the real world itself.

Therefore, relying upon the practice of Zazen when we make our autonomic nervous system balanced, the sympathetic nervous system, which is the cause of intellectual thoughts, and the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the cause of sense perception, become plus/minus/zero, and we, human beings, can live in the real world, or the world of the truth directly. This is just the first enlightenment. In another words, when we practice Zazen every day, and when we are keeping our autonomic nervous system balanced, it is just the time when we are enlightened.

And if we continue our practice of Zazen every day, we can keep our balanced autonomic nervous system every day, and so we can think about all kinds of philosophical problems on the basis of realism, leaving from idealism and materialism. I think that this experience includes the very valuable and very strong power to erase our former idealistic or materialistic life habits, and we can just live in reality completely.

Relying upon such a habit we can think about all philosophical problems on the basis of realism every day. When we have solved all philosophical problems on the basis of Buddhist realism, then the perfect understanding of all philosophical problems on the basis of Buddhist realism will come. This is called the second enlightenment.

Reading the examples of Chinese Buddhist Masters, for example, Master Joshu Jushin, and Master Reiun Shigon, they both needed more than 30 years to get the second enlightenment. It takes rather a long time. But it is not necessary for us to worry about the fact that it takes too much time to get the second enlightenment. Because if we practice Zazen every day, we can enter into enlightenment itself at once. In other words we can get the enlightenment every day, so there is no problem for us to worry about it.

(4) Concepts of Emptiness (Ku), or Nothingness (Mu), are Completely Wrong

In the Buddhist societies today, many people insist that the fundamental Buddhist philosophy is a kind of nihilism, and many Buddhist thinkers insist that the fundamental Buddhist theory is that this world is not the real world, and that such nihilistic thought is Buddhism.

But I think that this interpretation of Buddhism is completely wrong. This wrong understanding Buddhism as nihilism comes from the very seriously incorrect translation of Master Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamaka-karika by Kumarajiva, an ancient Indian scholar of the Chinese language. Mulamadhyamaka-karika was written around the 3rd Century by Nagarjuna, and in 4th Century Kumarajiva translated Mulamadhyamaka-karika into Chinese. But when I read Mulamadyamaka-karika in Sanskrit directly, it is very clear that Kumarajiva didn't understand the true meaning of Mulamadhymaka-karika at all. Therefore the translation of Mulamadyamaka-karika in Chinese by Kumarajiva does not express any true meaning of MMK (from here I would like to use the abbreviation of MMK) at all. But Kumarajiva's translation was done as a part of the Chinese governmental translating project, and so his translation was authorized in China, and the influence of it was enormous in the Oriental societies. Therefore, in Mahayana Buddhism in the Oriental societies, the orthodox Buddhist thinkers usually insist that Buddhism is a kind of nihilism, which insists that the world is not real, but that it is an abstract image of emptiness.
However when we read MMK in Sanskrit carefully from the original text, MMK is just an example of the fundamental Buddhist thought, which explains that Buddhism is just Realism, which clearly believes that this world really exists.

(5) Realism in MMK

When we read the original text of MMK in Sanskrit, it is very clear that MMK is a book which insists that Buddhism is just a realistic philosophy. This is without doubt. MMK is divided into 27 Chapters, but even reading only the 1st chapter, it is very clear that Buddhism is just a realistic philosophy without fail.

The 1st chapter of MMK is entitled "pratyaya" in Sanskrit, which means belief, or faith. So we can interpret that Nagarjuna proclaims the fundamental Buddhist thoughts, which pervade throughout the total MMK. In this chapter Nagarjna desribes that this world is the real world, where everything exists really as it is. Therefore I selcted the title of "Reliable Facts" as the title of the 1st chapter in my English translation.

The 1st chapter includes 14 verses,. In the 1st verse, Nagarjuna insists that "subjectivity" is not real, and also "objectivity" is not real. "Subjectivity" is a tanslation of Sanskrit word "svata", and "objectivity" is a translation of Sanskrit word "parata". I interpret that the word subjectivity means our thoughts, which we produce in our brain, and the word objectivity means our sense perception, which stimulate our sense organs. Therefore I understand that Nagarjuna proclaimed that ideas, which are produced in our brains, are not real, and sense perception, which is excitement in our sense organs, is also not real. And so I interpret that Nagarjuna denies both the real existence of ideas and of sense stimuli. This suggests that Nagarjuna fundamentally denies both idealistic philosophies and materialistic philophies exactly.

I think that the Buddhist idea, which denies both idealism and materialism, is a very important point, when we want to understand Buddhist philosophy, because the absolute denial of idealism and materialism in Buddhism suggests that Buddhism has a rather strong criticism of intellectual consideration. However, where can we find any kind of philosophy, which is different from intellectual philosophy? Related to this question, Buddhism proclaims fundamentally the existence of practical philosophy, which is dimensionally different from intellectual philosophy. Therefore, even though this absolutely strong denial of idealism and materialism seems to be some kind of affirmation of nihilistic Buddhist thoughts, which was Kumarajiva's wrong interpretation, the fact is never like that at all.

We can know this because in the 2nd verse of the 1st Chapter, Nagarjuna indicates four entities as real exsistence. The first one is the reason, or the rule of the universe, which pervades throughout the universe. The second one is the external world, where we are just living now. The third one is the present moment, when our act is done. The fourth is Reality itself, which can be identified with God. And Nagarjuna bravely asserts absolutely that there is no fifth, and so relying upon his decisive attitude, we can suppose he had very strong confidence in his own Realism.

In the 4th verse in the 1st chapter, he says that those four factors of Reality are identified with our human act at the present moment.

In the 9th verse he insists that our real act at the present moment in our daily life is just the same as the whole universe. In other words our real act at the present moment in our daily life is just the same as the whole universe itself.

And I think that this kind of Realism of Nagarjuna's must be the same as Gautama Buddha's Realism, Master Boddhi Dharma's Realism, and Master Dogen's Realism.

(6) A Place for Zazen

A place for Zazen is not always necessary to be wide, but Master Dogen says "It is sufficient enough for us to have a space, where we can keep our body to enter."

