Sunday, December 04, 2005

Estimation of Idealism and Materialism

In Shobogenzo, true Buddhist intention, (bodhicitta in Sanskrit) is called MUJOSHIN, "the will to the supreme." MUJO (anuttara in Sanskrit) is a negative: nothing above it.

When Nishijima Roshi writes that we should esteem idealism and materialism, what he is saying, as I understand it, is that we should know our enemies well. We should size up idealistic and materialistic thoughts in the light of our belief in supremacy of Gautama Buddha's enlightenment, and we should compare idealistic and materialistic philosophies to the dialectical philosophical system that has emerged from the practice of Zazen--the philosophy of the middle way.

When Nishijima Roshi calls idealism and materialism the enemies of Buddhism, I understand his teaching in this light.

As Buddhists, I think we are compelled to participate in a kind of battle for supremacy, whether we like it or not. It is a battle on many fronts. Remember, the traditional symbol of the Buddha's teaching is a weapon: the Dharma-cakra.

Nishijima Roshi taught me that Buddhism is not a religion but a philosophical search. A search for the truth. He taught me to search not only in the narrow confines of Zen Buddhist temples and Zen Buddhist writings but in books of western philosophy, and books of physiology. Above all he taught me to trust myself totally to the practice of Zazen, with no holds barred, and let others judge my actions as good or bad, polite or rude.

My Zazen life brought me to the Alexander Technique. I wholeheartedly believe that FM Alexander re-discovered the secret of Zen for our time.


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