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Dogen

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dookie On September 26, 2021
Foolish Bombu





, United Kingdom
#1New Post! Sep 21, 2021 @ 21:00:43
Dogen was a Japanese zen master of the 13th century, known now in the west as the initiator of the Soto Zen lineage (as opposed to Rinzai)

I find him an interesting character. My own home ground is not zen and though Dogen advocates the practice of zazen (a form of meditation), I no longer meditate as such. But I have been dipping into his large corpus of writings on and off for a few years now, as well as various commentaries on them. Dogen in fact is attracting a lot of attention both in his homeland and in the west where his thought comes across to many as offering insight into what could loosely be called "the modern predicament". Obviously, some would assert that there is in fact no "predicament" but there you go. We all make our judgements.

Dogen was dealt his cards like all of us. 13th century Japan, two parents who died fairly early on, Buddhism just a tad corrupt and in decline. Like most of us, after the cards dealt him, he developed his own existential questions, sought then his own answers, his own path and place in the world.

One thing he wrote was:- "Therefore, if there are fish that would swim or birds that would fly only after investigating the entire ocean or sky, they would find neither path nor place."

Those words are very suggestive, at least to me. We must choose, decide, yet cannot know with certainty the direction to take. Yet we do need, even assert strongly in some cases, our very own path, time and place.

Well, enough for now. Sometimes (always?!) I just like to waffle away. And in a strange way, learn from myself.
dookie On September 26, 2021
Foolish Bombu





, United Kingdom
#2New Post! Sep 22, 2021 @ 11:20:27
As said, Dogen got dealt his own cards. 13th century Japan, the Buddhism widely prevalent at the time, his mother and father who molded the tiny child. So who was it asked the question? "Who am I"? Out of the cards dealt him, Dogen sought his very own unique time and place. I think he found it. Reading about him, reading his own words, I have immense respect for him as a human being. He had integrity - perhaps a word now going out of fashion.......do we even know what it means any more in our celebrity culture where, as far as the sheer suffering of our world is concerned, we all have the attention spans of goldfish?

Of course, we can be fools and simply make Dogen's time and place our own. But that was not his intention, nor should it be ours.

According to one fine book on Dogen, he was a mystical realist (which says much). He was in the zen zone of authenticating everyday existence, this for the "return to the market-place" of common-or-garden life, out of compassion for future generations. Dogen spoke of the dropping of body and mind, which as I understand it is part metaphor - it is losing the compulsions of the past, its congealed conditioning, and truly being in the present, where the only extension is intensity/authenticity.

One commentator has likened his outlook to that of Alfred North Whitehead's process philosophy, of a constant advance into novelty, where everything is always new under the sun.

I have always loved Dogen's view that nothing is concealed . As Hee Jin-Kim, one commentator, says:- Mystery, in Dōgen’s view, did not consist of that which was hidden or unknown in darkness or that which would be revealed or made known in the future. Rather, it consisted of the present intimacy, transparency, and vividness of thusness, for “nothing throughout the entire universe is concealed” (henkai-fuzōzō). Nevertheless, the mystery of emptiness and thusness had to go beyond this: intimacy had to be ever penetrated (tōkamitsu) or, as is said, the road goes on forever - the journey itself is home.

So although the "now" is all that there ever is, there is nevertheless, for Dogen, a "movement toward Buddha".

Well, enough mumbo jumbo for now.
dookie On September 26, 2021
Foolish Bombu





, United Kingdom
#3New Post! Sep 23, 2021 @ 14:42:52
Well, ploughing on. A bit of Rod Stewart on the player in Oxfam. Just one customer so far this afternoon to disturb my reverie. Often now, as I read ever deeper into what are often called "eastern" ways and reflect for myself, I feel slightly cheated. It seems "faith" is often a dirty word as the average westerner sits upon his zafu in search of enlightenment. Often "faith" and "belief" are virtually interchangeable words. Blind faith, belief without evidence. This contrasted with the hard nosed who exalt the ways of science.

