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HomeZenThe Very important Significance of Learning Buddhadharma: Why and How

The Very important Significance of Learning Buddhadharma: Why and How

Katagiri Rōshi learning

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On this publish, I’ll discover two questions: “Why examine the buddhadharma” and “Find out how to examine the buddhdharma as a follow of the buddhadharma.” This can be a fuller expression of those points that Tetsugan Sensei and I posted for our college students on the Vine of Obstacles a month or so again.

In my subsequent publish on this topic, “4 Little Fishies within the Large Zen Ocean and How They Do Examine,” I’ll share my observations about some approaches to check that miss it as a buddhadharma follow. However lest you suppose that this is only one crabby previous individual’s perspective, I’ll then supply one other publish whereby I’ll current another crabby previous individuals, together with two of the nice lights of Zen in Japan, Dōgen Zenji (1200-1253) and Hakuin Zenji (1686-1769), and what they needed to say about dharma examine. I’m tentatively calling that publish, “Stinking Pores and skin Baggage, Blind Donkeys, Parrots and Learning the Buddhadharma.”

Nevertheless, Tetsugan Sensei and I will probably be heading out quickly for our first in-person sesshin that now we have supplied for the reason that pandemic started, and so I gained’t be ending these items till early July or so. However, should you proceed to hold round these components, nicely, you’ve obtained all that to stay up for. If you wish to be sure you get notices of those posts, you’ll be able to change into a Patron.

So let’s get to it.

Pictured above is my first instructor, Dainin Katagiri Rōshi (1928-1990), learning the buddhadharma as a follow of the buddhadharma – one thing that he did rather a lot when he wasn’t within the zendo doing zazen because the buddhadharma, or when he wasn’t within the dokusan room assembly college students because the buddhadharma.

A Zen grasp who studied rather a lot – what’s up with that? In spite of everything, everyone is aware of that the educating of Zen from the primary ancestor in China, Bodhidharma, is

A separate transmission outdoors the educating
Not established on phrases or texts
Pointing on to the human coronary heart
– see nature, understand buddha (1)

If Zen is just not established on phrases or texts, what was Katagiri Rōshi doing? Why examine the buddhadharma? And what does it imply to check the buddhadharma as a follow of the buddhadharma?

Why examine the buddhadharma?

In Pointers for Learning the Means, Dōgen cites zazen and examine as equally vital for “Instantly Hitting the Mark” (Japanese, jikige jōtō). In residing follow, zazen and examine are intimately, synergistically associated, and so not likely two methods in any respect.

However, Dōgen says, “There are two methods to penetrate body-mind: examine with a grasp to listen to the educating, and devotedly sit zazen. Listening to the educating opens up the thoughts, whereas sitting zazen is worried with practising enlightenment. Due to this fact, should you neglect both of those when coming into the buddha approach, you can’t hit the mark.” (2)

You can be advised by some that Dōgen was a “just-sit” man, however right here, in directions to his shut college students, he’s a “just-sit and just-study” man. Somewhere else in his writing, he seems otherwise. Afterall, Dōgen was a Zen instructor, not a dogmatist.

A dharma discuss, and particularly an exposition on a kōan, is “teishō” (提唱) in Japanese. Teishō is commonly translated as “presentation of a shout,” however it may be rendered “carrying the tune.” A dharma discuss that carries the tune from the ancients is not only a rambling tour of the wandering-in-circles thoughts, neither is it supplied in an effort to cease infants from crying. A teishō is an expression of the important concord, sung via the mouth shared by all buddhas and ancestors.

Dōgen says that teishō opens up the thoughts. Previous Katagiri Rōshi would say that listening to teishō permits us to disport ourselves freely. He appreciated that phrase “disport” (“to get pleasure from oneself unrestrainedly; frolic”) and didn’t thoughts that he alone used it ceaselessly. Certainly, with out that opening up of the thoughts, frolicking, because it have been, after we sit zazen, even when we do it devotedly, how can or not it’s something however a repetition of our drained formations?

As well as, Dōgen’s perspective frames examine and zazen as relational actions. Initially, after we hearken to the dharma we’re in relationship with our academics’ educating and after we do zazen, aiming to penetrate bodymind, we’re knowledgeable by their educating. As we proceed on the trail, the ten-direction world begins to hum the identical tune. So we study the tune from teishō after which put it to work with the instrument of this very ten-direction bodymind.

