2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

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  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39211

    2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    Aloha,

    This section contains one of my favorite phrases, one of the most important I think ...

    Grasping at things is surely delusion, according with sameness is still not enlightenment.
    We continue with the THIRD TALK in Suzuki Roshi's talks on the Sandokai ... "BUDDHA IS ALWAYS HERE", pages 51 to 59.

    Please also try to listen to Zoketsu Norm Fischer, who may clear things up in the light ... or put us more in the dark! :wink:

    http://edz-audio.s3.amazonaws.com/Sando ... 004-10.mp3

    (transcript here) http://www.everydayzen.org/index.php?It ... xt-273-182

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE
  • CharlesC
    Member
    • May 2008
    • 83

    #2
    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

    My notes on the third talk:

    The "spiritual source" reminded me of the Tao Te Ching:

    The Tao that can be told of
    Is not the Absolute Tao;
    The Names that can be given
    Are not Absolute Names.

    The Nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth;
    The Named is the Mother of All Things.

    Therefore:
    Oftentimes, one strips oneself of passion
    In order to see the Secret of Life;
    Oftentimes, one regards life with passion,
    In order to see its manifest forms.

    These two (the Secret and its manifestations)
    Are (in their nature) the same;
    They are given different names
    When they become manifest.

    They may both be called the Cosmic Mystery:
    Reaching from the Mystery into the Deeper Mystery
    Is the Gate to the Secret of All Life.
    Was there a Taoist influence on the development of Zen in China?

    The source or ri is not a philosophical concept of oneness. If it is seen in this way then what is being thought of is part of the many.

    "Only when you practice zazen do you have it". I guess this means when you drop mind and body, i.e. drop all conceptual experience of life. Only when you practice zazen?

    Is the source the same sense of oneness that other religions are centred on, sometimes known as God, something beyond words and description of any sort, yet completely real for those who experience it?

    "Being" includes our thoughts - no distinction between outside and within ourselves. The source generates the subjective and the objective, it is in both of them.

    ri - pure and stainless - "no color, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no objects of mind" - as in the the Heart Sutra.

    ji - the phenomenal - sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, mind

    Yet both co-exist. They are not separate.

    Is awareness of beauty ri or ji? An aesthetic or sublime experience can have a transcendent feel to it. Is this a glimpse of ri?

    I like the image of flowing water. The source is not static but is generating the dynamic forms of the many.

    Grasping and sticking to things is delusion, including sticking to the idea of oneness. An enlightened person does not live in some blissful world of oneness but engages in the world of things, the crucial difference between the unenlightened person and the enlightened person being that the latter does not stick to things, instead seeing the continual play between the one and the many. I take this to mean that a need to discriminate may arise but should be dropped when it is no longer necessary.

    The importance of practising zazen. To pay our own debts? Does this mean to pay off some sort of karmic debt, to "wipe the slate clean" of our previous actions? Reversal of the image of finding the jewel in your sleeve. In the previous talk practice was like finding something in your sleeve; here finding the jewel in your sleeve and thinking it is buddha nature is only ji.

    An historical sequence of great sages including the Buddha, a time of following their teaching, and then a time when people don't practice zazen and don't follow the precepts. Isn't this just looking at the past as some sort of unrealistic golden age?

    The teaching of the Buddha cannot be understood. To think that is a category mistake, going back to the view that the source is beyond conceptual understanding.

    Comment

    • prg5001
      Member
      • Apr 2008
      • 76

      #3
      Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

      Hi,

      One question I have is, why would additions to The Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch be kept if they were not correct? The copy on my shelf has the "no mirror" poem.

      Another question is, do people today observe the precepts less now than in previous days?

      Those are just my fishy questions.

