Monday, December 05, 2005

Estimation of Idealism and Materialism (2)

Idealism, Materialism, Existentialism, Humanism, Pragmatism, Realism.... Just so many flowers in space!

People of clear eyes ask: "What has all this got to do with Buddhism? What has all this got to do with Zazen?"

The answer is: EVERYTHING.

Because we human beings are led, and are misled, by ideas. Even the Zazen of a very tough Zazen practitioner is just led, or misled, by his or her idea.

So Master Dogen instructs us in Fukan-zazengi TO THINK. He instructs us: "Think the concrete state of not thinking."

If we want to practice "just sitting," the vital thing is to have A CLEAR INTENTION just to sit, and not to be misled off in other directions by other intentions.

Zen Master Dogen saw this very clearly. FM Alexander saw this very clearly. I see this very clearly. My friend and student Pierre Turlur sees this very clearly. There is a contributor to this blog called Michael who, it seems to me, is on the verge of seeing this very clearly.

But, truly, there are not many of us, and the opposition which we face from Zen orthodoxy is not dissimilar to the opposition which Galileo faced from Catholic orthodoxy. Still, I believe that we will triumph in the end, despite the efforts of arrogant people of fixed views to defeat us. Why? Not because our idea is the truth -- because the truth can never be only an idea. We will triumph because our idea leads us to devote ourselves whole-heartedly to the truth of Gautama Buddha, which is sitting in the full lotus posture, which is supremacy itself.


Blogger Michael said...

Hello Mike,

Here's my response to your comment posted on my blog. I figured I'd post it here as well, but please delete it if the redundancy proves annoying:

Hi Mike,

Many thanks for your comments! I'll edit the description of the link to your blog accordingly.
I'm not familiar with David Essoyan, but I'll try to find out more about him.
So, you studied Goju-ryu as well? It's a small world. Do you still train?
I started out in Shotokan karate and continued my study of it for part of the time I lived in Japan. The dojo was in Inage-ku in Chiba City. When I returned to the U.S., I couldn't find a good Shotokan dojo near my apartment, but I discovered Goju-ryu and have loved it these past two and a half years.
Speaking of Japan, I think you and I met at Nishijima-sensei's zendojo.
I was a sporadic attendee in the mid-to-late Nineties. I remember Taijun fairly well, and saw her during a visit to the zendojo last year when I was in the Tokyo area.
I also remember a zendojo resident named Victor who used to give me no end of grief because I was in Japan under the auspices of the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) Program, and he hated everything (and maybe everyone) who had anything to do with it. It seems he had a bad experience while on the program himself.
Anyway, thanks again!

Monday, December 05, 2005  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

Hi Michael,

I also live in fear of losing my life the whole time--though sometimes I am more aware of it than others. We are in the same boat. It looks like yours is going to arrive at the far shore before mine--but there again, who knows?

Thanks for your response to my comment. No, I haven't really trained now for about 15 years--although I still remember elements from the old Goju-Ryu warm-up, and I still regard Morio Higaonna Sensei as a very great influence. Above all, he taught me to revere Kata. Zazen became for me an extensiono of the Goju-Ryu kata. Higaonna Sensei called Sanchin kata "kihon no naka no kihon" (what is basic within basics). I came to think of Zazen as "kihon no naka no kihon no naka no kihon." And then as I have begun to understand Alexander thinking, I have come to regard that as "kihon no naka no kihon no naka no kihon no naka no kihon"!! Maybe there is still further to go. Who knows?

I don't remember meeting you at the Zazen dojo. I was one of the first residents there when it opened in 1987. I was kind of in charge of the place in Nishijima Roshi's absence. But I didn't get on with some of the other residents and in the end I left. It was from that time on that I really threw myself into the Shobogenzo translation. I felt it was a job that I could do autonomously, which would be no bad thing given my manifest poor ability to harmonize with others.

I basically did not return to the Zazen dojo after that, although I stayed for a couple of weeks in 1998. Maybe we met then, but I don't remember it.

Thanks again to you too.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005  

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