University Hall - Northwestern University.jpg

Buddhism

Dogen’s "Practice-Realization" and St. Paul’s "By Grace – Not Works"

The idea that enlightenment or salvation is always already the case and freely available was taught by both Eihei Dogen, 13th century Japanese Zen teacher and founder of the Soto School of Zen Buddhism and by St. Paul, 1st century Jewish teacher and “founder” of Christianity. Dogen’s short-hand term for effortless enlightenment or salvation is “practice-realization;” St. Paul’s phrase is “by grace are ye saved.”

Here are two relevant texts, Dogen’s “Fukanzazengi” (Universally Recommended Instructions for Zazen) and an excerpt from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.

Paul’s first:

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Ephesians 2:8-9

Dogen’s is a bit longer. You can download the Fukanzazengi by clicking here.

FUKANZAZENGI

Universally Recommended Instructions for Zazen

The Way is originally perfect and all-pervading. How could it be contingent on practice and realization? The true vehicle is self-sufficient. What need is there for special effort? Indeed, the whole body is free from dust. Who could believe in a means to brush it clean? It is never apart from this very place; what is the use of traveling around to practice’ And yet, if there is a hairsbreadth deviation, it is like the gap between heaven and earth. If the least like or dislike arises, the mind is lost in confusion. Suppose you are confident in your understanding and rich in enlightenment, gaining the wisdom that knows at a glance, attaining the Way and clarifying the mind, arousing an aspiration to reach for the heavens. You are playing in the entranceway, but you still are short of the vital path of emancipation.

Consider the Buddha: although he was wise at birth, the traces of his six years of upright sitting can yet be seen. As for Bodhidharma, although he had received the mind-seal, his nine years of facing a wall is celebrated still. If even the ancient sages were like this, how can we today dispense with wholehearted practice?

Therefore, put aside the intellectual practice of investigating words and chasing phrases, and learn to take the backward step that turns the light and shines it inward. Body and mind of themselves will drop away, and your original face will manifest. If you want such a thing, get to work on such a thing immediately.

For practicing Zen, a quiet room is suitable. Eat and drink moderately. Put aside all involvements and suspend all affairs. Do not think ‘/good” or “bad.” Do not judge true or false. Give up the operations of mind, intellect, and consciousness; stop measuring with thoughts, ideas, and views. Have no designs on becoming a Buddha. How could that be limited to sitting or lying down?

At your sitting place, spread out a thick mat and put a cushion on it. Sit either in the full-lotus or half-lotus position. In the full-lotus position, first place your right foot on your left thigh, then your left foot on your right thigh. In the half-lotus, simply place your left foot on your right thigh. Tie your robes loosely and arrange them neatly. Then place your right hand on your left leg and your left hand on your right palm, thumb-tips lightly touching. Straighten your body and sit upright, leaning neither left nor right, neither forward nor backward. Align your ears with your shoulders and your nose with your navel. Rest the tip of your tongue against the front of the roof of your mouth, with teeth and lips together both shut. Always keep your eyes open, and breathe softly through your nose.

Once you have adjusted your posture, take a breath and exhale fully, rock your body right and left, and settle into steady, immovable sitting. Think of not thinking. Not thinking-what kind of thinking is that? Nonthinking. This is the essential art of zazen.

The zazen I speak of is not meditation practice. It is simply the Dharma gate of joyful ease, the practice-realization of totally culminated enlightenment. It is the Road realized, traps and snares can never reach it. If you grasp the point, you are like a dragon gaining the water, like a tiger taking to the mountains. For you must know that the true Dharma appears of itself, so that from the start dullness and distraction are struck aside.

When you arise from sitting, move slowly and quietly, calmly and deliberately. Do not rise suddenly or abruptly. In surveying the past, we find that transcendence of both mundane and sacred, and dying while either sitting or standing, have all depended entirely on the power of zazen. ~

In addition, triggering awakening with a finger, a banner, a needle, or a mallet, and effecting realization with a whisk, a fist, a staff, or a shout- these cannot be understood by discriminative thinking, much less can they be known through the practice of supernatural power. They must represent conduct beyond seeing and hearing. Are they not a standard prior to knowledge and views?

This being the case, intelligence or lack of it is not an issue; make no distinction between the dull and the sharp-witted. If you concentrate your effort single-mindedly, that in itself is wholeheartedly engaging the way. Practice-realization is naturally undefiled. Going forward is, after all, an everyday affair.

In general, in our world and others, in both India and China, all equally hold the buddha-seal. While each lineage expresses its own style, they are all simply devoted to sitting, totally blocked in resolute stability. Although they say that there are ten thousand distinctions and a thousand variations, they just wholeheartedly engage the way in zazen. Why leave behind the seat in your own home to wander in vain through the dusty realms of other lands? If you make one misstep you stumble past what is directly in front of you.

You have gained the pivotal opportunity of human form. Do not pass your days and nights in vain. You are taking care of the essential activity of the Buddha way. Who would take wasteful delight in the spark from a flint stone? Besides, form and substance are like the dew on the grass, the fortunes of life like a dart of lightning emptied in an instant, vanished in a flash.

