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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Master Dogen's thoughts on desire

Recently I have received a book as a present from Ven. Brad Warner entitled "Zen Wrapped in Karma dipped in chocolate." And reading it I was rather surprised that it was a kind of confession of his daily life, and his expression is so sincere and honest.
Therefore I remember Master Dogen's opinion about desire, which appears Shobogenzo (43) Kuge indicated a poem, which was composed by Chosetsu Shusai. The poem includes 8 lines, and at the 5th line, Chosetsu wrote:

"If we want to cut down desire perfectly, the desire will increase much more doubled."

And I think that if the person is a man or a woman, who has experienced his or her life well, would affirm that what Chosetsu descrived is true. (The translation of the poem has been corrected by Gudo Nishijima.)

I think that the line of the poem has indicated that our efforts to erase desire perfectly, usually work well for promoting desire.

So Master Dogen added his comments after the line, that "We have not been free of disease hitherto; we have had the Buddha bug and the patiarch bug. Intellectual excluding now adds to the disease and augments the disease. The very moment itself of eliminating is inevitably disturbance. They are simaltaneous and are beyond simultaneousness. Disturbance always include the fact of [trying to] eliminate them. (by Gudo and Cross)

Therefore Master Dogen insisted that desire was inevitably identified to the supression of desire itself completely.

Reading those Master Dogen's interpretations I feel exactly that Master Dogen's clearly realistic interpretation of Desire must be true.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Practice of Zazen should be done everyday.

Zazen is the practice, which makes our ANS balanced. Therefore if we practice Zazen for a few days, and stop it for a few days, our ANS has the balanced states for a few days, and the unbalanced states for a few days. Therefore in such situations we can have some comfortable situations, but at the same time we should have some uncomfortable situations for later few days.

Therefore if we want to have the habit of practicing Zazen, we should do it every day without stopping it for the 3 months hopefully. After we have continued the habit of practicing Zazen for about 3 months, we can find ourselves, who are keeping the balanced state, and who are continuing our comfortable life. And since then it is impossible for us to stop the habit usually.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Buddhism has evolved from a religion into a philosophy in 20th Century

Since Gautama Buddha has given Buddhism to human beings for the first time in the 5th or 4th Century B.C., about 2,500 years has passed, but during those years we, human beings, have been thought that Buddhism must be a religion. Because during that time we, human beings, have never understood the reason, why we, human beings, can get "Satori, or enlightenment" relying upon the practice of Zazen theoretically.

However since 20th Century, we, human beings, have begun to understand the reason, why we can get "Sarori, or enlightenment" because of practicing Zazen at last. Because of the enormously excellent progress in physiology and psychology in the 20th Century, human beings have found the scientific reason, why we can get "Satori, or enlightenment" by practicing Zazen. And since then Buddhism has begun to change itself from Religion, which believe in getting enlightenment by practicing Zazen only on belief, to Philosophy, which can realize clearly that we can get enlightenment by practicing Zazen on the basis of philosophy and practice. Therefore since the 21st Century, people, who practice Zazen, should understand why it is possible for human beings to get enlightenment by practicing Zazen.

When we think why it is possible for us to get enlightenment by practicing Zazen, the most important fact may be that human beings have found the existence of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) in our body and mind in the 20th Century for the first time. Before that time human beings have known the existence of Cerebrospinal Nervous System (CNS) since the Ancient Time, but in the case of ANS, human beings haven't known the existence of ANS at all before the 20th Century. And in the case of CNS, we can move it by our brain as far as we want,
but in the case of ANS, it is perfectly impossible for us to move ANS by our will at all.

And ANS is devided into two parts, that is, the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) and the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS), and SNS and PNS have generally kept absolutely opposite function.

When SNS is stronger, human beings are prone to show its function, which is rather spiritual, restrictive, rigid, and stern. But when PNS is stronger, human beings are prone to show its function, which is rather lazy, dull, relaxed, and unreliable. However, when the strength of SNS and the strength of PNS are equal, human beings can maintain themselves in the area of human beings. And every human beings have duty to maintain themselves as human beings, and so we human beings have to practice Zazen everyday.

Therefore we, human beings, have duty to practice Zazen everyday, and by continuing the practice every day, we can maintain the situations of human beings everyday by practicing Zazen without fail. Of course the practice is never limited only into Zazen, but for example practices of many kinds of Sports, producing many kinds of Fine Arts, many kinds of scientific research, and so forth, and so those kinds of miscellaneous human efforts are useful for making our ANS balanced. But in Shobogenzo, Master Dogen insisted that the reason why we usually select the practice of Zazn to have ANS balanced, might be related with the facts that Zazen is the most peaceful and easiest practice among many kinds of practices. Therefore Zazen can never be any kind of ascetic efforts, but the method to make our ANS balanced in our daily life.

By understanding those kind of theory, Buddhism has found the true meaning of Zazen in the 20th Century, and so since the 21st Century, Buddhism has changed from Religion to Philosophy, and so since then we, human beings, can pursue the Ultimate Truth of Buddhist Realism relying upon the practice of Zaze.