Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Just Wake Up, Again

When Master Dogen instructed us, "When a thought arises, just wake up," what did he mean by "wake up"?

Did he mean the effect which is got from drinking a strong cup of coffee? No, he didn't.

Did he mean the experience that we all have first thing every morning? No, he didn't.

What Master Dogen means by "Just wake up" is, in other words, "Let the activity of sitting upright in the lotus posture be liberated from unconsciousness."

My intention in posting this is to recommend to everyone who reads it, but above all to remind myself, as the champion of intellectual worrying: Just wake up.


Blogger MikeDoe said...

Who wakes up?
Who Worries?
Who is Curious?
Who is Afraid?
Of What?

If you wish you can spend the rest of your life in Zazen, sitting next to the dragon, feeling his breath, afraid and curious at the same time.

What does a baby do?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006  
Blogger MikeDoe said...

[Who] is Asleep?
Asleep or Dormant?
There now or not?
In plain sight or not?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006  
Blogger oxeye said...

Mike, I am interested in your thoughts on the mechanics of zazen. The human spine is not straight. It is curved in the shape of an s. Instructions on keeping a straight back seem contrary to basic facts on anatomy. Do you try and stretch your back continuously during zazen to make it straighter. Or do you allow your back to rest in it's natural s shape? Are all the mechanical components of the lotus position equal in importance? In regards to leg position, why is sitting full lotus better than just sitting cross legged? In my twenties I could sit with both legs behind my head. Full lotus was not difficult. I could stretch both legs up to my chest. Now in my fifties, my left arm and left leg lack full range of motion. Just sitting cross legged now is excruciatingly painful in my left hip joint. I don’t imagine I will be getting more flexible as the years go by. So what to do.. Sit in a more comfortable manner? Sit cross legged and think about pain for 40 minutes? Forget about zazen? What do you think?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...


In the opening sentence of Shobogenzo, Master Dogen described the subtle technique of Zazen as MUJO-MUI. MUJO means supreme, or of the highest order. MU-I means free of doing.

Thoughts on the mechanics of Zazen or on anatomy and physiology tend to lead us into the area of doing,of bodywork, of pulling here and pushing there, of adjusting, manipulating, interfering, of trying "to do it right"--relying on sensory processes which are generally faulty and unconscious.

True Zazen is a cut above bodywork. This, in my understanding, is why Master Dogen described the subtle technique of Zazen as "of the highest order."

I think that Nishijima Roshi himself does not understand this clearly. That is why he still attaches to his physiological explanation of the autonomic nervous system. Brad Warner hasn't understood it even in a dream.

I haven't said these things with the intention of starting a war, or of creating disorder within Dogen Sangha--although that seems to have been the effect of my pronouncements. At time of writing, Gudo Nishijima has requested me to leave Dogen Sangha, whatever that means, and various of his Dharma-heirs are expressing their low opinion of me, like circling vultures. So be it. I shall carry on making my effort to clarify what I have realized in my own Zazen practice.

These are my present thoughts. But you are also asking for my advice.

My advice to you Oxeye, is look for a true teacher. To learn how to sit, to learn what psycho-physical attitude to bring to our sitting practice, we need face-to-face contact with a living, breathing, laughing, caring, not-caring teacher.

So you have to pack your bag and look for a true teacher. You can't do it by remote control from your computer. And get on with it, because you are no spring chicken already.

If you found your true teacher already in Brad, then totally entrust yourself to his guidance, and take no notice of Brad's detractors.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006  

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