BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 24

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  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39459

    BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 24

    Case 23 never ends, yet now comes ...

    Case 24: Seppo's Poison Snake

    Many Koans (each a tale of long dead and buried Zen Ancestors) speak of freedom from death. In the piercing of "no coming no going" one finds no death, and we are never really "born" either. Where can birth and death be found, from start to finish, when the mind stops measuring "starts" and "finishes"? Since one is never born, never dies ... one loses even that contrasting state called "life" as apart from "death".

    Such birthless-deathless can be (must be) realized even as this short lived life of birth and death. "No coming no going" comes and goes. Oh, in their Wisdom, the long dead Ancestors live even now!

    Dogen (also dead some 700 years) wrote in Shinjin Gakudo ...

    When we are born, is one speck of something added to us? At death, does one mote of something depart from us? Where are we to find this birth-and-death, along with our views about it? Up to the present, they have been just one moment of the mind and then a second moment of the mind. One moment of the mind and then a second moment of the mind is one great earth with its mountains and rivers and then [in another moment] a second great earth with its mountains and rivers. Since such things as the great earth with its mountains and rivers are beyond a matter of existing or not existing, they are beyond being large or small ... they do not change in accordance with our having awakened or not.
    In Shoji Dogen spoke of a further viewless view hand-in-hand with transcending life-death. It is a view running right into birth and death, of living that is thoroughly living, for one's life depends on it ... of dying or die trying, right to the death ...

    Living and dying is what nirvana is, for there is nothing to despise in living and dying, nor anything to be wished for in nirvana. ... In the time we call ‘living’, there is nothing except life, and in the time we call ‘dying’, there is nothing except death. Thus, when life comes, it is simply life, and when death comes, it is simply death. When facing up to them, do not say that you want to cling to the one or push away the other. This living and dying is precisely what the treasured life of a Buddha is. If we hate life and want to throw it away, that is just our attempt to throw away the treasured life of Buddha. And if we go no farther than this and clutch onto life and death, this too is our throwing away the treasured life of Buddha by limiting ourselves to the superficial appearance of Buddha. When there is nothing we hate and nothing we cling to, then, for the first time, we enter the Heart of Buddha.
    The Preface to the Koan seems to refer to several Now Dead Teachers who demonstrated the Deathless in various ways ... by barking as a dog or braying as a donkey. The carp can manifest a powerful dragon. They were great, but the Koan reminds us, one must get bit by this snake oneself. This poison does not kill one, for where is there for such a snake to bite?

    Questions: Did you ever experience a moment of the spark of life (such as a child's birth) or brink of death, yet taste something in the instant beyond such mental categories?

    Have you ever tasted something of Dogen's existential way of living and dying: when life comes live, when death comes die, do not cling to one or push away the other?


    Buddhists are not big for a soul or eternal spirit, by the way, but we do know something timeless and most intimate goes on and on ...

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-26-2013, 02:16 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE
  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39459

    #2
    Originally posted by Jenell
    Yes
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    Comment

    • RichardH
      Member
      • Nov 2011
      • 2800

      #3
      Questions: Did you ever experience a moment of the spark of life (such as a child's birth) or brink of death, yet taste something in the instant beyond such mental categories?
      The first time was at around age nine crossing Taunton rd..(a fast country highway) on my bike and getting hit by a motorcycle at full spead. It pretzled the bike and threw me spinning into the ditch . I remember looking up and seeing the whole Adams family bent over me saying things like "is he dead?" (not the Addams family but a real family called Adams with 9 kids, all with biblical names). At that moment there was no life or death, no fear... just timeless space very crisp and clear, and curiosity. I didn't die and, doctor said it was a lucky turn.


      Have you ever tasted something of Dogen's existential way of living and dying: when life comes live, when death comes die, do not cling to one or push away the other?
      This is the every day practice... getting older, losing energy. The seniors who live with us getting sicker
      My father in-law is going on home dialysis soon (he is upset and scared), and I will be trained in the procedure There is cancer in the family. Our beloved pooch is having more seizures.

      Need reading glasses. Having a sex talk with the kid. The arc of life.


      Gassho. Daizan
      Last edited by RichardH; 01-25-2013, 01:35 AM.

