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October 27, 2013


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I have been very consistent with my dislike of Dogen's Buddhism. I try to keep in mind that after Dogen crapped out there was a factional split (sandai soron) and the winner was Tettsū Gikai's group of which Keizan was a part (it had a more Rinzai flavor).

It is a very simple principle, but so few are willing to accept their own liberation depends on no one or no thing. While in the context of relationships with other beings, a reflection of truth can be observed -- and this includes the "master" or sage relationship -- this is not a condition for observing the content of our minds. The true and good friend who shares our spiritual path is never an authority for what our lives mean, what we believe or do not believe, how to practice, or in what manner to direct our energies. These questions can only be answered for ourselves. A teacher can actually be a distraction. Too many quotes and images and platitudes can dissuade the mind from knowing itself. It is precisely the content of our minds which complicates our spiritual path, and at worst, the presence of a "teacher" figure can trap us in the dualistic delusion of conditioned enlightenment.

I find that studying words is but the preliminary phase. At a certain point, even Dharma words have to be cast off completely. Only then, when staring into something nameless, something devoid of concepts, but nevertheless incredibly dynamic and intelligent, the "flesh of the world", the "mind-stuff" - then the Path can even begin.

The Denkoroku, Zennist? That's what you're recommending now? The record written by Keizan, the successor of Dogen, Keizan who established Dogen's Soto Zen in Japan as a religion with broad lay appeal? I hope you will forgive me for suggesting that it is a tiny bit incongruous of you if this is the book you approve, since you never miss a chance to explain what a low-down scoundrel you think Dogen was. It's making my head spin to read this. I think I'm losing touch with concrete reality here...

Zennist wrote: “According to the Buddha we should abandon conditionality which includes anâtman.” Oryoki asks: “May I remind you Zennist, that consciousness (awareness) is one of the 5 aggregates and therefore anâtman; and therefore it is something that should be abandoned, according to your interpretation of Buddhas’ words. How are you going to do that? By going to unconscious sleep perhaps? By what means would you be aware of Nirvana if you abandon consciousness? What do you mean by abandonment anyway?”

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