(7) The Posture

In Zazen, the true posture of Zazen is very important, and Master Dogen describes the concrete and exact postures so precisely, therefore we have to follow his instructions sincerely. For example, even in Buddhist sects in Japan, there is an example of using a chair for Zazen, but I think that such a kind of compromising attitudes should be avoided.

The most important posture in Zazen is to keep the spine from the lower part, the backbones, the neckbones, and the top of the head a little backward, into a straight and vertical line as much as possible. Therefore, to do so, it is necessary for us to pull the chin backward and downward as far as possible for fixing the total spine. Without this posture, it is difficult for us to avoid intellectual considerations during Zazen. Without the fixed posture, a relaxed posture in Zazen sometimes becomes a cause of irritation because of the difficulty to stop thinking.

(8) Method of Breathing

Even though there are so many methods of breathing in Zazen, which have been transmitted traditionally or through legends in Buddhist societies, I think that for such a problem it is very adequate for us to follow Master Dogen's teachings, which he has shown in chapter 5 of Eihei-koroku (the consecutive number in the total paragraphs is 390) as a record of his formal lecture, which has been done in the Lecture Hall. About Eihei-koroku, there is a very reliable eddition, which has been founded by Master Kishizawa I-an in the warehouse of Eihei-ji temple some decades ago. The Abbot of Eihei-ji temple, Master Niwa Rempo has reprinted this version (Kanazawa Bunko in Tokyo publishes it), So I think it might be much reliable for us to utilize this edition.

In Eihei-koroku even when Master Dogen describes the method of breathing in Zazen, he insists first on the importance of keeping the regular postue exactly, and then he describes the method of breathing. Therefore we can notice how much Master Dogen reveres the regulated posture of Zazen.

First, Master Dogen denies the regulation of breath, and the practice of keeping the mind at the highest grade, which are much revered in Hinayana Buddhism. We can interpret that Master Dogen clearly recognizes that Buddhism is never idealistic philosophy, and so he clearly notices that the idealistic efforts in Hinayana Buddhism can never be Buddhism. Therefore, even though there is the method of counting the number of breaths during Zazen in Hinayana Buddhism, Master Dogen clearly refuses such an incorrect method.

In relation to Mahayana Buddhism, even though Mahayana Buddhists sometimes insist that when the breath is long, we should recognize that it is long, and when it is short, we should recognize that it is short. In short, we should accept the real fact as it is, and we should not do any kind of intentional efforts. Therefore, in Mahayana Buddhism there is the habit to do a special breathing method, one which is done by inhaling the air by utilizing the abdomen, and exhaling the air by utilizing the abdomen. But Master Dogen also denies such a special method.

And at the end of his lecture he describes his own opinion of breathing situations, then he says that "When we are vigorous, then we practice Zazen. When we feel hungry, we eat meals, and then we feel satisfaction sufficiently." These words suggest that the practicing of Zazen is also our vigorous activity in our daily life, and so it is not necessary for us to have any kind of intellectual criteria, or strange habits. Master Dogen encourages us just to enjoy the practice of Zazen, without worrying about the intellectual interpretation.


Blogger Lone Wolf said...

Thank you Gudo Nishijima for this excellent teaching on Zazen. I admitt, I havn't sat for a few days. I suppose I felt uninspired. This makes me jump right back on the horse. It's funny how difficult sitting one's butt on a cushion can be when uninspired. I think this the lack of inspiration comes from some subtle kind of desire for a result.

12:12 AM, July 21, 2006  
Blogger oxeye said...

Master Nishijima, Thank you for your efforts in trying to make clear some important points in Buddhism. The total realization of philosophical problems in the second enlightenment seems to mean a complete understanding, or a conclusion to philosophical inquiry. Does this total realization of all philosophical problems mean unwavering subjective conviction on philosophical matters or does it infer complete objectiveness in viewpoint?

12:33 AM, July 21, 2006  
Blogger Dan said...

good question oxeye

2:10 AM, July 21, 2006  
Blogger sekishin said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:22 AM, July 21, 2006  
Blogger sekishin said...

How can you hope to reduce samadhi to an unconscious state of a human being?

Isn’t samadhi experience of the whole self, conscious and unconscious?

Isn’t samadhi the essence of the Universe?

Isn’t samadhi as vast and unfathomable as the ocean?

Isn’t real enlightenment just our imperfect efforts -- forgetting about solving all philosophical problems -- just to cope with this one concrete problem before us here and now, that is, the scientific explanation of samadhi, without any division into first or second?

Doesn’t “the realization of all philosophical problems” truly mean the realization that there are no philosophical problems, but only fences, walls, tiles, and pebbles?

2:24 AM, July 21, 2006  
Blogger jundo cohen said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:46 AM, July 21, 2006  
Blogger jundo cohen said...

Dear Oxeye and Sekishin,

If I may try a comment:

Oxeye wrote ...

Does this total realization of all philosophical problems mean unwavering subjective conviction on philosophical matters or does it infer complete objectiveness in viewpoint?

Perhaps it means to just be, here and now, with nothing necessary to ask about it.

When we do Zazen, it is a Perfect act, in and of itself. There is nothing to add to it, nothing to take away from it, no place else to be, nothing else to do. The body and mind find a natural balance, and are forgotten, as Roshi describes.

As we practice over 30 years, the "second enlightenment" is the ability to bring this into all of our life: Everything is just to be, here and now. Every act is a perfect act, nothing to add to it, nothing to take away (even when it does not feel so, even when life is not going as we might wish). The body and mind are able to maintain a natural balance in more and more situations, in the face of strife and life's complexities where most people might lose their balance.

Perhaps it means the "total realization of all philosophical problems" because, when you just take life as-it-is, just take it moment by moment, just live it and experience it as it comes with nothing to add, nothing to take away ... well, in a sense, there are no questions to ask, and everything is resolved.

By the way, there have now been hundreds of controlled studies on the physiological and neurological effects of Zazen. Here is a partial list (of several pages):

If I may say, our Roshi was pretty much on the cutting edge when, decades ago, he started describing Zazen in such modern terms of neurological effect.

Sekishin wrote ...

Doesn’t “the realization of all philosophical problems” truly mean the realization that there are no philosophical problems, but only fences, walls, tiles, and pebbles?

