Sunday, May 31, 2015

This Side is This Side, That Side is That Side

The notion that our ‘self’ is something that looks around and encounters ‘a world’ that exists before, after, or otherwise independent of its being encountered is a false notion, a delusion. ‘Things’ or ‘a world’ being encountered is ‘ourself.’ To recognize sights, sounds, tastes, smells, tactile sensations, and thoughts here-now as our ‘self’ is enlightenment.

Driving ourselves to practice and experience the myriad dharmas is delusion. When the myriad dharmas actively practice and experience ourselves, that is the state of realization.
Shobogenzo, Genjokoan, Gudo Nishijima & Mike Cross

As sentient beings are the realization of dharmas here-now, dharmas here-now are the realization of sentient beings. When you see a mountain, a mountain is seen by you. A mountain makes you what you are, you make a mountain what it is – ‘you’ is mountain-made, ‘a mountain’ is you-made.

Dogen often speaks of ‘pictures’ or ‘paintings’ as well as ‘fences, walls, tiles, and pebbles’ to emphasize that Buddha exists nowhere else but in the very ‘human-made’ (experientially realized) dharmas constituting the here-now of every moment of our existence.
But while it is true that the myriad dharmas ‘are realized as sentient beings’ it is also true that sentient beings are ‘realized as the myriad dharmas’ – thus we need to be wary of egocentricity. Mountains, paintings, fences, walls, tiles, and pebbles depend on us, but we also depend on them – from ‘this side’ (our perspective) the myriad dharmas are objects, from ‘that side’ (the perspective of dharmas) we are objects. We need to learn from them in order to interact normally with them, to ably respond (responsibility). To learn from them is to recognize them as the very words and deeds of Buddha.
If we want to inquire into this mind, it is present in visible fences, walls, tiles, and pebbles; and if we want to experience this mind, it is present in the realization of fences, walls, tiles, and pebbles. Now, though these fences, walls, tiles, and pebbles are produced by human beings, at the same time they are words and deeds of Dharma. Who could hold sway over them? When we see them like this, it is evident that “fences, walls, tiles, and pebbles” are beyond substance before our eyes, and that substance before our eyes is not “fences, walls, tiles, and pebbles.” In sum, fences, walls, tiles, and pebbles on this side are illuminating us as yonder objects; and we on this side are being illuminated by fences, walls, tiles, and pebbles as yonder objects.
Himitsu-shobogenzo, Butsu-kojo-no-ji, Gudo Nishijima & Mike Cross

Saturday, May 30, 2015

A Unique Encounter With Buddha

The very act of respectfully meeting and serving is the buddha. This is in accordance with the notion of the enactment-buddha (gyobutsu), wherein enactment and buddha are one.

Hee-Jin Kim, Flowers of Emptiness, p.66


From the Buddhist perspective of reality each and every particular thing, being, and event is a manifest form of the whole universe, an actual expression of Buddha. Every particular phenomenon is a unique, individual appearance of the myriad phenomena that constitute the mind alone. In short, each thing, being, and event we encounter is a unique encounter with Buddha – total existence-time as it is here-now.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Particularity of Buddha Here-Now

Clearly, ‘mind’ is mountains, rivers, and the earth, the sun, the moon, and the stars.
Shobogenzo, Soku-shin-ze-butsu, Gudo Nishijima & Mike Cross


Buddha – this mind – is (not, ‘is like’) mountains, rivers, and the earth, the sun, moon, and stars. Mind – Buddha – is houses and streets, animals, guns, plants, thoughts, bombs, corpses, laughter, and cancers. Mind is all particular dharmas as they are; particular dharmas. All particular dharmas are this mind as it is; this mind. This tree is the mind as it is, the mind as it is, is all dharmas, hence is this tree. That this tree is mind ‘as it is,’ means mind only exists as mind by virtue of this tree existing as this tree. Because this tree is mind ‘as it is,’ it actually goes too far to say ‘is mind,’ and is more accurate to simply say ‘this tree.’ As Dogen puts it:


Mind as mountains, rivers, and the earth is nothing other than mountains, rivers, and the earth. There are no additional waves or surf, no wind or smoke. Mind as the sun, the moon, and the stars is nothing other than the sun, the moon, and the stars.

Shobogenzo, Soku-shin-ze-butsu, Gudo Nishijima & Mike Cross


The point to get is that, in Zen, it is not general dharmas but particular dharmas that are recognized as the fundamental self-generating elements, or better activity, of the universe as it is. The universe spoken of by Shobogenzo as ‘this mind,’ ‘Buddha,’ ‘one mind,’ or ‘all dharmas’ is not merely the sum of all things or the totality of everything throughout space and time; it is the very things and events you are experiencing right here-now (soku), it is the very you right here-now experiencing things and events. The very things, events, and you that right here-now is ‘this mind’ are not arbitrary miscellany or various generalities; but the actual mountains, rivers, and earth you see here-now, the sun, the moon, the stars here-now.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

One Mind As All Dharmas, All Dharmas As One Mind

The mind that has been authentically transmitted’ means one mind as all dharmas, and all dharmas as one mind.

Shobogenzo, Soku-shin-ze-butsu, Gudo Nishijima & Mike Cross

‘Buddha’ and ‘one mind’ are not different things – ‘this mind is Buddha,’ and ‘Buddha’ (or ‘this mind’) is ‘all dharmas.’ ‘All dharmas’ is ‘one mind’ (or ‘Buddha’). Further, each and every ‘particular dharma’ is an essential element of ‘all dharmas’ which is ‘Buddha’ (or ‘mind’), and ‘Buddha’ (or ‘mind’) is ‘all dharmas,’ hence ‘Buddha’ (or ‘mind’) is each and every ‘particular dharma.’

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Self that is Life, the Life that is Self

The triple world is only the one mind,

There is nothing else outside of the mind.

The mind, buddha, and living beings—

The three are without distinction.

Shobogenzo, Sangai-yuishin, Gudo Nishijima & Mike Cross


What has been described like this is that life is the self, and the self is life.

Shobogenzo, Zenki, Gudo Nishijima & Mike Cross