And, it ought to be famous as nicely, {that a} Zen instructor’s teishō is just not restricted to when they’re formally talking buddhadharma but additionally in sitting, strolling, standing, and laying down.

Notably, within the above passage, Dōgen particularly refers to listening to a grasp’s dharma talks and doesn’t say something about learning the buddhadharma via studying texts. One attainable clarification for that is his viewers – the Pointers have been meant for monastic practitioners within the early years of their coaching. One clue to that’s the phrase “when coming into the buddha approach.”

Clearly, nevertheless, Dōgen, Ejō, Gikai, and Jōkin, in addition to Hakuin and Torei and most of the nice Zen masters via the centuries, have been terribly well-versed within the sutras, commentaries, lamp information, and kōan collections – past what anybody may grasp from teishō alone.

When learning with a Zen instructor, for my part, one’s examine ought to be focussed on what the instructor is educating and examine outdoors of formal teishō ought to be built-in with teishō each via relationship with the instructor and thru the content material of this so-called “outdoors teishō” examine. Zazen and teishō should work in accord for the clear function of awakening and post-awakening coaching and for no different function. That is one of the simplest ways to domesticate the highly effective synergy obtainable in zazen and examine.

Find out how to miss the mark of examine

Nevertheless, even in case you are coaching beneath the best of Zen academics, you have to know that it’s attainable to check Zen with out listening to the tune, with out doing the follow, with out opening up the thoughts.

Gien Inoue Rōshi (1894-1981) says, “There are some individuals who examine numerous sutras and commentaries and suppose they’ve gained one thing via the understanding that comes from their very own interpretations. Even when such individuals wish to study one thing extra, their understanding develops solely within the route that they like, as a result of the issues they like are, from the start, on the heart. Should you pay attention with this type of angle, then it’s inconceivable to actually put the character of this collectively. To essentially resolve this, it’s essential to utterly throw off all circumstances directly, regardless of how favorable for you they could be. Don’t cope with them. It’s possible you’ll be apprehensive what is going to occur to you as a human being whenever you cease coping with them, however nothing will occur.” (3)

I giggled after I first learn “however nothing will occur!”

In different phrases, Gien Rōshi is telling us that listening to teisho and/or learning the sutras and commentaries can merely be a rehearsal of the band, “My Formations,” as you rock ‘n’ roll round in your conditioned likes and dislikes. True buddhadharma examine, however, is disruptive to the identification heart and never a supply for reinforcement. My Formations, in spite of everything, simply play the identical rattling tunes time and again and over – the identical rattling tunes they’ve been taking part in since their first hits a few years in the past.

But till you’ve entered the buddha approach, as I’ve been saying, examine would possibly simply be one other alternative to rehearse the divided thoughts, and that’s not what this buddhadharma follow is about. Alternatively, with out learning the buddhadharma you would possibly stay misplaced in your formations, thoughts unfree, unaware of the primordial perspective of the buddhadharma, and so blocked from coming into the buddha approach. So what are you able to do?

Dharma examine: how one can do it?

Instantly assimilate and actualize it! That, afterall, is the title for the part from Dōgen’s Pointers for Practising the Means that I quote above. In Japanese, as I discussed above, it’s jikige jōtō. Right here is Katagiri Rōshi’s clarification of jikige jōtō:

“Jikige is ‘direct, no hole between.’  of jōtō is ‘to obtain, soak up, or to assimilate.’ is ‘it,’ precisely the elemental itself. Collectively, ‘jōtō’ means ‘to assimilate, obtain, and actualize it.’ We’re it so now we have to digest it after which we will actualize what we’re. It doesn’t come from outdoors. Jikige jōtō is to instantly obtain and actualize it.”

In different phrases, learning the buddhadharma as a follow of the buddhadharma is to follow awakening proper right here and now. Just like the poem attributed to Bodhidharma, “Pointing on to the human coronary heart – see nature, understand buddha.”

We don’t examine the buddhadharma in an effort to level instantly at another time. Thus, within the Shōbōgenzō “Buddha Sutras,” Dōgen says, “To penetrate means to make the sutras the land-body-mind.”(4)

And, in fact, now we have a “type” (aka, “methodology,” or a “dharma”) for this that’s been handed on inside our lineage, and I assume in different lineages too.

