BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 18

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  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39392

    BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 18

    Case 17 never ends, yet now comes ...

    Case 18 - Joshu's Dog

    A fundamental Mahayana Teaching is that all sentient beings have (or, as Dogen sang, are) Buddha-nature ... even when hidden from us. That includes man's best friend, most Mahayana philosophers would traditionally agree.

    So, when asked, "Does a dog have Buddha nature?" Joshu responded "Yes" ... yet when asked again, "No" (Mu).

    Yet, this "Mu" is not merely some negative statement, the mirror image of "Yes". Nor is it some hesitancy or ambiguity, like "Yes, but also no too".

    "MU!" is the Dance of Emptiness, the Dog's Bark and Bite, where all questions of "yes" or "no" and philosophical debating drop away in the resounding "YES! YES! YES!".

    It is to stop search for one's Buddha Nature like a dog chasing its tail ...



    It is not the dog chasing the tail ... nor the tail chasing the dog ... but the very Circle that is Buddha, walking running sitting standing, both tail chasing or sitting still, barking or scratching fleas ... MU! nose to tail.



    When will you give up the chase, and find What's What all along? Dog backwards is God nature ... maybe also to be found in dropping "Yes" vs. "No"!

    The Koan contains a couple of lines which may speak of intentionally living and remaining in this sometimes cuddly and beautiful, sometimes "bitch of a dog eat dog" world ... to live out our Bodhisattva Vow to Save All Sentient Beings. If we have "Buddha-Nature" all along, why lead this "dog of a life" in this "bag of skin"? The Koan references this as to "get into that bag of skin" as a lowly dog, because "knowingly he purposely offends". Even though embodying the purity of Buddha, the Boddhisattva chooses to remain alive in this world of sometime ignorance ... where we cannot help but to knowingly offend again and again, sometimes driven down to our animal nature ... in order to carry out the mission. Likewise, "Karmic Consiousness" traditionally did not have a positive meaning in Mahayana Buddhism, but was the divided, ignorant consciousness of self and our actions arising therefrom. However, "Mu!" exists right in and as this divided consciousness ... form is no other than emptiness, enlightenment is found no where but at the Heart of delusion.

    In the "Preface to the Assembly" ... a floating gourd or diamond may have a "yes" side or a "no" side or facet. Yet which facet alone is the Whole Spinning Fruit, the Complete Jewel? Is it not the same for a "deluded" facet and an "enlightened" facet and all other categories?

    Don't get "hooked" by words and categories ... yes or no, delusion vs. Buddhas. Thus, in the "Appreciatory verse", we catch this fish not with a hook, but an impossibly straight needle with no place to bite. Don't make debates and arguments ... about whether clouds hold water like a guest, or clouds rain down water, or clouds are water ... and so with debates about you and Buddha-nature. Let it Rain! Likewise, the reference to "King Shin and Shojo Rin" is from an old story about a Jewel that cannot be given away.

    QUESTION:

    What deep, personal issue or question in your life might be resolved not by "yes" ... not by "no" ... but by "MU!" or "YES! YES! YES!" that swallows whole both yes and no? It could be anything from the existence of God to being torn about whether to get married or change jobs and move to another town. HOWEVER, VERY IMPORTANT, I am not talking about merely resolving the question with some "well, yes on the one hand ... but no on the other". I am not talking about some shoulder shrugging "yes and no" or "I don't know" or making a list of "Pros and Cons".

    I mean a total toss of the question into "MU! ... into Emptiness ... whereby all plays out and resolves with a resounding "YES! YES! YES!" that might be yes when yes ... and "YES! YES! YES!" even when no ... and "YES! YES! YES!" even when we don't have an answer or know what to do at all.

    Gassho, J

    Last edited by Jundo; 07-07-2020, 03:29 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE
  • RichardH
    Member
    • Nov 2011
    • 2800

    #2
    I mean a total toss of the question into "MU! ... into Emptiness ... whereby all plays out and resolves with a resounding "YES! YES! YES!" that might be yes when yes ... and "YES! YES! YES!" even when no ... and "YES! YES! YES!" even when we don't have an answer or know what to do at all.
    The inexorable "offer that can't be refused" that comes when the compensations stop working, and there is no choice but to sit with it.

