Dogen Sangha Blog


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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Dropping body and mind

Dear Nishijima Roshi,

This is a video of you answering a question about the meaning of the expression "dropping body and mind" (shin-jin-datsu-raku in Japanese) that Master Dogen used to describe what happens when we practice Zazen. This expression comes up sometimes in discussions about Zen Buddhism, but it can be a bit difficult to understand. In the video you also answer questions about the difference between someone who is enlightened and someone who isn't. I think your answers are very helpful, so I hope you won't mind me putting this on your blog for people to watch.

Best wishes,

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Blogger Kurt said...

Dear Peter,
Indeed, it is very helpful. Thank you so much.
Best regards

4:38 PM, February 28, 2008  
Blogger GUDO NISHIJIMA said...

Dear Peter San, and regina San,

Thank you very much for your important question, and my answer is as follows.

The state of dropping body and mind is much related with the situation of the autonomic nervous system (ANS).

When we are practicing Zazen, we can keep our ANS balanced, or we can keep the strength of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the trength of the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) equal.

And as you know, the function of SNS is related with our consideration, and the function of the PNS is related with our perception.

Therefore when the function of SNS and the function of PNS have become equal, we are prone to feel as if it were no consideration and no perception, and so Master Dogen describes such a feeling with the expression of "dropping body and mind."

Gudo Wafu Nishijima

9:53 PM, February 29, 2008  

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