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Tuesday, 23 May 2017 14:55

When one side is illuminated, the other is dark.

There is a common idea that delusion is multifaceted, and nonduality is one. What if we are precisely mistaken?

Dogen said that being and time are one. He didn't say that when you see being, you see time too. That is the habitual perspective, imagining that our life takes place in time: the smear between here and elsewhere, here and nowhere.

He meant that when you see being, you just see being. Time disappears. One side is illuminated, the other is dark. When you see time, 'being' is just the noise in the huge mirror of this moment.

And likewise with, for example, self and world, expression and exertion, all tangled together to fit within a person.

When one side is illuminated, the others are dark.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 May 2017 14:56
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Wednesday, 17 May 2017 18:23

All the different Buddhist forms of expression are sincere attempts by practitioners like ourselves to describe actual experience. 

Although the language might be conceptually very different, one does not exclude the other.

So in Tibetan Buddhism for example, there is a strong emphasis on karma, whereas in Zen the emphasis is more on the wholeness and oneness of everything ('Zenki'). 

It's easy to see how karma seems very apposite in describing some types of experience we have when sitting. Persistent feelings of shame for instance, seem more readily describable in terms of karma. 

And other types of experience, the random mental noise, or the odd sense we have sometimes of thoughts that seem to come from elsewhere, might be more fruitfully described in terms of zenki.

But we need to understand that this karma, although I am experiencing it, is not mine. It is the cascading of life through time. This moment of experience is a drop of water on the tip of an icicle hanging from a glacier of infinite size.

When we imagine the wholeness of everything, zenki, we are inclined to focus on this moment. But if wholeness is simply this moment, there would be an infinite number of wholenesses and that is not so.

So this wholeness must include what we call the past and what we call the future. Pivoted on the drop of water.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 May 2017 18:32
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Wednesday, 17 May 2017 18:18


The most critical point in practice is for us to be completely intimate with our experience. When we are, attachment, aversion, torpor restlessness and doubt do not arise.

But no matter how often we drop the cloak of the self we keep finding it's there again, draping our head, draping our body. Hence the practice is endless.

Sometimes it's us doing Zazen. Sometimes it's the whole Universe expressing itself through this body.



Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 May 2017 18:22
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Thursday, 11 May 2017 09:25

Buddhism is not like a temple which, although we enter and leave, the temple remains.

Rather, it is like a real person.

When we come into the dojo to sit, he comes in with us. When we leave, he leaves.

Sometimes he is like an old man. Sometimes, he is like vast space. Sometimes a door. Sometimes a pillar.

Sometimes he is concealed in our heart. Sometimes, he is like dust falling through sunlight.



Last Updated on Thursday, 11 May 2017 09:26
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Thursday, 11 May 2017 09:14

In Uji, Dogen said that being is time.

'Time' isn’t quite right. Perhaps 'moment' is better. So beingmoment, momentbeing-

He has a wonderful image of a person going up into the mountains. And, from the top of the mountain, looking out and seeing an infinity of other peaks. Moments in this life, moments in all lives

The beauty and majesty of Dogen’s teaching is that the image is alive and infinitely faceted; from the perspective of the Mountains there is just this moment. The mountain is not hovering in mid air. Mountains are the waves of the great earth, they are part of this living ocean of earth. All these mountains. So in this moment Zazen Mountain, Birdsong Mountain, Buddha Mountain, Sky Mountain, Samsara Mountain. Mountain Mountain.

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