Home Meditation Dogen’s 4 Key Teachings – Lion’s Roar

Dogen’s 4 Key Teachings – Lion’s Roar

Dogen’s 4 Key Teachings – Lion’s Roar


From being to the character of time, Dogen explored the large questions. 4 consultants unpack a few of his most influential ideas.

Photograph by David Gabriel Fischer.

Being-Time: All the things in This Second

by Shinshu Roberts

Woke up apply can solely occur on this current second. “Though the [dharma] might sound as if it had been elsewhere far-off, it’s the time proper now,” Dogen writes in his famed Shobogenzo fascicle Uji—Being-Time.

Understanding how this comes about is Dogen’s main instructing all through the Shobogenzo. All the things is concurrently manifesting, he explains, each as this second and as all moments that collectively make up the world’s functioning; that is the important nature of the buddhadharma. A specific being-time/time-being, or dharma place, is a hologram that features all of time(s) and being(s) as one occasion that can not be separated.

The essence of being-time’s expression is compassion, knowledge, and skillful motion.

Woke up response is integrating oneself with the specificity of every second, which is intimately skilled as your life with self and others. Whereas Dogen’s instructing about time-being/being-time is multifaceted, it’s at all times concerning the concrete exercise of every being’s life because it unfolds. Right here’s an instance from our human expertise.
Think about you’re attending a gathering with a tough coworker. You enter your hypothetical assembly with 360 levels of doable motion factors of exit from every second. Will your response be dictated by previous in poor health will, or will you be capable to be open, listening, and responsive?

As you enter this present-moment circle, there’s the previous “behind” you of all of your earlier experiences together with your coworkers. But this second doesn’t must be outlined by your previous or by your future agendas. Because the second in itself is already liberated, you might have the chance to reply with out attachments. This freedom is the impartial facet of a being-time free of previous karma and future wishes. Liberation can solely occur in response to your current second.

However in case you are caught by your previous experiences and expectations for the long run, your exit from every second will likely be fairly slim and doubtless unskillful. A giant a part of our apply then is turning into conscious of once we are caught, after which altering course. Solely once we can absolutely have interaction with out being caught by the snares of our want can we reply to every encounter with a liberated thoughts. That’s why it is very important keep awake and combine ourselves with what is definitely occurring, not with what we want would occur or what we’re afraid will occur.

Dogen’s instructing on the unity of being-time, or actuality itself, is huge. Uji discusses the varied elements of a dharma place: its independence, codependent arising, everlasting presencing, universality, and suppleness as one mandala manifesting as this second’s intimate response.

The essence of being-time’s expression is compassion, knowledge, and skillful motion. Dogen’s instructing on being-time’s inseparability just isn’t a philosophical treatise on time’s relationship to being; it’s a primer on assuaging the struggling of self and different.

Monasticism: Coaching in Compassion

by Chimyo Simone Atkinson

The entire pure meeting ought to abide in mindfulness that everybody within the examine corridor is one another’s mum or dad, sibling, relative, trainer, and good pal. With mutual affection care for one another sympathetically, and in the event you harbor some concept that it is vitally tough to come across one another like this, nonetheless show an expression of concord and lodging.

—Dogen Zenji in Rules for the Examine Corridor

Throughout my time in Aichi Senmon Nisodo monastery in Nagoya, Japan, I shared a room with seven different Soto Zen nuns. It was so small I slept with my ft within the closet. The sides of our futons overlapped once we laid them out at evening, and we needed to prepare ourselves face-to-face and head-to-foot to slot in the cramped house.

We had been Tenzo-ryo, the kitchen crew. Typically we had been the primary to stand up within the morning and the final to get to mattress, retaining lengthy work hours to feed the monastery and the frequent guests.

By the top of an extended day of kitchen work, apply, and examine, we had been all exhausted. My futon was the farthest from the door, and attending to the bathroom in the course of the evening I needed to fastidiously cross an impediment course of susceptible our bodies, doing my greatest to not step on a stray foot or hand. It made me very conscious of how susceptible all of us had been, and the way trusting and the way cautious we needed to be with one another simply to get via the day.

Monastic coaching just isn’t merely studying tips on how to do ceremonies or finding out the sutras, though these items are important to our formation as monks. Studying to embody the compassion these ceremonies and sutras level towards is admittedly the aim of becoming a member of the extreme setting of the monastic meeting.

Within the monastery I spent little or no time alone. I used to be within the firm of my fellow nuns twenty-four hours a day. We needed to transfer in concord in an effort to perform. All of the exercise of the monastery was centered on caring for one another—cleansing bogs, getting ready meals, drawing baths, ringing bells for zazen. Nothing occurred in these buildings that was not for the good thing about our fellow monastics.

I barely bear in mind a number of the ceremonies I used to be taught on the monastery. I can at all times look them up or discover some reference ebook if want be. What has stayed with me are the recollections of sliding my ft between these tender our bodies in the dead of night, of getting ready a tray of cups for tea, of a sister nun serving to to straighten my gown. These are easy examples of the care and compassion that I imagine we monastics are supposed to move on to our communities and disciples once we reenter the world.

Follow: Be the Buddha You Are

by Koun Franz

In Japan, I heard monks joke that “the one individual to ever practice in the best way of Dogen was Dogen.” His monastic guidelines are so quite a few and so exact they’re nearly not possible to comply with. However there’s one other facet to it, which is that coaching within the spirit of Dogen is definitely fairly easy. It simply requires an unconventional lens on what apply is all about.

In case you are already buddha, then how do you act?