I think that when Dogen referred to "fences, walls, tiles, and pebbles," he meant concrete life, just as it is [in Nishijima Roshi's view and mine ... please correct me if I am wrong, Roshi].

For example, a pebble is just a pebble, just what it is, perfectly that pebble. There is no need for the pebble to compare itself to other pebbles, there is nothing to add or take away from the pepple to make it more a pebble. The pebble need not wish it were a tile or a wall. It is perfectly "pebbling" just by being itself.

When we realize the same kind of thing about ourselves, about the world, about all our acts in life ... that is a kind of (in your words) samadhi [that is] experience of the whole self ... samadhi [as the] the essence of the Universe

Gassho, Jundo

5:58 AM, July 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gudo Nishijima [& Jundo Cohen]

First of all I do apreciate your realistic outlook on the practice of Zazen. I apreciate how your encouragement of a practice that fits in more sensibly with the necessity to earn a living in the world within which we live.

Now I have to come to the point where I disagree fundamentally with your teachings. This may be down to a misunderstanding on my part of many things. Even so I will put forward my view. I will not however attempt to defend it.

In Zazen as many know and as Dogen wrote it is possible to realise the "dropping off of body and mind".

If after "dropping off of body and mind" they were never again picked up, would that not be "full-enlightenment".

This explanation would then fit in nicely with Hui Neng, several of the Sutras and some of the more modern writings.

Even Dogen wrote quoting Joshu that the time taken to 'attain' enlightenement will vary depending on the monk. Likewise, there are various Pali and other texts that give widely different timescales. This does strongly suggest to me that practicing regularily for many years and growing old are not of themselves sufficient.


[Jundo, if you have views on this I welcome them].

3:04 PM, July 21, 2006  
Blogger parasangate said...

“The door of the gorgeous jewelry warehouse will be opened, and it will be possible for you to utilize the jewels of the warehouse well in your perfect freedom.”

Dear Nishijima Roshi,
You supposed that these words point not only to a religious truth but to something more real, which it might be possible to explain scientifically. And you bravely endeavored to search for and champion such a scientific explanation. In so doing, you showed others the way and laid a concrete foundation for others to build on.

But, if we want to understand the meaning of total freedom in accepting and using jewels, balance of the autonomic nervous system can never be a complete explanation, because autonomic processes cannot include freewill.

However, glimpsing the enormous explanatory power of the 2nd law of thermodynamics, you student and co-translator of Shobogenzo has offered an explanation of samadhi in terms of:

uphill work vs downhill flows

chemisty of life vs time’s arrow.

This explanation does allow for freewill, because the evolution of human consciousness has just been an uphill process, and is part of the chemistry of life.

Relying on this explanation we can truly understand the exact meaning of samadhi as:

(1) The state of experiencing the self.
(2) The essence of the Universe
(3) Balance of accepting and using the self.
(4) A state like the ocean

Ultimately, we can thus understand why Master Dogen called sitting in the full lotus posture, “The King of Samadhis.”

5:31 PM, July 21, 2006  
Blogger Homemade Zen said...

Gudo Nishijima-Roshui:

I have noticed in my own practice that zazen every day is helpful. When I was younger, and practiced haphazardly and not every day, there were few perceptible benefits. When I began making zazen a priority, doing it every day, I noticed two things after a while. First, zazen became easier, and I seemed to reach a deeper meditative state. Two, I seemed better able to cope with life's nagging problems, because it seemed I was doing a better job of carrying my practice into daily life.

I still have a long way to go -- occasionally I let my emotions rule me. But those times are fewer and further between now, and I credit my daily zazen practice.

I have long suspected a link between zazen and physical health. I am diabetic, and daily zazen is one of my methods for controlling my blood glucose levels. Your linking of zazen and the nervous system makes sense to me, intuitively, but I have not studied such things in depth. I thank you for the teaching, and also thank you, Jundo, for the links you shared regarding the physiological effects of zazen. I will check them out. I am sure they will be most interesting.

-- HZ

5:31 PM, July 21, 2006  
Blogger jundo cohen said...

Hi Mike Doe,

Let me try this, if I may:

The word "enlightenment" appears in Buddhism in several ways. For example:

1) your "original enlightenment" or "Buddha Nature," the fact that you are already enlightened, silly billy, but just don't realize this yet. You are already like that pebble, perfectly just part of the universe now with absolutely nothing to add or take away to be more what you are and more a part of the universe ... but most humans don't realize this yet.

2) the "enlightenment" of doing Zazen. When we do Zazen, it is just a Perfect act, in and of itself. There is nothing to add to it, nothing to take away from it, no place else to be, nothing else to do. In a sense, we are immitating being a pebble, doing what that pebble does in being still and not trying to be or do something else. The body and mind find a natural balance, and are forgotten, as Roshi describes.(However, I should add that it is still a perfect act even when it doesn't feel like it ... on those days where the legs and back hurt, where the mind is running around or the body is not right. If we take Zazen as a perfect act, we even refuse to think "good Zazen day" and "bad Zazen day." Zazen is enlightenment already, even when we don't realize it. In a sense, we are trying to imitate that pebble, which is perfectly pebbling even when it does not realize it, even on those days when it doesn't feel too pebbly).

3) The "enlightenment" that comes when we finally realize what this whole Buddhist thing is about. It may, as Roshi describes, take a lifetime, for it is nothing other than making that attitude of 2) function in your whole life, making it all a perfect moment-by-moment of Zazen (and, let me add, even when it does not always feel like it too).

Now, there are also other ways the word "enlightenment" or "Satori" are used:

4) The perfect "Final Satori" that happens when you die. That is when you turn to dust, your brain runs quiet, and thus, we can say that you return to a universe which you never truly left in the first place. Obviously, all conflicts will be eliminated when there is nothing more to conflict. When that pebble turns to dust, there will be nothing to bang into all the other pebbles, nothing to suffer the heat of summer or the cold of winter. Now, in 2) and 3) we are (of course) "dropping body and mind" even while we have a "body and mind," so it is a rather a "dropping body and mind" in the way possible while still really having a body and mind. But, when you are cold and dead, well, body and mind sure are dropped. (By the way, in Zen, we take no stance on what will happen, if anything, after death ... whether, for example, some Mind will still be there, and some awareness or not. We say that it is something that will take care of itself, nothing we can do anything about, so in Zen we just focus on living life now).

