Friday, January 20, 2006

The True Dharma Eye is Not a View

The True Dharma Eye is a means of liberating the body from blind reaction. In other words, it is an instrument of consciousness. It is not a viewpoint. A person's viewpoint is always liable to be wrong. Even a buddha's viewpoint is liable to be wrong. But the True Dharma Eye is always true. So, no, the True Dharma Eye cannot be a person's viewpoint.

On January 17th, Gudo Nishijima sent me the following email, cc to all his Dharma-heirs.

Dear Mr. Mike Cross,
I hope that you will not change the serious problem into a small kind of theory. You have proclaimed that you are not a Buddhist in your own email to me. It might be a Freudian mistake. But I think that such a kind of Freudian mistakes usually suggest his or her own honest mind. I have clearly noticed that you have intention to change Dogen Sangha into a part of the group of Alexander Technic after my death. I do never permit your such kind of evil plan at all.
With best wishes
Gudo Wafu Nishijima

Whether Gudo Nishijima has been a true teacher to me or not, I honestly do not know. Witnessing my reactions to Gudo Nishijima over the past several years, Pierre Turlur has described me as being like a yo-yo. But reading this and other recent emails, I have no doubt that Gudo Nishijima's viewpoint has become wrong.

I first shaved my head and wore the Buddhist robe in 1986. So it is 20 years now that I have been sitting in Zazen every day, shaven headed and wearing the robe, endeavoring to follow as truly as possible the instructions Master Dogen set out in Fukan-zazengi. I wanted to train as an Alexander teacher for one reason only: because I sensed that what FM Alexander discovered might be vitally important, if I were ever to grasp the intention that Master Dogen described in Fukan-zazengi, thereby becoming "like a dragon that has found water."

So when I read Gudo Nishijima's email, I find the content disturbing and I find it difficult not to react. But, on reflection, what is new? When has it ever been easy for me not to react blindly to the various stimuli that Gudo Nishijima has presented to me over the years? So, yes, I doubt myself. But I have always been prone to doubt myself. Nothing has changed there.

What I have realized over the past few days is that I don't doubt the truth of my practice, at all. The True Dharma Eye is always true, and I am just a Buddhist who, for 20 years or so, has devoted himself to it. This is my confidence, and not even the buddhas can shake it.


Blogger MikeDoe said...

There is nothing Buddhist in your post here (and I speak as someone who IS NOT a buddhist!!!)

Posting a private email in public is at best rude. It certainly shows no signs of compassion, wisdom, or any of the 8-fold path.

What I see always with you is a whirlwind of destruction that damages you and all around you.

The very moment that the whirlwind calms down again, you find a way to increase it's force.

I would suggest that the 4 Noble Truths as practiced by you are:

1. Life is Suffering
2. It is not my fault
3. More suffering is always better.
4. Don't try and stop the suffering.

This is normally called self-destructive behaviour. A Buddhist who seems to make enemies of all the Buddhists he knows is hardly at peace either with himself or anyone else or Buddhism itself. It takes a special kind of person to fight so strongly over small matters of doctrine.

There is another way to come to terms with reality. It is called Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. The idea is that they show you where your views about the world are wrong and help you to create different views/beliefs or remove the beliefs altogether.

It is not Buddhism but it covers the same ground - getting rid of wrong beliefs. It has the added bonus that if you are paying someone to tell you the truth being rude and obnoxious becomes quite expensive quite quickly and does not risk madness.

If you can spend 20 years staring at the wall and have still not found a way to be happy, then maybe it has nothing to do with the wall or how you sit.

It is a rare treat to see a fly that can spin it's own web, trap itself and then blame the web.

Friday, January 20, 2006  
Blogger oxeye said...

Mike, You have found the Alexander Technique and it has helped you with your Buddhist Practice. That is great. Maybe in your excitement to share it's benefits with others you are alienating some people and causing yourself problems. Everyone knows how you feel about it. Some of us will look into it. Maybe it is time to give your proselytizing a rest. Allow others to discover their own ways of improving their practice.

