Bodhi Tree Bookstore - LA-1.jpg

Sweet day, so cool, so calm, so bright,
The bridle of the earth and sky:
The dew shall weep thy fall tonight;
For thou must die.
— George Herbert, Virtue (1-4)

Spiritual practice

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.


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.

July 2014
« Nov    
Culture, Philosophy, Humor

Pawel Kuczynski's Thought-Provoking IllustrationsAs you've seen in this fascinating lecture by Slavoj Žižek, the logic of the reigning corporati [...]

"Weird Al" Yankovic - Word CrimesYou may remember that about a year ago Robin Thicke's song "Blurred Lines" created a [...]

Slavoj Žižek - On IdeologyOne of the more interesting lessons Hegel's dialectical method has contributed to our understan [...]

Sean Carroll vs William Lane Craig - God and CosmologyDoes the universe need an explanation for its existence, or can it be understood as a self-containin [...]

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert on the Media's Bullshit Coverage of Malaysian Flight 370The recent, and now tragic, disappearance of Malaysian Flight 370, somehow turned into a journalisti [...]

Edward Snowden - Here's How We Take Back the InternetWhatever our feelings about Edward Snowden as a person are, and what his actions say about him (hero [...]

Lucretius - De Rerum Natura - Death Is Nothing to UsAccording to the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus, one of the greatest impediments to human flouri [...]

A Message from Your Kids' Teachers: You Suck!Somehow we've gotten embedded in our collective mind the idea that educating our children is so [...]

Fox News' Sexist Remarks on Hillary Clinton's AgeWe all know that since Republican presidential candidates have an uncanny ability to get caught in e [...]

Neil deGrasse Tyson: Why The Cosmos Shouldn't Make You Feel SmallAs you probably know, Carl Sagan's famous documentary series Cosmos is getting what I hope will [...]

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

In the current issue of Buddhadharma, Bob Doppelt, author of From Me to We, offers five transformati [...]

The Shambhala Sun Foundation, publishers of Shambhala Sun and Buddhadharma, is an independent not-fo [...]

From Myoren Yasukawa and Gento Krieger of Rinzai-Ji Zen Center, the home temple of Joshu Sasaki Rosh [...]

Via Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society: “For over a decade, people from all over the Bay [...]

Top officials within the Central Tibetan Administration have begun a campaign to raise awareness of [...]

It was announced Thursday that Fresno Buddhist Temple, a Pure Land community, has made a donation of [...]

Khyentse Foundation recently announced the establishment of its second Award for Outstanding Dissert [...]

It’s a conundrum that has existed for more than two thousand years: How does a monk forbidden from d [...]

Following directives from the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nepal’s [...]

“Be a part of HH The Dalai Lama’s legacy,” reads the announcement from Lemle Pictures, “by helping t [...]

(NaturalNews) A wide-ranging popular revolt is taking place against established corporate media, and [...]

(NaturalNews) Very often, there is nothing so destructive and harmful as government bureaucracy, in [...]

(NaturalNews) Biotech giant Monsanto promises farmers that, if they buy genetically modified (GM) se [...]

(NaturalNews) Pigs who consume feed with low concentrations of the herbicide glyphosate (also market [...]

(NaturalNews) "Those that have attempted to convince the world that the Sun, the Earth's p [...]

(NaturalNews) Responding to calls from the public for wider access to raw milk, the UK's Food S [...]

(NaturalNews) One of the greatest long-term problems that health conscious individuals face is the p [...]

(NaturalNews) A U.S.-based supplier of meat and other protein products for McDonald's and KFC r [...]

(NaturalNews) In the 1990s, a new acellular pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine (DTaP) was introduced [...]

(NaturalNews) If you've ever had questions about major world events like 9/11 or the JFK assass [...]

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

It’s a well-kept secret that the vacuum of space is not — technically speaking — a vacuum. Strong wi [...]

When it comes to exoplanets, we’ve discovered an array of extremes — alien worlds that seem more lik [...]

The last of Europe’s five automated transfer vehicles made a flawless launch to orbit yesterday (Jul [...]

The first astronaut who tweeted from space is leaving NASA, the agency announced yesterday. Mike Mas [...]

Scientists analyzing the reams of data from NASA’s Cassini orbiter at Saturn have discovered 101 gey [...]

