Monday, October 16, 2006

Knowing Not Knowing

SAIYU YOSHIN means sway the body left and right. SAI means left. YU means right. YO means sway. SHIN means body.

When I am way over to the left, I know I am to the left. On that level my feeling is reliable. Same on the right: the more off centre I become, the more definitely I know it. But if I very slowly approach the middle and ask myself whether I am left or right, I don’t know. The middle is a way of not knowing.

As a Buddhist student one cannot be the one who knows.

Maybe a Buddhist teacher is one who knows that the student cannot be the one who knows.

Pierre Turlur recently wrote me that he refused to lick my arse and kiss my feet. But I never asked him to do those things, of course. I asked him to produce a draft translation of Fukan-zazen-gi into French, which I would like to study and check.

We are in a process, a way, a way of not knowing.


Blogger Michael Tait said...

Not holding on to anything at all is very difficult - perhaps that is the way of Buddhist teachers in action as well as word. I find myself always grasping for straws despite the fact that I know I am not drowning. Opening and closing and opening again is perhaps the best I can do. I know 'remaining closed' and I know something of the state which is open and which contexts existence. So I am always opening and closing again.

Please could you expand on your assertion of 'an upward tendency?'

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

“The middle is a way of not knowing.”

Interesting post.. Finding one's center. What does that mean at those times when one is not sitting zazen?

Can a Buddhist teacher be someone who has mastered sitting upright in the full lotus position dropping off body and mind but admits to knowing nothing else? When a student leans to the left should the teacher lean to the right? Is a teacher nothing more than a human counter-balance for his students? A dance partner? Or is there something else..

Tuesday, October 17, 2006  
Blogger Michael Tait said...

Please would you publish the original text of Fukan-zazen-gi. If you have a completely literal English translation that would also be very helpful.

Is there a recording available of how it is sung?

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

Oxeye: Master Dogen's way is sometimes called farmer's Zen. This is not really true, because Fukan-zazen-gi is written for everybody. Still, the point is Master Dogen's teaching has an earthy quality, suitable for people who are hungry for wholesome food.

My intention is to point to what is really vital, not to be "interesting."

Many Alexander teachers I know are "interested" "in Zen. For "interested" I read [secretly to myself] "waste of space."

Carve out for yourself a chunk of space-time in which to sit in lotus, and stop asking such smart-arse questions.

I have expanded for you on my next post.

I am still in France now but when I get back to England at the end of next week, following your suggestion, I will post up the original text of Fukan-zazen-gi in Japanese and start going through it, word by word.

You could ask Gudo if he has got his recitation of Fukan-zazen-gi on tape. It would be good to have it.

Thursday, October 19, 2006  
Blogger Michael Tait said...

Hello Mike,

I have found through the Smithsonian an old recording of chants at Eihei-ji including Fukan-zazengi.

I look forward to your posts of the original Japanese. I have not been one for chants for a while now since being put off by the over-formalism of AZI. However now I come back to them purely for the joy of singing and act of devotion. The mokugyo is out of mothballs...


Monday, November 27, 2006  

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