    ...and painting

    Gassho,kojip

    Comment

    • Jundo
      Treeleaf Founder and Priest
      • Apr 2006
      • 39392

      #3
      Originally posted by Kojip
      The inexorable "offer that can't be refused" that comes when the compensations stop working, and there is no choice but to sit with it.

      ...and painting

      Gassho,kojip
      Arf!

      Gassho, J
      ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

      Comment

      • Shokai
        Treeleaf Priest
        • Mar 2009
        • 6391

        #4
        Just a drop of water in an endless sea
        All we do crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see
        dust in the wind
        "woof "
        合掌,生開
        gassho, Shokai

        仁道 生開 / Jindo Shokai

        "Open to life in a benevolent way"

        https://sarushinzendo.wordpress.com/

        Comment

        • Omoi Otoshi
          Member
          • Dec 2010
          • 801

          #5
          Everything is Buddha nature. Everything is thus, just as is. Even ignorance is Buddha nature. Without ignorance, how could there be any awakening of the Bodhi mind?
          Even the lowly dog is Buddha completely. The dog doesn't care about buddha nature. He doesn't need it. With or without it, he will keep barking out the Dharma everywhere he goes, for anyone who will listen.
          The meaning of yes and no are both useful to analyze, in order to understand what Buddha nature is not. But not very helpful in determining what It is. Neither reply is the truth, just views. No refuge in yes. No refuge in no. Both can be Right View. Both can be true, for someone, in some situation. But not always so. A diamond in the sun has no fixed shade of color. Sometimes we need a yes, sometimes a no, sometimes we need to rephrase the question or drop it altogether. Sometimes we need someone to point at the oak tree in the garden.

          I used to think a lot about Buddha nature and Mu. I kept returning to it for years. These days I mostly let it be.

          When someone asks me if I believe in God, I'm tempted to reply Mu... For me, in a way, Mu clarified the existance of God. By resolving Mu for myself, I simultaneously resolved the question of God. When I'm asked if I believe in God, It feels wrong to deny God, so a simple no won't do. I don't buy the whole personal God in heaven concept, so yes doesn't seem entirely right either. Sometimes I say yes, sometimes no. It depends on who's asking and the purpose of asking the question. Sometimes I try to explain my view, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I just avoid the question. But I don't feel threatened by the question anymore.

          Gassho,
          Pontus

          PS. Saying "I am God" may be misunderstood...
          I haven't tried YES! YES! YES! DS.
          Last edited by Omoi Otoshi; 10-25-2012, 11:30 AM.
          In a spring outside time, flowers bloom on a withered tree;
          you ride a jade elephant backwards, chasing the winged dragon-deer;
          now as you hide far beyond innumerable peaks--
          the white moon, a cool breeze, the dawn of a fortunate day

          Comment

          • Shugen
            Treeleaf Unsui
            • Nov 2007
            • 4535

            #6
            Originally posted by Jundo

            QUESTION:

            What deep, personal issue or question in your life might be resolved not by "yes" ... not by "no" ... but by "MU!" or "YES! YES! YES!" that swallows whole both yes and no? It could be anything from the existence of God to being torn about whether to get married or change jobs and move to another town. HOWEVER, VERY IMPORTANT, I am not talking about merely resolving the question with some "well, yes on the one hand ... but no on the other". I am not talking about some shoulder shrugging "yes and no" or "I don't know" or making a list of "Pros and Cons".

            I mean a total toss of the question into "MU! ... into Emptiness ... whereby all plays out and resolves with a resounding "YES! YES! YES!" that might be yes when yes ... and "YES! YES! YES!" even when no ... and "YES! YES! YES!" even when we don't have an answer or know what to do at all.

            Gassho, J
            The first thing that popped into my head upon hearing the question was parenting. That is probably because that is where I am right now.

            Gassho




            Shugen
            Meido Shugen
            明道 修眼

            Comment

            • Heisoku
              Member
              • Jun 2010
              • 1338

              #7
              QUESTION:
              What deep, personal issue or question in your life might be resolved not by "yes" ... not by "no" ... but by "MU!" or "YES! YES! YES!" that swallows whole both yes and no?

