Walden Pond - Concord, MA.jpg
Quotable

Pleasure to our hot grasp
Gives flowers after flowers,
With passionate warmth we clasp
Hand after hand in hours;
Nor do we soon perceive how fast our youth is spent.
— Matthew Arnold, Empedocles on Etna (Act I, Scene 2, 357-361)

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.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share
Calendar
May 2015
M T W T F S S
« Aug    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031
Archives
Culture, Philosophy, Humor

Jim Jefferies on U.S. Gun ControlWhenever a shooting massacre takes place in the US, and we raise the question of whether there ought [...]

Lucretius - De Rerum Natura - On the Nature of LoveEpicurean philosophy is hedonistic, and as such it exalts the importance of pleasure and makes it th [...]

Monica Lewinski - The Price of ShameAlmost overnight, and without almost anyone knowing the person behind the name, her name became an i [...]

Malcolm X - The Ballot or the BulletFifty years ago today, as he was preparing to deliver a speech to the Organization of Afro-American [...]

Animated Fibonacci SculpturesWhen math is expressed aesthetically, and when art is expressed with the precision and rigor of math [...]

Pascal's Wager - Betting on InfinityBlaise Pascal is, in my mind at least, almost always a mixed bag. Many of the thoughts he expressed [...]

Ed Yong - Suicidal Wasps, Zombie Roaches & Other Parasite TalesBy its very nature, philosophy is an iconoclastic discipline, dedicated to questioning and dissectin [...]

Lawrence Lessig - We the People, and the Republic We Must ReclaimThe grand Enlightenment experiment in political self-rule and representative democracy that the Unit [...]

Diotima's Ladder - From Lust to MoralityJust about everyone has some idea about what platonic love is: a spiritual form of love in which wha [...]

Dropping a Bowling Ball and a Feather Inside a Vacuum ChamberOne of the ways in which Galileo revolutionized the world of physics was by challenging the Aristote [...]

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

The subject of Buddhist ethics usually brings up negative reactions, but Ethan Nichtern proposes a b [...]

After last Saturday's massive earthquake in Nepal, many Buddhists (and non-Buddhists) with ties [...]

Among the several books reviewed by the Sun‘s Andrea Miller in our September magazine is Thai Magic [...]

Watch the Dalai Lama break down the illusion behind prejudiceWatch this clip in which His Holiness addresses the question, “How do we convince people that human [...]

Pema Chödrön: join me in practicing tonglen for NepalPema Chödrön has joined a number of other Buddhist figures in addressing the suffering in Nepal. The [...]

You may have seen this photo (or others like it) going around, with a note that it depicts 100,000 B [...]

In 2010, at fifty-three, I surgically transitioned from male to female. It happened after years of t [...]

In advance of the Supreme Court's arguments on same-sex marriage, the Public Religion Research [...]

Sweeping Zen reports that Zen priest David Daigan Lueck died in the afternoon on Sunday April 26. Th [...]

Buddhist teachers and communities inside and outside Nepal have made use of social media to keep in [...]

(NaturalNews) As if it's not bad enough that stores sell Monsanto's Roundup in the first p [...]

(NaturalNews) If you think electing Hillary Clinton as president will somehow bring about anything o [...]

(NaturalNews) The herb garlic has been used as a flavoring since the earliest times of mankind' [...]

(NaturalNews) One of the persistent myths about prepping is that it requires spending lots of cash o [...]

(NaturalNews) If you are making a transition from conventional medicine to an all-natural, organic a [...]

(NaturalNews) As some senators in California continue to press onward in trying to eliminate the rig [...]

(NaturalNews) New Federal school lunch rules, pioneered by the lovely First Lady Michelle Obama, are [...]

(NaturalNews) In order to make sure the children of California become just as brain damaged as the s [...]

(NaturalNews) Once cheered by advocates of genetically modified food labeling as being the first sta [...]

(NaturalNews) German automaker Audi says it has developed a process for making diesel fuel out of no [...]

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

SpaceX and NASA are just days away from a crucial test of a crew capsule escape system that will sav [...]

Host: Fraser Cain (@fcain) Special Guest: Prof. Coel Hellier, Professor of Astrophysics at Keele Uni [...]

This week’s Carnival of Space is hosted by Zain Husain at the Brownspaceman.com blog. Click here to [...]

Over the course of April 28–29 a gigantic filament, briefly suspended above the surface* of the Sun, [...]

