« Stephen Batchelor: an attempt to understand him | Main | The Buddhist teacher »

November 19, 2012

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Steve:

"I don't know much about much."

You certainly got that right.

When Dogen claims, "Sitting is itself the treasury of the eye of true Dharma and the mystic mind of nirvana" (Carl Bielefeldt, Dogen's Manuals of Zen Meditation, p. 169) he is raising a particular physical action to the level of nirvana which always transcends the physical world. Nowhere in the Nikayas, for example, is sitting itself deemed nirvana or is nirvana dependent on the sitting posture.

I don't know much about much. But I think you're taking your criticism of the empty way a lot of zen teachers teach zazen and you're ascribing it to Dogen. I don't read Dogen that way.

In Bendowa, he said that with his study with Rujing he resolved the great matter of his life. That doesn't sound like just sitting to me. In the fascicle on buddha nature, he says that understanding our buddha nature is the turning dharma wheel of what as thus come. In other words, revealed by the effects of deep investigation. Writing about the tile polishing koan in response to Mazu's question "what are you doing?" he writes, "Indeed. Who cannot see this as polishing a tile? Who can see this as polishing a tile? In every activity there is always this question." I'm assuming every activity includes zazen.

I think Dogen's zazen begins with the "dropping away of body and mind." The dissolution of the small self. The no longer identifying with the psychophysical body as you like to put it. The just sitting of Dogen is the sitting of being "immersed in immersion." as he puts it. It's not just sitting looking at conceptual objects of consciousness and declaring it enlightenment.

I think you're taking pieces of Dogen and speculating.

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