Please, honored followers of Zen, long accustomed to groping for the elephant, do not doubt the true dragon. Devote your energies to the way that points directly to the real thing. Revere the one who has gone beyond learning and is free from effort. Accord with the enlightenment of all the Buddhas; succeed to the samadhi of all the ancestors. Continue to live in such a way, and you will be such a person. The treasure store will open of itself, and you may enjoy it freely.

Share
Calendar
March 2020
M T W T F S S
« Sep    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  
Archives
Politics, Culture, Philosophy
  • Rachel Maddow
  • Frank Schaeffer
  • Roberto Ruiz

Volume of new COVID-19 patients makes processing the first...Dr. Sylvie de Souza, chair of emergency medicine at Brooklyn Hospital, talks with Rachel Maddow abou [...]

Despite focus on New York, coronavirus is a national crisisRachel Maddow looks at how cities far from the New York City epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic i [...]

Pelosi vows oversight of relief funds, contradicting TrumpHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi reacts to Donald Trump's signing statement accompanying the passage [...]

Pelosi: $2 trillion relief package 'the least we can do'House speaker Nancy Pelosi talks with Rachel Maddow about the massive relief legislation put into ef [...]

Rachel Maddow 3/27/20Watch the full episode of Friday night's The Rachel Maddow Show. [...]

Rachel Maddow 3/27/20Watch the full episode of Friday night's The Rachel Maddow Show. [...]

Army Corps of Engineers gives options to states facing COVID...Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, Chief of Engineers and commanding general of the Army Corps of Engineers, ta [...]

U.S. lacks a quarterback in COVID response as Trump fails to leadRachel Maddow explains that without a central federal coordinator leading the effort against the spr [...]

States in chaotic scramble for supplies without federal COVID...Rachel Maddow shows how the lack of coordinating leadership from the Trump administration has allowe [...]

Rachel Maddow 3/26/20Watch the full episode of Thursday night's The Rachel Maddow Show. [...]

ICYMI, Here I am talking with the great Joy Reid of AM Joy on MSNBC about Donald Trump’s miserable r [...]

Even as most of the world clamps down further on the movement of people, Trump remains focused on re [...]

By Sarah Jones Read at NY Mag The economy must be a hungry god. Dan Patrick, the lieutenant governor [...]

Here Come Republican “Pro-Life” Death Panels. Obamacare didn’t lead to health care rationing but Tru [...]

Why are we OK with old people dying? By Louise Aronson Dr. Aronson is a professor of medicine at the [...]

Even in war, America has kept up its democratic traditions. We can’t stop now. By Jon Meacham Mr. Me [...]

I’m glad Tom Hanks is fine- BUT we know that testing is a key to derailing this virus’s path of dest [...]

He offered public assurances that the government was ready to face coronavirus then Senate Intellige [...]

After years of a hateful lunatic in the presidency, how do we make our way back into love, beauty an [...]

After years of a hateful lunatic in the presidency, how do we make our way back into love, beauty an [...]

After having been unjustly convicted of the bogus charges brought against him in that most infamous [...]

The Philosophy of Christopher NolanEver since I first watched Memento and its fascinating exploration of the philosophical question of [...]

Voltaire - CandideThe philosophical problem of evil—the question of how the existence of unnecessary suffering is poss [...]

Arrow - A Celebration of LoveLife is hard enough as it is. Existence, in many ways, is suffering. Obviously, some have it much wo [...]

If 'Despacito' Were Written by an Evo-Devo BiologistIf you are a geek, you are likely to get excited over things others might find boring, laughable, la [...]

James Baldwin Debates William F. BuckleyJames Baldwin, the great essayist, poet, civil rights activist, writer and orator, would have turned [...]

Genius of the Ancient World - SocratesFew figures have been more important and influential in the history of civilization than the ancient [...]

The PresocraticsAnyone who's ever contemplated Raphael's celebrated painting The School of Athens knows th [...]

President Obama's Farewell AddressAs his presidency sadly comes to an end, President Obama delivered last night what is sure to become [...]

John Berger - Ways of SeeingArt critic John Berger's recent death has left a huge void in the world of art appreciation. Wh [...]

Right Living, Thinking, Etc
  • Two Truths News
  • Natural Living-Healthy Planet

Scholar and Soto Zen Buddhist priest Duncan Ryuken Williams shares his Solidarity Sutra for the coro [...]

Meditations and practices to help us loving-awareness and contribute to the healing of our world in [...]

"Big Love" is a comprehensive and evocative biography of Lama Thubten Yeshe, rich in histo [...]

Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield on what we can do in this confusing, tough time. The post The Bodhis [...]

As the coronavirus crisis separates us through self-isolation and social distancing, Anne Cushman sh [...]

Meditation teacher Kimberly Brown offers a short practice for cultivating a loving connection to our [...]

Presented by the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation and Lion’s Roar, this event offers an unprecedented oppo [...]

A teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh on allowing ourselves to rest like a stone thrown into a river. On the [...]

What Buddhist teaching or practice has been helping you cope with difficulties you've experienc [...]