Long ago I learned to differentiate. Faith "lets go", while "belief" clings. In faith you learn to trust and often find such trust rewarded, irrespective of the baying of the cynical multitudes. Faith unites while beliefs divide. But I'm not here to argue. Others can keep their cynicism.

I'm always pleased to find faith so treasured by the likes of Dogen. Faith for Dogen was associated with one of his deep existential questions. He had trust/faith in the Mahayana teaching of "original enlightenment". All are born with "buddha-nature" built in, as it were. Dogen's question was therefore quite simple:- if such was so, why practice?

He found no immediate answer in the Buddhism of his day. He searched back through the various texts and scriptures (thus demonstrating that much western zen disdain for mere "words" is just slightly fatuous) and found the Buddha being asked why he continued to meditate, sometimes alone in the forest. "Out of compassion for future generations" he said. There was a clue there. At least Dogen thought so. But we all need to find our own answer. Why anything ? Why bother? Original enlightenment or not? Well, "virtue is its own reward" but who believes s*** like that anymore?

Back to Dogen, who had a profound faith in the deep ontological and soteriological nature of ultimate reality (I chucked the big words in to impress anyone who is still reading this.... )

Dogen came to see that "original enlightenment" meant simply that the basis of Buddhist practice is grounded in the very structure of reality, the immanence of the liberative potential, or buddha nature, in the depths of the earth, as well as in the inner, psychological ground of being, ever ready to spring forth and benefit beings when called. Or, when "heard" as we say in the Pure Land, where things are more simple. The "deep hearing" of Shinran.

Dōgen’s understood awakening as a function of the nature of reality, "intimately connected with the dynamic support of the earth, space itself, and a multidimensional view of the movements of time" as another commentator on his thought has written.

That commentator adds:- "Contrary to present conventions, Zen Buddhism developed and cannot be fully understood outside of a worldview that sees reality itself as a vital, ephemeral agent of awareness and healing" and goes on to speak of the liberative qualities of spatiality and temporality.

Anyway, enough for now. To be honest, I'm growing ever more sick of the often senseless world around me when judged by the activities and words of so called "leaders", "celebrities" and all the inane drivel found in newspapers and read from the newsdesk.

"What do you do when you don't experience orthodox sentiments? Can you go on accepting the world that lives by them? He is already in exile."

(Joseph Campbell, speaking of a character of James Joyce, Stephen Dedalus, the literary alter ego of Joyce)
Electric_Banana On about 5 hours ago




, New Zealand
#4New Post! Sep 23, 2021 @ 21:21:45
@dookie Said

As said, Dogen got dealt his own cards. 13th century Japan, the Buddhism widely prevalent at the time, his mother and father who molded the tiny child. So who was it asked the question? "Who am I"? Out of the cards dealt him, Dogen sought his very own unique time and place. I think he found it. Reading about him, reading his own words, I have immense respect for him as a human being. He had integrity - perhaps a word now going out of fashion.......do we even know what it means any more in our celebrity culture where, as far as the sheer suffering of our world is concerned, we all have the attention spans of goldfish?

Of course, we can be fools and simply make Dogen's time and place our own. But that was not his intention, nor should it be ours.

According to one fine book on Dogen, he was a mystical realist (which says much). He was in the zen zone of authenticating everyday existence, this for the "return to the market-place" of common-or-garden life, out of compassion for future generations. Dogen spoke of the dropping of body and mind, which as I understand it is part metaphor - it is losing the compulsions of the past, its congealed conditioning, and truly being in the present, where the only extension is intensity/authenticity.

One commentator has likened his outlook to that of Alfred North Whitehead's process philosophy, of a constant advance into novelty, where everything is always new under the sun.

I have always loved Dogen's view that nothing is concealed . As Hee Jin-Kim, one commentator, says:- Mystery, in Dōgen’s view, did not consist of that which was hidden or unknown in darkness or that which would be revealed or made known in the future. Rather, it consisted of the present intimacy, transparency, and vividness of thusness, for “nothing throughout the entire universe is concealed” (henkai-fuzōzō). Nevertheless, the mystery of emptiness and thusness had to go beyond this: intimacy had to be ever penetrated (tōkamitsu) or, as is said, the road goes on forever - the journey itself is home.

