BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 99

Collapse
X
 
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts
  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39270

    BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 99

    Hmmm ... Case 99 Tozan's Bowl and Pail ...

    Commentators are varied on this Koan, and I am not confident of the exact meaning. Sometimes, the author's intended meaning of the Koan is lost to time. I will venture a guess that a part of the general meaning is that one is not to argue or intellectually ask for oral explanation of something like "speck of dust samadhi," but is to experience such.

    At the risk of falling into the intellectual trap that the Koan seems to warn against (that explanation is not sufficient), I believe that "speck of dust samadhi" refers to a state in which one has a sense that onself and the whole universe is held within each single and every grain of dust, and each grain of dust contains the whole universe. In the Main Case, Yunmen/Ummon is asked by a student to explain it. His response ("Rice in the bowl, water in the pail") may mean, according to some commentators, that the individual things are naturally held in the absolute, and the absolute naturally holds the relative things. However, other commentators seem to say that, in the face of such an abstract question, Yunmen/Ummon just points to the mundane and ordinary.

    Okumura Roshi says this:

    “Every atom samadhi” is ... jinjin-zanmai (塵塵三昧). The name of this samadhi came from the Avataṃsaka Sūtra:

    They enter concentration on one atom
    And accomplish concentration on all atoms,
    And yet that particle doesn’t increase:
    In one are manifests inconceivable lands.

    In the Chinese translation of The Avataṃsaka Sūtra, jin (塵) is an abbreviation of mijin (微塵). According to a Japanese Buddhist dictionary, mijin is a translation of the Sanskrit word anu, the smallest particle we can see with our eyes. ... The [Flower Ornament] Sutra says that a Buddha can enter one atom in samadhi, and at the same time, the Buddha is in all atoms. This is an expression of the idea of interconnectedness: one part and all things within the entirety of Indra’s Net interpenetrate each other. ...

    A monk asked Yunmen, what is this samadhi in which a buddha can be in one particle and at the same time in all particles. Yunmen’s answer is simple, “Rice in the bowl, water in the bucket.” He picked day-to-day, concrete examples from daily monastic life.

    https://dogeninstitute.wordpress.com...arma/#_ftnref6
    Yamada Koun says, however:

    In reply, Unmon says, “Rice in the bowl, water in the pail” (Japanese: hatsurihan tsurisui). I feel this reply of Unmon to be quite wonderful. ... Each single thing is the whole. One is all, all is one. For us, it’s a matter of grasping the world of emptiness acting as the basis for that oneness. Without that experience, it is not real oneness. ... When you say “rice in the bowl,” that is the actual universe itself. It is the true form or true aspect (shinjissō). When you say “water in the pail,” that is the true universe in its entirety. It is not the phenomenal universe, but rather the true universe, which we could also call the essential world. Your true self is known as essential nature. If you take the back of your hand to be the world of phenomena, we could say that most people are only familiar with that world. But there is also the world of the palm of the hand, the world of emptiness. Moreover, the back of the hand and palm of the hand are the same single hand. When I move my hand like this, the back of my hand and palm of my hand move as one. This is just an example and cannot be said to be the fact itself. Nevertheless, for the sake of explanation it could be represented in this way. When say “rice in the pail,” you can see this single point as a spot. But this is at the same time the entire universe. When you first realize this world you experience boundless joy. And then you tend to cling to that world of oneness, the world of emptiness. That is an error. After all, the phenomenal world and the essential world are one.
    Each grain and drop of water holds the whole universe, and all the other grains and drops comfortably within. Hmmm.

    I take the Preface to the Assembly to be (maybe) saying something like, someone can be smart or clever, and that is great, but don't be too clever and pig headed by your asking overly intellectual questions about something that cannot be understood in such way.

    The Appreciatory Verse may mean something like that Yunmen really succeeded in expressing his inner understanding of this right down to his guts, but few people can understand. If you try to overly intellectualize this, you add two, three more layers of complexity to separate you from the answer, and if you treat this as some object to think about, you are miles away. However, Yunmen cut threw all this like a razor, with an answer as sold as a rock.

    Hmmm. Maybe something like that. Hmmm.

    And it is not only some Koans which are hard to get: Our song today is a modern Chinese song, also about a grain of dust, which song seems to play similar word games (I don't think that it is just a matter of bad translation) and may be even harder to understand than this Koan. Can you get what these lyrics are on about?

    Sorry, I am not clever enough for this Koan or this song. I admit defeat. Hey, can't win em all!

