July 7-8th 2023 - OUR MONTHLY 4-hr ZAZENKAI - Genjo Koan (I) - The Key to Dogen's Zen

  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts
  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39211

    July 7-8th 2023 - OUR MONTHLY 4-hr ZAZENKAI - Genjo Koan (I) - The Key to Dogen's Zen

    We Start of New Series on Genjo Koan,
    'Realizing the Truth Right Here,"
    the Key to Master Dogen's Zen

    (text below)

    Dear All,

    Please sit our Monthly 4-Hour Treeleaf Zazenkai netcast LIVE 8am to noon Japan time Saturday morning (that is New York 7pm to 11pm, Los Angeles 4pm to 8pm (Friday night), London Midnight to 4am and Paris 1am to 5am (early Saturday morning)), and also sitable any time thereafter:

    However, "one way" live sitters are encouraged to come into the Zoom sitting, and just leave the camera and microphone turned off: Join live (with or without a camera & microphone) on Zoom at: TREELEAF Now OR at DIRECT ZOOM LINK, password (if needed): dogen

    Dharma Talk Audio / Podcast Episode:
    Hello, Sangha Our Treeleaf Zendo Podcast begins a new series of talks, this time on master Dogen´s Genjo Koan, based on the modernized translation of the fascicle by our very own Jundo, found in his book ¨The Zen Master's Dance (https://wisdomexperience.org/product/the-zen-masters-dance/)¨ The first episode in the series,

    The Sitting Schedule is as follows:

    00:50 - 01:00 KINHIN
    01:00 - 01:30 ZAZEN
    01:30 - 01:50 KINHIN

    01:50 - 02:30 DHARMA TALK & ZAZEN
    02:30 - 02:40 KINHIN & HOKEY-POKEY RITUAL

    02:40 - 03:15 ZAZEN
    03:15 - 03:30 KINHIN
    ATTENTION: Everyone, when rising for Kinhin or Ceremonies after Zazen, get up slowly, don't rush, hold something stable, you won't be "late," so TAKE YOUR TIME! Make sure you are careful getting up!

    Gassho, Jundo


    PS - There is no "wrong" or "right" in Zazen ... yet here is a little explanation of the "right" times to Bow (A Koan) ...

    Chant Book is here for those who wish to join in: CHANT BOOK LINK

    The other video I mention on Zendo decorum is this one, from our "Always Beginners" video Series:

    Sit-a-Long with Jundo: Zazen for Beginners (12) - Basic Zendo Decorum At Home

    I also recommend a little Talk on why small rituals and procedures are so cherished in the Zendo:

    SIT-A-LONG with Jundo: Small Things in the Zendo

    A little talk about small customs and rituals in the Zendo (such as straightening our slippers, not taking a short cut across the room, keeping our hands a certain way), and why those are elements of practice. It applies mostly when sitting in a formal group, like our weekly Treeleaf Zazenkai, but it is good to incorporate

    Last edited by Jundo; 07-10-2023, 12:44 AM.
  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39211

    The text for our talk today, the first in a monthly series, is based on my modernized translation of the Genjo Koan, from my book ...

    A Guide to Understanding Dōgen and Who You Are in the Universe


    Other translations of of the Genjo can be found here for comparison: (LINK)

    Dōgen begins by offering a first perspective on the world in which ordinary beings come and go between birth and death. In contrast, Buddhas, which embody idealized perfection, seem to stand above us, different and far distant:

    When things are seen as separate in the Buddha’s teachings,
    there is human delusion, there is distant enlightenment,
    and there is Buddhist practice to move us from the
    former to the latter, there is birth and there is death, and
    there are Buddhas and sentient beings that stand apart.

    That is the view we hold, especially when first starting on the Buddhist path, when the world seems mostly divided. We desire to climb from our present fallen state to the height of perfection and the freedom of a Buddha, But Master Dōgen then points us to another way of experiencing truth:

    When the myriad things are realized as each without an
    individual self, there is no delusion and no enlightenment,
    no Buddhas and no sentient beings, no birth and no death.

    This is the truth of “emptiness,” in which categories and names for separate things are swept into wholeness. We can encounter the world this other way too, without making judgments of near or far, flawed or flawless, perfect or imperfect, high or low, and without applying mental categories and thoughts of separation. Then the division of ordinary beings and Buddhas evaporates, and the strife of this world vanishes too. Buddhas and sentient beings are then experienced as not apart, not separate. Enlightenment is never hidden—even in the world of confusion—once we learn to see. We can drop away our ideas of coming and going, birth and death, and instead experience an ongoing continuity and wholeness beyond time, beyond birth and death.

    Yet we must not stop there, for we must keep living in this world that is also separate things, coming and going:

    In the Buddha Way, we must leap clear of and right through
    both the view of fullness and the view of lack; thus there
    are again birth and death, delusion and enlightenment,
    sentient beings and Buddhas.

    We can experience this life and world in both of the foregoing ways at once. The result is a bit tricky to get one’s head around, but it is based on wisdom. We learn to see through all the divisions and seeming imperfections of the world, even as they appear to continue to exist. For example, we see many flaws in life and society, yet we also learn to drop all judgments about what is flawed or flawless. Instead, all things become just what they are without our criticism, each a shining jewel in its own way, even those things that we usually resist or find abhorrent. However, that does not mean that we simply tolerate those flaws either: the uglier and more abhorrent something is, the more deeply buried and hard to see is that shining light. Thus, although this world and all things may shine from within (and so, from that perspective, they do so without need of polishing to remove the grime which obscures), we still have to keep polishing in our practice to bring out that shine. Although Buddhas and ordinary sentient beings are not apart, if ordinary beings continue to think and act ignorantly, they will not realize this truth. We have to think (and nonthink, putting aside divisive and judgmental thoughts) and act more like Buddhas would act, freeing ourselves from excess desires, anger, and divided thinking in order to make the presence of Buddha appear before our eyes and in our hearts. This is Dōgen’s path of “practice-enlightenment,” in which we practice acting as a Buddha now in order to realize that Buddha has been here all along. Even when we don’t think and act like it, the fact is that we are still Buddha nonetheless, although our ignorance and poor behavior will keep that truth hidden from us and cause suffering.