      Cheers,

      Paul

      Comment

      • CharlesC
        Member
        • May 2008
        • 83

        #4
        Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

        From the Wikipedia entry on [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taoism]Taoism[/quote]:

        The entry of Buddhism into China was marked by interaction and syncretism, with Taoism in particular.[91] Originally seen as a kind of "foreign Taoism", Buddhism's scriptures were translated into Chinese using the Taoist vocabulary.[92] Chan Buddhism was particularly modified by Taoism, integrating distrust of scripture, text and even language, as well as the Taoist views of embracing "this life", dedicated practice and the "every-moment".[93] Taoism incorporated Buddhist elements during the Tang period, such as monasteries, vegetarianism, prohibition of alcohol, the doctrine of emptiness, and collecting scripture in tripartite organisation. During the same time, Chan Buddhism grew to become the largest sect in Chinese Buddhism.[94] Recent researches, e.g. Christine Mollier, found that a number of Buddhist sutras found in medieval East Asia and Central Asia adopted many materials from earlier Taoist scriptures.

        Comment

        • Jundo
          Treeleaf Founder and Priest
          • Apr 2006
          • 39211

          #5
          Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

          Related to the question of Daoist influence ... I'm often asked how much the Buddhism we are practicing here, or Zen Buddhism in general, relates to what "The Buddha Taught". I wrote this once, if anyone is interested in that question:

          But one thing for folks to remember is that Buddhism did change and evolve over many centuries, as it passed from culture to culture in Asia. The Buddha lived 2500 years ago in ancient India, whereupon the philosophy passed to China 1000 years later, and then to someone like Master Dogen who lived about 1000 years after that in medieval Japan. You and I live in the strange world known as the 21st century. Certainly, some changes arose along the way in some important interpretations and outer forms. For example, the Chinese made Zen Practice very Chinese, the Japanese very medieval Japanese, and now we are making it very Western.

          However, the Heart of the Buddha's teachings ... the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, Non-Self, Non-Attachment, the Middle Way, etc. etc., ... All are here now as much as there then!!

          How?

          On the one hand some outer stuff is, well, changed. For example, when Buddhism came to China it was heavily influenced by, and pretty much merged with, Taoism (not to mention that it was already "Mahayana Buddhism" by that time, a very different flavor from the original). The result was this little thing we now call "Zen Buddhism". So, congratulations, we are already "Taoists" and "Mahayana Buddhists" ... not just "Buddhists". When it got to Japan, the Japanese added Japanese culture to it. In the West, we are now making some very good changes (although we have to, of course, try to avoid bad changes). These good changes include equality of the sexes and a greater emphasis on lay practice.

          But it is still Buddhism. What Dogen taught was Buddhism. What we do around Treeleaf (I do believe) is as Buddhism as Buddhism can be.

          I will even go so far as to say (and this is the kind of statement that has gotten me into all kinds of trouble on with some folks in Buddhism's own fundamentalist quarters) that maybe, just maybe, later Buddhism actually made some big and important "improvements" to the Buddha's original formulation with all those additions, and a couple of thousand years of working out the kinks and bugs. It is much like saying that Buddha was Henry Ford, who first thought up the brilliant idea of sticking 4 wheels on an internal combustion engine, but now we can drive a Prius! I even say that maybe, just maybe, the Buddha was not infallible on every darn thing and, while he was 90% right in his proposals, he also had some klunkers and narrow ideas here and there (as fits a man who lived in a traditional, myth based society some 2500 years ago in ancient India) ... like the whole thing about an overly mechanical view of rebirth, the place of women, the need to abandon the world and family in order to Practice and to repress or extinquish (as opposed to moderate & balance & pierce) the desires and emotions. ...

          Also, do not forget that what the Buddha taught was an oral tradition for hundreds of years, passed down orally alone, until somebody finally wrote it all down hundreds of years after he was dead ... and then all the Buddhists immediately set to disagreeing about which of them had the "authentic" teachings. (The book "What the Buddha Taught" tries to play down that fact). That is why a study of the entire history of Buddhism is useful in knowing the interpretation(s) of the "Eightfold Path".

          Dogen was different from Shakyamuni Buddha, who are both different from all of us.

          But when we are sitting a moment of Zazen ... perfectly whole, just complete unto itself, without borders and duration, not long or short, nothing to add or take away, containing all moments and no moments in "this one moment" ... piercing Dukkha, attaining non-self, non-attached ... then there is not the slightest gap between each of us and the Buddha.

