Thursday, January 19, 2006

A Dragon Finding Water

Not to do bad habits,

To devote oneself to good works,

Naturally clarifies that very intention;

This is the teaching of the buddhas.


The original teaching of Gautama Buddha is so simple; and yet so difficult, because the force of unconscious habit is so strong, and other intentions creep in.

This is why Master Dogen urged us, above all other things, to strive in Zazen to liberate this body from unconsciousness, and thereby to grasp the original intention of Gautama Buddha.

To grasp this intention, Master Dogen wrote, is to be like a dragon that has found water, or like a tiger in its mountain stronghold.

9 Comments:

Blogger Friend said...

I'm commenting from your reply on the previous post.

But in the Buddha's original teaching it is always that way round: 1) dukha, inhibition, not to do; 2) marga, right direction, allowing the right thing to do itself.

This is interesting phrasing. It seems that the "I" is associated with (1) not doing dukkha, while the "Not I" is associated with (2) doing marga.

Maybe I'm just getting a glimpse of something you're pointing to. My intuition is not happening though, I'm just looking at the structure of the language at this point.

"I" element = Dukkha ...
"I" element = Ignorance ...

Seems to fit!

Thursday, January 19, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

Thank you for your comments, addenda.

I intend not to do what causes dukkha, so that marga might do itself.

The primary task of the Buddhist agency we call "I" is to stop wrong doing. The right thing does itself.

Thursday, January 19, 2006  
Blogger Friend said...

Got it. Clear as a bell. Thank you. And while I do not know how to implement it, I do glimpse the direct correlate with the Alexander practice as you have described it.

Thursday, January 19, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

You are too kind, addenda.

I begin to wonder if all this blogging might not be after all such a waste of time as I fear it is.

Then let me ask a question to readers of this blog:

Do we agree that dukha-nirodha-satya, the 3rd noble truth, is to stop suffering at source, and that marga-satya, the 4th noble truth, means to allow the right way to establish itself?

If so, are they always two noble truths? Or might they be realized as one integral act of allowing?

The answer might be like something white moving in the midst of a blizzard--maybe the wagging of a snowlion's tail.

Thursday, January 19, 2006  
Blogger Friend said...

I'm not kind at all, it's just the marga leaking through :)

I'm not sure if blogging/commenting is a waste of time. We're certainly invloved in a subtle exchange of karma. As long as this is happening I will be careful not to cause harm.

The 'single act' might be known as the previously mentioned 'just wake up' or the good old 'be mindful'.

Thursday, January 19, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

I agree with you. At the same time I am reminded of the following Alexander teaching aphorism:

"If you are careful you will never get anywhere, if you're careless you might."

Thursday, January 19, 2006  
Blogger Pierre Turlur said...

Dear Addenda,


The problem of being mindful is that the activity can quickly turn into a ridiculous over-doing. Washing the dishes, moving a bowl, opening a door are actions performed in a great and solemn ceremony which I find as hilarious as unecessary.

What seems important, what we have to keep in mind and be mindful of is a sense of direction and inhibition. It is not about filling the mind with soapy water and plates, it is about keeping our mind alive, fluid, carefree to allow the right thing to happen. Stop minding when directing. Otherwise, one carries on misusing oneself and turns the whole thing into a big spiritual deal.

That is my shallow understanding of Alexander's aphorism as quoted by Mike. Careless does not mean negligent, but describes a state of being with no care about the result. Just being with the very process. Nothing more, nothing less. Easy to say. The most difficult thing to practice.

Thursday, January 19, 2006  
Blogger Friend said...

Careless does not mean negligent, but describes a state of being with no care about the result. Just being with the very process. Nothing more, nothing less.

Well put. Thank you.

Thursday, January 19, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

While I was in Okinawa in the spring of 1982, I came upon a book called "How to Practise Zazen" by Gudo Nishijima. One of the passages in it that struck me was the following one:

"Relying wholly upon Zazen without studying philosophy or religious precepts is the attitude of the person who lives the Zazen life. As Buddhists, it is necessary to believe that if we practice Zazen every day, our actions are neither good nor bad (though they will surely be judged as such by others), but merely the inevitable process of our unfolding toward truth."

Not only for you and me, Pierre, but also for Gudo Nishijima himself, this teaching might be easy to say, but difficult to practice.

The force of unconscious habit is strong, and other intentions creep in.

Thursday, January 19, 2006  

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