5) Some types of Buddhist (usually in the Pali scriptures and in other Eastern Traditions too) interpret "Satori" as trying to do No. 4) even in this life. It is trying to extinquish the senses, switch off the emotions, to deny the flesh, even while the heart still beats (possibly even trying literally to stop the heart too temporarily, in some extreme Yoga). It is IMHO some form of seeking escape from this world, of finding something wrong with this body and the senses. I this view, "Nirvana" is this state, the Heaven, that comes when we make our escape from this world and this body.

Some practitioners even become quite adept at this type of practice ... (for example, Nisagardatta seems to have been pretty good at 5), although his life seems to have been reduced to a little room where people would visit him for short interviews, and he never was able to quit smoking). And, even if some people can attain a type of Yoga like this, it is not very useful for most of us with families and jobs ... unless you want to give it all up for a little room or cave.

Look, after the Buddha died, Buddhism took a million different forms ... I will only speak for myself and my understanding of Zen Buddhism in saying that we are not trying to do 5), not trying to escape the body or extinquish anything. In a sense, we are dropping body and mind while happy to have body and mind. We let the senses be (even if, in doing so ... and this is a very important point ... we thus become in Zen much less prisoners of the senses.)

6) Some folks will claim that, when they "attained" Buddhist "Enlightenment" they became "Perfectly Realized," no turning back, in the meaning that they are ever, always "perfect" forever and ever, are some great "Zen Master" or "Guru." Usually, these folks wish you to buy their books and tapes or take their seminar (Brad has done some great writing on the charlatans, and I have my own list). My responce is that, YES! we ARE PERFECTLY WHAT WE ARE in the sense of No.s 1) 2) and 3) above, and our Zen practice is to let us realize that in our lives. But, if you think that, after Satori, your feet won't stink, and your boss or your wife won't drive you crazy sometimes ... you are doing the Zen of hollywood movies.

In fact, if you find one of those guys who really, really has "THE ANSWER," please let me know. I will quit Nishijima and join you at the feet of the Swami or Messiah. I don't think it will happen, and I have never heard of it really happening (Ram Dass has a lovely recent book about how he realized he was a bit of a poser in his yoth after he had his stroke a couple of years ago, was lying on the ground still scared of death despite all his years of yoga, and then had to deal with people helping him go to the bathroom and learning to walk again. He realized that "enlightenment" in this life may be a bit more complicated than even he thought).

Finally, on Hui Neng ... I am going to leave that topic for now. First off, it is not clear that Hui Neng actually himself wrote the Platform Sutra, second the Platform Sutra (like Xin Xin Ming) is open to a variety of translations and interpretations and, third, even within some forms of Zen Buddhism, a very idealistic, romanticized vision of "enlightenment" can creep in quite often. Having not read Hui Neng for quite awhile, I will not comment.

Anyway, sorry for the long and inelegant post. I just speak from my personal experience of Zazen, and what seems to be working pretty well in my complex life.

Gassho, Jundo

5:51 PM, July 21, 2006  
Blogger Western Zen said...

Yes. Parasangate. Yes, yes, yes.

We need a scientific explanation of samadhi that covers every living cell in the human body and every single atom in the Universe, and at the same time that covers the whole Universe in the ten directions.

Samadhi is the tendency that all energy has to dissipate, being momentary opposed by chemical kinetics.

The whole Universe is expanding moment by moment like this.

When we sit upright in the full lotus posture, as the King of Samadhi, we are able consciously to participate in, to play in, this momentary opposition of the two fundamental factors which pervade the Universe.

6:02 PM, July 21, 2006  
Blogger sekishin said...

What Sekishin, Western Zen, Swan Flies By, Parasangate, and Mike Cross have asked and answered has all been just one truth. It is what Gudo Nishijima understands intuitively, non-verbally. But it is not even remotely similar to the child-like babble of the Zen imposter Jundo James Cohen.

The autonomic nervous system is autonomic. I have no direct conscious control over it.

But I do have some freedom of choice in regard to the uphill work (e.g. whether to do it or not), and in regard to the downhill flows (e.g. whether to allow them or not).

In sitting in the full lotus posture, this freedom of choice manifests itself supremely clearly.

Gate, gate, parasangate. Bodhi svaha.

6:21 PM, July 21, 2006  
Blogger 123Twist said...

Ah,Parasamgate wrote,

However, glimpsing the enormous explanatory power of the 2nd law of thermodynamics, you student and co-translator of Shobogenzo has offered an explanation of samadhi

West Zen wrote,

Yes. Parasangate. Yes, yes, yes.

Mr. Mike Cross Wrote,

Now for a few weeks I am going to a small house in France, where no Broadband.

Thus we see tremendous power of Mike Cross Zen, where out-of-body experience come from power of 2nd law of thermodynamics. One do not even have computer for posting on internet.

In true story, what happens is this. Roshi finally ask Mike Cross to please take rest, post Mike Cross idea on Mike Cross blogs only. There, people interested in Mike Cross idea can read and make comment, and Roshi promise to do so there too. Roshi finally take this step because, well, when a distrubed monk act certain way and disturb community, smash temple windows, you must ban from Monastery. This is extreme measure, only when harm is done to Sangha. Roshi want unmoderated life and reality and blog too, accepting all weeds that grow. But, if no pull weeds, garden run wild.

But, stalker not give up. Stalker take new identity, creep back to bushes, start smashing window. This Crossed-Up Zen is bad weed.

I quote from brilliant analysis of situation by Mr. Mike Doe in last Roshi post ---

It looks like you have managed to increase and feed your delusions.

After these claims you seem even more angry and aggressive than you were before. You seem more determined to distance yourself from everyone and bring dischord --- There is no need to meet you in order to determine whether or not you need to get non-Buddhist help with the mind. It seeps through in everything you write and how you interact with everyone here --- Your words write to decieve and confuse. I see nothing in your writings that show any signs of health.

