Scopes Trial Courthouse - Dayton, TN.jpg
Quotable

Oh, cruel time! which takes in trust
Our youth, our joys, and all we have,
And pays us but with age and dust;
Who in the dark and silent grave
When we have wandered all our ways
Shuts up the story of our days.
— Sir Walter Ralegh, Nature, That Washed Her Hands in Milk (31-36)

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
October 2014
M T W T F S S
« Aug    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  
Archives
Culture, Philosophy, Humor

Thou Shalt Not Commit Logical Fallacies!With unprecedented access to the vast accumulation of knowledge of the world at our fingertips, it i [...]

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 [...]

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

In a recent talk in India, the Dalai Lama claimed that Chinese President Xi Jinping has made public [...]

Founding teacher Lama Sonam Tsering leads classes on opening day Saraha Children’s School in Eugene, [...]

The Dalai Lama will be giving a public talk in Boston on Nov. 1, titled “Educating the Heart and Min [...]

Thongdrol: Liberation Through Seeing, a documentary film project by David Cherniack, has only two da [...]

Palyul Foundation of Canada, which maintains Orgyan Osal Cho Dzong, a 350-acre tem­ple and retreat f [...]

It is with shock and sadness that we hear of the sudden death of Kyogen Carlson, co-abbot of Dharma [...]

With less than a week remaining before the People’s Climate March in NYC, Bhikkhu Bodhi speaks to th [...]

Thich Nhat Hanh on Sept. 11 released a new English translation of the Heart Sutra, titled “The Insig [...]

On Sept. 18, the Peace Alliance, in celebration of its 10th anniversary, will host an evening with t [...]

Story and photos by Joshua Eaton (Click here to view full photo set) Lifelong Oakland resident Mauri [...]

(NaturalNews) In a bid to contain the rapidly escalating Ebola epidemic, Sierra Leone recently insti [...]

(NaturalNews) Unless the world acts immediately to stem the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa, t [...]

(NaturalNews) More proof that the West African Ebola crisis is a total fraud lies in a newly propose [...]

(NaturalNews) Women who eat two or more servings of fish per week are significantly less likely to s [...]

(NaturalNews) Parasites are more common than most people realize. There are many different kinds. In [...]

(NaturalNews) Rising carbon dioxide emissions generated by vehicles has contributed to an epidemic t [...]

(NaturalNews) In a recent blog I wrote about the importance of magnesium for the nervous system. It [...]

(NaturalNews) With the official death count from Ebola now nearing 3,000, the U.S. Centers for Disea [...]

(NaturalNews) Three years ago, an environmental advocacy group sued the U.S. Food and Drug Administr [...]

(NaturalNews) Warts are a non-cancerous growth on the skin caused by the human papillomavirus. It is [...]

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

TORONTO, CANADA – Could NASA’s new rocket bring a probe to sample the geysers of Saturn’s moon Encel [...]

MOM is truly something special. For her latest eye popping feat, India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) [...]

TORONTO, CANADA – Canada’s robotic Canadarm2 will install the next two Urthecast cameras on the Inte [...]

Earlier this year, we reported on a mysterious “ghost” object that had suddenly appeared and then di [...]

Since I grew up on a farm, I know how lovely the night sky can be when you’re out in the country. Bu [...]

Thanks to the ubiquitousness of dashboard-mounted video cameras in Russia yet another bright object [...]

TORONTO, CANADA – NASA isn’t “reading too much” into a report that the Russians will spend $8 billio [...]

If you like planetary nebulas, you’re in luck. Multimedia artist Judy Schmidt has put together an am [...]

Hey, it’s #MilkyWayMonday! This gorgeous photo of the Milky Way was taken by astrophotographer Chris [...]

Thank you K1 PanSTARRS for hanging in there!  Some comets crumble and fade away. Others linger a few [...]

Are Weak Values Quantum? Don't Bet On ItTuesday Sep 23, 2014 New work asserts that a key techni [...]

New Results Cloud Earlier Gravitational Wave ClaimsTuesday Sep 23, 2014 New measurements of galactic [...]

From Faraday to Present DayThursday Sep 18, 2014 How a curious 19th century mind shaped our world.  [...]

New Perimeter Researcher Probes Nature's Building Blocks in Novel WaysTuesday Sep 09, 2014 Raff [...]

Turok Elected to Royal Society of Canada Friday Sep 05, 2014 Perimeter Institute Director Neil Turok [...]

ISSYP: A Decade of InspirationFriday Aug 29, 2014 Happy Birthday, ISSYP! Perimeter’s theoretical phy [...]

Schrödinger’s Cat: Wanted Dead and AliveThursday Aug 07, 2014 We present a unique look at the most f [...]

The Black Hole at the Birth of the UniverseWednesday Jul 30, 2014 Our universe may have emerged from [...]

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 [...]

Satellite measurements reveal gravity dip from ice loss in West AntarcticaAlthough not designed to map changes in Earth's gravity over time, ESA's GOCE satellite ha [...]

Aral Sea loses its eastern lobe -- first time in modern history, NASA's Terra satellite showsSummer 2014 marked another milestone for the Aral Sea, the once-extensive lake in Central Asia that [...]

CDC and Texas Health Department confirm first Ebola case diagnosed in the U.S.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed today, through laboratory tests, the [...]

NASA's Swift mission observes mega flares from nearby red dwarf starOn April 23, NASA's Swift satellite detected the strongest, hottest, and longest-lasting sequen [...]

Blades of grass inspire advance in organic solar cellsUsing a bio-mimicking analog of one of nature's most efficient light-harvesting structures, bla [...]

Study shows how chimpanzees share skills: Evidence of new behavior being transmitted sociallyBiologists have found evidence of new behavior being adopted and transmitted socially from one indiv [...]

How dinosaur arms turned into bird wingsAlthough we now appreciate that birds evolved from a branch of the dinosaur family tree, a crucial a [...]

Memory loss associated with Alzheimer's reversed: Small trial succeeds using systems approach to memory disordersIn the first, small study of a novel, personalized and comprehensive program to reverse memory loss, [...]

Pollution linked to lethal sea turtle tumorsPolluted urban and farm runoff in Hawaii has been linked to lethal tumors in endangered sea turtles. [...]

How to make a 'perfect' solar absorberResearchers have developed a solar cell that can tap the sun's full radiation spectrum. The mat [...]

S. N. “JR” Johnson-Roehr is Sky & Telescope’s Observing Editor. She comes to S&T via Univers [...]

During Jupiter's 2014–15 apparition, as it shines brightly down from the sky, its four big Gali [...]

Lonely Fomalhaut turns out to have plenty of company. Learn how to find its two remarkably distant s [...]

New data collected by Galaxy Zoo show early galaxies with central bars, providing implications about [...]

Mars shines above Antares in the southwest at dusk this week.The post This Week’s Sky at a Glance, S [...]

John Gianforte is S&T's equipment editor. He tests and reviews astronomical equipment for t [...]

Start your day with an eclipse of the full Moon! On the morning of October 8, 2014, a total lunar ec [...]

Learn exactly how and when to expect the next display of the northern lights with a few easy-to-use [...]

A new analysis of Planck data bolsters the claim that the polarization signal heralded as evidence f [...]

Our July 2014 cover story was the apparent discovery of gravitational waves from the instant of infl [...]