LIVING by VOW: Sandokai - pp 205-218

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  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39237

    LIVING by VOW: Sandokai - pp 205-218

    Hi All,

    I am going to take the pass of the baton from Shugen, who did such a beautiful job in hosting our reflections on the Heart Sutra. We will now turn to the "Identity of Relative & Absolute," (or "Merging of DIfference and Unity"), the Sandokai, to page 218. The Sandokai is also one of the fundamental Chants and Teachings in our Soto Zen Tradition.

    I want to say, however, that as I was rereading the Heart Sutra pages of the book, I noticed a bit of a difference in approach and flavor between how I sometimes express "Emptiness" (the focus of both the Heart Sutra and Sandokai) and how Okumura Roshi seems to express it. I have not really noticed so much before when I have read Okumura Roshi. Perhaps Okumura Roshi tended to emphasize primarily the freedom which comes in recognizing the impermanence and lack of self existence in things, and that "Emptiness" is also not a "thing," without speaking too much of what is "Emptiness" besides that. In contrast, I tend to add some very positive descriptions about Emptiness which you probably have heard from me before, e.g.:

    Emptiness might be better expressed as the Flowing Wholeness of all things, as all of reality flows in out and as us. It is not a "thing," but is a lovely dance which the universe is doing, and we are that dance.


    I did not detect that Okumura Roshi was quite so focused on this positive aspect of "Emptiness" in his Heart Sutra descriptions.

    However, that is okay, and actually ties in very much with our discussion of the history of the origins of Zen Buddhism in China in this week's readings. Okumura Roshi describes some of the complex history, and early varied flavors of Zen. I must tell you that the story seems to have been even more complicated, with many teachers and Sangha ... often with very different approaches ... who only later were depicted as all under the umbrella of Zen.

    My question is: Does it matter, or bother you, that there are so many flavors of Zen ... the same in Absolute nature, yet different in relative nature ... today or through the centuries? Or, does it add something to have so much variety? Can more than one flavor be "right"?

    Gassho, Jundo

    SatTodayLAH

    PS - I remind you of our next book in the book club:

    "WHAT IS ZEN?" by NORMAN FISCHER and SUSAN MOON
    Dear All, I would like to recommend very much a recent book by Soto Zen teachers NORMAN FISCHER and SUSAN MOON, entitled "WHAT IS ZEN?". It is perhaps one of the best books explaining "the basics" for folks new to Zen Practice, but also goes on to offer Fischer Roshi's almost "rabbinical" wisdom


    We will start that in a few weeks.
    Last edited by Jundo; 04-13-2018, 04:01 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE
  • Mp

    #2
    Thank you both Jundo and Shugen ... these have been wonderful readings and reflections. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    Sat/LAH

    Comment

    • Seishin
      Member
      • Aug 2016
      • 1520

      #3
      Thank you both. Much as I have valued reading Living By Vow, I'll play catch on the latest installment when I return from the UK and things settle down a bit. However, I've just put Realizing Genjokoan on my tablet and will be reading that while "travelling".


      Seishin

      Sei - Meticulous
      Shin - Heart

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      • Tairin
        Member
        • Feb 2016
        • 2728

        #4
        I am reading the book on a Kobo which insists on providing its own page numbering. Can someone tell me what section of the book page 218 is?



        Tairin
        Sat today
        泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods

        Comment

        • Getchi
          Member
          • May 2015
          • 612

          #5
          Than you jundo,

          I was very concerned, and angry, in my quest for "TRUE" buddhism. It became worse when I was introduced to mahayana style systems, with boddhisatva, buddhas etc. Then came "zen" and its complex history from China, the cntrl asia n ba sin, gandharà and not mention canton and lushan where entire cultures away and the idea of soutrn barbrian was a real social class. How would I ever get the right teaching?

          But as my main interest was in jhana and how it affected the mediator, I came to an understanding that we are all speaking metaphor in a desire to define an unnàmeablè truth.

          Poetry of the heart, in a more positive sense.

          Now I realize shikantaza in th is style, is the one method of all buddhas. It is king of samadhi and also wisdom as practice.

          Thank you.