The planet Mercury has a brand new 52-foot-wide crater. At 3:26 p.m.  EDT this afternoon, NASA’s MES [...]

Happy May Day Eve! Maybe May 1st is a major holiday in your world scheme, or perhaps you see it as t [...]

The latest set of images from the long range imager, LORRI, on New Horizons now reveals surface feat [...]

To celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 13 mission, Universe Today is featuring “13 MORE Thi [...]

SpaceX set a new internal record pace for time between blastoffs of their workhorse Falcon 9 rocket [...]

As promised, SpaceX is picking up its launch pace in 2015 with a pair of liftoffs from the Florida s [...]

Want a quantum boost? Play the oddsFriday Apr 17, 2015 An experimental collaboration involving Perim [...]

Perimeter Faculty Member Wins Major International PrizeTuesday Apr 14, 2015 Pedro Vieira has been aw [...]

10 Things You Might Not Know About Black HolesTuesday Apr 14, 2015 Whether you’re a gravitational gu [...]

The Quantum DistilleryWednesday Apr 01, 2015 Researchers have used a never-before-observed phenomeno [...]

Quantum Cause and EffectMonday Mar 23, 2015 Correlation does not imply causation – unless it’s quant [...]

Pi Smackdown at Perimeter InstituteThursday Mar 12, 2015 A little friendly competition never hurt an [...]

Accomplished Women, Inspired GirlsFriday Mar 06, 2015 In commemoration of International Women’s Day, [...]

Pioneering Women of PhysicsMonday Feb 23, 2015 They discovered pulsars, found the first evidence of [...]

Perimeter Faculty Member Wins Sloan FellowshipMonday Feb 23, 2015 Perimeter Faculty member Pedro Vie [...]

Perimeter's Stephen Hawking Centre gains LEED Silver statusThursday Feb 19, 2015 Efforts to red [...]

Lava Lake Loki on Jupiter's moon Io, up closeIo, the innermost of the four moons of Jupiter discovered by Galileo Galilei in 1610 and only slight [...]

Flowing against the stream: Inanimate beads behave in lifelike waysSynthetic microscopic beads sense changes in their environment and self-propel to migrate upstream, [...]

Long-term galactic cosmic ray exposure leads to dementia-like cognitive impairmentsWhat happens to an astronaut's brain during a mission to Mars? Nothing good. It's besieged [...]

Global decline of large herbivores may lead to an 'empty landscape'The decline of the world's large herbivores, especially in Africa and parts of Asia, is raising [...]

NASA's New Horizons detects surface features, possible polar cap on PlutoFor the first time, images from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft are revealing bright and dark re [...]

NASA Completes MESSENGER Mission with Expected Impact on Mercury's SurfaceA NASA planetary exploration mission came to a planned, but nonetheless dramatic, end April 30 when [...]

Pulsar with widest orbit ever detectedA team of highly determined high school students discovered a never-before-seen pulsar. Further obse [...]

New exoplanet too big for its star challenges ideas about how planets formThe discovery of a strange exoplanet orbiting very close to a small cool star 500 light years away i [...]

Regions at greatest risk for species extinction the least studiedScientists have crunched the numbers and the results are clear. For every degree that global tempera [...]

Gravity data show that Antarctic ice sheet is melting increasingly fasterResearchers 'weighed' Antarctica's ice sheet using gravitational satellite data and f [...]

The three brightest planets — Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn — grace our evening skies this month. Elusi [...]

After four years at Mercury, NASA's Messenger orbiter has finished its remarkable mission and c [...]

Here's your chance to name an exoplanet, in a process recognized and officiated by the Internat [...]

The post Argimusco – The heaven above the Eagle Stone appeared first on Sky & Telescope. [...]

Daily sky events among the ever-changing Moon, planets and stars, from Sky & Telescope magazine. [...]

Clashes over building the premier telescope in the Northern Hemisphere and preserving Mauna Kea as a [...]

New evidence suggests that nanoflares, small but potent bursts of energy, might heat the Sun’s atmos [...]

The post M104 Sombrero Galaxy unguided. appeared first on Sky & Telescope. [...]

NAME NEOA-JBS ADDRESS Instituto Federal de Santa Catarina Av Mauro Ramos, 950 Florianopolis Santa Ca [...]

Too tired to bring the scope out? Stuck looking at the same dozen deep sky objects? Here are a few w [...]