You 'renounced' anger on one of your blog postings as if anger can be cured by a magic word. Your anger persists. So no magic there.

This is so sad, but true.

Peace, H

6:40 PM, July 21, 2006  
Blogger jundo cohen said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:05 PM, July 21, 2006  
Blogger jundo cohen said...

Dear Mike Doe,

Let me add one more face of "enlightenment" (I am sure there are more):

Enlightenent 2.5) are those "Ah Ha" moments, great and small, when the pebble suddenly feels everything drop away, at "One with the Universe," all questions resolved for no one remaining to ask them, no one to be asked.

Those peak experiences are cool. Now, forget about them, forget about chasing after them. You can't live with your head like that. Get back to the "Just Sit Zazen" of 2), and the "Just Live Life" of 3).

Anyway, I have said too much.

Gassho, J

7:30 PM, July 21, 2006  
Blogger zenvolution said...

"What Sekishin, Western Zen, Swan Flies By, Parasangate, and Mike Cross have asked and answered has all been just one truth."

Every single one of them is obviously Mike Cross. Very, very sad. A little scary, too.

9:09 PM, July 21, 2006  
Blogger Drunken Monkey said...

lone wolf, try to get into the habit of practicing zazen twice a day, no matter how badly you want to get off the cushion and burn your zen books.

When I started zazen, I really hated it, as I thought nothing could come of it. I practiced it maybe once a month. However since I've had the time, I've tried to ingrain the habit into myself. Only then will you practice without the need for inspiration.
Inspiration is the spark, but you must have the fuel to go on.

Master Nishijima, your theory of the Autonomic system makes much sense to me. Before I started zazen I was quite an angry and irritated person, but from practicing zazen I have felt calm,peaceful and alive. The balance of mind and body does change personality!

10:33 PM, July 21, 2006  
Blogger Homemade Zen said...

Jundo: Please, don't apologize for your lengthy and "inelegant" posts. I find them all quite helpful. Between Nishijima-Roshi's teachings and your own comments here, I feel I am making some headway in understanding. And that is good, for I am a Zen neophyte. I have been doing daily zazen, reading much, and spending much non-Zazen time in introspection. With all those tools at my disposal, and with your help and Nishijima-Roshi's, I think my practice is doing me some good.

I'm not particularly concerned about finding a scientific foundation for my zazen practice. I think Nishijima-Roshi's discussion of the autonomic nervous system is fascinating and it makes sense, and I think the discussion of the second law of thermodynamics is confusing -- but I don't really think it matters either way.

What matters to me is what I experience from zazen, and what I experience tells me it is working for me whether it stems from a balance of my autonomic nervous system, harnessing thermodynamics, some combination of both or neither one at all. None of that matters to me. What matters to me is doing zazen.

-- HZ

4:16 AM, July 22, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for a very full respomse ;-)

I wouldn't worry yourself about me chasing after peak experiences or anything else.

I've met a few people who I believe are 'enlightened' for want of a better descreption and they are in many ways extremely ordinary and yet also not.

In the end it always still comes back to just sitting (or some variant).

11:11 PM, July 23, 2006  
Blogger Dan said...

I have a question for anyone who know's the answer... I own Shobogenzo book 1 which contains Fukan Zazen Gi as well as many other key Dogen texts which are often quoted and referred to around these blogs (like the fences walls tiles and pebbles thing). If all this is in book 1 I'm curious as to what it's the others? It seems like no one really refers to anything in the others? Are they as worth reading as Book 1?

6:33 AM, July 24, 2006  
Blogger 123Twist said...

Dear Mr. Dan,

Summary of other Shobogenzo volume is found here.

Many great book in them like Kuge and Zanmai-0-Zanmai. All book are good, but need special study to pierce meaning. Read this by Master Gudo.

Peace, H

7:37 AM, July 24, 2006  
Blogger element said...

Master Nishijima,
Thank you very much for your teaching.

I still have a question about breathing.

I often heard the instruction that in zazen we should concentrate on the breathing.

Like Dogen said in Eihei Koroku many Zen Masters say that:
We should not count the breath and we should not breath deep intentionally by using the abdomen.
Breath should come and go naturally.

But after that the same Zen Masters say:
In order to calm the mind we should concentrate on the breath.

Is this also a wrong understanding?

12:07 AM, July 25, 2006  
Blogger Dan said...

thank you 123twist for pointing me to those articles

6:12 AM, July 25, 2006  
Blogger Dan said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:12 AM, July 25, 2006  
Blogger bigfish said...

Points to keep in mind when practicing zazen
(by Keizan Jôkin)


Zazen means to clarify the mind-ground and dwell comfortably in your actual nature. This is called revealing yourself and manifesting the original-ground.

In zazen both body and mind drop off. Zazen is far beyond the form of sitting or lying down. Free from considerations of good and evil, zazen transcends distinctions between ordinary people and sages, it goes far beyond judgements of deluded or enlightened. Zazen includes no boundary between sentient beings and buddha. Therefore put aside all affairs, and let go of all associations. Do nothing at all. The six senses produce nothing.

What is this? Its name is unknown. It cannot be called "body", it cannot be called "mind". Trying to think of it, the thought vanishes. Trying to speak of it, words die. It is like a fool, an idiot. It is as high as a mountain, deep as the ocean. Without peak or depths, its brilliance is unthinkable, it shows itself silently. Between sky and earth, only this whole body is seen.

This one is without comparison - he has completely died. Eyes clear, he stands nowhere. Where is there any dust? What can obstruct such a one?

Clear water has no back or front, space has no inside or outside. Completely clear, its own luminosity shines before form and emptiness were fabricated. Objects of mind and mind itself have no place to exist.

This has always already been so but it is still without a name. The the third patriarch, great teacher, temporarily called it "mind", and the venerable Nagarjuna once called it "body". Enlightened essence and form, giving rise to the bodies of all the Buddhas, it has no "more" or "less" about it.

This is symbolized by the full moon but it is this mind which is enlightenment itself. The luminosity of this mind shines throughout the past and brightens as the present. Nagarjuna used this subtle symbol for the samadhi of all the Buddhas but this mind is signless, non-dual, and differences between forms are only apparent.