      Comment

      • Ed
        Member
        • Nov 2012
        • 223

        #4
        I'll be 70 in May...easy come easy go. My practice is my refuge: I take daily refuge in the Buddha I take daily refuge in sangha I take daily refuge in the Dharma
        "Know that the practice of zazen is the complete path of buddha-dharma and nothing can be compared to it....it is not the practice of one or two buddhas but all the buddha ancestors practice this way."
        Dogen zenji in Bendowa





        Comment

        • Memo
          Member
          • Oct 2012
          • 33

          #5
          some days the pops up:"Can I really and honestly accept all this life and death stuff?Can I really make peace with all is just fine as it is?"And by the force of old habit my mind searches for answers.Then I remember my practice and why I just sit everyday...and a line from Dogen's Death poem comes to my mind:"...I will just jump into the yellow springs"...or something like that. Just don't care much for the questions anymore.

          Gassho, Memo

          Comment

          • Jundo
            Treeleaf Founder and Priest
            • Apr 2006
            • 39459

            #6
            Said to be Dogen`s deathbed poem ...

            Fifty-four years lighting up the sky.
            A quivering leap smashes a billion worlds. Hah!
            Entire body looks for nothing.
            Living, I plunge into Yellow Springs.


                 Enlightenment Unfolds is a sequel to Kaz Tanahashi's previous collection, Moon in a Dewdrop, which has become a primary source on Dogen for Western Zen students. Dogen Zenji (1200-1253) is unquestionably the most significant religious figure in Japanese history. Founder of the Soto school of Zen (which emphasizes the practice of zazen or sitting meditation), he was a prolific writer whose works have remained popular for six hundred years. Enlightenment Unfolds presents even more of the incisive and inspiring writings of this seminal figure, focusing on essays from his great life work, Treasury of the True Dharma Eye , as well as poems, talks, and correspondence, much of which appears here in English for the first time.      Tanahashi has brought together his own translations of Dogen with those of some of the most respected Zen teachers and writers of our own day, including Reb Anderson, Edward Espe Brown, Norman Fisher, Gil Fronsdal, Blanche Hartman, Jane Hirschfield, Daniel Leighton, Alan Senauke, Katherine Thanas, Mel Weitzman, and Michael Wenger.



            That's by Tanahashi. Steven Heine has ...


            For fifty-four years
            Following the way of heaven,
            Now leaping beyond
            shattering every barrier.
            Amazing!
            To cast off all attachments
            While still alive!
            Plunging into the yellow spring!


            "Yellow springs" refers to the mythological Chinese realm of the dead called Huángquán (黄泉 or "Yellow Springs"), the underworld, the world of the dead, Hades.

            Awhile back, Taigu commented this on the poem (when my daughter was very sick in the hospital and we were worried) ...

            In this situation, no need to dress it up and make it cheerful. No need to flee and avoid the problem. We are all invited to participate with joy to this, because it is the very nature of life, fleeting, changing, fragile, the very nature of what is given to us, sooner or later taken back. In front of this, we invite the unknown, throwing body and mind into it, trusting a process beyond thoughts, feelings and fears. As Dogen says in what he left us as a death poem:

            ...

            What a remarkable way to live! Leaping into the unknown, life and death merged and both totally transcended. Every single moment is an opportunity for all of us to exactly do that, that this body of thirty, fourty, fifty years and a few days and throw it into the amazing unknown reality.

            ...

            Nothing left, no traces, no shadow. Just the taste of what is as it is. That's our way to live, far from the hopes and consolations found in so many religions and belief systems.
            Last edited by Jundo; 01-25-2013, 02:49 PM.
            ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

            Comment

            • Jishin
              Member
              • Oct 2012
              • 4820

              #7
              Did you ever experience a moment of the spark of life (such as a child's birth) or brink of death, yet taste something in the instant beyond such mental categories?

              I have witnessed a birth by cesarian section. The skilled OBGYN surgeon extracted a purple creature from a pregnant belly with a few quick motions of a scalpel. The creature cried and turned into a living and breathing baby. The experience was surreal, a tasteless taste until the first taste of such experience.

              Have you ever tasted something of Dogen's existential way of living and dying: when life comes live, when death comes die, do not cling to one or push away the other?

              I live in delusion, treating the past as real and the future as real. The past and future happen now, nowhere else. Life and death are not real just as past and future are not real. I try to taste just now, without clinging.

              Gassho, John

              Comment

              • Shohei
                Member
                • Oct 2007
                • 2854

                #8
                I do but its not happening this moment, this moment this moment, and so I work along, play along and do what needs done.

                To be frank I live with panic attacks and such and so dwelling on what is to come, well it sets me spinning, though with this practice we learn to let it die so we can truly live, over and over again - so I go through my day keeping in mind this is all changing, all fleeting. When the time comes, who knows, If I fall over after this post then what else could be done??

