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December 23, 2013


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Thanks, steve. I like it. I realize it somewhat differently, but agree with your realization. For me, it is simpler...If the master says "what a beautiful day", is this not something which we can and must determine for ourselves without an outside agency to explain something so immediate and subjective? Thus as you say, to not grasp outward for pure mind. Same thing, maybe, slightly different approach.

n. yeti - i see the one bright pearl as Pure Mind. And the koan gets to how one understands it. the monk asks "how should i understand this?" and thinks he is asking "what does this koan mean? explain it to me.". But the master points out that the question could also mean "what mode of cognition should be employed?" To not hold pure mind out as an object to understand as if separate from it. When he mimics back without making an effort the next day, the master tries to point out that his delusion in this moment is itself a manifestation of the one bright pearl. That "no one can be fooled." That one's understanding must transcend itself.

I am certainly not a Buddhist scholar, but I think I have a bit of understanding. Norm Fischer makes the point that Dogen should always be interpreted as speaking from th view that everyone is already enlightened - like the Heart Sutra speaks from that point also. So the phenomenological world (the conditioned, the perceptions) exists just as well as the absolute, the unconditioned.
I don't have problem saying "trees are G-d" and also saying "trees are impermanent, and your perception of them is impermanent. I've been listening a lot to John Dunne, who is fond of making distinctions - but the world beyond thought also exists.

I could be missing something but I interpret dogen's fascicle on the pearl to tread deeply into the subjective nature of reality, less so an admonishment not to ape the actions of our teachers (which is how I realize the original koan). I don't see it as transcendent, then transcending again. Intrigued though, if you want to share more on this...

Methexis: Making Buddhism palatable to the Japanese phenomenalist imagination by which the world is believed to be absolute tends to overshadow Japanese Buddhism, in general. Tendai is different than in China; Zen is different than in China, to the extent that phenomenalism creeps in which turns into pantheism. An aside, one book I strongly recommend for the readers of this blog is Hajime Nakamura's _Ways of Thinking of Eastern Peoples_. I tend to be a Nakamura fanboi.

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