Thursday, March 06, 2014
Wednesday, March 05, 2014
Monday, March 03, 2014
Joshu earnestly asked Nansen, “What is the way?” Nansen answered, “Ordinary mind is the way.”
Joshu said, “How do I direct myself toward it?” Nansen replied, “The more you seek after it, the more it turns away.”
Joshu then asked, “Then how can I know it is the way?” Nansen answered, “The way does not belong to knowing or not knowing. Knowing is illusion. Not knowing is blank consciousness. When you have truly reached the way beyond all doubt, it is like the vastness of space, an unfathomable void, so how can it be this or that, yes or no?” Upon hearing this, Joshu came to a sudden realization.Ordinary (adj.): with no special or distinctive features; normal
Sunday, March 02, 2014
When and if I ever get around to writing my memoirs as an environmental consultant, I'm probably going to entitle it Places to Get Rid of a Dead Body.
Considering the places I go, the only really surprising thing is that I haven't found one yet.
The outstanding Jamaican reggae band Black Uhuru once sang, "I and I trod the maroon trod inna desolate places." I understand. I have trod in those desolate places, too.
Saturday, March 01, 2014
Zen Master Jōshū once asked his teacher, Nansen, “What is the Way?” Nansen answered, “Ordinary mind is the Way.”
This may be true, but as Dogen explains it, to learn the Way as ordinary mind is extremely rare. To learn the Way as ordinary mind is to realize that both the body and the mind are always completely ordinary, and that there is never the slightest taint nor any trace of design.
Dogen wrote two separate essays titled Butsu-Kojo-No-Ji (The Matter of the Ascendant State of Buddha). One is included as Chapter 28 of the Shobogenzo anthology, but the other appears only in a shorter, "Secret Shobogenzo" collection. To paraphrase Dogen from his second essay as it appears in the "Secret Shobogenzo," in our everyday state of mind, we do not describe yesterday as today, nor describe today as tomorrow. We think of mind and body as separate. The is the ordinary state of mind, but people are prone to misunderstand the ordinary state of mind and dismiss it as if it were just so many hundreds of weeds. However, we can intuitively understand that those hundreds of weeds are themselves ordinary. It is because the ordinary state of mind is the Way that the hundreds of weeds do not wither or rot. If the Buddhist patriarchs were not ordinary, they could never have gotten free from the world, forgotten themselves, and practiced the Way, for practice of the Way is naturally ordinary.
However, Dogen warns us, if we think that because ordinary mind is the Way we need not practice, we misunderstand ordinariness. Practice and experience are themselves completely ordinary. There being none that is not ordinary, there can be none that is tainted. "It is not that practice and experience is nonexistent," Nansen later taught, "but it cannot be tainted."