                I liked a another zen practitioners parting words from this world

                ... Oh wow, oh wow! -Steve Jobs - always a marketing man, right to the end.


                Gassho
                Shohei

                Comment

                • galen
                  Member
                  • Feb 2012
                  • 322

                  #9
                  Without reading Wick's or Jundo's commentary here, the Preface and Main case both seem to be pointing to waking up, big Mind and Enlightenment await. Get out of your head (ego) and get in your body and feel, fully embrace what is real. Embody your Buddha nature, it totally encompasses your every breathe, how can it be ignored !?

                  Seemingly the Preface is not about which animal or place (thats the game... of the ego; this is the gotcha of the opening for those who cannot see the big picture, so to speak), as it says 'they do not fall into common place'; also, 'they do not behave like animals' (only in phenomena/ego). It seems that when big Mind is more fully realized there is no separation between us and animals, or mountains and lakes. We already Are, in becoming the animal/mountains in every breath fully embodied. 'What is the conduct of such persons?', the Preface closes with. It seems to point to those of us who are still stuck in believing, buying into, the illusion that this self we trot out the door every day is real, that all the phenomena we face is real... who were you/we before our parents were born??

                  Seemingly the same set-up is in the main case, the lesson being to try to draw us into seeing our shallowness in thinking this is all real. Does not the poison snake seem to be a metaphor for the poisoning of our minds with full ego control? In saying that there are many in the hall that have lost their lives, is it not bringing attention to how lost we are here in believing this is real and we relatively are all dead anyway if we cannot get a grip on big Mind? That seems to be the same intention when Gensha says 'Why bother using South Mountain' and not so much that that is where poisonous snakes are waiting to kill, but it seems to be saying throw the mountain (thoughts of) and the snake garbage out of your minds, the only poison is what we have let our ego fill us up with. Unmmon, in throwing down his staff seemed to be just more of the same game to show how ridiculous our game is. He is showing us our fear playing is our game, that is what the ego does, it keeps us locked up the its insecure game of fear, to much in our chattering spinning thoughts of ignorance, when all we have to do is breathe in that nature we were before our parents were born. A call to wake up and embody the roses, the animals and mountains, there is no separation between us and them. Who is doing the seeing?


                  Gassho
                  Nothing Special

                  Comment

                  • Shokai
                    Treeleaf Priest
                    • Mar 2009
                    • 6391

                    #10
                    Here's the thing, I've witnessed both the miracles of birth and death on more than two or three occasions. I'll been involved in both bus and car accidents where i came closed to cashing in. My mother taught me to say "if I should die before I wake, I pray the lord my soul to take"; something I have contemplated each night before sleep, something more than 26 thousand times and each morning for 15 years now sitting zazen. And yet, I still trust and hope that I have another 28 years to go to 103. Where is the non-delusion in that I ask.

                    I was (still am) delighted by the philosophy expounded by a 95 yr old aunt who said, " My death will be one of the most beautiful experiences of my life; if not, what difference!" However, I grew to realize that mostly, she told people what she thought they wanted to hear; as I watched her live in fear of death for her last five years in a nursing home, to the ripe old age of 104.

                    My grand father always fought a great fear he had of the month of November; guess when he died; at an age of 93.
                    My father was a layreader in the Anglican Church and he often spoke of death as "giving up the ghost". The evening before he died, the resident in charge of his case told me he had discussed his prognosis with him and he seemed to have made a decision; next morning he suffered a massive stroke that took him from this visible world. I trully believe 99% of life is attitude, the other half is effort. You are only happy if you want to be.

                    Friends, the poison snake of South Mountain does exist. Be careful of what you dream or dread.

                    gassho, Shokai
                    合掌,生開
                    gassho, Shokai

                    仁道 生開 / Jindo Shokai

                    "Open to life in a benevolent way"

                    https://sarushinzendo.wordpress.com/

                    Comment

                    • AlanLa
                      Member
                      • Mar 2008
                      • 1405

                      #11
                      So Dogen was 54 when he died.
                      Hmm, I'm 54.
                      AL (Jigen) in:
                      Faith/Trust
                      Courage/Love
                      Awareness/Action!

                      I sat today

                      Comment

                      • Jundo
                        Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                        • Apr 2006
                        • 39459

                        #12
                        Originally posted by galen
                        Without reading Wick's or Jundo's commentary here, the Preface and Main case both seem to be pointing to waking up, big Mind and Enlightenment await. Get out of your head (ego) and get in your body and feel, fully embrace what is real. Embody your Buddha nature, it totally encompasses your every breathe, how can it be ignored !?