    Yet, even with all our insight and wisdom, even when realizing this hard world as shining Buddha, this world remains hard nonetheless. So, Dōgen writes:

    Yet even so, the beloved flowers still fall to our regret and sorrow,
    the weeds still grow though we wish it were not so.

    Delusion and enlightenment, ordinary sentient beings and Buddhas, are apart yet not apart from one another; the same, yet not at all as they were before realization. But even with such wisdom and insight, even while seeing something beyond the flaws of this sometimes very hard world, we remain human, fragile, sometimes heartbroken. This world may have aspects of a dream, but it can often be a very hard dream. For example, I may tell someone who has experienced the loss of a loved one that death is not all that meets the eye when we realize a timeless reality which flows on and on. Still, that does not keep their heart from aching. I cannot tell soldiers and hungry children that violence and injustice are caused by the delusions of anger and desire, and that they should simply see through it all to a vision in which there is nothing to fight for and nothing lacking. Although there is such an insight to experience, doing so does not end the very real bloodshed and hunger. We still have to work to end the war and feed the children. This world will still break our hearts sometimes, even if we see through the curtain of delusion. Dōgen taught us to see through loss and separation into a realm in which nothing can ever be lost or apart. Nonetheless, as he notes, the flowers we love will sometimes still fall, the weeds we resist will still grow. ...

    ... We might say that our task as human beings is to live in this sometimes hard and painful world, yet to also see through it—to not become prisoners of our pain, fears, and sense of lack. At the same time, we must constantly work to make this world better where we can, even if many flaws and evils remain. And so, Dōgen next addresses these questions: How are we to be free of our suffering and the ignorance that is our usual way of viewing this world, even as we still live in this sometimes sorrowful and disappointing world? How can we attain true insight to see beyond surface appearances? What is the cause of our ignorance? He writes:

    It is delusion to impose yourself and your desires upon life,
    demanding that the myriad things of the world be as you wish.

    According to Dōgen and countless other Buddhist teachers, we mistakenly try to bend the world to our desires so it will live up to our demands, dreams, and wishes. Isn’t this what we try to do, sometimes successfully but often not— to get life to bend to and fit our demands? Is that the only way to live? Goals and dreams help us achieve great and small things and they are necessary to living, but is there also a way to know life without demands and expectations? Zazen shows us that we can encounter this life and world as they are, on their own terms, without imposing our self and its selfish demands upon them.

    To let the myriad things be as they are, illuminating yourself, is enlightenment.

    ... to be continued ...
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-07-2023, 03:41 AM.


    • Jundo
      Treeleaf Founder and Priest
      • Apr 2006
      • 39211

      Our Dance this time had to be ...

      Last edited by Jundo; 07-07-2023, 02:46 AM.


      • Tokan
        Treeleaf Unsui
        • Oct 2016
        • 1230

        Hello everyone.

        I'm going to have to sit this one later - after several weekends of work I now have some family commitments that have been deferred while working.

        I'm always grateful we have that option here at treeleaf.

        Gassho, Tokan

        平道 島看 Heidou Tokan (Balanced Way Island Nurse)
        I enjoy learning from everyone, I simply hope to be a friend along the way


        • Onkai
          Treeleaf Unsui
          • Aug 2015
          • 2831

          Hi everyone,

          I had a long day today, so I will sit with the recording of this zazenkai, probably Sunday.

          Gassho, Onkai
          Sat lah
          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.


          • Doshin
            Treeleaf Unsui
            • May 2015
            • 2644


            Thank you.



            • Tairin
              • Feb 2016
              • 2725

              Thank you everyone. I sat with you this morning

              Sat today and lah
              泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods


              • Tai Shi
                • Oct 2014
                • 3307

                Greetings, My life has been so different this month, 36 years ago, July 22nd, 1987 with a great deal of fear, I took my first steps to change my life, and live truly in the present. What to say, this zazen ritual every week, which Jundo presents to us, in all its unassuming realization, is performed sober and in the middle path. We are so fortunate to have each other. What to say? I am perhaps difficult to grant myself humility. Humility is a gift, and of long years, of power, and resurrection, of suffering and glory, a book by that same of a priest who altered conscious when he could, and how he came to know peace, a peace which I so now appreciate. May you be granted a life of interesting freedom. May you practice nearly every day as I have learned to do here, and live without condemnation as I have learned to do may be granted a life without guilt, and with the forgiveness of a Buddha, and those so enlightened, as struck with awe that you may come to understand. Jundo, thank you for all you do for us, thank you for Zazenkai. My aweee is gratitude, which I have come to understand.
                deep bows
                Tai Shi
                Peaceful, Tai Shi. Ubasoku; calm, supportive, for positive poetry 優婆塞 台 婆


                • joshr
                  • Jul 2022
                  • 54

                  Thank you, Jundo, for this week's Dharma talk. I must have read this chapter of your text about half a dozen times at this point, but this brought further clarity.

                  p.s. Bonus points for "The Wheels on the Bus..." I feel seen.


                  Sat this morning