7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

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  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39074

    7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    Hello Zuimonki Fans,

    Continuing our readings in Master Dogen's SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI ...

    1-6 is rather long, and tangled, but a good look at how Koans are used in Soto Zen (don't let anyone tell you that we don't like our Koans in Soto Zen as much as them Rinzai Zen folks do ... just not as an object of concentration during seated Zazen, is all). 8)

    The first Koan discussed (Hyakujo's Fox) is about a priest who once taught that a person of great realization would not be subject to Karma and Rebirth ... and promptly was reborn as a fox for saying so (something I may suffer, as just today I wrote something critical of Karma and Rebirth ... oh well, I may be in trouble! :| ) ....

    viewtopic.php?p=25396#p25396

    One scholar explains Dogen's comments this way ...

    "Causation" in this passage refers to "moral causation." The Buddhist concept of karma acknowledges that [volitional] good/bad deeds, thoughts, and so forth result in good/bad effects. Thus the import of the question posed by the "fox" is whether or not the enlightened person is subject to karma. Hyakuj?'s answer, in effect, affirms that the enlightened person is subject to moral causation. ...

    D?gen's employment of this story in the "Daishugy?" chapter of the Sh?b?genz? implies that, on one level, he thinks Hyakuj?'s answer indeed provides a "remedy" for the old man's predicament. Yet D?gen was rarely content with merely citing traditional Zen interpretations of passages; typically, he sought to push his students to a further understanding by a creative reinterpretation of a passage. Lest his disciple therefore think this not-ignoring/recognition of causation is de facto a release from it in an ultimate sense, D?gen answers that the passage means "cause and effect are immovable." In other words, moral causation, for D?gen, is an inexorable fact of human existence.

    Given this fact, Ej? then asks how we can ever "escape" moral causation. D?gen's response is enigmatic: "Cause and effect arise at the same time." Nowhere in the Sh?b?genz? Zuimonki does he further clarify this passage. However, the key to understanding this statement can be gleaned from his discussion of causation in the "Shoakumakusa" chapter of the Sh?b?genz?, wherein he observes that "cause is not before and effect is not after." As Hee-Jin Kim explains, D?gen saw cause and effect as absolutely discontinuous moments that, in any given action, arise simultaneously from "thusness." Therefore,

    ... no sooner does one choose and act according to a particular course of action than are the results thereof (heavens, hells, or otherwise) realized in it .... Man lives in the midst of causation from which he cannot escape even for a moment; nevertheless, he can live from moment to moment in such a way that these moments are the fulfilled moments of moral and spiritual freedom and purity in thusness.

    http://ccbs.ntu.edu.tw/FULLTEXT/JR-PHIL/douglas.htm
    The other major Koan discussed is "Nanzen Kills the Cat", about a monk who intentionally kills a cat (albeit for teaching purposes perhaps) ... still, a clear "no no" in light of the Precept on Preserving Life, and surely an action with Karmic effects. Thus, this is also an example of "Karmic Paradox"

    Scholars debate about what Dogen meant in many of his comments on these Koans, and we might discuss some of that. However, I might suggest that you merely take the subject of the section as the moral dilemma we sometimes face in our actions, and the effects we must bear (or, perhaps, just skim it and move on to something we can get our teeth in more).

    If you would like to listen to a recorded talk by Norman Fischer on the Fox Koan ... available here ...

    http://www.everydayzen.org/index.php?It ... dio-191-66

    The other sections for this week's reading ... 1-7 through 1-10 ... are more straight-forward, pithy comments on human behavior and how we should act toward each other.

    So far, I think our "experiment" in bringing these passages into our lives is going very well.

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE
  • Tb
    Member
    • Jan 2008
    • 3186

    #2
    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

    Hi.

    1-6

    Very important point in this one is that of "wording".
    It is vital to understand what is meant.

    Another point is that it is not always good to read translations...
    For example the difference between "saying that the students had already spoken" and "saying that the students had spoken".
    different?

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen
    Life is our temple and its all good practice
    Blog: http://fugenblog.blogspot.com/

    Comment

    • will
      Member
      • Jun 2007
      • 2331

      #3
      Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

      1-6

      The Nansen Koan:

      This is the middle way and not the middle way. Reality presents itself moment to moment and has no view of right or wrong. There is only "this" or the "action of cutting the cat". If we hold strongly that cutting the cat is wrong, then that is not it. If we hold strongly it is right, then that is not it either. That is Buddha Nature or emptiness. Holding any view of it misses the point. So Joshu put his sandal on his head. Joshu did a "non action".

      So, if there is no right or wrong, then how do we do good? That's the question. Well, it's pretty obvious. That's what the precepts are there for.

      So instead of choosing to cut the cat, we release it. Because the Dharma has no right or wrong, we can choose to do nothing, or do something. It's not always black or white. In a more modern context we can relate this to Hitler: Would you kill him, hug him, or do nothing? There is no "right" answer.

      So, we have the general precepts and manifest compassion.

      Gassho _/_

      W
      [size=85:z6oilzbt]
      To save all sentient beings, though beings are numberless.
      To penetrate reality, though reality is boundless.
      To transform all delusion, though delusions are immeasurable.
      To attain the enlightened way, a way non-attainable.
      [/size:z6oilzbt]

      Comment

      • Jundo
        Treeleaf Founder and Priest
        • Apr 2006
        • 39074

        #4
        Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

        Hi Will,

        This is so ... from one view.

        But almost all the Buddhist and Zen teachers I can think of ... including Dogen (including me too, for what it is worth) ... would say that we must also bear all the Karmic consequences of our volitional words, thoughts and acts.

        You may kill the cat, but you still likely have to pay the price in some way.

        This came up in more detail when we discussed the Precept on Killing in preparation for our last Jukai (and we will discuss it more when we prepare for our next Jukai shortly).

        A Tibetan teacher (Chagdud Tulku) relates this famous Jataka legend about a previous incarnation of the Buddha ...

        (In a previous life, the Buddha was Captain Compassionate Heart, sailing with 500 merchants. An evil pirate, Dung Thungchen (Blackspear) appeared, threatening to kill them all. )The captain, a bodhisattva himself, saw the [pirate]'s murderous intention and realized this crime would result in eons of torment for the murderer. In his compassion, the captain was willing to take hellish torment upon himself by killing the man to prevent karmic suffering that would be infinity greater than the suffering of the murdered victims. The captain's compassion was impartial; his motivation was utterly selfless.
        I am not sure about the effect of our Karma in lives to come ... but I do know that we likely will bear the effects of our actions in this life in some way. I have a friend, an ex-policeman, who had to kill someone in a perfectly necessary and justified act to save lives. Yet, my friend still carries that with him to this day.

        Gassho, Jundo
        ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

        Comment

        • Rich
          Member
          • Apr 2009
          • 2587

          #5
          Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

          1-6
          "An ancient master said, ‘When the great-function manifests itself, no fixed rules exist.’”

          Sometimes I push people a little so that they realize their mistake. But I would not kill the cat. I would kill Blackspear. Whether I plan my action or just act there are effects to be accepted. How is it that I can't recite the precepts but know right and wrong much of the time? The line 'Everything I do, I do it for you' comes to mind.
          _/_
          Rich
          MUHYO
          無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

          https://instagram.com/notmovingmind

          Comment

          • Shugen
            Treeleaf Unsui
            • Nov 2007
            • 4535

            #6
            Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

            1-6
            Dogen said, “Buddha’s action and the criminal action are separate, yet they both occur in one action.”

            "not two". Sounds familiar
            Meido Shugen
            明道 修眼

            Comment

            • Jen
              Member
              • Feb 2008
              • 166

              #7
              Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

              1-6

              "Once a person who has committed one of the seven grave crimes is allowed to repent, he is also permitted to receive the precepts. The teacher should allow a person who has repented to receive the precepts, even one who has committed the seven-grave-crimes. Even if the teacher himself violates the precepts by doing so, as a bodhisattva, for the sake of saving that person, he has to allow him to receive them.”
              Nansen killed the cat, thus violating the precepts for the sake of his students. Joshu would have saved the cat, even if it meant his own head, for the sake of Nansen. Nansen did not kill the cat to kill a cat. He killed the cat for the monks, Joshu would have saved the cat for Nansen. Nansen sacrificed, Joshu would have. A bodhisattva action on both their parts? I don't know, can't quite wrap my head around it but it seems the whole deal was a catch 22 situation.

              As for Hakuin's Fox, this goes to show that even an enlightened teacher is not free from cause and effect- in other words, the karma train keeps on chugging and no one gets off at the platform. This one seems easier to wrap my head around.
              Joshin
              Not all those that wander are lost- JRR Tolkien

              Comment

              • dumm
                Member
                • Jun 2009
                • 41

                #8
                Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

                1-6

                Karma or cause and effect seems to be one and the same....happening instantly. You might not recognize them or they might not materialize in a physical manner right away. Just because you don't see them doesn't mean they are not happening instantly. Compassion can get lost when we think of things as wrong or right. Sometimes the compassionate actions can appear "wrong"?

                Regarding the precepts, once one is aware of the them and the Buddha Way one can not claim ignorance or act that way with out knowing that one has deviated from the precepts. Are the precepts there to help one from going crazy trying to rationalize and reason ones actions as to whether they are compassionate or not? Would we get anything done if we had to figure it out every time? Maybe the precepts allow us to have a sort of reference card?

                Gassho,
                Dave

                Comment

                • Jundo
                  Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                  • Apr 2006
                  • 39074

                  #9
                  Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

                  Originally posted by Jen
                  I don't know, can't quite wrap my head around it but it seems the whole deal was a catch 22 situation.
                  Koans are chock full of those.
                  ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                  Comment

                  • Jinho

                    #10
                    Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

                    Hi all,

                    First, while it is possible to discuss koans as specific ethical situations, koans were not intended as questions of ethical conduct, they were/are explicitly questions of expressing enlightenment understanding. If one views them literally, then you lose the koan. "does a dog have buddha nature or not" (my preferred rendition since it makes it clear that Chao Chou's "no" is not saying "a dog does not have buddha nature") is not about the relative, or even intrinsic, worth of a canine.

                    Nanzen and the cat is about being put on the spot to demonstrate enlightenment in a single word/gesture. By the way, Chao Chou's (Joshu's) answer has a couple of references specific to the culture of medieval China. Covering one's head and going barefoot are explicit gestures of mourning. Nanzen is explicitly challenging his students to say one word of enlightenment. So the question is not "how was Nanzen's action ethical or unethical", the question is how can you demonstrate enlightenment in that situation.

                    But my own unenlightened answers are:

                    - quickly wrap myself around the cat so Nanzen has to kill me to get to the cat.
                    - even faster crouch down in front of Nanzen and meow
                    - (This I have to explain a bit - I think it is significant that the front of this story is that the monks had divided themselves into two groups which were fighting over who owned this cat. THEN Nanzen steps in and challenges the monks. This part of the story would have been familiar to everyone so Dogen didn't bother to state it) - I would have yelled "Nanzen, YOU keep the cat!"
                    - since disrupting the harmony of the community is a grave offence, perhaps some large gesture of repentance might do something?
                    However, none of the above saves the cat. But again, it isn't about cats.

                    In Hyakujo and the fox, it is quite clear, although I think it is more explicit in the version in Zen Flesh, Zen Bones in which Hyakujo's answer to the fox/monk is given as "the enlightened person is one with the law of cause and effect" (emphasis mine). I have never been able to figure out why this is a koan since the answer is right there. I must reread Mumon's conmentary........

                    These two koans are related, in my mind, with all the times in the Shobogenzo when Dogen said "do you understand XYZ, if not, you better find out". One example is "can you see the mountains walking?" in the Montains and Rivers chapter.

                    gassho,
                    rowan

                    Comment

                    • Jinho

                      #11
                      Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

                      More from the loquacious one on 1-6
                      Mumon's commentary on Hyakujo's fox:

                      "The enlightened man is not subject" how can this answer make the monk a fox?
                      "The enlightened man is one with the law of causation" How could this answer make the fox emancipated?
                      To understand this clearly one has to have just one eye.
                      Controlled or note controlled?
                      The same dice shows two faces.
                      Not controlled or controlled,
                      Both are a grievous error.

                      (Damn, I just came up with an answer not great but not bad.......useful.......)

                      Note for those new to classical koans, there are many which are "either/or" setups where you have to throw out both alternatives, then see "what is left".

                      Also, there are many instances in koan stories where someone experiences enlightenment upon hearing a sound, a word, hit a toe on a rock, some other sharp experience. However, what is not explicitly stated in the story but understood by all monks, this experience comes after years of wrestling with the question of what is enlightenment.

                      gassho,
                      jinho

                      Comment

                      • Jinho

                        #12
                        Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

                        Again - 1-6

                        I think the question of receiving the precepts, and in general the dialogue about precepts is one where Ejo is expressing the legalist/literalist mentality and Dogen is talking of the more important intrinsic principle.

                        Also, I wnat to state that I believe the usual punishment/reward interpretation of "cause and effect" is both incorrect and unethical. I do believe in the interconnection of all phenomena, but not in a human-centered reward/punishment way.

                        Moving on to 1-7
                        Here Dogen is support explicitly unethical behavior (verbal and physical violence). However, I assume this was the norm so he is trying to give a "for your own good" spin on it. However this tradition continues to this day, unfortunately. (Not here of course.....Jundo stay calm.....)

                        1-10 - I have a different answer to Dogen, most times I find that if I can just ask someone questions to better understand their view, both they and I will understand everything better. But this is only a question of timing and technique.

                        gassho,
                        jinho
                        who is working on her first koan "All things return to the one, where does the one return to?"

                        Comment

                        • Jundo
                          Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                          • Apr 2006
                          • 39074

                          #13
                          Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

                          Originally posted by Jinho

                          Moving on to 1-7
                          Here Dogen is support explicitly unethical behavior (verbal and physical violence). However, I assume this was the norm so he is trying to give a "for your own good" spin on it. However this tradition continues to this day, unfortunately. (Not here of course.....Jundo stay calm.....)
                          Ummm, I have my moments too. :twisted:

                          As we discussed on a recent thread regarding training even today at Eiheiji Head Training Temple in Japan ... a lot of that slapping and such was peculiar to the atmosphere of past centuries, the attitude of the culture. Do not be so quick to judge that from the "we don't spank the baby anymore" modern childrearing perspective.

                          Eiheiji and the like are more like bootcamp than a child's daycamp.

                          So, I do not say it is necessary, and I certainly say it need not be part of Zen practice. Personally, I do not think it a positive aspect of Zen practice, and can easily tumble over to being "hazing" and abusive. However, don't be so quick to make cultural judgments, or forget the very "macho" atmosphere of a men's training temple in Japan (the women have their own training temples ... I am not sure how much of that goes on there). We are dealing with 13th Century Samurai Japan ... not modern Connecticut suburbs.

                          Gassho, Jundo
                          ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                          Comment

                          • Jinho

                            #14
                            Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

                            Originally posted by Jundo
                            Originally posted by Jinho

                            Moving on to 1-7
                            Here Dogen is support explicitly unethical behavior (verbal and physical violence). However, I assume this was the norm so he is trying to give a "for your own good" spin on it. However this tradition continues to this day, unfortunately. (Not here of course.....Jundo stay calm.....)
                            So, I do not say it is necessary, and I certainly say it need not be part of Zen practice. Personally, I do not think it a positive aspect of Zen practice, and can easily tumble over to being "hazing" and abusive. However, don't be so quick to make cultural judgments, or forget the very "macho" atmosphere of a men's training temple in Japan (the women have their own training temples ... I am not sure how much of that goes on there). We are dealing with 13th Century Samurai Japan ... not modern Connecticut suburbs.

                            Gassho, Jundo
                            Um, Jundo, that is what I said, it was how things were at the time. Maybe, or maybe not. But in studying the text, you encouraged us to talk about how it relates to us now. So I opened with the obvious. Beating people is not a cultural perogative. Dogen wrote some lovely stuff, but nobody is perfect. If you make excuses for the shit, it just covers everything in it.

                            jinho

                            Comment

                            • Tb
                              Member
                              • Jan 2008
                              • 3186

                              #15
                              Re: 7/10 - SHOBOGENZO-ZUIMONKI - 1-6 to 1-10

                              Hi.

                              1-7

                              Even though you may be an abbot or senior priest, it is wrong to govern the community and abuse the monks as if they were your personal belongings. Further, if you are not in such a position, you should not point out others’ faults or speak ill of them.
                              One for the road...

                              When you see someone’s faults and think they are wrong and wish to instruct them with compassion, you must find a skillful means to avoid arousing their anger, and do so as if you were talking about something else.
                              This is very important.
                              to put it in Paulo Coelho's words
                              When you stand in front of god, the only thing he will be interested in is "did you love?"
                              .

                              Mtfbwy
                              Fugen
                              Life is our temple and its all good practice
                              Blog: http://fugenblog.blogspot.com/

                              Comment

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