    I believe, however, that the main point of the Koan is that the whole universe, you and me, pour in and out of every atom of this universe. Don't overly think about it ... rather, be it down to the guts! The water in the pail, the rice in the bowl, means that everything is in its balanced place.



    Gassho, J

    stlah
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-23-2023, 06:42 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE
  • paulashby

    #2
    Maybe William Blake was looking in the same direction in Auguries of Innocence :
    To see the world in a Grain of Sand
    And Heaven in a Wild Flower
    Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
    and Eternity in an hour

    There is delight in specks of dust that express songs of life.
    Gassho, peace, Paul Ashby sat

    Comment

    • Jundo
      Treeleaf Founder and Priest
      • Apr 2006
      • 39270

      #3
      I added this, my own interpretation of that line although I am edu-guessing ...

      Each grain and drop of water holds the whole universe, and all the other grains and drops comfortably within. Hmmm.

      ... The water in the pail, the rice in the bowl, also means that everything is in its balanced place.


      But what does that song mean? I will ask some Chinese speakers if they have a clue.

      Gassho, J

      stlah
      Last edited by Jundo; 01-22-2023, 01:50 AM.
      ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

      Comment

      • Onsho
        Member
        • Aug 2022
        • 100

        #4
        The bowl has rice. But the bowl is empty, and so is the rice. The bucket has water, but the bucket is empty, and so is the water. The speck of dust contains the whole universe but it’s also empty.

        Maybe the speck of dust is representing the amount of effort needed to see all this. It only really needs the least amount of speculation to relax into samadhi. That being said I struggle to understand samadhi outside of acute concentration. Its a concept i haven’t yet embodied the meaning of.

        Gassho
        Keith
        Satlah

        Comment

        • Veronica
          Member
          • Nov 2022
          • 124

          #5
          This Koan really reminds me of Dogen's Instructions for the Cook which I looked at recently. The whole rice and water thing. It seems to be reminding me that I don't have to sit on a cushion all day long and meditate on the interconnectedness of specks of dust. I can live my daily life focused on the tasks in front of me, and at the same time be aware of interconnectedness, etc...

          Veronica
          stlah

          Comment

          • Jundo
            Treeleaf Founder and Priest
            • Apr 2006
            • 39270

            #6
            I had an interesting discussion with a native Chinese Chan practitioner about the song in the video. I present it as an example regarding how poetry and modern music can parallel the creative use of language in the old Koans. The Koan authors, back in the day, played not dissimilar word games to evoke feeling and emotion with creative (but not necessarily more than inventive image summoning) references as this pop song's lyricist, in the case of the Koans in order to convey Buddhist Wisdom, and for the song writer in the song, of course, feelings of love, longing, loneliness.

            In this pop song from a TV show which is a modern soap opera set in an ancient dynasty, the song writer takes bits of old sayings, traditional motifs (e.g., the wind through the trees), poetry references and such to convey a feeling of something old and classical. For example, the phrase "深林藏人語聲" ("The sound of Tibetan voices in the deep forest," which actually is better translated as "the sound of people's voices in the deep forest"), "風剪一縷紅 紅剪一場風" (Wind cuts a wisp of red, red cuts a place of wind) "亂世點塵燈" (the chaotic world lights the dust lamp) "愛恨皆傷及池魚" (Love and hate both hurt the pond fish/fish in the pond). These are phrases don't actually mean anything concrete (how does the red cut the wind??), but are meant to loosely sound traditional just to evoke a traditional and emotional feeling. Another example is that there is a traditional saying, "城門失火 殃及池魚" (A fire at the city gate, affects the fish in the pond, meaning something like "the bystander will also suffer, we are all impacted, 'don't ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee'"), but no saying that "Love and hate" do so. Nonethless, we are all victims of love and hate, I suppose. The Koan writers also used old poetry and traditional images in similarly inventive ways to evoke emotional feelings and hinted at Buddhist Wisdom.

            I will post more on that soon.

            Gassho, J

            stlah
            Last edited by Jundo; 01-27-2023, 12:28 AM.
            ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

            Comment

            • WorkerB
              Member
              • Jan 2023
              • 177

              #7
              Is it possible the "Wind cuts a wisp of red, red cuts a place of wind" is akin to the "red in the morning, sailors' warning; red at night, sailors delight" adage?

              Gsssho,
              b.

              Stlah
              Last edited by WorkerB; 01-24-2023, 08:59 AM.

              Comment

              • Jundo
                Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                • Apr 2006
                • 39270

                #8
                Originally posted by WorkerB
                Is it possible the "Wind cuts a wisp of red, red cuts a place of wind" is akin to the "red in the morning, sailors' warning; red at night, sailors delight" adage?

