SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Genjo Koan XIII (REDUX)

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KENNETH WROTE ABOUT SOMETHING NEEDING TO BE CLARIFIED … SO MUCH SO THAT I WANT TO REDUX THIS TALK … PLEASE ‘DROP YOUR BODY & MIND’ AND GIVE A LISTEN …

The Universe as Rock-&-Roll

The Universe is the ‘rock‘ … we are the ‘roll’

… Now, if we try to force things, force ourself into playing using all our body and mind, then if one side can be heard, we will be deaf to the other.

But when we can just pour body-&-mind into the music (by dropping body-&-mind) …

It’s all ROCK-&-ROLL!

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When you see forms or hear sounds, fully engaging body-and-mind, you intuit dharma intimately. Unlike things and their reflections in the mirror, and unlike the moon and its reflection in the water, when one side is illumined, the other side is dark. To study the buddha way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be actualized by myriad things. When actualized by myriad things, your body and mind as well as the bodies and minds of others drop away. No trace of realization remains, and this no-trace continues endlessly. When you first seek dharma, you imagine you are far away from its environs. At the moment when dharma is correctly transmitted, you are immediately your original self. [Aitken & Tanahashi]


Even if we use our whole body and mind to look at forms, and even if we use our whole body and mind to listen to sounds, perceiving them directly, [our human perception] can never be like the reflection of an image in a mirror, or like the water and the moon. When we affirm one side, we are blind to the other side.
To learn Buddhism is to learn ourselves. To learn ourselves is to forget ourselves. To forget ourselves is to be experienced by millions of things and phenomena. To be experienced by millions of things and phenomena is to let our own body and mind, and the body and mind of the external world, fall away. [Then] we can forget the [mental] trace of realization, and show the [real] signs of forgotten realization continually, moment by moment. When a person first seeks the Dharma, he is far removed from the borders of Dharma. But as soon as the Dharma is authentically transmitted to the person himself, he is a human being in his own true place. [Nishijima]

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Press on arrow for ‘play’



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6 Responses to “SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Genjo Koan XIII (REDUX)”

  1. lewislambert Says:

    “First, master your instrument and then forget all that sh8!t and play.” – Dizzy Gillespie / Charlie-Parker

  2. Kenneth Says:

    Hi Jundo,Was your inclusion here of the quote “A person getting realization is like the moon…” from a later part of Genjo Koan intentional? In that particular quote (1), Master Dogen is clearly making a statement about enlightenment, however in the statement (2) (quoted on the blog from Aitken/Tanahashi as well as Nishijima/Cross) from an earlier part of Genjo Koan, he doesn’t seem to be talking about enlightenment at all, but rather seems to be making a statement about the dualistic nature of how humans look at things – despite the reference to the moon. Sometimes the moon is just the moon. 😉 In (2), Master Dogen seems to be saying that the water can reflect the whole moon and a mirror can reflect an entire object perfectly, one to one, without any loss. In contrast, no matter how hard we as human beings try with all of our body and minds, we can never capture all of reality at once, only a part of it. It’s either this or that, but never both. For example, imagine you’re sitting on a train full of passengers and having a conversation with your wife. At the same time other passengers are also having conversations with one another. To paraphrase Master Dogen, you can look at your wife and hear her words, or you can turn your head to look at the person behind you and follow their conversation, but you cannot do both at once. (Of course, in the very next paragraph of Genjo Koan, he provides the solution to this dilemma, i.e. don’t exert your body and mind to try to ‘see’ all of reality directly, which is bound to failure, but rather drop body and mind in Zazen to ‘see’ it intuitively.)Do you agree, or have I missed something? I hope I’m not being too nit-picky, I just think it’s important to really understand what’s being said there.GasshoKen

  3. jundo cohen Says:

    Hi Kenneth,I think you have it right here:Master Dogen seems to be saying that the water can reflect the whole moon and a mirror can reflect an entire object perfectly, one to one, without any loss. In contrast, no matter how hard we as human beings try with all of our body and minds, we can never capture all of reality at once, only a part of it. It’s either this or that, but never both. … (Of course, in the very next paragraph of Genjo Koan, he provides the solution to this dilemma, i.e. don’t exert your body and mind to try to ‘see’ all of reality directly, which is bound to failure, but rather drop body and mind in Zazen to ‘see’ it intuitively.)Yes, I am going to try to make this clearer in tomorrow’s talk. In my view, Master Dogen’s “fully engaging body and mind” must be “dropping away body and mind” to truly be “fully engaging body and mind”. That is how he uses the “moon and its reflection in the water” in contrasting ways: In one (from later in the Genjo): “the moon does not get wet, nor is the water broken” … i.e., this is not even two things. In the second view (the earlier section of the Genjo), we can only experience one or the other as you describe (“when one side is illumined, the other side is dark.”) [I thing both the early and later reference to the moon/water are related, and not there by oversight].Trying to grasp this by “fully engaging body and mind” without “dropping body and mind” is not possible, just as you describe, Ken. I tried to make this clear through my losing myself in the guitar playing, in which “rock” (the moon) and “roll” (the water) became just “rock&roll” when I forgot my self in the playing. I don’t think I expressed it as clearly as I should have. Using “body and mind” in the “wrong” and “correct” way is also related to his earlier statement “To carry the self forward and illuminate myriad things is delusion. That myriad things come forth and illuminate the self is awakening.” What is also important here, and what I really what to emphasize in the coming talks, is that by “dropping self” we are “actualized by myriad things”, i.e, our self is affirmed as well as negated. The moon perfectly shines in every drop of dew (of which we are one), and thus every drop of dew is affirmed. I hope that made it a little clearer. Gassho, Jundo

  4. jundo cohen Says:

    Hi,I decided to redo the talk, try (without trying) to make it a little clearer. Please give it a listen. I am not sure I succeeded, but we will keep talking about this part of the Genjo for a few days.Gassho, Jundo

  5. Kenneth Says:

    Hi Jundo,Yes, that’s beautiful! Thanks so much for putting in the effort to respond to my comments and to redo the talk in those wee hours of the morning U.S. time.GasshoKen

  6. Will Says:

    Jundo, the expense and grandeur of your special effect props continues to amaze.This is my favorite part of the Genjo Koan. The universe is not created “by” me yet the universe confirms me. In a sense their is a mutual co arising and all I need to do is stop in order to realize this. Stop what? Here Dogen is helping us see what we must stop.

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