BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 93

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  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39459

    BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 93

    Let's see what we have in the Storehouse ...

    We will take a little intermission from "The Zen Master's Dance," and in a couple of weeks, will begin the great Homeless Kodo's "Too You" ...

    Dear All, Please allowing me to announce our next book for the "no words book club." We will take a little pause from Zen Master's Dance between chapters, for some wonderful reflections and inspiration, from dear Homeless Kodo Sawaki ... To You: It is a wonderful little book ... brilliant, in fact. Gassho,


    ... but in between, I would like to invite everyone to some more Koan play in the playground of the Book of Equanimity (also known as the "Book of Serenity"). I encourage everyone to purchase Rev. Wick's wonderful, down to earth commentary as it is so good, well worth the read, but in the meantime a copy is available here to examine (Book page 295 here):



    Today, we search through the Storehouse of Case 93 - Roso's Not Understanding:

    The Preface is saying (in fancy language) something like "pearls before swine," implying that poor Roso does not recognize the Jewel (Buddha Nature, Enlightenment) that has been his all along. It refers to a story from the Lotus Sutra about a man who had a jewel sewn into his clothes but did not know it (I do that sometimes too, usually finding it at the bottom of the washing machine later. )

    The Main Case:

    Old Buddhist lingo often talks about Buddha Nature, or Enlightenment, as like a "wish fulfilling Jewel," for when one realizes that one is the universe, it is hard to lack and desire anything in the universe since one already is and has everything in the universe. So, what more might one wish for?

    The rest of the Koan talks about the "Storehouse," but I actually think that Rev. Wick is a bit off base here. Other commentaries I have looked at, including by Rev. Wick's own teacher, disagree, and I agree with their disagreement!

    Rev. Wick relates this to the "Storehouse Consciousness," an important Yogachara Buddhist teaching that describes basically how data comes through each of our senses from the outside world, then meets another part of our consciousness which creates the fundamental sense of a "self/other" divide between ourself and the rest of the universe. On top of that is the Storehouse Consciousness which basically holds the seeds (good, bad and neutral) produced by our past Karmic actions, and those seeds perfume and color how we perceive life and where it is likely to go from here (You might think of those in modern terms as something like our memories and inherited or developed psychological tendencies and proclivities which we now carry around as our psyche, between our ears, and which now color how we live. For example, we may have a tendency to extreme anger which is like a seed in our psyche, developed during our difficult childhood or in our inherited make-up, so we now live as a person who easily angers ... although we can learn to replace that angry seed with other nicer seeds, like tolerance and foregiveness.)

    Actually, the other commentaries don't talk about that. Rather, they interpret the Koan as talking about the "Treasury" of enlightenment, our Buddha Nature (the same "Treasury," for example, as in the name of Master Dogen's Shobogenzo, "The Treasury of the True Dharma Eye.") THAT is the jewel that Roso has which he does not realize he has (and is)! Of course, there is a sense in which Wick's "Storehouse" and this "Treasury" are the same, because when that "self/other" divide is transcended, and the ugly seeds in the "Storehouse Consciousness" are replaced with nice seeds which lead us to act in peaceful, generous, loving ways like Buddha, then we act and encounter life like a Buddha and thus realize the Treasure that is our Buddha Nature! However, I rather feel that Rev. Wick's commentary could have made that clearer.

    Now, in enlightenment, when the "self/other" divide is transcended, we experience a world in which there are separate things (you, me, this and that and everything), and also no separate things (because all is just wholeness.) That is the meaning, I feel, in the Koan's saying that the "give and take of you and me" is the Treasury, but so is the "no give and take."

    Roso asks about the jewel, not realizing that he has the jewel ... that he and all things -is already- the jewel. So, when he asked about the jewel, the teacher called his name ("Hey, Rosso, you, dumb ass") trying to get him to realize this ... and Roso missed it, like pearls before swine.

    The Appreciatory Verse says that everything is the Treasury in this divided world of you and me, right and wrong, gain and loss. In fact, it is that system of consciousnesses, including the Storehouse Consciousness, which causes us to divide the world up like that, and to start weighing and judging it, into you and me, right and wrong, gain and loss, etc. Our Zen practice, of course, is a method to leap past all the measures and divisions, even as we are still living in this world of measures and divisions.

    The last lines refer to a King who bestowed treasure and an Emperor who lost a treasure, a jewel, but found it when he sent his blind advisor, named "no form," to find it. It is finding what was never lost, seeing what is not something distant to see or find somewhere distant, so a blind man who does not look for form is perfect for the job! It is something like saying that, if one is searching for silence, sending a deaf man would be appropriate, because the hearing cannot hear silence. It is a good reminder for us never to simply be intellectual about a Koan: In order to find the Jewel ourselves, we cannot merely think about where the Jewel is located, but instead must experience and fill with the fact that the Jewel is all and all is the Jewel.