Just mind, just body. Difference and sameness miss the point. Body arises in mind and, when the body arises, they appear to be distinguished. When one wave arises, a thousand waves follow; the moment a single mental fabrication arises, numberless things appear. So the four elements and five aggregates mesh, four limbs and five senses appear and on and on until the thirty-six body parts and the twelve-fold chain of interdependant emergence. Once fabrication arises, it develops continuity but it still only exists through the piling up of myriad dharmas.

The mind is like the ocean waters, the body like the waves. There are no waves without water and no water without waves; water and waves are not separate, motion and stillness are not different. So it is said, "A person comes and goes, lives and dies, as the imperishable body of the four elements and five aggregates."

Now, zazen is entering directly into the ocean of buddha-nature and manifesting the body of the Buddha. The pure and clear mind is actualized in the present moment; the original light shines everywhere. The water in the ocean neither increases nor decreases, and the waves never cease. Buddhas have appeared in this world for the sake of the one great matter; to show the wisdom and insight of the Buddha to all living beings and to make their entry possible. For this, there is a peaceful and pure way: zazen. This is nothing but the samadhi, in which all buddhas receive and use themselves as buddhas (jijuyu-zanmai). It is also called the king of samadhis. If you dwell in this samadhi for even a short time, the mind-ground will be directly clarified. You should know that this is the true gate of the buddha-way.

If you wish to clarify the mind-ground, you should relinquish your various types of limited knowledge and understanding. Throw away both worldly affairs and buddha-dharma. Eliminate all delusive emotions. When the true mind of the sole reality is manifest, the clouds of delusion will clear away and the moon of the mind will shine brightly.

The Buddha said, "Listening and thinking are like being outside of the gate; zazen is returning home and sitting in peace." How true this is! When we are listening and thinking, the various views have not been put to rest and the mind is still running over. Therefore other activities are like being outside of the gate. Zazen alone brings everything to rest and, flowing freely, reaches everywhere. So zazen is like returning home and sitting in peace.

The delusions of the five-obstructions all arise out of basic ignorance. Being ignorant means not clarifying youraelf. To practice zazen is to throw light on yourself. Even though the five obstructions are eliminated, if basic ignorance is not eliminated, you are not a buddha-ancestor. If you wish to eliminate basic ignorance, zazen practice of the way is the key.

An ancient master said, "When delusive thoughts cease, tranquility arises; when tranquility arises, wisdom appears; when wisdom appears, reality reveals itself." If you want to eliminate delusive thoughts, you should cease to discriminate between good and evil. Give up all affairs with which you are involved; do not occupy your mind with any concerns nor become physically engaged in any activity. This is the primary point to bear in mind. When delusive objects disappear, delusive mind falls away.

When delusive mind falls away, the unchanging reality manifests itself and we are always clearly aware. It is not extinction; it is not activity. Therefore, you should avoid engaging in any arts or crafts, medicine or fortune-telling. Needless to say, you should stay away from music and dancing, arguing and meaningless discussions, fame and personal profit. While composing poetry can be a way to purify one's mind, do not be fond of it. Give up writing and calligraphy. This is the fine precedent set by practitioners of the Way. This is essential for harmonizing the mind.

Wear neither luxurious clothing nor dirty rags. Luxurious clothing gives rise to greed and may also arouse fear of theft. Thus, they are a hindrance for a practitioner of the way. Even if someone offers them to you, it is the excellent tradition of the masters to refuse them. If you already own luxurious clothes, do not keep them. Even if these clothes are stolen, do not chase after or regret its loss. Old or dirty clothes should be washed and mended; clean them thoroughly before wearing them. If you do not clean them, they will cause you to become chilled and sick. This will be a hindrance to your practice. Although we should not be anxious about bodily life, insufficient clothing, insufficient food, and insufficient sleep are called the three insufficiencies and will cause our practice to suffer.

Do not eat anything alive, hard, or spoiled. Such impure foods will make your belly churn and cause heat and discomfort of bodymind, making your sitting difficult. Do not indulge in fine foods. It is not only bad for your body and mind, but also shows you are not yet free from greed. Eat just enough food to support your life and do not be fond of its taste. If you sit after eating too much, you will get sick. Wait for a while before sitting after eating big or small meals. Monks must be moderate in eating and hold their portions to two-thirds of what they can eat. All healthy foods, sesame, wild yams and so on, can be eaten. Essentially, you should harmonize bodymind.

When you are sitting in zazen, do not prop yourself up against a wall, meditation brace, or screen. Also, do not sit in windy places or high, exposed places as this can cause illness. Sometimes your body may feel hot or cold, rough or smooth, stiff or loose, heavy or light, or astonishingly wide-awake. Such sensations are caused by a disharmony of mind and breath. You should regulate your breathing as follows: open your mouth for a little while, letting long breaths be long and short breaths be short, and harmonize it gradually. Follow your breath for a while; when awareness comes, your breathing will be naturally harmonized. After that, breathe naturally through your nose.

Your mind may feel as though it is sinking or floating, dull or sharp, or as though you can see outside the room, inside your body, or the body of buddhas or bodhisattvas. Sometimes, you may feel as though you have wisdom and can understand the sutras or commentaries thoroughly. These unusual and strange conditions are all sicknesses that occur when the mind and breath are not in harmony. When you have this kind of sickness, settle your mind on your feet. When you feel dull, place your mind on your hairline (three inches above the center of the eyebrows) or between your eyes. When your mind is distracted, place it on the tip of your nose or on your lower abdomen, one and a half inches below the navel (tanden). Usually, place your mind on the left palm during sitting. When you sit for a long time, even though you do not try to calm your mind, it will, of its own accord, be free of distraction.

Also, although the ancient teachings are the traditional instructions for illuminating the mind, do not read, write, or listen to them too much. Running to excess scatters the mind. Generally, anything that wears out bodymind causes illness.

Do not sit where there are fires, floods, high winds, thieves; by the ocean, near bars, brothels, where widows or virgins live, or near places where courtesans play music. Do not live near kings, ministers, rich and powerful families, or people who have many desires, who seek after fame, or who like to argue meaninglessly.

