Scopes Trial Courthouse - Dayton, TN.jpg

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.

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
August 2017
M T W T F S S
« Aug    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  
Archives
Culture, Philosophy, Humor

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 [...]

Some Thoughts and Feelings on the Aftermath of the ElectionWhen I saw that anger, hate and bigotry were going to win two nights ago, I had to unplug for a whil [...]

The Philosophy of Marvel's DaredevilEveryone is familiar with the most obvious tropes of superhero comics: exciting action sequences, sk [...]

How the Republican Party went from Lincoln to Trump, and the Democratic Party went from White Supremacy to ObamaWhen accused of promoting racist beliefs of policies, Republicans usually argue that it was their pa [...]

Simon Blackburn - Plato's RepublicThe term Utopia wasn't invented until 1516, when Thomas More published his now classic renditio [...]

Introduction to Symbolic & Philosophical LogicAlthough almost every activity human beings engage in requires some degree of reasoning, we're [...]

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

Buddhist group founded by Daisaku Ikeda quotes Martin Luther King, Jr. in post-Charlottesville state [...]

In spite of the conflict and pain that our national discourse on white supremacy has surfaced, Buddh [...]

These exclusive clips from "Walk With Me" include insights from Thich Nhat Hanh’s early jo [...]

Mushim Patricia Ikeda gives instruction in Metta meditation, which can help us foster feelings of lo [...]

Speed creates its own power and momentum, says Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. When we speed around, are we [...]

Sharon Salzberg and Rev. angel Kyodo williams discuss how we can bring spirituality and politics tog [...]

Jan Chozen Bays teaches us how to make every meal a celebration of gratitude, enjoyment, and true no [...]

This collection of retreat advice and personal stories will help you prepare and be realistic about [...]

The late Burmese teacher Mahasi Sayadaw helped to revitalize the Vipassana tradition with his precis [...]

Since becoming ordained four decades ago, Lama Tsultrim Allione has faced her share of challenges an [...]

(Natural News) Naled, a pesticide commonly used in Florida to ward off Zika-carrying mosquitoes, was [...]

(Natural News) Chinese publication, Yicai Global has reported that global tech giant, Apple, is rene [...]

(Natural News) Utilizing solar power can save homes around 600 British Pounds ($775) in electricity [...]

(Natural News) Leading retail pharmacy chain, CVS, is being implicated in an overcharging scheme whi [...]

(Natural News) A murder-suicide is being implicated in the ongoing and growing opioid addiction cris [...]

(Natural News) The total eclipse of sanity is now under way across America. Mass hysteria has grippe [...]

(Natural News) Here’s a dirty little secret that hardly a smoker on planet Earth understands: An aci [...]

(Natural News) Zhu Najuan, a 59-year old Chinese local, was apprehended by law enforcement officers [...]

(Natural News) We often think of the Yucatán peninsula as our own backyard paradise. Fly a little bi [...]

(Natural News) In the wake of President Trump’s support for a proposal that would cut immigration by [...]

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

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL – Today marked the end of an era for NASA as the last of the agency’s next [...]

According to NASA, the large Near-Earth Asteroid known as Florence will pass harmlessly past Earth t [...]

A new study from the University of Texas Arlington has indicated that the Gliese 832 system (located [...]

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL - The last of NASA’s next generation Tracking and Data Relay Satellites (TR [...]

As part of its Planetary Science Deep Space SmallSat Studies program, NASA has selected a CubeSat mi [...]

An international team of scientists relied on a new kind of gravitational lensing to conduct a detai [...]

It's hard to believe: we're now just one short weekend away from the big ticket astronomic [...]

I’ve often been asked the question, “Can the astronauts on the Space Station see the stars?” Astrona [...]

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL – Following a two day orbital chase and ballet of carefully choreographed t [...]

A team of international astronomers have just observed the most distant massive galaxy to date, prov [...]

Physics with a side of summer friendshipsThursday Aug 03, 2017 High-schoolers from across the globe [...]

EinsteinPlus: Come for the fun. Stay for the physics.Monday Jul 17, 2017 How Perimeter Institute’s a [...]

Perimeter voted among top Canadian workplacesThursday Jun 22, 2017 The inaugural Employee Recommende [...]

PSI celebrates another adventure in research and discoveryFriday Jun 16, 2017 Eighth class of Perime [...]

A new generation of NoethersTuesday May 30, 2017 Four talented physicists have been recruited as the [...]

Inside the Perimeter Magazine: Spring/Summer 2017Thursday May 25, 2017 For more than 150 years, Cana [...]

Raymond Laflamme wins CAP-CRM PrizeMonday Apr 24, 2017 IQC Executive Director's work in quantum [...]

Myers Named Among World's Most Influential Scientists for Third Straight YearWednesday Feb 22, [...]

Perimeter achieves double-hat-trick at Buchalter Cosmology PrizeTuesday Jan 17, 2017 For the third t [...]

Inside the Perimeter Magazine: Fall-Winter 2016/17Tuesday Dec 13, 2016 Science is a participatory en [...]

Mechanisms explaining positional diversity of the hindlimb in tetrapod evolutionElucidating how body parts in their earliest recognizable form are assembled in tetrapods during dev [...]

Artificial neural networks decode brain activity during performed and imagined movementsFiltering information for search engines, acting as an opponent during a board game or recognizing i [...]

Archaeologists uncover ancient trading network in VietnamA team of archaeologists has uncovered a vast trading network which operated in Vietnam from around [...]

Climate change and habitat conversion combine to homogenize natureClimate change and habitat conversion to agriculture are working together to homogenize nature. In o [...]

New gene catalog of ocean microbiome reveals surprisesOceanographers report completing the largest single-site microbiome gene catalog constructed to date [...]

Gene that makes large, plump tomatoes identifiedFarmers can grow big, juicy tomatoes thanks to a mutation in the cell size regulator gene that occur [...]

New technique overcomes genetic cause of infertilityScientists have created healthy offspring from genetically infertile male mice, offering a potential [...]

Non-toxic, lubricant-infused coatings deter mussels and prevent their attachment by disrupting their mechanosensory and adhesive systemsMussels are one of the worst perpetrators of biofouling, or the unwanted accumulation of organisms o [...]

New Pathology Atlas maps genes in cancer to accelerate progress in personalized medicineA new Pathology Atlas is launched today with an analysis of all human genes in all major cancers sho [...]

Communicating in a foreign language takes emotion out of decision-makingIf you could save the lives of five people by pushing another bystander in front of a train to his d [...]

With the eclipse just a few days away on Monday, now is the time to start taking stock of the weathe [...]

Multiple organizations are live-streaming the total solar eclipse from groundbased telescopes, racin [...]

The Milky Way runs from Sagittarius in the south, up and left across Aquila and the Summer Triangle [...]

A peculiar white dwarf could be what’s left after a failed supernova explosion. The post The White D [...]

Enrich the eclipse experience — especially the long, partial phases — with solar eclipse activities [...]

If you're itching to know the weather on eclipse day, here's how you can explore weather m [...]

Updated 8/16 to include Predictive Science, Inc.'s predictions. The total solar eclipse is less [...]

Join host Michelle Thaller as she learns about the IceBridge mission and the scientific discoveries [...]

Total eclipses have the power to touch us deeply and reverberate through our life in unexpected ways [...]

The post kappa-Cygnid appeared first on Sky & Telescope. [...]