Saturday, April 6, 2013



  1. PZC Scribe’s Report, Saturday, April 6, 2013, “Dhritaka” in The Record of Transmitting the Light, pp. 54-59.

    Is this case breaking the rules? 1) What is the significance of the “selfless Self” vs. “no self?”; “The Buddha’s way is eternal” vs. all is temporary; “the mind in itself is a form” vs. there is no form (formlessness)? This one seems to be breaking all the rules of the whole Mu thing.

    The verse: Lunbian (footnote 44) – a great wheelwright who realized he could not express what he knew how to do. Is what’s between our ears everything we are?

    Back to the sports discussion of two weeks ago: athlete/spectator binarism dissolves in the moment of the game; the self that was watching the shot become the everybody who is leaning in, attending. Barriers of the individual self drop away, but where is the awakening in this analogy? In zazen, or the practice of Buddhism, those moments of pulling out of our “self” are built in (being hit with a stick). Another analogy: playing in an orchestra and feeling that you are one instrument. Am I putting too much emphasis on “awakening”? Is it just pleasure, an experience? What is awakening? Is it a “before and after” experience? It happens often, to various degrees? “The master was greatly awakened” – what does that mean? There are a lot of openings, not to privilege a particular moment – it’s every day that counts. “Awakened” not a verb-past-tense, but a state, perhaps a often-experienced state, an instance of a larger process. Kenso: original awakening that is formalized by a teacher; an experience that can serve as an obstacle if you don’t let it go. Chicken nibbling on your toe.

    Let’s dicuss “reality,” which come up quite a bit in the Teisho in this text. The main idea seems to be that to the ordinary mind, reality is elusive. Let’s look at p. 53 “You must not try to understand this in terms of “the three realms are mind only” … “All things are reality” still has to do with ranking.” What this possibly means is that if you say “all things = Buddha nature,” you still have two sides of an equation. Is this concept of “reality” the modern concept of reality? Perhaps we just have “[naïve] views of Buddha and Dharma”(53). Is awakening “real” or not? Does it belong to the realm of experience we call reality? Are we practicing something unreal? Explaining it is not getting it; you have to do it. Aha moments – we have many of them, they build: there become more “aha” and less of “you.” Bodhidharma says you don’t gain anything: what’s the measure: does it change your life? Less suffering, less harm, etc..
    Where to we access these opportunities for aha moments? Don’t spread ourselves to thin; get good at something(s), which takes time. Why does our practice – sitting and focusing on the breath – work at bringing us closer to this experience? Let all your “self” stuff/function go to just experience reality. You can’t wait for something that’s happening to happen. “Good people, carefully make an effort in the Way and meticulously practice. Do not place understanding on texts… or ordinary understanding”(53): what did this mean in the 7th century? Do we know more about “reality” than we did then? Is it more or less complex? The mystical aspect of knowledge. Zazen about our own experience (which isn’t “my” experience).

  2. PZC Scribe’s Report, Saturday, April 13, 2013, “Micchaka” in The Record of Transmitting the Light, pp. 55-59.

    “Monks, you are not in bondage, so how can you become newly liberated? Delusion and enlightenment are originally nonexistent”(58). From the beginning, you are free… . But this seems to dismiss suffering that can be very “real.” Enlightenment is not a permanent state, but it comes and goes. “The turning of the wheel of Karma does not end”(56).

    “birthless”: “From birth to death there is only ‘this.’ Be that as it may, if you do not intimately
    experience it one time, you will become deluded by your sense and their objects and will not know this Self” (57). How do we experience the only-ness of “this”? Discuss. Ethics comes up: interconnected selves. Empathy vs. compassion; acts vs. characteristics.

    “Your own mind… moves without ever stopping, and therefore, appears as skin, flesh, bones, and marrow”(58). Co-dependent origination. If you are not aware of it and “vainly…study the trivial, there is no chance for liberation.”

    Mahayana (think they themselves superior, most empathetic) slamming the Theravada (Wizards/Hinayans and their selfish practice, according to the Mahayana); a discriminatory Buddhist text, Keizan’s using them unfairly to make a point. The mind divides and divides. Organized religions.

    Having ideas about where you want to go if fruitless; but what do you do until you experience it? Lighten up.


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