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
September 2020
M T W T F S S
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930  
Archives
Politics, Culture, Philosophy
  • Rachel Maddow
  • Frank Schaeffer
  • Roberto Ruiz

Trump errors on coronavirus not for lack of scientific adviceOlivia Troye, former member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, talks with Rachel Maddow abou

Former coronavirus task force member describes political...Olivia Troye, former adviser to Mike Pence on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, talks with Rac

Trump resistance to new information yields ill-informed decisionsRobert Cardillo, former director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, talks with Rachel M

Rachel Maddow 9/25/20Watch the full episode of Friday night's The Rachel Maddow Show.

Rachel Maddow 9/25/20Watch the full episode of Friday night's The Rachel Maddow Show.

For historical parallels to Trump, look to Mussolini: historianMichael Beschloss, NBC News presidential historian, tells Rachel Maddow that while there is nothing

Sanders: Take Trump threat to U.S. democracy seriouslySenator Bernie Sanders talks with Rachel Maddow about why Donald Trump's efforts to delegitimiz

Polling poorly, Trump runs against the election itselfRachel Maddow notes that as the prospects for Donald Trump to win a legitimate re-election appear in

Maddow: Get your vote in as early and as safely as you can.Rachel Maddow encourages viewers to get their 2020 election ballots in as early as possible, and peo

Rachel Maddow 9/24/20Watch the full episode of Thursday night's The Rachel Maddow Show.

If the vote is close, Donald Trump could easily throw the election into chaos and subvert the result

Trump won’t commit to abide by election result. Evangelical and conservative Roman Catholics still b

Download an Illustrated PDF of this Article Listen to my 2008 interview, “Pro-Life – And In Favor Of

In the 70s and 80s, the Religious Right helped form a new political party in America: The Party of T

Warning: QAnon’s silly lies: “deep state” is satanic, coronavirus is fake, Trump is truth/media is l

How do we make our way back into love, beauty and creation? Discover my book Letter to Lucy: A Manif

Read at Down With Tyranny Down With Tyranny picked up on something from my latest video about Trump’

Trump’s lying about pandemic has had unthinkable consequences. Congratulations Franklin Graham and t

Politico is doing an exclusive report today on new poll-study-11% of Evangelical and Catholic 2016 T

Make no mistake: this is Trump’s America, where protesters are shot by vigilantes as police look on

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

Sometimes when I teach I feel like I'm pretending to be someone I'm not because I see wher

Rob Preece shares why the Buddhist path isn't about trying become spiritually evolved, but abou

Juhn Ahn reviews "Cultivating Original Enlightenment" by Robert E. Buswell Jr. The post St

Paula Arai introduces us to the world of Tsuneo Iwasaki, who discovered a world of practice in givin

When written language arrived in Tibet, says Patrick Dowd, it brought the dharma with it. The post H

If you don’t want your happiness to impede that of someone else, says Vanessa Zuisei Goddard, practi

When the going gets tough, the tough get mindful. Hersch Wilson offers valuable tips for any stressf

"Just as pipes in your house get backed up, creating a flooded kitchen, the pipes of your body

When your mind is prey to what the Buddha called “unwholesome states” like fear and despair and you

The point of zazen, says Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, is to live each moment in complete combustion, like a

(Natural News) New CDC data confirm that the Wuhan coronavirus poses almost zero death risk in peopl

(Natural News) There is a critical shortage of the chemicals necessary to conduct Wuhan coronavirus

(Natural News) The most contested Presidential election in the history of the United States is under

(Natural News) After Hillary Clinton left the Obama regime in 2013 as secretary of state, rumors beg

(Natural News) Experts warn that California still hasn’t reached the peak of 2020’s fire season, but

(Natural News) Big Pharma is pushing for mandatory coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination even though no

(Natural News) Social media platform Facebook is planning a study aimed at observing the effects of

(Natural News) Throughout the country, citizens are using various cleaning and health care products

(Natural News) A manager of a business in Portland said that the rioters who tried setting his busin

(Natural News) CHICAGO, IL –  Sean Feucht is a Christian preacher who is a leader in the “Let Us Wor

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

Just in time for the upcoming elections, NASA has presented Congress with the projected budget for s

So you've built a time machine. What prevents you from creating a paradox that dooms us all? Th

The European Space Agency launched the Gaia mission in 2013. The mission’s overall goal was to disco

In anticipation of this upcoming mission, NASA has released a stunning poster for the Europa Clipper

Yesterday, we posted some incredible photos from the Juno Probe’s 29th flyby of Jupiter. Juno is in

In an expected move, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has announced a mission extension

When astronauts have to go, NASA wants them to boldly go. A new space toilet is heading to the Inter

Over the past decade, the shadow of a black hole in M87 has been wobbling, which tells us about how

Most everybody knows that the dinosaurs perished rapidly in a tumultuous extinction, caused by an as

Jupiter. Most massive planet in the solar system – twice that of all the other planets combined. Thi

CHIME receives Governor General’s Innovation AwardWednesday Jul 15, 2020The CHIME team is recognized

Perimeter participates in #Strike4BlackLivesFriday Jun 26, 2020Perimeter Institute participated in t

Perimeter among top winners at CCAE AwardsTuesday Jun 16, 2020The Canadian Council for the Advanceme

Four new Simons Emmy Noether Fellows announcedMonday Jun 15, 2020The next group of Simons Emmy Noeth

Anna Golubeva earns Borealis AI FellowshipMonday Jun 08, 2020Perimeter PhD student named one of 10 B

Kevin Costello admitted as Honorary Member of the Royal Irish AcademyWednesday May 27, 2020Perimeter

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

Two new studies offer an explanation for why COVID-19 cases can be so variable. A subset of patients

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko has its own far-ultraviolet aurora, data reveal. It is the first tim

A new study of an ancient period that is considered the closest natural analog to the era of modern

Astronomers have discovered a rare molecule -- phosphine -- in the clouds of Venus. On Earth, this g

Recent observations have found that something may be missing from the theories of how dark matter be

Scientists have compiled a continuous, high-fidelity record of variations in Earth's climate ex

Early interventions were effective at stamping out coronavirus infections before they spread, accord

Using public transportation, visiting a place of worship, or otherwise traveling from the home is as

Individuals who can unconsciously predict complex patterns, an ability called implicit pattern learn

New research identifies a process that might have been key in producing the first organic molecules

International Observe the Moon Night is here. Step outside Saturday evening and admire our closest c

The Moon waxes through first quarter to gibbous this week, passing Jupiter and Saturn along the way.

For a little perspective, observe along a line that takes you to the Moon, past Jupiter and Saturn,

More than 200 years ago Caroline Herschel pointed her telescope at the heavens and discovered some o

Observations from the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft show that Comet 67P/Churyumov-Geras

Astronomers have found a Jupiter-size planet orbiting a much smaller white dwarf. The discovery show

Firefighting crews held the line as wildfire threatened Mount Wilson; an amateur observatory built b

Jupiter and Saturn continue shining nearly level in the south at dusk. Meanwhile, the stars show the

Confirming phosphine's presence on Venus is difficult from Earth . . . and that makes a good ca

Solar Cycle 25 is here, and forecasts suggest the next decade of the Sun’s activity will mimic the l