BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 91

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  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39270

    BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 91

    As we usually do, let's dance with a few Koans from the Book of Equanimty before moving on.

    I want to thank all who maintained and participated in our reflections on 'Zen Women' these last many months. The reading was incredibly rewarding and eye opening. For our Ango period, we will turn to 'Zen Master's Dance' ...

    But now, let us turn to BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 91. I encourage everyone to purchase this wonderful, down to earth book by Shishin Wick when you can but, until then, he has made it available here:



    If you are new to Koans in the Soto way, dive right in. Think of them as poetic, funny, creative teaching stories, not meaningless gobbledygook or something only a Buddha can fathom.

    Our Koan is, "Nansen's Peony."

    This Koan seems very simple, yet Master Hakuin called it hard. Sometimes the simplest things are actually quite subtle, like the wonder of just looking at a simple peony.

    What is the root from which all things spring and flower? Flowering happy and sad, good and bad, beautiful and not, all the complexities of the world? Please know that the flowering, and all the complexity, are not distinct.

    Is the flower real or not real? Is the complexity real or unreal? YES! Wick Roshi says, "Hold a flower in your hand. It's quite amazing. Don't think, don't judge, don't evaluate, don't rationalize. What is it? Is it real or is it unreal? Are you dreaming?"

    It can be both real and unreal, neither real nor unreal. This life is as a dream. Oh, what an amazing dream, what an amazing reality!

    What is the one root? What is real?



    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-20-2021, 01:43 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE
  • Tairin
    Member
    • Feb 2016
    • 2731

    #2
    Wonderful to be back to this book.

    I thought this was a great koan. I read through it several times. I am not going to try to capture in words what this koan meant to me but it touched on something I’ve been working through in my own practice.

    In Western philosophy, our logic is based upon the binary system. It’s right or it’s wrong. It’s one or it’s zero. But in Zen we understand there are other possibilities. In reality, our mind doesn’t work like a computer’s binary code. Nonetheless we want to put everything in a box: it’s either real or else it’s not real! We forget there are other logics; It can be both real and not real. It can be neither real nor not real.
    Brings to mind Jundo’s recent post about thinking, not thinking, and non-thinking (thinking not thinking). https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...80%9D%E9%87%8F

    It seems so hard to not see the world as black and white.


    Tairin
    Sat today and lah
    Last edited by Tairin; 08-19-2021, 07:13 PM. Reason: Added link to discussion on non-thinking
    泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods

    Comment

    • Suuko
      Member
      • May 2017
      • 405

      #3
      Originally posted by Jundo
      As we usually do, let's dance with a few Koans from the Book of Equanimty before moving on.

      I want to thank all who maintained and participated in our reflections on 'Zen Women' these last many months. The reading was incredibly rewarding and eye opening. For our Ango period, we will turn to 'Zen Master's Dance' ...

      But now, let us turn to BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 91. I encourage everyone to purchase this wonderful, down to earth book by Shishin Wick when you can but, until then, he has made it available here:



      If you are new to Koans in the Soto way, dive right in. Think of them as poetic, funny, creative teaching stories, not meaningless gobbledygook or something only a Buddha can fathom.

      Our Koan is, "Nansen's Peony."

      This Koan seems very simple, yet Master Hakuin called it hard. Sometimes the simplest things are actually quite subtle, like the wonder of just looking at a simple peony.

      What is the root from which all things spring and flower? Flowering happy and sad, good and bad, beautiful and not, all the complexities of the world? Please know that the flowering, and all the complexity, are not distinct.

      Is the flower real or not real? Is the complexity real or unreal? YES! Wick Roshi says, "Hold a flower in your hand. It's quite amazing. Don't think, don't judge, don't evaluate, don't rationalize. What is it? Is it real or is it unreal? Are you dreaming?"

      It can be both real and unreal, neither real nor unreal. This life is as a dream. Oh, what an amazing dream, what an amazing reality!

      What is the one root? What is real?



      Gassho, J

      STLah
      Hi Jundo,

      The link isn't working for me. Can you please help?