                Gsssho,
                b.

                Stlah
                ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                Comment

                • Daiman
                  Treeleaf Unsui
                  • Apr 2022
                  • 679

                  #9
                  For me, the koan just simply points to this direct moment. In it, all things exist just as they are with nothing extra (mental commentary) added...rice in the bowl, water in the pail. I think the koan is really asking us to really see it (samadhi). Unless it is fully perceived in the moment, we miss it, it becomes some kind of mental exercise. If we do not practice, it cannot manifest because it becomes a shadow or a phantom. For me, right now there is oatmeal in the bowl and tea in the cup, but there is also oatmeal in my belly and tea in my belly. But it is not that I am just one spoonful of oatmeal heavier than I was a moment ago. Rather the taste of peanut butter from the oatmeal is here...Boom! Taste of bitter sweet sencha tea...Boom! Just this. Everything is contained in this. I have to use words and labels to describe it here, but it goes beyond that. Just this moment as it is, nothing more, nothing less. Now, I must go see a client and may the oatmeal and sencha impart compassion and wisdom to serve all beings.

                  Gassho,

                  Daiman

                  St
                  Last edited by Daiman; 01-24-2023, 03:00 PM.

                  Comment

                  • Onki
                    Treeleaf Unsui
                    • Dec 2020
                    • 672

                    #10
                    This koan to me is saying each thing is the universe be it ordinary or extraordinary. It is all ordinary. The speck of dust holds the entire universe. The water holds the entire universe. The rice holds the entire universe. And yet… and yet…

                    Gasshō,

                    Onki

                    Sat today
                    “Let me respectfully remind you
                    Life and death are of supreme importance.
                    Time swiftly passes by
                    And opportunity ist lost.
                    Each of us should strive to awaken.
                    Awaken, take heed,
                    Do not squander your life.​“ - Life and Death and The Great Matter

                    Comment

                    • Jishin
                      Member
                      • Oct 2012
                      • 4819

                      #11
                      I think the Koan is a reminder to focus on the present moment, to see the interconnectedness of all things, and to avoid overly intellectualizing spiritual concepts.

                      Gassho, Jishin, ST, LAH

                      Comment

                      • Tairin
                        Member
                        • Feb 2016
                        • 2731

                        #12
                        I agree with those who suggest this koan is a reminder not to over intellectualize. My sense is that “Rice in the bowl, water in the pail” is basically saying the same thing as Joshu’s “wash your bowl”. Don’t get hung up on intellectual understanding, focus on here and now, the mundane.

                        Chop wood and carry water.


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

                        Comment

                        • Jundo
                          Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                          • Apr 2006
                          • 39270

                          #13
                          Originally posted by Tairin
                          I agree with those who suggest this koan is a reminder not to over intellectualize. My sense is that “Rice in the bowl, water in the pail” is basically saying the same thing as Joshu’s “wash your bowl”. Don’t get hung up on intellectual understanding, focus on here and now, the mundane.

                          Chop wood and carry water.
                          This is so,

                          And yet, and yet ... every speck of dust fully contains the whole universe within, plus room to spare. The realization of such is Samadhi.

                          Gassho, J

                          stlah
                          ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                          Comment

                          • Daiman
                            Treeleaf Unsui
                            • Apr 2022
                            • 679

                            #14
                            Originally posted by Jundo
                            This is so,

                            And yet, and yet ... every speck of dust fully contains the whole universe within, plus room to spare. The realization of such is Samadhi.

                            Gassho, J

                            stlah
                            Yes. Thank you Jundo. Everything is just as it is right now in this moment. Perfect and complete lacking nothing. There is no place it does not reach.

                            Gassho,

                            Daiman

                            St/LAH

                            Comment

                            • Chikyou
                              Member
                              • May 2022
                              • 568

                              #15
                              Originally posted by Jundo
                              This is so,

                              And yet, and yet ... every speck of dust fully contains the whole universe within, plus room to spare. The realization of such is Samadhi.

                              Gassho, J

                              stlah
                              I've been thinking about this concept a fair bit lately and how it relates to the scientific concept of singularities (points of infinite density, not the technological singularity). What are your thoughts on this?

                              Perhaps I'm going off topic AND missing the point of the koan, which is to be experienced, not intellectualized.

                              Gassho,
                              SatLah
                              Kelly
                              Chikyō 知鏡
                              (KellyLM)

                              Comment

                              Working...