You shouldn’t worry about being prone to doubts about yourself. That self-examination is good for you if you do it honestly. You say you have no doubts that Gudo Nishijima's viewpoint has become wrong. It would be healthy to have some doubt about that too. You better think about that one long and hard. Having no opinion on whether his viewpoint has become wrong is better than having the wrong one.

Friday, January 20, 2006  
Blogger Pierre Turlur said...

In "Crooked Cucumber", David Chadwick reports the following story about his teacher:

" Suzuki was a little harder on Grahame now that he was a novice priest. One saturday morning Grahame arrived late for the beginning of the day-and-a-half sesshin. After breakfast Suzuki took him to task in his office saying:" Priest don't arrive late! You are not a priest! You have no right to wear that Okesa!" Grahame was mortified and started to take off his Okesa. "What are you doing?" said Suzuki."NO one has the right to tell you to take off the Okesa."

It just rings a bell, doesn't it? Nobody, not even Buddha ( even an eternal Buddha like Nishijima roshi) has the right to take this Okesa from our-your-mine-their shoulders. We are all foolish deluded creatures led by blind-reaction and yet, this sitting, this is the supreme allowing of it, in spite of this.

So is Johndoe and the likes and me.

Johndoe, your understanding of the Buddhist path seems coloured by your Christian background: we have got to be very kind to each other. Mike Cross, Pierre Turlur, johndoe can tell bullshit, so can Nishijima. Your reverence is sheer stupidity. What is my way to respect Nishijima?... Not kissing his arse... But: Singing the Busso rai, sitting shikantaza, wearing and sewing the kesa, shaving my fucking head. DO YOU DO THAT? That's the way, Johndoe, not your wishful thinking.

True reverence, respect, kindness and compassion are to be found in Buddhist practice as it is. Not sentimental judgements or sweet intentions.

Do you know Shobogenzo? Are you aware that the Buddhist path as experienced in our lineage is not necessarely a family reunion or a haapy and merry Christmas party. Sometimes very crude and rude words do fly. READ IT, please.

The dialogue between Nishijima and Cross is not the conversation between a saint and a fool ( swap them around, same stuff). It is about two Buddhas talking in a deluded language.

Mike's attitude may appear very offensive to the guru-worshipers. It has a huge merit beyond its inherent shortcoming: to remind the good old Gudo that IT cannot be taken away from anybody, that IT is nobody's point of view. It is beyond our hopes and fears.

Wake up, Johndoe. Please, wake up.

Friday, January 20, 2006  
Blogger MikeDoe said...

Pierre, I have no reverence for either Mike Cross or Gudo Nishijima.

I do not find mikes attitude offensive. I merely observe that to publish a private email is generally considered rude.

I merely observe that mikes alternates between pity-me parties and rants. That hardly strikes me as balanced or the-middle-way

I have all 4 books of the Shobogenzo on back-order. It has not arrived yet. I will read it when it arrives.

Pierre, you have not been paying much attention recently. You see I have in fact "Woken Up". I did it by following the instructions that Dogen wrote in the Shobogenzo.

Because I was so stupid and naive as to read the words that were written it was easy. Stupid, mad and 'trippy' but easy.

That Pierre, is the total bitch about Reality. If you want to see it you will find a way. If you don't you will live in your deluded little dreams and look for heroes and villians to support them.

Sitting is not allowing. Sitting is staring at a wall.

Allowing means accepting the fullness of who you are including the bad ugly bits. You can do that anywhere and anyway.

So, by all means feel free to project onto me whatever you want. It will make no difference.

If a stupid ignorant fool with no ideas of what Dogen is supposed to say can read it and follow the instructions then what is the great mystery, is it all of your own making?

Alternatively, am I a completely deluded madman?

Whatever you think, you see it doesn't matter to me. I am me. I have nothing to prove. Nowhere to be.

So why am I posting at all?

That is the question that you should ask but don't.

I see suffering. I see suffering being created. I see the source of the suffering. I feel the urge to help make the suffering stop. Maybe that makes me a fool. Maybe it is just part of me being me.

If I shaved my head and said "Om" would you be less defensive of somoene else?

Friday, January 20, 2006  

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