      Gassho,
      Sat today,
      Guish.

      Sent from my PAR-LX1M using Tapatalk
      Has been known as Guish since 2017 on the forum here.

      Comment

      • Tairin
        Member
        • Feb 2016
        • 2731

        #4
        Originally posted by Guish
        Hi Jundo,

        The link isn't working for me. Can you please help?

        Gassho,
        Sat today,
        Guish.

        Sent from my PAR-LX1M using Tapatalk
        The link to the book Jundo posted works for me. What sort of error do you get?


        Tairin
        泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods

        Comment

        • Kaishin
          Member
          • Dec 2010
          • 2322

          #5
          I won't try to say anything cute... But I will go now and check on the pumpkin flowers in the garden.

          -satToday
          Thanks,
          Kaishin (開心, Open Heart)
          Please take this layman's words with a grain of salt.

          Comment

          • Jundo
            Treeleaf Founder and Priest
            • Apr 2006
            • 39270

            #6
            Some folks look for reality, and Buddhism teaches that life has so many aspects which are like a dream created between our own ears.

            And yet, Master Dogen taught that the dream is real ... a real dream, our dream, the dream that is our life, our real life. So, the most important thing is to dream it well (because, although we cannot control all aspects of the dream, some folks really make the dream uglier than it needs to be by how they dream it, filled with greed, anger and division.)

            Gassho, J

            STLah
            ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

            Comment

            • Jundo
              Treeleaf Founder and Priest
              • Apr 2006
              • 39270

              #7
              Guish,

              If some link is not working, I can try to email you a file. Let me know.

              Gassho, Jundo

              STLah
              ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

              Comment

              • Kotei
                Treeleaf Unsui
                • Mar 2015
                • 3932

                #8
                What is the dream and what is reality?
                What makes the heaven different from the earth?
                The mind lets us experience the stunning beauty of the colorful, large peony flowers and feel the spring and see them decay all so quickly...
                While feeling alive in the extreme experiences of beauty and ugly, spring and autumn, creation and decay,
                our self moves us infinitely far apart from reality itself, which is the one body, not the thousand things.

                "We are most asleep when awake" Paul Reps

                Gassho,
                Kotei sat/lah today.
                Last edited by Kotei; 08-20-2021, 06:38 AM. Reason: spelling

                義道 冴庭 / Gidō Kotei.
                Being a novice priest doesn't mean my writing about the Dharma is more substantial than yours. Actually, it might well be the other way round.

                Comment

                • Risho
                  Member
                  • May 2010
                  • 3179

                  #9
                  Originally posted by Kaishin
                  I won't try to say anything cute... But I will go now and check on the pumpkin flowers in the garden.

                  -satToday
                  The problem is most of these pumpkin farmers see the pumpkin flowers as if in a dream lol

                  real/unreal response coming soon, but I couldn’t resist

                  gassho

                  risho
                  -stlah
                  Email: risho.treeleaf@gmail.com

                  Comment

                  • Jundo
                    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                    • Apr 2006
                    • 39270

                    #10
                    Originally posted by Risho
                    The problem is most of these pumpkin farmers see the pumpkin flowers as if in a dream lol

                    real/unreal response coming soon, but I couldn’t resist
                    You said quite enough.

                    Gassho, J

                    STLah
                    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                    Comment

                    • Jundo
                      Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                      • Apr 2006
                      • 39270

                      #11
                      In the science thread, Naiko posted a link to a review about a book by a neuroscientist who also posits that sentient beings live in a dream (sorry, I have only read the review, not the book yet):

                      Based only on the article, much of this is basic Buddhism 101:

                      Reality – or, at least, our perception of it – is a “controlled hallucination”, according to the neuroscientist Anil Seth. Everything we see, hear and perceive around us, our whole beautiful world, is a big lie created by our deceptive brains, like a forever version of The Truman Show, to placate us into living our lives.

                      Our minds invent for us a universe of colours, sounds, shapes and feelings through which we interact with our world and relate to each other, Seth argues. We even invent ourselves.

                      ...

