Blog posts

Dogen’s Anger #21 of 21

In many instances, Dogen expresses deep criticism with other teachers.  He often expresses his anger about this and even, might go so low as to call teachers names.  When I first read these paragraphs, I was really astounded.  How could a Zen Teacher share publicly such criticism.  Isn’t that breaking many of the precepts?  My … Continue reading Dogen’s Anger #21 of 21

The Pivotal Point #19 of 21

The pivotal point is the second part of the koan of Shitou’s. Daowu said, “Going beyond, is there a further pivotal expression?” Dogen answers: “This means that when a pivotal expression is actualized, ‘going-beyond’ is actualized.  A pivotal expression refers to skillful means; skillful means refers to all buddhas and ancestors.  In expressing this, it … Continue reading The Pivotal Point #19 of 21

Not gaining, Not knowing #18 of 21

The last three blogs on the fascicle “Going Beyond Buddha” will be working with this koan from Great Teacher Shitou: In the assembly of Great Master Shitou Wuji, Zen Master Daowu of Tianhuang temple asked: Daowu – “What is the essential meaning of the Buddha Dharma?” Shitou said – ”Not-gaining, not knowing.” Daowu said, “Going … Continue reading Not gaining, Not knowing #18 of 21

The Sun and Moon #17 of 21

Dogen writes in the fascicle “Going Beyond Buddha”: Zen Master Panshan Baoji said, “The single path of ‘going beyond’ is never transmitted by any one of the thousands of ancestors.”  This expression ‘the single path of going beyond’ is coined only by Panshan.  He did not say ‘the matter of going beyond,’ or ‘the person … Continue reading The Sun and Moon #17 of 21

What Is Your Name? #16 of 21

The next section in the text is about naming.  What happens when we name something?  What happens when language tries to describe experience?  Is the name the thing?  Most of us understand intellectually that experience is something much broader and deeper then the naming of the experience.  But does this knowing of the limitations of … Continue reading What Is Your Name? #16 of 21

A Bubble in a Stream #15 of 21

Monks should be like this child whose 7th consciousness or Manas consciousness doesn’t fully function.  Monks should be interrupting at every moment the instinctual tendency to circulate experience around a solid “I” which in Buddhism, doesn’t exist.  This “I” which is the “Manas consciousness” or the 7th consciousness, twists everything around itself and makes all … Continue reading A Bubble in a Stream #15 of 21

Twining Vines #11 of 21

The entire network of co-origination is talking and listening all the time.  Lately, when I am giving a lecture, I don’t feel like “I’m” giving the lecture.  I feel like my 5 skandhas and my sense gates are the vehicle for the teaching to come through in this present moment, in this lecture hall, and … Continue reading Twining Vines #11 of 21

Clapping and Laughing #9 of 21

From Dogen’s “Going beyond Buddha”: “As for the expression “the matter of going beyond Buddha” of which I am speaking now, the great master Dongshan was the original ancestor who coined that phrase.  Other Buddha-ancestors have been studying the expression of this great matter and have attained the matter of going beyond buddha through the … Continue reading Clapping and Laughing #9 of 21

52 stages to Buddhahood #5 of 21

In the classical Buddhist teaching, there are 52 stages in the development of a Buddha or a Bodhisattva. That’s a lot of stages! Dogen in his subtle analysis however isn’t that interested in stages! He does not believe in what he sometimes calls “stepladder Zen”. This is because of his understanding of time and his … Continue reading 52 stages to Buddhahood #5 of 21