So although the "now" is all that there ever is, there is nevertheless, for Dogen, a "movement toward Buddha".

Well, enough mumbo jumbo for now.



So would the following be a Dogen like parable?

'Concealment is not it's intention, if it could speak then so it would, alas it has no mouth and only you to scream.'
dookie On September 26, 2021
Foolish Bombu





, United Kingdom
#5New Post! Sep 24, 2021 @ 05:58:21
@Electric_Banana Said

So would the following be a Dogen like parable?

'Concealment is not it's intention, if it could speak then so it would, alas it has no mouth and only you to scream.'



The line from Robbie Robertson's song "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" comes to mind:- Just take what you need and leave the rest.

As I understand "it", it has no "intention". Radical freedom must necessarily be meaningless, though this not in any nihilistic sense.

"Love has no why" as Meister Eckhart says (from a theistic faith tradition)

Possibly you simply need trust that Reality-as-is is in essence healing irrespective of sometimes, admittedly, simply wishing to scream.
dookie On September 26, 2021
Foolish Bombu





, United Kingdom
#6New Post! Sep 25, 2021 @ 11:05:14
Time to waffle away again, trying to stifle my own screams after listening to the latest drivel from the leader of Global Britain. Back to Dogen and his own search for path, time and place. I think it totally uncontroversial to assert that for most of us we simply accept the cards dealt us. The assumptions of our age become part of the accepted scenery, the self congeals, and very soon we have our "values", "principles", "truths" and creeds which we are often prepared to defend to the death. Given another time, another place, such would have all been different. But hey? Why worry too much. We feel "justified" and it's rather nice to see ourselves as the "sheep" rather than the "goats", those who will eventually gnash their teeth in outer darkness.

As I have sought to argue, Dogen was serious about his own existential questions. But who is serious these days?

Of "Jesus" and "Christ" for instance. Jesus is quite obviously simply one particular who yet, like all, contains the universal. Using T S Eliots language, one concretion that can represent the universal. But when declared by dogma to be the sole "way" of knowing, coming to, Christ then the trouble starts. The Inquisitions, conflicts, wars and bigotry. As Meister Eckhart said in one of his sermons:- They do him wrong who know God only in one way: they end with the way rather than God.

They also end with totally absurd questions such as:- "how are those born before Jesus saved?" Or more absurd, missionaries are despatched to darkest Africa seeking out the "lost", and "Jesus" and his associated western values are dumped upon some poor soul whose indigenous spirituality is probably far closer to that of Christ than the missionaries own will ever be. Tragic.

As Thomas Merton said in a letter to D T Suzuki:-

I want to speak for this Western world.................which has in past centuries broken in upon you and brought you our own confusion, our own alienation, our own decrepitude, our lack of culture, our lack of faith...........If I wept until the end of the world, I could not signify enough of what this tragedy means. If only we had thought of coming to you to learn something..............If only we had thought of coming to you and loving you for what you are in yourselves, instead of trying to make you over into our own image and likeness. For me it is clearly evident that you and I have in common and share most intimately precisely that which, in the eyes of conventional Westerners, would seem to separate us. The fact that you are a Zen Buddhist and I am a Christian monk, far from separating us, makes us most like one another. How many centuries is it going to take for people to discover this fact?

If only. How many centuries?


Anyway, the above can now safely be totally ignored.

Thank you.
Electric_Banana On about 5 hours ago




, New Zealand
#7New Post! Oct 09, 2021 @ 03:27:48
@dookie Said

Or more absurd, missionaries are despatched to darkest Africa seeking out the "lost", and "Jesus" and his associated western values are dumped upon some poor soul whose indigenous spirituality is probably far closer to that of Christ than the missionaries own will ever be. Tragic.




Should it turn out that Christianity be the true Satanism (and it really does look like a human study concerning surrender to that which isn't being entirely comprehended) then your irony above would be its intention.
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