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July 23, 2013


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I highly, HIGHLY recommend Reb Anderson's new book, *The Third Turning of the Wheel*, a commentary on the Samdhinirmocana Sutra. He is one of Soto Suzuki Roshi's closest students, the ones who practice "just sitting", the shikantaza that makes your blood boil. It's one of the top 10 books I've ever read about Buddhism, and I've read lots of them over the past 40 years.

Awakening of Faith Shastra, chapter one:

"The revelation of the true meaning of the principle of Mahayana can be achieved by unfolding the doctrine that the principle of One Mind has two aspects. One is the aspect of Mind in terms of the Absolute (tathata; Suchness), and the other is the aspect of Mind in terms of phenomena (samsara; birth and death). Each of these two aspects embraces all sstates of existence. Why? Because these two aspects are mutually inclusive."

Commentary by Fazang:

"Because the two aspects of One Mind, the Absolute aspect and the phenomenal aspect, are not differentiated, but include each other, the words 'in their totality' are used. The one World of Reality is nothing but the world of samsara. At the same time the world of samsara is nothing but the world of the Absolute. In order to indicate these meanings, the Essence which is the same in both aspects is mentioned."

Further commentary by Yoshito S. Hakeda:

"Reality is conceived as the intersection of the Absolute order and the phenomenal order; therefore, it contains in itself both the Absolute and the phenomenal order at once. The Absolute order is thought to be transcendental and yet is conceived as not being outside of the phenomenal order. Again the phenomenal order is thought to be temporal and yet is conceived as not being outside of the Absolute order. In other words, they are ontologically identical; they are two aspects of one and the same Reality. Perhaps the most famous and simplest statement of the relationship between the Absolute and phenomenal order can be found in the sayings of Nagarjuna: 'There is no difference whatsoever between nirvana (Absolute) and samsara (phenomena).' "

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