Realizing Genjokoan - Chapter 11 - Second Half, P 168 to End

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  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39272

    Realizing Genjokoan - Chapter 11 - Second Half, P 168 to End

    Hello Fellow Fishies,

    We swim from "The Source of Bird and Fish Imagery" on p. 168

    Here's a great song ...

    I kinda don't see the influence of the Chuang Tzu as much as Okumura Roshi. Maybe.

    I also want to convey the central points this week with my "dancer" imagery that I like.

    We are born and feel like dancers who are doing a dance on a stage. However, in fact, we are the dance come alive through us! We are the stage leaping and twirling with our feet! And how we twirl, leap, gracefully move or fall determines the dance and is the dance. Dance big and gracefully, or small and stumbling, and that is the dance. What is more, leap or trip, fall or twirl is all part of the dance. Even though we try not to trip and fall, and we do our best to be graceful in our movements, if we do end up falling ... falling is just the dance too.

    Okumura says that he tried to understand the whole world, the whole dance, every inch of the stage in order to feel it had some meaning. However, he discovered that every little step he takes has all the meaning of the whole dance, the whole world.

    And the whole dance comes alive in this instant, this step, the tip of your toes right here. It is all poured into your move right now.

    Something like that is what Dogen and Okumura are trying to get at in the chapter, I think.

    Gassho, J

    Last edited by Jundo; 05-31-2020, 02:30 PM.
  • Shonin Risa Bear
    • Apr 2019
    • 921

    Sits down before I say to myself "I'm sitting down." Stands up before I say to myself "I'm standing up." I'm very impressed with this person who is not so chatty but she is difficult to have a word with.

    shonin sat/lah today
    Last edited by Shonin Risa Bear; 05-31-2020, 04:42 PM.
    Visiting priest: use salt


    • Tairin
      • Feb 2016
      • 2733

      We are different men from different times and different countries but what he described in “The Necessity of Finding One’s Own Place and Path” spoke to me. I went through a similar “searching” in my teenage and early 20s.

      I wasn’t too sure i liked the analogy of Zazen to a baby simply being a baby but as he moved through the chapter his point made better sense.

      Sat today and lah
      泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods


      • Heikyo
        • Dec 2014
        • 103

        Like Tairin, Okumura's section on finding one's one path really resonated with me. I liked the description of the journey he took from looking for meaning in life and investigating the whole ocean or sky, but then realising that ultimate meaning does not come from observing it from the 'outside', but from creating that meaning from within - using the body and mind. Really liked that.

        Sat today, LAH


        • Bokucho
          • Dec 2018
          • 264

          I re-read this section, and parts of it really tied in a chapter from the book I was reading last night. "Bringing the Sacred to Life" by John Daido Loori, and it really emphasizes that the value of our practice, is basically that we practice. The value comes from the doing. It seems almost too simple, and logically it's very simple, but in practice it's really quite difficult. As we live with our human mind and our human delusions, in everyday life (at least for me) it's incredibly easy to get sidetracked, and often. Our world and our culture puts so much emphasis on individuality, and while that's partly true, it's not the whole truth.

          The way Dogen can distill this teaching and represent it so poetically, is beautiful. Okumura's commentary is, again, spot on I feel. I myself went through a nihilistic period, after finding out that the metaphysical revelations while under the influence of psychedelic chemicals were just a powerful illusion. It makes you question if life is an illusion, and if so, what's the point? Like Okumura, I struggled with the question of nihilism, until I really started studying Buddhism. Even years into Buddhist study I would still find myself Googling "how is Buddhism not nihilistic?" because every now and then I'd slip into that way of thinking. It's Dogen's interpretation that really made it clear, and the Sōtō philosophy that really made it stick.



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          • Heiso
            • Jan 2019
            • 824

            I preface this by saying these are the comments of a sleep deprived parent of a new baby but reading some of Okumura Roshi's comments on this section reminded me of some of the existential philosophers I read years ago - that we have to give our own meaning to life (although I think he stops short of saying that's because life is meaningless!).

            I took from this chapter a call to action, to sit and just do it. That, as I think Nishijima Roshi wrote, philosophy can never be reality itself and so we must actualize reality which for those of us choosing the Buddhist path is through zazen.


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