Learning the buddhadharma as a follow of the buddhadharma, then, is just not rehearsing your standard approach of indulging divided thoughts. Examine is a chance to actualize lively absorption, harmonizing physique, breath, and thoughts within the midst of exercise. At simply such a time, learning a textual content is to enter the buddhadharma instantly, changing into the textual content, permitting the textual content to advance and ensure the self. As one pupil put it, “I let the textual content learn me.”

Or like Dōgen mentioned above, “To penetrate means to make the sutras the land-body-mind.”

Katagiri Rōshi’s instance

Katagiri Rōshi emphasised the type of buddhadharma examine as the results of a painful expertise he had as a younger monk whereas serving as Hashimoto Ekō Rōshi’s attendant. The younger Katagiri had shared with Hashimoto Rōshi (pictured beneath) that he had been learning the Shobogenzo whereas on a prepare coming again to the monastery. In contrast to within the picture, Hashimoto Rōshi was very extreme with him, saying one thing like, “How silly you might be. When driving on a prepare, simply trip on a prepare. When learning, simply examine.”

From this rebuke, Katagiri Rōshi was impressed to check how Hashimoto Rōshi studied, and I used to be impressed to check how Katagiri Rōshi studied. rebuke simply retains on giving.

The picture at the start of this piece with Katagiri Rōshi learning is from Zuiōji monastery in ’83. In Rōshi’s dwelling workplace, he had a e book stand and so may prop up his texts and sit up a bit extra. He would sit seiza like this for a very long time, typically simply sporting a kimono or samu-e, calmly studying the sutras or Shōbōgenzō. Often, he’d shut his eyes and rub his shaved head with each arms, then resume studying. He would typically have a pocket book helpful, in order that he may jot issues down that he’d later embody in his teishō. However he studied as a follow, far more than he would have wanted to show us ragged ex-hippies.

Starting this follow

It’s best to undertake learning the buddhadharma in a proper posture – sit upright at a desk or desk in a zazen-like posture. Sitting in a chair is okay, in fact. Place your dharma e book (or gadget) in entrance of you and attend to the textual content with out multitasking (checking e mail, social media, the climate, and so on.).

While you learn (when the textual content reads you), simply learn. Slowly. Receiving the phrases with the entire body-mind, studying with the stomach’s eyes, peeking out from the navel with harmonized body-breath-mind.

Do not forget that examine follow isn’t about getting someplace, however similar to kinhin (strolling meditation), the vacation spot is the journey.

As a way to actually do that examine of the buddhadharma because the buddhadharma

It is very important have an expertise of kenshō, seeing nature, in fact, in any other case, you would possibly simply be learning delusion-dharma. And, certainly, there are not less than a couple of Zen masters who kensho-ed throughout examine – Katagiri Rōshi, Shitou, and Hakuin to call a couple of. So don’t anticipate another time! Instantly be hit by the markless mark of buddhadharma – jikige jōtō! – in the middle of examine proper now. (5)

(1) Translation by Dōshō Port.

(2) Dōgen, “Pointers for Learning the Means,” trans. Kaz Tanahashi. Modified.

(3) A Blueprint of Enlightenment: A Modern Commentary on Dōgen Zenji’s Gakudō Yōjinshū “Pointers for Learning the Means,” by Gien Inoue Rōshi, translated by Daigaku Rummé and Keiko Ohmae, 154. Thanks, Ed Goshin, for pointing this out this passage.

(4) Dōgen, Treasury of the True Dharma Eye: Zen Grasp Dogen’s Shōbōgenzō, “Buddha Sutras,” trans. Kaz Tanahashi and Peter Levitt.

(5) My because of Tetsugan Sensei for her enter on this publish and for all her loving collaboration via all of the years.

Dōshō Port started practising Zen in 1977 and now co-teaches together with his spouse, Tetsugan Zummach Sensei, with the Vine of Obstacles: On-line Assist for Zen Coaching, an internet-based Zen neighborhood. Dōshō obtained dharma transmission from Dainin Katagiri Rōshi and inka shōmei from James Myōun Ford Rōshi within the Harada-Yasutani lineage. Dōshō’s translation and commentary on The Report of Empty Corridor: One Hundred Basic Koans, is now obtainable (Shambhala). He’s additionally the writer of Hold Me In Your Coronary heart a Whereas: The Haunting Zen of Dainin KatagiriClick on right here to help the educating follow of Dōshō Rōshi.


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