Blog posts

Twining Vines #11

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

Cause and Effect Arise Together #10

Dogen writes in “Going beyond Buddha”: We should know the ‘the matter of going beyond Buddha’ is neither being immersed in the cause nor in the ripening (attainment) of the fruit.  However, we can fully attain it and thoroughly penetrate ‘not-hearing’ at ‘the time of talking’. Our usual understanding is that ‘this causes that’.  Our … Continue reading Cause and Effect Arise Together #10

Clapping and Laughing #9

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

52 stages to Buddhahood #5

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

Dropping off Body and Mind #4

Dogen has a famous phrase: shinjin datsuraku, which is translated “dropping off body and mind.” This famous phrase needs to be understood in order to appreciate Dogen’s writing. There is a sentence in this fascicle, which refers to this phrase. It is a non-buddha simply because it goes beyond Buddha. We call it a ‘non-buddha’ … Continue reading Dropping off Body and Mind #4

Buddhas and non-buddhas #2

Is there such a thing as a “buddha” or a “self”? Our teaching says, and the physicists concur, that there is nothing solid, neither a person, nor a thing. We are all made up of molecules, moving parts and space. When the physicists look into an atom with their most subtle microscopes, they don’t find … Continue reading Buddhas and non-buddhas #2