Although grand Buddhist ceremonies or the building of large temples are very good things, people who devote themselves to zazen should not be involved in such activities. Donft be fond of preaching the Dharma as this leads to distraction and scattering.

Do not be delighted by large assemblies; nor covet disciples. Do not practice and study too many things. Do not sit where it is too bright or too dark, too cold or too hot; nor should you sit where idle pleasure-seekers and harlots live. Stay in a monastery where you have a good teacher and fellow practitioners. Or reside in the deep mountains or glens. A good place to practice walking meditation is where there is clear water and green mountains. A good place for purifying the mind is by a stream or under a tree. Contemplate impermanence; do not forget it. This will encourage you to seek the way.

You should spread a mat thick enough for comfortable sitting. The place for practice should be clean. Always burn incense and offer flowers to the guardians of the dharma, the buddhas and bodhisattvas, who secretly protect your practice. If you enshrine a statue of a buddha, bodhisattva, or an arhat, no demons can tempt you.

Remain always compassionate, and dedicate the limitless virtue of zazen to all living beings. Do not be arrogant; do not be proud of yourself and of your understanding of dharma. Being arrogant is the way of outsiders and ignorant people.

Vow to cut off all delusions and realize enlightenment. Just sit without doing anything. This is the essence of the practice of zazen. Always wash your eyes and feet, keep your body and mind at ease and tranquil, and maintain a proper demeanor. Throw away worldly sentiments, yet do not attach yourself to a sublime feeling of the way.

Though you should not begrudge anyone the dharma, do not preach it unless you are asked. Even if someone asks, keep silent three times; if the person still asks you from his or her heart, then teach him or her. Out of ten times you may desire to speak, remain silent for nine; as if mold were growing around your mouth. Be like a folded fan in December, or like a wind-bell hanging in the air, indifferent to the direction of the wind. This is how a person of the Way should be. Do not use the dharma to profit at the expense of others. Do not use the way as a means to make yourself important. These are the most important points to keep in mind.

Zazen is not based upon teaching, practice or realization; instead these three aspects are all contained within it. Measuring realization is based upon some notion of enlightenment - this is not the essence of zazen. Practice is based upon strenuous application - this is not the essence of zazen. Teaching is based upon freeing from evil and cultivating good - this is not the essence of zazen.

Teaching is found in Zen but it is not the usual teaching. Rather, it is a direct pointing, just expressing the way, speaking with the whole body. Such words are without sentences or clauses. Where views end and concept is exhausted, the one word pervades the ten directions without setting up so much as a single hair. This is the true teaching of the buddhas and patriarchs.

Although we speak of "practice", it is not a practice that you can do. That is to say, the body does nothing, the mouth does not recite, the mind doesn't think things over, the six senses are left to their own clarity and unaffected. So this is not the sixteen stage practice of the hearers. Nor is it the practice of understanding the twelve factors of inter-dependent emergence of those whose practice is founded upon isolation. Nor is it the six perfections within numberless activities of the bodhisattvas. It is without struggle at all so is called awakening or enlightenment. Just rest in the samadhi in which all of the buddhas receive and use themselves as buddhas (jijuyu-zanmai), wandering playfully in the four practices of peace and bliss of those open to openness. This is the profound and inconceivable practice of buddhas and patriarchs.

Although we speak of realization, this realization does not hold to itself as being "realization". This is practice of the supreme samadhi which is the knowing of unborn, unobstructed, and spontaneously arising awareness. It is the door of luminosity which opens out onto the realization of the Buddha, born through the practice of the great ease. This goes beyond the patterns of holy and profane, goes beyond confusion and wisdom. This is the realization of unsurpassed enlightenment as our own nature.

Zazen is also not based upon discipline, practice, or wisdom. These three are all contained within it.

Discipline is usually understood as ceasing wrong action and eliminating evil. In zazen the whole thing is known to be non-dual. Cast off the numberless concerns and rest free from entangling yourself in the "Buddhist way" or the "worldly way." Leave behind feelings about the path as well as your usual sentiments. When you leave behind all opposites, what can obstruct you? This is the formless discipline of the ground of mind.

Practice usually means unbroken concentration. Zazen is dropping the bodymind, leaving behind confusion and understanding. Unshakeable, without activity, it is not deluded but still like an idiot, a fool. Like a mountain, like the ocean. Without any trace of motion or stillness. This practice is no-practice because it has no object to practice and so is called great practice.

Wisdom is usually understood to be clear discernment. In zazen, all knowledge vanishes of itself. Mind and discrimination are forgotten forever. The wisdom-eye of this body has no discrimination but is clear seeing of the essence of awakening. From the beginning it is free of confusion, cuts off concept, and open and clear luminosity pervades everywhere. This wisdom is no-wisdom; because it is traceless wisdom, it is called great wisdom.

The teaching that the buddhas have presented all throughout their lifetimes are just this discipline, practice, and wisdom. In zazen there is no discipline that is not maintained, no practice that is uncultivated, no wisdom that is unrealized. Conquering the demons of confusion, attaining the way, turning the wheel of the Dharma and returning to tracelessness all arise from the power of this. Supernormal powers and inconceivable activities, emanating light and expounding the teaching- all of these are present in this zazen. Penetrating Zen is zazen.

To practice sitting, find a quiet place and lay down a thick mat. Don't let wind, smoke, rain or dew come in. Keep a clear space with enough room for your knees. Although in ancient times there were those who sat on diamond seats or on large stones for their cushions. The place where you sit should not be too bright in the daytime or too dark at night; it should be warm in winter and cool in summer. That's the key.

Drop mind, intellect and consciousness, leave memory, thinking, and observing alone. Don't try to fabricate Buddha. Don't be concerned with how well or how poorly you think you are doing; just understand that time is as precious as if you were putting out a fire on your head.

The Buddha sat straight, Bodhidharma faced the wall; both were whole-hearted and committed. Sekiso was like a gnarled dead tree. Nyojo warned against sleepy sitting and said, "Just-sitting is all you need. You don't need to make burning incense offerings, meditate upon the names of buddhas, repent, study the scriptures or do recitation rituals."

