Dogen Sangha Blog


Japanese / German

Saturday, June 30, 2007

It´s now or never

Dear Master Gudo Wafu Nishijima,

Thank you for your clear answers. Today here are my questions as follows.

Dear Dr Siegfried Hohlfeld,

My answers are as follows.

Q.1: Does action create time?

A.1: I do not think that action creates time, but without action there is no real time, and at the same time without the present time there is no real action.

Q.2: Is time - before and after an action- an illusion?

A.2: I think that before an action time is a kind of suposition, and after an action time is a kind of memory.

Q.3: Are our habitual patterns of thought a hindrance to intuitive

A.3: I think that our habitual patterns of thoughts are sometimes a hindrance, not to intuitive action, but to intuition itself.

Q.4: (1) Do we have to give up the cognitive function to compare with
what we already believe to know?

A.4: (1) We should never give up the recognitive function, but our recognitive functions are limitlessly many, and so they are sometime useless for us having a decision.

Q.4: (2) Do we have to admitt and realize that we really don´t know anything and even don´t need to know any-thing?

A.4: (2) No, we should never admit and realize that we really don't know anything and even don't need to know any-thing.

Q.4: (3) Do we just have to be?

A.4: (3) No, but we should always be and act while we are living.

Q.5: What is duration? A moment,a flashlight, a bubble on the river - ?

A.5: Duration is series of present moments.

Q.6: Is our action here and now the only Reality which creates all in a permanent

A.6: Yes, our action here and now is the only Reality which creates all in a permanent change.

Q.7: Does only responsibility remain and last? And what for?

A.7: I wonder whether even responsibility remains or lasts. I think that responsibility is some times memories in our brain.

Q.8: (1) How can we solve the paradox of the present moment that we are both free and

A.8: (1) The method, which can solve the paradox of the present moment that we are free and bound, comes from just the structure of present moment itself. The present moment is a so short time like a width of a razer edge. And so if we put a pearl on a edge of razer, the pearl can falls down sometimes to the right side, sometimes to the left side, because of the so narrow edge of the razer. So we can recognize that because of so short length of the present moment, even though it is decided by series of past, present, and future, just at the present moment, human action can be perfectly free.

Q.8: (2) How to dissolve this last duality?

A.8: (2) Because an action and the present moment are always combined perfectly into one without fail.

Q.9: Is not-acting at all an impossibility?

A.9: It is impossible for us not to act or not to live while we are living.

Thank you for your kind answers and best wishes

siegfried hohlfeld

Thank you very much for your important and valuable questions.

Gudo Wafu Nishijima

Monday, June 25, 2007

About Reality

Dear Gudo Wafu Nishijima,

Learning from your answers is great benefit,thank you! My questions are as follows.

Q.1: Is there an absolute Reality and a relative ?

A.1: Reality is always an absolute one only.

Q.2: Does every process with different and opposite directions has to come to an
equilibrium (plus/minus=zero) to enter Reality?

A.2: No, I don't think so. The equilibrium is just related with the human autonomic nervous system, and so it is impossible for us to expand it another area.

Q.3: How does intuition function in a balanced state of equilibrium? What is it?

A.3: The intuition teaches us the Truth at once. That is only a simple fact.

Q.4: What is a mind like a mirror?

A,4: A mind is mental function, for example consideration, perception, or intuition.

Thank you! Best wishes

segfried hohlfeld

Thank you very much for your sincere questions.

Gudo Wafu Nishijima

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Dear Dr Hohlfeld,

Thank you very much for your important questions today.

Q.1 : Is there a biography of Nagarjuna?

A.1 : I have studied a biography of Nagarjuna relying upon Doctor Nakamura Hajime's book entitled "Nagarjuna" in Japanese, which is published by Kodansha. The book belongs to a series of "Intelectual Legacy of Human Beings." I guess that there might be some books of his biography in English, but so far I haven't read them yet.

Q.2: What are some important facts in which Nagarjuna and Dogen share the
same opinion?

A.2: I think that the most important facts, which are common between Nagarjuna and Dogen, are that the two great Masters both had a very clear idea that Buddhism is just Realism. And in this case it is very important that Realism is absolutely different from Materialism in Buddhism, but unfortunately many people are not so clear about this problem yet.

Q.3: Do you think that dreaming has a useful relation to Reality?

A.3: I think that everyone should be responsible even in dreams, and so I have idea that even a dream is also a data, which suggests some kind of Reality.

Q.4: Does our action bring the world into existence ?

A.4: Our action at the present moment is just an existence in Reality, and so it is also the Universe itself.

Q.5: How can we come to deep insight into necessity?

A.5: I do not know whether it is necessary for us to come to deep insight, or not, because I do not know whether the so-called deep insight exists really on the earth, or not.

Thank you very much for your very important questions.

Gudo Wafu Nishijima

Friday, June 22, 2007

Finding a teacher

Dear Gudo Nishijima Roshi:

Thank you for inviting me to participate in the Dogen Sangha Blog. My question to you concerns zazen and teachers. My first teacher was wonderful, but I did not know this at the time--I just thought this was the way things were supposed to be.
I knew nothing about Japanese culture, I knew nothing about Soto/Rinzai lineage, I knew nothing about Zen or zazen.
My first teacher was Matsuoka Roshi. He emphasized practicing zazen 'everyday everyday.'
After several years I had to move away and could not sit with Matsuoka Roshi any more. Then I found out just how rare and precious it is to have a group to sit with and to have a teacher.
Having a teacher is so important.
So my question to you has to do with teachers. How do you know when a teacher is 'good' for you and when you need to find one more suitable?
Some parts of practice where 'ego' are concerned are uncomfortable and unpleasant, working with a teacher in this area, some exchanges may not feel 'good.' I have had the experience of one of my teachers psychologically 'beating me up' and bullying me. At first I thought this was 'crazy wisdom' but after a while it became clear this was just bad treatment.

Now I understand what I want: how to take zazen into every aspect of my daily life.

In the beginning I did not know what I wanted--it was sheer luck (karma?) to find Matsuoka Roshi at the Zen Temple of Long Beach and get a such a good start.

How would you advise someone just beginning, who knows nothing about anything, in finding a teacher?

In closing I want to say that I am deeply grateful to all my teachers: past, present, and future.
(As you know, I recently started sitting with Odo in Santa Monica and I also recently joined the Treeleaf Sangha on the internet with Jundo. Both are wonderful teachers and place emphasis on daily regular practice of zazen.)

I very much appreciate your kindness in inviting me to participate in this world wide Dogen Sangha Blog.