              I am?
              Heisoku 平 息
              Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home. (Basho)

              Comment

              • Omoi Otoshi
                Member
                • Dec 2010
                • 801

                #8
                Originally posted by Heisoku
                I am?
                You certainly are!

                /Pontus
                In a spring outside time, flowers bloom on a withered tree;
                you ride a jade elephant backwards, chasing the winged dragon-deer;
                now as you hide far beyond innumerable peaks--
                the white moon, a cool breeze, the dawn of a fortunate day

                Comment

                • Jinyo
                  Member
                  • Jan 2012
                  • 1957

                  #9
                  This Koan makes me smile because it is a reminder of my propensity to want to understand everything.
                  When the subject of koans first came up (I had not heard of koan study before joining Treeleaf) I dutifully bought a book by Isshu Miura/Ruth Fuller Sasaki and attempted to swallow it whole.
                  'What' I demanded of Jundo ' are the Five Ranks?' Of course - my fragile liitle ego didn't want to get stuck on standard, beginners 'does a dog have buddha nature koan'.

                  Anyway - Jundo's answer was along the lines of 'Oh - don't bother with that - it's probably just some old fella re-arranging his koans'

                  On retrospect I reckon that answer (for me) was spot on

                  So - I put the book away (in a bit of a huff) and went back to thinking about 'does a dog have buddha nature?'

                  THINKING ABOUT IT - big mistake

                  Couldn't get anywhere with this koan - (more mental huffing and puffing).

                  Next step - I bought the book - 'the book of MU' by Ford and Blacker. Well - it's a pretty good book - but I realised that this was a half-hearted attempt on my part to get to grips with something that was eluding me. I put the book away.

                  A couple of weeks ago - while feeling very stressed about my mum, the title of the book caught my eye. The word MU is written in bright red letters on the spine. Something just seemed to click, to resonate. Maybe it was a YES, YES, YES moment - but I just suddenly felt so much better, MU, MU, MU to everything.

                  The word in itself meant nothing at all - and actually I can't really put what I felt into words.

                  To be honest - formal koan study doesn't appeal to me - I like the way we practice here.

                  Gassho

                  Willow
                  Last edited by Jinyo; 10-28-2012, 09:08 PM.

                  Comment

                  • Heisoku
                    Member
                    • Jun 2010
                    • 1338

                    #10
                    Originally posted by Omoi Otoshi
                    You certainly are!

                    /Pontus
                    Oh no,yes, mu!
                    Heisoku 平 息
                    Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home. (Basho)

                    Comment

                    • Geika
                      Treeleaf Unsui
                      • Jan 2010
                      • 4980

                      #11
                      I guess this would be my question: http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...gid-discipline
                      求道芸化 Kyūdō Geika
                      I am just a priest-in-training, please do not take anything I say as a teaching.

                      Comment

                      • Myoku
                        Member
                        • Jul 2010
                        • 1487

                        #12
                        I feel the questions asked to Joshu are about ones Buddha Nature, its I think not so much about the dog after all. Do I have Buddha Nature, you, everyone, where is it and what ? If you go like this you just stir up thoughts in the brain which lead to nothing, or confusion at best. When I think about how I can get rid of the cold I just caught, that keeps me busy thinking, and eventually the cold is gone, thinking or not. Now getting some tea...
                        _()_
                        Myoku

                        Comment

                        • Jundo
                          Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                          • Apr 2006
                          • 39392

                          #13
                          Originally posted by Myoku
                          I feel the questions asked to Joshu are about ones Buddha Nature, its I think not so much about the dog after all.
                          You and the dog and the Buddha, same or different? ARF!
                          ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                          Comment

                          • Heisoku
                            Member
                            • Jun 2010
                            • 1338

                            #14
                            Buddha nature ....is the dog's nature, my nature and Buddha's nature. We can't be any other nature other than what we are. However this 'nature' is the nature of all things. So my nature is your nature in a flowing universal nature kind of way! MU!
                            Heisoku 平 息
                            Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home. (Basho)

                            Comment

                            • Myoku
                              Member
                              • Jul 2010
                              • 1487

                              #15
                              Originally posted by Jundo
                              You and the dog and the Buddha, same or different? ARF!
                              My mind is more deluded this morning ...
                              _()_
                              Myoku

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