          Gassho, Jundo
          ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

          Comment

          • Jundo
            Treeleaf Founder and Priest
            • Apr 2006
            • 39211

            #6
            Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

            Originally posted by CharlesC

            Grasping and sticking to things is delusion, including sticking to the idea of oneness. An enlightened person does not live in some blissful world of oneness but engages in the world of things, the crucial difference between the unenlightened person and the enlightened person being that the latter does not stick to things, instead seeing the continual play between the one and the many. I take this to mean that a need to discriminate may arise but should be dropped when it is no longer necessary.
            Can you discriminate but see through the differences? Can you choose and not choose, all at the same time? Can you drop many likes and dislikes, yet have other likes and dislikes ... all while, hand-in-hand without the least conflict, dropping all likes and dislikes to the marrow?

            Can you move yet be still, stand still while moving?

            These are not either/or propositions. In normal life, we must either go through the green light, or stop and wait for the red light. In Zen Practice, we must learn to stop while we go, go while fully stopped. Something like that.

            Gassho, Jundo
            ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

            Comment

            • JeffLegg
              Member
              • Jun 2008
              • 39

              #7
              Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

              I, like Charles, was really helped by the water metaphor. It was one of those sentences that just hit me in the sense that it cleared up some of my muddier thoughts. The title of the book from this section is so pretty; however, I still had a hard time grasping it. But, Suzuki Roshi's statement that the darkness was ignorance really impressed upoin me that all continues despite our awareness. But, we can cut through the delusion and catch a glimpse if we work on it.

              Going to go back and re-read and await others posts.

              Thank you,
              Jeff

              Comment

              • jrh001
                Member
                • Nov 2008
                • 144

                #8
                Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

                Norman Fischer's talk is interesting. Here are a few notes:
                * spiritual source - the chinese symbols in the text represent water and clouds, and the light is gentle and softly glowing. He decribes the source as "always supportive, necessary, fundamental, un-namable".
                * branching streams - the chinese symbols represent teachings/viewpoints/sects, not necessarily "streams" - he says the word "stream" doesn't appear.
                * light = one, purity. There's some discussion about the words Suzuki uses - NF doesn't think that "noumenal" is the correct word.
                * dark = many, impurity. Dark = "don't know".

                As Jundo said, we should always remember we're reading translations (of translations) and interpretations (of interpretations).

                I wonder if there's an another meaning for "the branching streams flow on in the dark" and that is "away from the light, the path divides".

                JohnH

                Comment

                • Jundo
                  Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                  • Apr 2006
                  • 39211

                  #9
                  Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

                  Originally posted by jrh001

                  I wonder if there's an another meaning .... and that is "away from the light, the path divides".

                  JohnH
                  I believe one point of the poem is that we are never away, can never be away from the light ... we are precisely that light ... the dark is through and through the light, which is the place precisely where the path divides ... and the divided path itself.

                  And sometimes we forget too that the "light" needs "dark" to be called the "light".

                  In most of life we think the lights in the room must be "on" or "off". In our Zen practice, turning off or on the lights is just having the lights on.
                  ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                  Comment

                  • Tb
                    Member
                    • Jan 2008
                    • 3186

                    #10
                    Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

                    Originally posted by Jundo
                    Originally posted by jrh001

                    I wonder if there's an another meaning .... and that is "away from the light, the path divides".

                    JohnH
                    I believe one point of the poem is that we are never away, can never be away from the light ... we are precisely that light ... the dark is through and through the light, which is the place precisely where the path divides ... and the divided path itself.

                    And sometimes we forget too that the "light" needs "dark" to be called the "light".

                    In most of life we think the lights in the room must be "on" or "off". In our Zen practice, turning off or on the lights is just having the lights on.
                    Hi.

                    Another way of putting it is "do not separate between hot and cold".

                    I also like the story, it puts some dust in "the high and mighty" who think things can only be done one way...