          Gàssho,
          Geoff
          Sattojday
          LaH.


          Ps jundo the article you posted on pure land and zen was very eye opening :gassho:
          Nothing to do? Why not Sit?

          Comment

          • Jundo
            Treeleaf Founder and Priest
            • Apr 2006
            • 39237

            #6
            Originally posted by Tairin
            I am reading the book on a Kobo which insists on providing its own page numbering. Can someone tell me what section of the book page 218 is?



            Tairin
            Sat today
            Please stop at "Spiritual Source and Branching Streams"

            Gassho J

            STLah
            ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

            Comment

            • Onkai
              Treeleaf Unsui
              • Aug 2015
              • 2834

              #7
              Thank you, Jundo. I am not bothered by the many schools of Zen, but when I was reading this chapter I was totally confused, and mapped out in an Excel spreadsheet the different lineages, only to find that the point of this section was that there is really no division of the dharma. I know that the Soto way is better for me than the Rinzai approach (which wasn't mentioned in this section), but I've been reading a book by someone of the Rinzai tradition, and I can see that it is going about something similar and does incorporate shikantaza, while we learn from koans. Different styles may be suitable for different people.

              Gassho,
              Onkai
              Sat
              美道 Bidou Beautiful Way
              恩海 Onkai Merciful/Kind Ocean

              I have a lot to learn; take anything I say that sounds like teaching with a grain of salt.

              Comment

              • Jakuden
                Member
                • Jun 2015
                • 6142

                #8
                Thanks for mentioning that about your differences in description of emptiness, Jundo. I had noticed it, it seems to a novice like me that every teacher describes it a bit differently. I find yours to bring me to the more positive place of emptiness as “everything” rather than “nothing.” Perhaps because my particular mind wants to control, categorize, and somehow make sense of everything and the antidote for that is just to let “it” be ungraspable.

                Gassho
                Jakuden
                SatToday/LAH


                Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

                Comment

                • Tairin
                  Member
                  • Feb 2016
                  • 2728

                  #9
                  My question is: Does it matter, or bother you, that there are so many flavors of Zen ... the same in Absolute nature, yet different in relative nature ... today or through the centuries? Or, does it add something to have so much variety? Can more than one flavor be "right"?

                  It doesn’t bother me at all. There are many paths up the mountain.

                  For me actually having many flavours helps me fight the “us vs them” tendency. It reminds me to not get hung up in the Soto way is better than Rizai way. Shikantaza over Koan study? Depends on what calls to you. Not two.


                  Tairin
                  Sat today
                  泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods

                  Comment

                  • Mp

                    #10
                    Originally posted by Tairin
                    My question is: Does it matter, or bother you, that there are so many flavors of Zen ... the same in Absolute nature, yet different in relative nature ... today or through the centuries? Or, does it add something to have so much variety? Can more than one flavor be "right"?

                    It doesn’t bother me at all. There are many paths up the mountain.

                    For me actually having many flavours helps me fight the “us vs them” tendency. It reminds me to not get hung up in the Soto way is better than Rizai way. Shikantaza over Koan study? Depends on what calls to you. Not two.


                    Tairin
                    Sat today
                    Nicely said Tairin!

                    We all wear shoes, but one size doesn't fit all. =)

                    Gassho
                    Shingen

                    Sat/LAH

                    Comment

                    • Enjaku
                      Member
                      • Jul 2016
                      • 310

                      #11
                      On a very basic level, when someone finds a path that leads towards wisdom, peace and compassion, I believe we should celebrate that and encourage them to continue.

                      Having spent many years without much in the way of spiritual or moral guidance, Soto Zen has given me a framework within which to cultivate wisdom, peace and compassion.

                      It can be stimulating to discuss different approaches and interpretations but it's the fruit of one's practice that really matters to me.

                      Gassho,
                      Enjaku
                      Sat LAH
                      援若

                      Comment

                      • Tairin
                        Member
                        • Feb 2016
                        • 2728

                        #12
                        Reading through this section again it struck me that the concepts of difference/relative/phenomenal and unity/absolute are two aspects of One Mind really has parallels to Yin/Yang. It seems obvious knowing that Chan/Zen really was strongly influenced by Taoism. I am surprised that Yin/Yang isn't explicitly called out. Not one. Not two. I am guessing this is due to some historical conflict for patronage in China that links to Zen's Taoist roots are played down.