On the coronary heart of Dogen’s (many) teachings is the notion of apply–verification, generally known as apply–enlightenment. Basically, because of this the fruit of what we do is exactly the factor we’re doing. In different phrases, we don’t apply to achieve enlightenment. We apply as a result of apply is enlightenment. In his language, we don’t practice to grow to be a buddha; we practice as buddha.

In Fukanzazengi, his most well-known set of directions for zazen, Dogen wrote, “To apply the Method singleheartedly is, in itself, enlightenment. There isn’t any hole between apply and enlightenment or zazen and day by day life.” Right here, we get a glimpse of how Dogen framed all the things. Follow is enlightenment (it’s self-verifying); apply can also be zazen; zazen is day by day life. Subsequently, all the things we do, each motion we undertake, might be apply. Enlightenment is in-built.

This doesn’t imply, by the best way, that there’s nothing to do. Follow means doing one thing; verification means there’s one thing to confirm. The trick is to apply—no matter that’s on this second—freed from the concept that there’s some reward.

In the event you go to a Soto Zen heart, you’ll hear individuals speak about “simply sitting.” If you bow, they’ll say, “Simply bow.” Simply sit, simply bow, simply chant, simply examine, simply stroll—in Dogen’s conception, these will not be means to an finish, stepping stones to some non secular aim. They’re not a part of a curriculum. Every factor is simply this. Every factor is sufficient, simply as it’s. It’s full.

We uncover that completeness by taking it up in a wholehearted means—not simply with our minds however with our our bodies. We meet this second with our fingers and our posture and our breath, with the best way we communicate and the best way we stroll. “In the event you perceive this,” wrote Dogen, “you’re utterly free.”

Dogen is known for his dense, poetic writing—sentences and concepts that appear to show in on themselves, generally leaving us uncertain which means is up and which means is down. It’s stunning stuff, a number of the most difficult writing in all of Buddhism. Some are drawn to that, however I believe many simply discover it an excessive amount of.

However beneath all of it is a single thought experiment: in case you are already buddha, in the event you’re not striving to realize one thing, then how do you act? How do you are taking care with this second—not within the summary, however in the best way you progress, in the best way you maintain an object, in the best way you open a door? Buddhas know the reply, and meaning you do too. So simply act just like the buddha you’re.

Being: Woke up by All Phenomena

by Seigen Johnson

I spend a variety of time engaged with the teachings of Dogen. For years, I actually carried his phrases with me practically all over the place I went. My non secular apply is deeply grounded in his teachings on the concord of distinction and equality—awakening via an intimate embrace of the common and subjective not as separate phenomena, however as two qualities of all phenomena.

In my earliest days of apply with Dogen, I used to be struck by the stability in his expressions between the poetic and pedagogical. You hear his lyricism in his metaphors concerning the nature of phenomena: the moon in a dewdrop, the sands of the Ganges, the outstanding expression of ash, the simplicity of a grain of rice. After which he gives unsentimental, sensible directions: tips on how to sit and maintain one’s posture throughout zazen, tips on how to arrange the kitchen, tips on how to orient the house of the meditation corridor. The lived instance of Dogen factors us to the absolutely built-in means of being: feeling oneness with all issues via cautious consideration to the mundane actions of on a regular basis life.

The sense of phenomenality—the philosophy that issues solely exist as they’re perceived by consciousness and never independently—in Dogen is poignant for me as an African American girl who practices Zen Buddhism. Our nation’s dialog concerning the instructing of crucial race concept, for instance, brings entrance and heart Dogen’s instructing that we’re woke up by all phenomena. What is commonly lacking within the dialog about CRT is the understanding that partaking with the legacies of slavery offers us entry to and understanding of generational hurt, but additionally reminds us of the extraordinary treasure trove of generational knowledge and therapeutic born of that struggling. That is one in every of our nation’s most useful cultural presents to all of us.

Dogen wrote in Tenzko Kyokun (Directions for the Cook dinner): “Attending to eat a single grain of Luling rice allows one to see the monk Guishan; getting to provide a single grain of Luling rice allows one to see the water Buffalo [that Guishan will become]. The water buffalo eats the monk Guishan, and the monk Guishan feeds the buffalo…In the event you fastidiously examine and exhaustively examine [these matters], your understanding will daybreak and grow to be clear.”
These directions invite extra than simply commentary. Dogen invitations aliveness and lively engagement. For me, most significantly, he invitations creativeness and creativity.

I’m earth, water, air, fireplace. I’m you. You’re me.

Just lately, I used to be watching an episode of the Netflix sequence Excessive on the Hog, which shares insights on the profound impression of African American meals tradition on the general cultural panorama of america. Reaching again to Africa, the present’s host connects rice to the material of who we’re at the moment as a rustic. The rice I’m now consuming holds the historical past of the transatlantic slave commerce and the beginnings of American capitalism. The rice I’m now consuming additionally nourished the individuals who survived that journey and who taught their captors to domesticate this grain in unfamiliar soil.

Awakening, for me, is knowing that the brokenness within the tragedy of the stolen (the grains and the individuals) is made entire within the transmission of data, braveness, and love. Throughout generations, throughout cultures, throughout time and house—Dogen’s great present is in guiding us all to this consciousness.

I discover unimaginable peace realizing that on my meditation cushion all issues are doable if I enable myself to be grounded in an consciousness of who I’m—and likewise that I’m greater than who I feel I’m. I’m earth, water, air, fireplace. I’m you. You’re me. As soon as we see it, we can not unsee it, and we manifest togetherness in phrase and deed. We’re collectively—phenomenal.



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