                        Seemingly the Preface is not about which animal or place (thats the game... of the ego; this is the gotcha of the opening for those who cannot see the big picture, so to speak), as it says 'they do not fall into common place'; also, 'they do not behave like animals' (only in phenomena/ego). It seems that when big Mind is more fully realized there is no separation between us and animals, or mountains and lakes. We already Are, in becoming the animal/mountains in every breath fully embodied. 'What is the conduct of such persons?', the Preface closes with. It seems to point to those of us who are still stuck in believing, buying into, the illusion that this self we trot out the door every day is real, that all the phenomena we face is real... who were you/we before our parents were born??

                        Seemingly the same set-up is in the main case, the lesson being to try to draw us into seeing our shallowness in thinking this is all real. Does not the poison snake seem to be a metaphor for the poisoning of our minds with full ego control? In saying that there are many in the hall that have lost their lives, is it not bringing attention to how lost we are here in believing this is real and we relatively are all dead anyway if we cannot get a grip on big Mind? That seems to be the same intention when Gensha says 'Why bother using South Mountain' and not so much that that is where poisonous snakes are waiting to kill, but it seems to be saying throw the mountain (thoughts of) and the snake garbage out of your minds, the only poison is what we have let our ego fill us up with. Unmmon, in throwing down his staff seemed to be just more of the same game to show how ridiculous our game is. He is showing us our fear playing is our game, that is what the ego does, it keeps us locked up the its insecure game of fear, to much in our chattering spinning thoughts of ignorance, when all we have to do is breathe in that nature we were before our parents were born. A call to wake up and embody the roses, the animals and mountains, there is no separation between us and them. Who is doing the seeing?


                        Gassho
                        Thank you, Galen. Lovely.

                        Yet we are just roses and animals and mountains.

                        This snake can bite us with the poisons of greed, anger and ignorance ... or the biteless bite which brings freedom.

                        The ass can be just an ass ... or kick away ego, braying Buddha Nature.

                        The carp is just a smelly fish ... or may manifest a powerful dragon.

                        I wonder if the "folks in the hall having lost their lives" was a put down of those who are lost ... or perhaps a compliment on what was found instead beyond death (and beyond one vs. many, Chokei and Gensha, in or out the hall) ... or maybe a bit of both.

                        Gassho, Jundo
                        Last edited by Jundo; 01-26-2013, 02:17 AM.
                        ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                        Comment

                        • jeff_u
                          Member
                          • Jan 2013
                          • 130

                          #13
                          I'm curious... what kind of snakes will one find on North Mountain?

                          Comment

                          • galen
                            Member
                            • Feb 2012
                            • 322

                            #14
                            Originally posted by Jundo
                            Thank you, Galen. Lovely.

                            Yet we are just roses and animals and mountains.

                            This snake can bite us with the poisons of greed, anger and ignorance ... or the biteless bite which brings freedom.

                            The ass can be just an ass ... or kick away ego, braying Buddha Nature.

                            The carp is just a smelly fish ... or may manifest a powerful dragon.

                            I wonder if the "folks in the hall having lost their lives" was a put down of those who are lost ... or perhaps a compliment on what was found instead beyond death (and beyond one vs. many, Chokei and Gensha, in or out the hall) ... or maybe a bit of both.

                            Gassho, Jundo


                            Thank you Jundo...

                            The dichotomy of seemingly still a bite, an ass (some bigger then others relatively) and what difference is there between a fish thats just smelly, manifested into the power of a dragon, and/or does it matter delusional`y? Move on!

                            The dichotomy of supposed lost souls in the hall (us) or just the lessons of no birth-no death and probably a bit of both, because it seems delusions keep us stuck in that gap, so why in the hell don't we just sit and get over our selves? Big Mind awaits, what are waiting on, time? No one can do This for us. It seems there is no time when sitting, but its always time to sit, because is not everything else delusion, and if so, hows that going??

                            Perhaps for the fish to manifest into the dragon, or the bite to be biteless, and oh what a huge ass delusion can be and ever so heavy until its not. Why can't we just stay in not, nothing; why all the painful reasoning and chatter, just sit on that ass and let all hell freeze over into lasting love.


                            Gassho
                            Last edited by galen; 01-26-2013, 05:19 PM.
                            Nothing Special

                            Comment

                            • galen
                              Member
                              • Feb 2012
                              • 322

                              #15
                              Originally posted by jeff_u
                              I'm curious... what kind of snakes will one find on North Mountain?


                              What kind are slithering around in your mind?

                              Watch out for the poison of reason!


                              Gassho


                              Welcome Jeff!
                              Nothing Special

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