                        Tairin
                        Sat today
                        泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods

                        Comment

                        • Jundo
                          Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                          • Apr 2006
                          • 39237

                          #13
                          Originally posted by Tairin
                          Reading through this section again it struck me that the concepts of difference/relative/phenomenal and unity/absolute are two aspects of One Mind really has parallels to Yin/Yang. It seems obvious knowing that Chan/Zen really was strongly influenced by Taoism. I am surprised that Yin/Yang isn't explicitly called out. Not one. Not two. I am guessing this is due to some historical conflict for patronage in China that links to Zen's Taoist roots are played down.


                          Tairin
                          Sat today
                          Hi Tairin,

                          There has been some historical writing lately on how Chan developed as Indian Buddhism met Taoist (specifically so called "Dark Learning" Taoism) and other Chinese sensibilities.



                          Christine Mollier reveals in this volume previously unexplored dimensions of the interaction between Buddhism and Taoism in medieval China. While scholars of Chinese religions have long recognized the mutual influences linking the two traditions, Mollier here brings to light their intense contest for hegemony in the domains of scripture and ritual. Drawing on a far-reaching investigation of canonical texts, together with manuscript sources from Dunhuang and the monastic libraries of Japan--many of them studied here for the first time--she demonstrates the competition and complementarity of the two great Chinese religions in their quest to address personal and collective fears of diverse ills, including sorcery, famine, and untimely death.


                          There was an influence later, within Japan as well. However, the influence was indirect and, as they were also rivals, that influence was downplayed. Also, there are definite differences, especially in the aspect of Taoism which is like alchemy and a search for immortality.

                          But where do you see the connection to "Yin/Yang" specifically? That is not so clear to me.

                          Gassho, Jundo

                          SatTodayLAH
                          Last edited by Jundo; 04-15-2018, 10:45 PM.
                          ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                          Comment

                          • Tairin
                            Member
                            • Feb 2016
                            • 2728

                            #14
                            Originally posted by Jundo
                            But where do you see the connection to "Yin/Yang" specifically? That is not so clear to me.
                            Well my understanding is that Yin and Yang are essentially opposites representing female/male or passive/active or light/dark etc and yet the symbol for YinYang is a circle that contains both and actually each side has elements of the other.
                            The section we are reading also stresses seemingly opposites relative/absolute, Northern/Southern, etc and yet declares they are all part of One Mind.

                            Maybe I am stretching this too much. I know in Buddhism we say “not one, not two” yet in Taoism the duality is stronger.


                            Tairin
                            Sat today
                            泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods

                            Comment

                            • Jundo
                              Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                              • Apr 2006
                              • 39237

                              #15
                              Hi Tairin,

                              I feel where you are coming from.

                              I might say that yin/yang is not quite the same, as they are generally viewed as two opposite poles or forces ... yin (negative/passive/female) and yang (positive/active/male) that are opposed and which we must balance.

                              The relative and absolute are identity to the eye which can see, as in Master Hakuin's famous words ... like water and ice. Or, perhaps better said Warren, like "Tairin" and "Warren". Or, like matter and energy perhaps, they are just the same (says Einstein) yet not.

                              That said, many Zen folks were interested in non-Buddhist Chinese beliefs such as yin/yang in the past (just like some Zen folks today might be interested in Christianity or football). So, sometimes (such as in the Hokyo Zanmai that Kyonin has been recently offering some talks on) one will see references to such things in Zen. However, they were never really a part of Zen or Buddhist beliefs. Yin/yang is more an ancient form of fortune telling or, perhaps, an attempt to explain the forces by which the universe works before we had some understanding of modern physics, chemistry and such.

                              Perhaps we might say that the relationship is beyond yet right through and at the heart of both "same" and "opposite."

                              Gassho, Jundo

                              SatTodayLAH
                              Last edited by Jundo; 04-16-2018, 09:32 AM.
                              ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

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