    The final lines about "turning the hub ... utilizing one's abilities ... musn't be negligent" probably mean something like one must be very skillful to find this Jewel that has never been lost.



    QUESTION: What is the connection of our Shikantaza Zazen, in which we drop all search and goals, measures and desires except sitting itself, and finding the Treasure that cannot be found because never lost? Please explain (then, after explaining, go sit!)





    Gassho, J

    ST+LAH
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-16-2022, 03:50 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE
  • Bion
    Treeleaf Unsui
    • Aug 2020
    • 3832

    #2
    The give-and-take between the two at that moment, that very conversation, in that place, that was the storehouse of the jewel of enlightenment, the resting place of the Tathagatha. It was not inaccessible, hidden or out of reach. It was to be found right there and then.
    In the same way, when sitting upright, facing the wall, the give-and-take between wall and sitter is the storehouse, and so is the non-give-and-take or non-separation between wall, sitter and sitting. The jewel is right there, exposed by the zazen of all the Buddhas, deluded thoughts and distractions floating around like dust in the wind, not obscuring the shimmering of the it, but pointing at it.
    The sitting itself is both Nansen calling out our name and us understanding him.

    [emoji1374] Sat Today
    "Stepping back with open hands, is thoroughly comprehending life and death. Immediately you can sparkle and respond to the world." - Hongzhi

    Comment

    • Seth David
      Member
      • Apr 2022
      • 26

      #3
      I’m probably oversimplifying a lot here but it seems to me that just-sitting can sometimes help us to “see” more clearly the jewel that is always there, to glimpse the moon behind the passing clouds.

      Gassho[emoji120]
      ST


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

      Comment

      • Chikyou
        Member
        • May 2022
        • 576

        #4
        My first, nebulous thoughts are that we can't find the Treasure because we're always looking for something else. When we drop all goals and desires we can find the Treasure because we're not distracted by goals and desires.

        Gassho,
        SatLah
        Kelly
        Chikyō 知鏡
        (KellyLM)

        Comment

        • Kokuu
          Treeleaf Priest
          • Nov 2012
          • 6786

          #5
          My first, nebulous thoughts are that we can't find the Treasure because we're always looking for something else. When we drop all goals and desires we can find the Treasure because we're not distracted by goals and desires.
          You are in good company, Kelly, as Zen Master Hakuin says something very similar in his Song of Zazen:

          Like someone in the midst of water
          Crying out in thirst,
          Like a child of a wealthy home
          Wandering among the poor.
          Lost on dark paths of ignorance,
          We wander through the Six Worlds,

          Gassho
          Kokuu
          -sattoday-

          Comment

          • Prashanth
            Member
            • Nov 2021
            • 182

            #6
            Why is something a treasure and why something else is not?
            No treasure, no lack of treasure.
            No jewel, no shine, no lack of a shining jewel.
            Sitting is to just be with that acceptance.


            gassho.

            sat.

            will go back and sit again.

            Sent from my GS190 using Tapatalk

            Comment

            • Artien
              Member
              • Jun 2022
              • 56

              #7
              This was not easy. I'm an obvious beginner at this.

              I would say the koan is about the realization of Buddha Nature being there even if we not realize it or understands its value. I would say that the jewel in the storehouse is the understanding of Buddha Nature. That is why Nansen tells Roso to leave; because Roso does not understand he is (or has) the jewel if only he would realize it. The link with Shikantaza Zazen is that through our practise we also try to realize this on more than just an intelectual level. But, you cannot FIND realization so it is no use to try go look for it, the jewel is already there after all...what is there to find? Only by not-looking, not-finding that we do by Shikantaza Zazen might we learn to realize the value of the jewel and appreciate it for what it is.

              Re-reading it, I think I made a mess, but thats all I can come up with.

              Sorry to run long.

              Gassho,
              Artien
              SatLaH

              Comment

              • Dogukan
                Member
                • Oct 2021
                • 144

                #8
                Just like Roso, I missed it. I am waiting for someone to say "Hey Doğukan, you dumb ass" to get another chance to comprehend it. Thank you in advance, dear Sangha.

                Have a nice evening, gassho.
                Doğukan.
                Sat.

                Comment

                • Nengei
                  Member
                  • Dec 2016
                  • 1697

                  #9
                  Please excuse any unintended appearance that I am trying to teach or explain anything. I am a novice priest, and have no depth of knowledge or qualifications for teaching Zen.