                    Mtfbwy
                    Tb
                    Life is our temple and its all good practice
                    Blog: http://fugenblog.blogspot.com/

                    Comment

                    • Tony-KY
                      Member
                      • Nov 2007
                      • 63

                      #11
                      Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

                      I understand and appreciate the notion that ri and ji, abstract Truth and phenomenal truth are interdependent and make up a dynamic reality as in Fischer's examples of not being able to carry gravity in buckets, and there is no separation of gravity from the phenomena of things falling.

                      But, Suzuki Roshi used the example that when you think of the "river over there" as a thing that only exists in the mind. I believe that I understand what he is saying in that I would be carrying a static idea (of the river) in my head. But, could it seem that this could be used to imply solipsism - that the one true reality is one's subjective reality and that there is no objective reality?

                      Clear as mud? :?

                      Gassho,

                      Tony

                      Comment

                      • Tb
                        Member
                        • Jan 2008
                        • 3186

                        #12
                        Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

                        Hi.

                        Here in sweden there's an childprogram called "five ants is more than four elephants".
                        In it they sometimes sing a song about the concept "here" and "there".

                        Here is where you are.
                        There is where you are not.
                        Here is always with you.
                        Here is always with you.
                        But in reality both here and there is always with you.
                        If there were no THERE there would be no HERE...

                        Mtfbwy
                        Tb
                        Life is our temple and its all good practice
                        Blog: http://fugenblog.blogspot.com/

                        Comment

                        • Jundo
                          Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                          • Apr 2006
                          • 39211

                          #13
                          Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

                          Originally posted by Tony-KY
                          this could be used to imply solipsism - that the one true reality is one's subjective reality and that there is no objective reality?
                          Well, them PLEASE don't quit thinking about me, Tony, as I don't wish to vanish quite yet. :shock:

                          Actually, solipsism has been proposed by various Buddhist philosophers over the centuries, but rejected by most.

                          Of course, the rejecting philosophers might just be figments of the imagination of the first philosopher. 8)

                          Gassho, Tony's thought of Jundo
                          ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                          Comment

                          • Eika
                            Member
                            • Sep 2007
                            • 806

                            #14
                            Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

                            Originally posted by Tony-KY
                            But, could it seem that this could be used to imply solipsism - that the one true reality is one's subjective reality and that there is no objective reality?
                            Hi, Tony.
                            I've wondered about this too, and I think I've found a way to understand it without falling into solipsism.
                            It is impossible to be aware of something without affecting that something. Modern physics says that to measure a thing or event is to alter that thing or event. Complete interdependence, like the heart sutra says. My mind is interacting with and affecting a real reality that is really not quite separate from me, even though our 'common-sense' view hold that it is. Hence, the lines of the genjo koan that say when we think we are reaching out to understand the world but don't realize that we are a inseparable part of, and agent of change to, the things we are looking at, that is delusion. When we allow the events of the world to interact with our mind (implying that we are in a dance together) then there is enlightenment. To force our fixed concepts on an ever-changing world is delusion. To let the ever-changing process of the world inform our thought and ultimately, our sense of who we are, is wisdom.

                            Somehow this seems clearer in my head than I'm able to express here. :lol: :lol:

                            Gassho,
                            Bill
                            [size=150:m8cet5u6]??[/size:m8cet5u6] We are involved in a life that passes understanding and our highest business is our daily life---John Cage

                            Comment

                            • Tony-KY
                              Member
                              • Nov 2007
                              • 63

                              #15
                              Re: 2/27- Branching Streams: 3rd Talk - Buddha is Always Here

                              Bill said,
                              Hence, the lines of the genjo koan that say when we think we are reaching out to understand the world but don't realize that we are a inseparable part of, and agent of change to, the things we are looking at, that is delusion. When we allow the events of the world to interact with our mind (implying that we are in a dance together) then there is enlightenment.
                              Thanks, Bill! I think that is proper (dharma) view on reality that is expressed by Dogen in the Genjo Koan:

                              To carry yourself forward and experience myriad things is delusion. That myriad things come forth and experience themselves is awakening.
                              http://genjokoan.com/

                              It's just sometimes language gets tricky. :?

                              But just in case, I will keep Jundo and everyone else here in my thoughts. :lol:

                              Gassho,

                              Tony

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