Tuesday, May 24, 2016

ZEN: What is and isn't Dharma (Bendowa)

Jeff Albrizze (PasaDharma.org), "The Bendowa," Dhr. Seven, CC Liu (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
"Zen and the Art of Lawn Maintenance" (Berry Cartoons/berrystudio)
  • Free weekly Zen meditation practice in Pasadena (Neighborhood Church) with sitting and walking meditation in redwood grove, reading, discussion, Thursdays, 7:00-8:30 pm.
Lesson 23
Eihei Dogen Zenji (The Bendowa or "A Discourse on Doing One's Utmost in Practicing the Way of the Buddhas"), Shasta Abbey translation
Q 10. "There are some who say: Do not grieve over birth and death, since there is an extremely quick method for freeing yourself from them, namely, by understanding the principle that it is the innate nature of one's mind to be ever-abiding, to persist without change. This means that, because this physical body has been born, it will inevitably come to perish, but even so, this innate nature of the mind will never perish...."

(NothingSpecial) Modern interpretation of Chapter 1 of the Shobogenzo called the  translated by Mike Eido Luetchford, read by Hugh Ransley, with sound and visuals produced by Jonathan Humphrey, photography by Greg Sobczynski.
The "soul" vine of the Amazon (wiki)
A 10. "The view that you have just expressed is in NO way Buddhism, but rather the non-Buddhist view of the Shrenikans. This erroneous view of theirs may be stated as follows: In our bodies there is a soul-like intelligence. When this intelligence, or intellect, encounters conditions, it makes distinctions between good and bad as well as discriminating right from wrong. It is conscious of what is painful or itches from desire and is awake to what is hard to bear or easy. All such responses are within the capacity of this intelligence.

"However, when this body of ours perishes, this soul-like nature sloughs it off and is reborn somewhere else. As a result, even though it appears to perish in the here and now, it will have its rebirth in another place, never perishing, but always abiding unchanged.

"So this erroneous view goes. Be that as it may, your modeling yourself upon this view and regarding it as the Buddha's Teaching is more foolish than clutching onto a roof tile or a pebble in the belief that it is gold or some precious jewel. The shamefulness of such befuddled ignorance and delusion [begs] comparison.

Dōgen watching the moon (circa 1250).
"National Teacher Echu in Great Sung China has strongly warned us about such a view. For you to now equate the wondrous Dharma of all the Buddhas with the mistaken notion that your mind will abide while your physical features perish, and to imagine that the very thing which gives rise to the cause of birth and death has freed you from birth and death -- is this not being foolish? And how deeply pitiable! Be aware that this is the mistaken view of one who is outside the Way, and do not lend ear to it.

"Because I now feel even greater pity for you, I cannot leave the matter here, but I will try to rescue you from your erroneous view. You should understand that, in Buddhism, we have always spoken not only of body and mind as being inseparable, but also of the nature of something and the form it takes as not being two different things.
"As this Teaching was likewise well known in both India and China, we dare not deviate from it. Even more, in Buddhist instruction that speaks of what is persistent, all things are said to have persistence without their ever being separated into categories of 'body' and 'mind.'

"In instruction that talks about cessation, all things are said to be subject to cessation without differentiating whether they are of some particular nature or have some particular form. So why do you risk contradicting the correct principle by saying that the body ceases while the mind permanently abides? ..."

No comments: