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  • RichardH
    Member
    • Nov 2011
    • 2800

    No Rank

    Hi. I am curious how other sangha members see the idea of "a person of no rank". It is a very beautiful teaching that has been on my mind lately. Tutoring people in painting at a local school it is surprising how many students equate those words ( we talk about the idea) with low rank. So many people feel that they could never bloom creatively, that there are special people who are entitled to play and explore and realize something "authentic" , but that such things are "over there" and not "here". It isn't just a matter of temperment, it is a matter of conditioning. In creative terms she/he may not realize that her/his eye is already the best eye . We always hear about big egos and inflated self images, but I think it is much more common for people to diminish themselves and call it a virtue. In the same way, in " spiritual" matters it is so common to hear that there are special people out there who know about these things, or that no one does, or that maybe one day science will figure out the cosmos. Yet it is every person's birthright to realize the beautiful universal truths inherent in our own bones and in every gesture we make. We may need guidance and encouragement but "it" is not far away, and never belongs to someone else, or to an "official" institution.

    Sorry to go on here but this has really jumped out lately. The best I can see is that a person of no rank can fetch water or take charge when needed, is not small or large, can feel comfortable in the company of rich or poor , socially powerful or not powerful. A person of no rank can assume the role of any rank, while being bound to none. And in the context of learning art, a person of no rank is willing to try and "fail" , and allows things to bloom according to their own light. Everyone booms differently but when that boom is sovereign it always shines.

    Just had to get it out..


    Gassho
    Daizan

    Sat today

    Please take this post as a personal expression.
    Last edited by RichardH; 02-03-2016, 02:43 PM.
  • Jishin
    Member
    • Oct 2012
    • 4820

    #2
    Hi Daizan,

    A person of no rank has achieved the highest rank of them all.

    Gassho, Jishin, ST

    Comment

    • Shinzan
      Member
      • Nov 2013
      • 338

      #3
      Daizan, your words resonate for me. Allowing oneself to be wholly oneself in every situation, whether that is family life or facing a blank canvas, is about being present. Present to what's alive in oneself. And present to what's alive in the other person or outer environment. Setting aside preconceptions, old reactivity, misperceptions, judgments. Just here-now-here-now. Rank is irrelevant. Just being fully the tender petal flowering in whatever rocky crevice of this marvelous universe that shelters us. Letting that basic goodness and creativity flow thru one in our most sincere way.

      Just my 2 cents, as well.
      With a bow. _/st\_ Shinzan

      Comment

      • Mp

        #4
        Thank you Daizan,

        I have heard a saying before ... "I am just a bug! In the grand scheme of things (universal) I am insignificant, yet a vital part of this world as a whole."

        We are who we are and each one of use valuable - regardless of rank. =)

        Gassho
        Shingen

        #sattoday

        Comment

        • Byrne
          Member
          • Dec 2014
          • 371

          #5
          Daizan,

          I have also found that when it comes to being creative most people totally undermine themselves. We do not get to pick our talents, but all creative expressions come from ordinary people with all manners of advantages and disadvantages. The more open we are to our ordinary abilities, whatever they may be, the greater our capacity to make extraordinary statements.

          Gassho

          Sat Today

          Comment

          • Rich
            Member
            • Apr 2009
            • 2603

            #6
            Originally posted by Shinzan
            Daizan, your words resonate for me. Allowing oneself to be wholly oneself in every situation, whether that is family life or facing a blank canvas, is about being present. Present to what's alive in oneself. And present to what's alive in the other person or outer environment. Setting aside preconceptions, old reactivity, misperceptions, judgments. Just here-now-here-now. Rank is irrelevant. Just being fully the tender petal flowering in whatever rocky crevice of this marvelous universe that shelters us. Letting that basic goodness and creativity flow thru one in our most sincere way.

            Just my 2 cents, as well.
            With a bow. _/st\_ Shinzan

            What Shinzan said. Creativity flows out of your presence. It's like the whole expressing itself through you.
            And this is available to everyone so no rank. The Chinese and Japanese expanded Zen into many creative arts and sports.

            SAT today
            _/_
            Rich
            MUHYO
            無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

            https://instagram.com/notmovingmind

            Comment

            • Risho
              Member
              • May 2010
              • 3179

              #7
              Thank you Daizan for this. I haven't thought about this consciously for a long time. Thank you Jishin, Shinzan, Shingen, Byrne and Rich. I don't say it enough but your posts always inform my practice.

              I think this is such freeing view: from one point it's a good ego check; when I'm puffed up and think I'm this or that or I get worried I can't do something but feel I should given my "rank" or status, dropping that and remembering those are all imaginings is very freeing. At the same time, like you stated Daizan, dropping thoughts of being a low rank, not good enough, is also very liberating.

              But I have a lot of bad habits personally; I see those thoughts of going from puffed up to not good enough over and over. So I have to always come back and remember there is no rank. Thank you again for bringing this up; it's very helpful.

              Gassho,

              Risho
              -sattoday
              Email: risho.treeleaf@gmail.com

              Comment

              • Kyonin
                Treeleaf Priest / Engineer
                • Oct 2010
                • 6742

                #8
                Hi Daizan,

                Once upon a time I wanted to be a comic book artist. I used to draw pretty nice and the dream was there.

                Until I had an art teacher that hated everything I did. He criticized my perspective, anatomy, style... even how I handled a pencil or brush. I was young, so I ended hating art class and kept drawing mostly for myself.

                I thought I didn't have the rank to be at Marvel or DC and forgot that dream and focused more on the written word.

                I had no rank but for a lot of reasons I gave myself the rank of Capt. Incapable.

                Now looking back, all I can say is that having no rank, no place to go and no dream to hold on to would've given me a better experience.

                But on the other hand I wouldn't be here

                So all is good and part of the same.

                Gassho,

                Kyonin
                #SatToday
                Hondō Kyōnin
                奔道 協忍

                Comment

                • Juki
                  Member
                  • Dec 2012
                  • 771

                  #9
                  Originally posted by Kyonin
                  I had no rank but for a lot of reasons I gave myself the rank of Capt. Incapable.
                  It's okay if you still want to think of yourself as Captain Incapable, Kyonin. Try to be incapable of judgment, incapable of criticism, incapable of greed, hatred and delusion. Because you are capable of the opposites of all of those things.

                  Gassho,
                  Juki

                  Sat today
                  "First you have to give up." Tyler Durden

                  Comment

                  • Yugen

                    #10
                    No Rank

                    Thank you to all in this thread. I'm grateful for your company and counsel tonight.

                    Deep bows
                    Yugen


                    sat2day

                    Comment

                    • Jundo
                      Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                      • Apr 2006
                      • 39472

                      #11
                      Lovely post, Daizan.

                      I will note that the "person of no rank" was a saying by Zen Masters of old in the societies of traditional China and Japan in which everyone had a "rank", and a very rigid one. Lords and Peasants, Soldiers and Merchants. Even the priests in the Zen monastery were ranked high and low, from Master to Novice. Most of the lay people that a Zen Master might be speaking to would be ruling officials of very high rank. Perhaps the most famous use of the phrase is by Master Linji [Master Rinzai], and may not have been such a confidence builder to the poor ego of the pushee monk ...

                      Rinzai instructed his assembly and said, “There is one true person of no rank, always coming out and going in through the gates of your face. Beginners who have not yet witnessed that, look! look!”

                      Then a monk came out and asked, “What is the one true person of no rank?” Rinzai descended from the rostrum and grabbed him. The monk hesitated. Rinzai pushed him away and said, “The true person of no rank – what a shit-stick you are!”
                      Probably, in the hands of such Zen Masters (Uchiyama Roshi also talks about this nature of Self in our readings), they are referring to the "no rank" which drops "self/other, this vs. that, inside/outside, up and down, left and right, good and bad, beautiful vs. ugly etc. etc." 'Tis the Ultimate beyond division, name, classification, comparison. Thus, they pointlessly point to this "no rank" which comes in and out of your senses, because your senses and brain then impose all the divisions and classifications of "me-ness" including "self vs. others, up and down, beautiful and ugly and all the rest."

                      It is pointing to something much bigger ... boundless, in fact ... beyond the question of whether our little day to day ego feels good about itself or not. Thus Is Buddha! High, beyond small human judgments of high or low. So, the focus is not really the lack of confidence of our little self, but to get past the little self completely. Then, one finds a Big C Confidence in all Reality which transcends and is right at the heart of all little "confidence or no confidence, gain or lack, win or lose."

                      However, I do think our society faces a disease of people with too big egos and confidence in their abilities (maybe it is all the lawyers I know! ) and also people too weak and fragile in ego. I agree that balance is important here. I have been doing some reading on how recent generations of American middle class kids are "over-confident" in their abilities, mostly because they have been getting prizes and praise for everything they do since they were kids ... and they are a little shocked when they don't get that in the workplace as much (best to praise their efforts and "stick-to-it-ness" if one is to praise anything).

                      Efforts to build self-esteem in schools may be leading to a generation of children with inflated egos.



                      Training and effort must be combined with a positive attitude about oneself, but at the same time we must stay very very humble and not become over-confident. A fine, wise balance. I like to think that folks like the Buddha and Dogen and Linji were very confident about their projects to teach and maintain a Sangha, but also humble, not over-confident, accepting the ups and downs while never quitting.

                      And it is also vital to know this "person of no rank" beyond all compare ... no up no down, no better no worse, no me or you, beautiful or ugly, no eye or hand ... who is in your every glance of eye and gesture of hand, and fills this world of up and down, better or worse, me and you, beautiful and ugly. The "person of rank" and the "person of no rank" are not two!

                      Dogen was actually not such a fan of Linji's "person of no rank" (if it is just meant as some kind of blank slate) unless we also recall the "person of rank" who must bring this life to life each day through our thoughts and actions ... He wrote ...

                      Linji's total power to say something is just "the true person without rank," but he still has not said, "the true person with rank." He has not realized what remains to be studied, what remains to be said; we can say he has not reached the ground of penetration.

                      alternative translation:

                      “The strongest way that [Linji] phrased it was merely as ‘a real person who is beyond rank’; he still had not phrased it as ‘a real person who has a rank’. He had not yet displayed any other ways of exploring this through his training or any other ways of putting it. Thus, we must say that he had not yet reached the field of the Ultimate.”
                      Maybe what Dogen means [Uchiyama says much the same in this week's readings] is that to just realize the "no me/other, no up/down, no beautiful/ugly" of no rank is not enough if we do not bring it alive through our words, thoughts and acts in this world of "me/other, up/down", bringing a little beauty right here.

                      Something like that.

                      Gassho, J

                      SatToday
                      Last edited by Jundo; 02-04-2016, 05:42 AM.
                      ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                      Comment

                      • Byrne
                        Member
                        • Dec 2014
                        • 371

                        #12
                        Thank you Jundo.

                        Gassho

                        Sat Today

                        Comment

                        • RichardH
                          Member
                          • Nov 2011
                          • 2800

                          #13
                          Thank you Jundo.



                          Dogen was actually not such a fan of Linji's "person of no rank" (if it is just meant as some kind of blank slate) unless we also recall the "person of rank" who must bring this life to life each day through our thoughts and actions ... He wrote ...

                          Linji's total power to say something is just "the true person without rank," but he still has not said, "the true person with rank." He has not realized what remains to be studied, what remains to be said; we can say he has not reached the ground of penetration.

                          alternative translation:

                          “The strongest way that [Linji] phrased it was merely as ‘a real person who is beyond rank’; he still had not phrased it as ‘a real person who has a rank’. He had not yet displayed any other ways of exploring this through his training or any other ways of putting it. Thus, we must say that he had not yet reached the field of the Ultimate.”


                          Maybe what Dogen means [Uchiyama says much the same in this week's readings] is that to just realize the "no me/other, up/down, beautiful/ugly" of no rank is not enough if we do not bring it alive through our words, thoughts and acts in this world of "me/other, up/down", bringing a little beauty right here.
                          Is there any word on what the Rinsai folks response is to this?

                          Gassho
                          Daizan

                          sat today

                          Comment

                          • Byrne
                            Member
                            • Dec 2014
                            • 371

                            #14
                            Kyonin,

                            Comics are easy. You can do it.

                            In the back of your mind set out to do a three panel comic of something. Anything. The more it means something to you personally the better. One day you'll be walking around doing the things you normally do and 3 panels with a beginning, middle, and end about SOMETHING will come to you. Then flesh it out to the best of your abilities. Keep hacking away and editing it until the idea comes across. If you enjoyed yourself do another. It can go as shallow or deep as you like. You don't need to worry about getting hired by Marvel or DC. My buddy in Macon GA has been working in that world for 30 years. He's done some very successful comics but those cats go through the RINGER in that industry. Drawing for that is stressful. Drawing for yourself and possibley others to enjoy is a joy.

                            Gassho

                            Sat Today

                            Comment

                            • Jundo
                              Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                              • Apr 2006
                              • 39472

                              #15
                              Originally posted by Daizan
                              Thank you Jundo.





                              Is there any word on what the Rinsai folks response is to this?

                              Gassho
                              Daizan

                              sat today
                              Master Rinzai's PR guy did have a press release, but I can't find it.

                              Gassho, J

                              SatToday
                              Last edited by Jundo; 02-04-2016, 09:54 AM.
                              ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

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