When you sit, wear the kesa (except in the first and last parts of the night when the daily schedule is not in effect). Don't be careless. The cushion should be about twelve inches thick and thirty-six in circumference. Don't put it under the thighs but only from mid-thigh to the base of the spine. This is how the buddhas and patriarchs have sat. You can sit in the full or half lotus postures. To sit in the full lotus, put the right foot on the left thigh and the left foot on the right thigh. Loosen your robes but keep them in order. Put your right hand on your left heel and your left hand on top of your right, thumbs together and close to the body at the level of the navel. Sit straight without leaning to left or right, front or back. Ears and shoulders, nose and navel should be aligned. Place the tongue on the palate and breathe through the nose. The mouth should be closed. The eyes should be open but not too wide nor too slight. Harmonizing the body in this way, breathe deeply with the mouth once or twice. Sitting steadily, sway the torso seven or eight times in decreasing movements. Sit straight and alert.

Now think of what is without thought. How can you think of it? Be beyond thinking. This is the essence of zazen. Shatter obstacles and become intimate with awakening awareness.

When you want to get up from stillness, put your hands on your knees, sway seven or eight times in increasing movements. Breathe out through the mouth, put your hands to the floor and get up lightly from the seat. Slowly walk, circling to right or left.

If dullness or sleepiness overcome your sitting, move to the body and open the eyes wider, or place attention above the hairline or between your eyebrows. If you are still not fresh, rub the eyes or the body. If that still doesn't wake you, stand up and walk, always clockwise. Once you've gone about a hundred steps you probably won't be sleepy any longer. The way to walk is to take a half step with each breath. Walk without walking, silent and unmoving.

If you still don't feel fresh after doing kinhin, wash your eyes and forehead with cold water. Or chant the "Three Pure Precepts of the Bodhisattvas". Do something; don't just fall asleep. You should be aware of the great matter of birth and death and the swiftness of impermanence. What are you doing sleeping when your eye of the way is still clouded? If dullness and sinking arise repeatedly you should chant, "Habituality is deeply rooted and so I am wrapped in dullness. When will dullness disperse? May the compassion of the buddhas and patriarchs lift this darkness and misery."

If the mind wanders, place attention at the tip of the nose and tanden and count the inhalations and exhalations. If that doesn't stop the scattering, bring up a phrase and keep it in awareness - for example: "What is it that comes thus?" or "When no thought arises, where is affliction? - Mount Sumeru!" or "What is the meaning of Bodhidharma's coming from the West? - The cypress in the garden." Sayings like this that you can't draw any flavour out of are suitable.

If scattering continues, sit and look to that point where the breath ends and the eyes close forever and where the child is not yet conceived, where not a single concept can be produced. When a sense of the two-fold emptiness of self and things appears, scattering will surely rest.

Arising from stillness, carry out activities without hesitation. This moment is the koan. When practice and realization are without complexity then the koan is this present moment. That which is before any trace arises, the scenery on the other side of time's destruction, the activity of all buddhas and patriarchs, is just this one thing.

You should just rest and cease. Be cooled, pass numberless years as this moment. Be cold ashes, a withered tree, an incense burner in an abandoned temple, a piece of unstained silk. This is my earnest wish.

2:39 AM, July 27, 2006  
Blogger jundo cohen said...

Dear Big Fish,

Thank you for posting Master Keizan's ZAZEN-YÔJINKI.

It is worth noting that Keizan, although practicing and preaching the very same philosophy of Zazen as Master Dogen, was always a bit more flowery, magical and taken by concepts of Mikkyo (esoteric Buddhism) in his writings compared to Dogen. This can be seen at various points in contrasting Keizan's words with Master Dogen's rather more "down to earth" Fukanzazengi. Even Dogen was not completely free of such things, not surprising at all when discussing people living in the culture of the supersticious Middle Ages.

The scholar, Bernard Faure, has a good book on the subject of Keizan: "Visions of Power"

The tendency has always been found in Chan and Zen, and what is special about Dogen is how much he avoided it. Anther scholar of Zen's history, T. Griffith Foulk, wrote:

"Modern scholars, as I noted earlier, have often contrasted the "pure" Zen of Dogen with the "syncretic" Zen of Keizan and the later Soto school. Dogen's "purity" in Zen is associated with a rejection of ritual and with an emphasis on the exclusive practice of zazen. ... Keizan's Zen is characterized by modern scholars as having been "diluted" by prayer services (kito) and other elements of esoteric Buddhist (mikkyo) ritual presumed to have been introduced to increase the popular appeal of Zen among the laity. But the prayer services, sutra chanting services (fugin), offerings to the Arhats (rakan kuyo) and other rituals cited as evidence of the influence of Japanese esotericism on post-Dogen Soto Zen are all found in Chinese Ch'an monastic codes, and are not unprecedented in Dogen's writings."

What is perhaps very modern about Dogen is how much he is free of all that despite the culture of the times in which he lived and the traditions he inherited.

Perhaps Nishijima Roshi will correct me if my understanding of history is off?

Anyway, I am sorry to violate Keizan's injunction:

Though you should not begrudge anyone the dharma, do not preach it unless you are asked. Even if someone asks, keep silent three times

Gassho, Jundo

5:20 AM, July 27, 2006  
Blogger element said...

"You should regulate your breathing as follows: open your mouth for a little while, letting long breaths be long and short breaths be short, and harmonize it gradually. Follow your breath for a while; when awareness comes, your breathing will be naturally harmonized. After that, breathe naturally through your nose."

5:31 AM, July 27, 2006  
Blogger element said...

Thank you Jundo for making clear that difference.
Maybe what Keizan says about breathing
is still too much?

5:14 PM, July 27, 2006  
Blogger gniz said...

Just want to point out...I said if we stopped the drama, namecalling, flame-wars, that basicaly the traffic to this blog would stop.
And the evidence is that is happening. Look at how many comments were in the previous three or four blogs and then look at how many comments are on this blog.
The next post will have even less.


3:33 AM, July 29, 2006  
Blogger Dan said...

but surely that's a good thing gniz?

4:50 AM, August 01, 2006  
Blogger j said...


7:14 PM, August 02, 2006  

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