                      Colour is not a physical property of things in the way that mass is. Rather, objects have particular ways that they reflect light that our brains include in their complex Technicolor production of “reality”.

                      “We perceive the world not as it is, but as it is useful to us,” Seth writes. In other words, we evolved this generated reality because operating through our hallucinated world improves our survival, by helping us avoid danger and recognise food, for example.

                      ...

                      Sometimes, our hallucinated world is wildly out of sync with everyone else’s – we lose our grip on reality. “What we call a ‘hallucination’ is what happens when perceptual priors are unusually strong, overwhelming the sensory data so that the brain’s grip on their causes in the world starts to slide.”
                      Of course, a central tenet of our Zen way is that "self" is just a useful illusion, and also a trouble maker, and our task is to soften or drop the "self/other" divide which causes so many frictions and tensions as our "self," and its desires, bumps into the "other" from which the "self" has divided itself. Likewise, the "flower" we think we see and smell outside is, well, really between our ears, as our nose and eye interacts with some data from "out there."

                      I cannot comment on the book's theory of the source of consciousness, which the article does not explain in detail (I look forward to reading it.) I suspect, if pressed, that consciousness is also something which arises, not merely in the neurons between our ears, but as an entire interaction of "outside" and "inside" in which the brain actually eliminates extraneous data, and does create that artificial self/other - inside/outside divide and visions of all the other "things" of the world, from something more basic before all those divisions.

                      In any case, our life is, in whole or part, like a mental dream ... but it is our life, our VERY REAL dream, so let's dream the dream well.

                      Gassho, J

                      STLah

                      Sorry to dream long.
                      ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                      Comment

                      • Inshin
                        Member
                        • Jul 2020
                        • 557

                        #12
                        our self moves us infinitely far apart from reality itself, which is the one body, not the thousand things.
                        Is it?

                        Thousand things return to one, what does one return to?

                        What if the reality itself is the one body and the thousand things? And the challange being to walk the middle way?

                        Gassho
                        Sat

                        Comment

                        • Jundo
                          Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                          • Apr 2006
                          • 39270

                          #13
                          Originally posted by Inshin
                          our self moves us infinitely far apart from reality itself, which is the one body, not the thousand things.
                          Is it?

                          Thousand things return to one, what does one return to?

                          What if the reality itself is the one body and the thousand things? And the challange being to walk the middle way?

                          Gassho
                          Sat
                          I concur. Dogen would say that the one body, the thousand things ... all real as real can be. No one body apart from thousand things. No thousand things without one body.

                          And each of the thousand things holds one and none and all the other thousand things too. All pouring in and out, all true.

                          Yet there is no "one body" no "thousand things."

                          And we loose sight of this as we stumble along, in this maze of a thousand things, searching for "the one!"

                          Our challenge is to walk through the thousand things with grace.

                          Nicely said, Inshin.

                          Gassho, J

                          STLah

                          Sorry to have run long, saying 1000 things.
                          Last edited by Jundo; 08-27-2021, 01:33 AM.
                          ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                          Comment

                          • Risho
                            Member
                            • May 2010
                            • 3179

                            #14
                            Originally posted by Inshin
                            Is it?

                            Thousand things return to one, what does one return to?

                            What if the reality itself is the one body and the thousand things? And the challange being to walk the middle way?

                            Gassho
                            Sat
                            This was bothering me as well, but only you could say it

                            Gassho

                            Risho
                            -stlah
                            Email: risho.treeleaf@gmail.com

                            Comment

                            • Kotei
                              Treeleaf Unsui
                              • Mar 2015
                              • 3932

                              #15
                              Well, maybe I am one of those "people (who) nowadays see these flowers as if in a dream.".

                              Gassho,
                              Kotei sat/lah today

                              Originally posted by Inshin
                              Is it?

                              Thousand things return to one, what does one return to?

                              What if the reality itself is the one body and the thousand things? And the challange being to walk the middle way?

                              Gassho
                              Sat

                              義道 冴庭 / Gidō Kotei.
                              Being a novice priest doesn't mean my writing about the Dharma is more substantial than yours. Actually, it might well be the other way round.

                              Comment

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