In astronomy we throw around the term “light-year” seemingly as fast as light itself travels. And ye [...]

Channelling all U2 fans: this stunning timelapse above Joshua Tree National Park is a walking touris [...]

Anyone want to take bets on what this astronaut was listening to? This is a short silent video of Th [...]

I spent this past weekend backpacking in Rocky Mountain National Park, where although the snow-swept [...]

It was a daring maneuver, but the plan to put Venus Express lower in the planet’s thick atmosphere h [...]

Back To The ClassroomFriday Jul 25, 2014 How do you get black holes and quantum mechanics into high [...]

Is The Universe A Bubble? Let's CheckWednesday Jul 16, 2014 Perimeter Associate Faculty member [...]

What Great Scientists Did When They Weren't Doing Great ScienceWednesday Jul 16, 2014 Even the [...]

Three Perimeter Faculty Receive NSERC Discovery GrantsMonday Jul 14, 2014 Three members of Perimeter [...]

From Pencil Marks To Quantum ComputersThursday Jul 03, 2014 Pick up a pencil. Make a mark on a piece [...]

“Bright Minds in Their Life’s Prime” - Perimeter Celebrates Fifth PSI ClassMonday Jun 23, 2014 Perim [...]

10 Physics Facts About SummerTuesday Jun 17, 2014 As Carl Sagan once wrote: “It does no harm to the [...]

Researchers find “magic” ingredient for quantum computingTuesday Jun 10, 2014 The secret to powerful [...]

Turbulent Black HolesTuesday Jun 03, 2014 New research at Perimeter shows that gravitational fields [...]

10 GREAT QUOTES FROM RICHARD FEYNMANFriday May 09, 2014 Apart from being a brilliant scientist, Rich [...]

Tidal forces gave moon its shape, according to new analysisThe shape of the moon deviates from a simple sphere in ways that scientists have struggled to explai [...]

Double Star with Weird and Wild Planet-forming DiscsAstronomers have found wildly misaligned planet-forming gas discs around the two young stars in the [...]

Finding quantum lines of desireWhat paths do quantum particles, such as atoms or photons, follow through quantum state space? Scien [...]

Exploring 3-D printing to make organs for transplantsPrinting whole new organs for transplants sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, but the real- [...]

Decades-old amber collection offers new views of a lost world: Tiny grasshopper encased in amberScientists are searching through a massive collection of 20-million-year-old amber found in the Domi [...]

Mercury's bizzare magnetic field tells scientists how its interior is different from Earth'sMercury's interior is different from the Earth's interior in a way that explains Mercury [...]

Climate extremes are here to stay: Expect more heat waves and cold snapsResearchers show how they've used advanced computational data science tools to demonstrate that [...]

Chinese mosquitoes on the Baltic Sea: Ancient insect inclusions in East-Asian amberThe analysis of the roughly 3,000 pieces is still in its infant stage. But it is already evident tha [...]

Fossils found in Siberia suggest all dinosaurs could have been featheredThe first ever example of a plant-eating dinosaur with feathers and scales has been discovered in Ru [...]

A blood test for suicide risk? Alterations to a single gene could predict risk of suicide attemptResearchers say they have discovered a chemical alteration in a single human gene linked to stress r [...]

The next time you're out watching a sunset, turn around and relish the mighty shadow of Earth l [...]

NAME Planetarium Projector Museum ADDRESS P.O. Box 3400 Big Bear Lake California 92315 USA CONTACT O [...]

NASA's Fermi Space Telescope recently spotted a pulsar in a rare transitional phase as it devou [...]

The post IC5146, a 6,4 hours 2LHaRHaGB picture appeared first on Sky & Telescope. [...]

The post Tiny Pluto in Star-rich Sagittarius appeared first on Sky & Telescope. [...]

The post The Eagle M16 appeared first on Sky & Telescope. [...]

The post The Sky Inside Out appeared first on Sky & Telescope. [...]

The post The Eagle Nebula – M 16 appeared first on Sky & Telescope. [...]

The post North America Nebula in H-alpha appeared first on Sky & Telescope. [...]

The post Lagoon and Trifid Nebula 2 Panel Mosaic appeared first on Sky & Telescope. [...]