The following advertisers have recently placed ads for programs and events which have now been resch [...]

(Natural News) It’s now looking increasingly clear that zinc may truly be the “silver bullet” for st [...]

(Natural News) In 1951, the administration of President Harry S. Truman began building a massive und [...]

(Natural News) As Trump administration health officials issued new warnings about the still-expandin [...]

(Natural News) Believe it or not, agriculture isn’t necessarily considered to be an “essential servi [...]

(Natural News) There now appears to be at least two different strains of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVI [...]

(Natural News) No, you won’t find this advice on mainstream media. In fact, it’s looking more and mo [...]

(Natural News) After facing criticism for not showing concern for the safety of its employees, coffe [...]

(Natural News) Consumers hold a positive view of bread, according to a comprehensive review led by G [...]

(Natural News) The Veterans Administration’s (VA) Palo Alto Health Care System has announced the lau [...]

(Natural News) Over the years, researchers have been increasingly interested in the role of gut bact [...]

Science News
  • The Universe Today
  • Perimeter Institute
  • Science Daily
  • Sky and Telescope

Astronomers like observing distant young stars as they form. Stars are born out of a molecular cloud [...]

A new study shows how the presence of a cloud layer could make it harder for the James Webb Space Te [...]

Every second of every day, our sun spits out a stream of tiny high-energy particles, known as the so [...]

NASA and the University of Arizona have released a stunning new global map of asteroid Bennu. At 2 i [...]

The CHIME radio telescope array has detected nine new fast radio bursts on repeat, which are reveali [...]

Despite humanity’s current struggle against the novel coronavirus, and despite it taking up most of [...]

Got clear skies? If you’re like us, you’ve been putting the recent pandemic-induced exile to product [...]

Hosts: Fraser Cain (universetoday.com / @fcain) Allen Versfeld (https://www.urban-astronomer.com/ /  [...]

The world recently lost another luminary, NASA astronaut Al Worden, who was part of the Apollo progr [...]

A new study by members of the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) has shown how new im [...]

Flash of insight opens new paths for Luke Santi Award winnerThursday Mar 26, 2020Mackenzie Pereira, [...]

PI-NRC partnership to fuel made-in-Canada breakthroughsTuesday Mar 03, 2020A new collaboration betwe [...]

Introducing three new associate faculty at Perimeter InstituteFriday Feb 21, 2020Researchers in quan [...]

Perimeter research recognized again by Buchalter Cosmology PrizeMonday Jan 06, 2020Perimeter Associa [...]

2019: Perimeter’s Scientific Year in ReviewThursday Dec 19, 2019Perimeter reflects on a year of bold [...]

Perimeter researcher wins prestigious AMS prizeFriday Nov 15, 2019Kevin Costello lauded for his effo [...]

Giacomo Torlai receives APS prize for outstanding thesisWednesday Nov 06, 2019A Perimeter PhD gradua [...]

Krembil Foundation elevates its commitment to Canadian-based breakthroughsTuesday Nov 05, 2019The Ca [...]

Perimeter postdoc wins prestigious €1-million research grantThursday Oct 17, 2019Sebastian Steinhaus [...]

Perimeter congratulates Canadian cosmologist James Peebles on Nobel Prize in PhysicsTuesday Oct 08, [...]

Researchers probed Martian meteorites to reconstruct Mars' chaotic history. Their findings sugg [...]

Because of poor dates for land fossils laid down before and after the mass extinction at the end of [...]

For the first time, more 360 scientists from 184 different institutions have contributed to a global [...]

Over 80,000 years ago, Neanderthals fed themselves on mussels, fish and other marine life. The first [...]

Since pre-industrial times, the world's oceans have warmed by an average of one degree Celsius [...]

As COVID-19 spreads worldwide, leaders are relying on mathematical models to make public health and [...]

A new modelling study conducted in a simulated Singapore setting has estimated that a combined appro [...]

Geologists have discovered the first ancestor on the family tree that contains most animals today, i [...]

Revealing yet another super-power in the skillful squid, scientists have discovered that squid massi [...]

East Antarctica's Denman Glacier has retreated 5 kilometers, nearly 3 miles, in the past 22 yea [...]

Large observatories will require precise timing info to measure as many exoplanet atmospheres as pos [...]

Several star parties have been canceled or rescheduled due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19. In man [...]

The absence of a mysterious X-ray signal — which could have provided evidence of dark matter — is ca [...]

Venus and the waxing crescent Moon shine in the west during and after twilight. As night deepens, yo [...]

Is our bright comet drought drawing to a close? Comet ATLAS (C/2019 Y4) might become a naked-eye obj [...]

A 2008 image captured a stunning double loop of stars around an edge-on galaxy. Now, astronomers are [...]

An amateur astronomer thought he had found the true identity of a mystery object identified — and th [...]

Venus is the big, bright "Evening Star" high in the west at dusk. Jupiter, Mars and Saturn [...]

Astronomers observing a distant galaxy have dramatically shrunk the range of possible properties of [...]

For observers looking for a quick outing with binoculars, Canis Major offers a set of lovely attract [...]