                  Through shikantaza we begin to recognize that we embody the jewel in the treasury--which we have all along. Our self-perceived experience of the world is like wandering alone with duct tape over our eyes. Sitting zazen begins to peel back the tape and make us aware of our true nature or oneness... if we let it.

                  Gassho,
                  遜道念芸 Nengei
                  Sat today. LAH.
                  遜道念芸 Sondō Nengei (he/him)

                  Please excuse any indication that I am trying to teach anything. I am a priest in training and have no qualifications or credentials to teach Zen practice or the Dharma.

                  Comment

                  • Jundo
                    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                    • Apr 2006
                    • 39459

                    #10
                    Lovely. I think that all the responses so far get the basic point, which really is not so hard to understand. So, Dear Rosos, you guys don't have to get out!

                    Originally posted by Prashanth
                    Why is something a treasure and why something else is not?
                    No treasure, no lack of treasure.
                    No jewel, no shine, no lack of a shining jewel.
                    Sitting is to just be with that acceptance.
                    My teacher, Nishijima, said something very nice about this, which I very much agree with from my experience. When we drop thoughts in Zazen of "good and bad," "war and peace," "right and wrong," and the like in Zazen, what remains is not some bland, meaningless neutrality, but rather a sense of something subtly Good, Peaceful, Right (big Letter) about reality in the wholeness of it all. So, he called Zen actually an optimistic, subtly positive philosophy that does find some positive jewelness in all things.

                    Is it just a subjective value, objective, both? Is it the real situation or just our appraisal of the situation? No matter. It is something like watching a film: If you watch a movie and find meaning and positive inspiration there, then it is a positive meaningful movie. If you find only meaninglessness or ugly scenes there, then it is a meaningless or ugly movie. If you find only light on a wall and celullose film, then that is all the movie is. Is it the viewer or the movie or both? YES! Movies need viewers to be movies and viewers need movies to be viewers. I think our place and relationship to the universe and this life is very much like that. So, I hope you find your film positive and deeply meaningful.

                    Gassho, J

                    STLah

                    Sorry to run long
                    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                    Comment

                    • Tairin
                      Member
                      • Feb 2016
                      • 2742

                      #11
                      Enlightenment, Buddha-nature, Treasure, Jewel Absolute/Relative, Storehouse.

                      They are all fingers pointing at the moon.

                      Now I’ll go and sit.


                      Tairin
                      Sat today and lah
                      泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods

                      Comment

                      • Heiso
                        Member
                        • Jan 2019
                        • 824

                        #12
                        As other have mentioned in different ways, it seems to me that our Shikantaza zazen is the lamp that illuminates the jewel that was sitting there the whole time, it turns us into Mosho (or maybe it is Mosho), so that once we stop searching and drop all attachment to form the jewel is revealed.

                        As a side note, it also seemed that the give and take/no give and take point to relative and absolute.

                        Gassho,

                        Heiso

                        StLah

                        Comment

                        • Kaisho
                          Member
                          • Nov 2016
                          • 165

                          #13
                          It seems to me Zazen helps one realize that there is no jewel but at the same time that everything is the jewel and act in accordance with that by seeing all as precious and worth while.

                          May have take this a bit and ran.

                          Gassho
                          Sat lah

                          Sent from my moto g stylus 5G using Tapatalk

                          Comment

                          • Susan J
                            Member
                            • Nov 2021
                            • 7

                            #14
                            I’m new at this, but here goes … The old karmas and seeds that may become new karmas are all hanging out in the storehouse. They cannot be penetrated through intellect or action of the senses. Only through zazen are they dissolved and then is the jewel revealed.
                            Sat today
                            Gassho
                            Susan

                            Comment

                            • Tai Do
                              Member
                              • Jan 2019
                              • 1385

                              #15
                              About the storehouse consciousness, it seem to me that it can be seen as the unconscious mind in modern terms, where all our past experiences, decisions, actions, habits etc. now forme the karmic seeds of our future experiences, decisions and actions.

                              But I agree with Jundo that the koan appears not to be about it. It seems to me that the jewel is not hidden, and it is always present in the here and now that is the storehouse of this very conversation between master and disciple (and of no conversation at all also).

                              Sorry for the long post.

                              Gassho,
                              Mateus
                              Sat today/LAH
                              怠努 (Tai Do) - Lazy Effort
                              (also known as Mateus )

                              禅戒一如 (Zen Kai Ichi Nyo) - Zazen and the Precepts are One!

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