Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Getting cold

The weather is turning cold here in the North West and so am I.
My previous buzz of happiness appears to have come to an end.
That is not to say I am sad, not at all. The constant grinning I had has ebbed and I am afraid that I was a bit attached to it and hope it comes back soon. Now I recognize that it could be I am just reflecting my ego, but what reason do I have to not be happy? Ok everyone can look at their lives and say this and that are not going my way but I don’t really care about the things I don’t have or did not get or even the material things I want and are out of reach. I have a lot of things that I am thankful for like the Sangha I practice with and a great family. So why did the happy buzz go away and why am I even attached to it? It is just a feeling. If you are cold, warm your self if you are hot cool off.

I think I just an animal and want to be warm again, I think I am thinking of "I" too much.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jordon,

Reading this made me want to gather around some warm coals. Are you familiar with the Five Ranks?

Arriving Within Together (Tung-shan’s verse on the fifth of the Five Ranks)


Falling into neither existence nor nonexistence, who dares harmonize?
People fully desire to exit the constant flux;
But after bending and fitting, in the end still return to sit in the warmth of the coals.
(From the Record of Tung-shan, Translated by William Powell)

Zen Master Hakuin said of this rank:
If learners want to pass through Tozan's rank of attainment in both, you should first study the following verse:
That idle old awl Cloud of Virtue—
how many times has he come down
from the peak of wonder!
He helps other foolish sages
hauling snow to fill a well.

Of course, any comment I could make about the fifth rank—Arriving Within Together—is going to fall far short of the unnamable reality Tung-shan so eloquently expresses for us (but that has not stopped me yet).

“Falling into neither existence nor nonexistence.” With these words, Tung-shan takes us into familiar territory—or so it would seem. But then he says, “who dares harmonize?” This pitches us out of any conventional understanding. This seems to be the eye of the first line. I think when we come to realize “who” would dare to harmonize, existence and nonexistence will have melted away like dew before the bright sun.

Tung-shan says, “People fully desire to exit the constant flux.” People want enlightenment, salvation, peace, serenity, blah, blah, blah. If only we had this or that… If only others would behave properly… If only, If only…

What does all this wanting and wishing finally achieve? “But after bending and fitting” What is “bending and fitting”? Doing zazen for thirty years! Studying all the sutras and shastras! Going through the difficult to penetrate koans, over and over again! And then what? “…in the end still return to sit in the warmth of the coals.” Ahhhh, nice and warm. And some tea too? How lovely. What is this? Hsueh Tou, in his comment at the end of case 91 in the Blue Cliff Record, says, “What a pity to have worked so hard without accomplishing anything.” Ha! What do you think Jordon? I think Hsueh Tou is being a little ironic.

He seems to be expressing something that some other great masters expressed, recorded in The Transmission Of The Lamp:

Master Tsung Yin of San Chueh Monastery in T’an State was asked by a monk, “What are the three treasures?”

The Master answered, “They are unhulled rice, barley, and pulse.”

The monk said, “I do not understand what you mean.”

The Master said, “The congregation will be delighted to have them.”
Master Tsung Yin, The Transmission Of The Lamp, Sohaku Ogata, p.221

When the Master (Kuei Shan, Ling Yu) sat in meditation in the lecture hall, the directing monk beat the fish-shaped wooden drum, snuffed the lantern, and then burst out laughing, clapping his hands.
The Master said, “Is there another man like him in the congregation?”

The monk in charge of the fire responded to this call, and the Master demanded, “How do you feel now?”

The monk said, “I ate no breakfast and my stomach is empty. I feel at ease.”
The Master nodded assent.

Having heard of this, Tung Shih commented, “I did not know there were such intelligent men in the congregation of Kuei Shan.”

Wo Lung commented, “I knew there were some intelligent men in the congregation of Kuei Shan.”
The Transmission Of The Lamp Sohaku Ogata p.300

Master Tai Shan of Shih Shuang (or Lung) Temple in T’an State was asked by a monk, “What is the message of the Buddha-dharma?”

The Master replied, “On a spring morning the cock crows.”

The monk said, “What do you mean?”

The Master answered, “On an autumn evening the dogs bark.”
Tai Shan, The Transmission Of The Lamp, Sohaku Ogata, p.272

I think that herein lies the true meaning of the often-cited, and often misunderstood Zen saying about mountains and rivers is revealed in passages like these. The saying goes something like, “Before learning Zen, mountains were mountains and rivers were rivers. While studying Zen, mountains were no longer mountains, and rivers were no longer rivers. After learning Zen, mountains were mountains and rivers were rivers.” The fifth rank—Arriving Within Together—is, mountains are mountains and rivers are rivers. This, I think, is the same as “returning to sit in the warmth of the coals.”

Of course, ultimately it has nothing to do with understanding or misunderstanding. As Dogen Zenji says, “These words do not say that ‘mountains’ are ‘mountains;’ they say that mountains are mountains.”

“It seems to me that this is the realm of “everyday mind” or “ordinary mind,” which is far from “nothing special.” After all, it includes and transcends both nothing special and everything special. Chao-chou and Nan-ch’uan once had this discussion,

The master (Chao-chou) asked Nan-ch’uan (Nansen), “What is the Way?”

Nan-ch’uan said, “Ordinary mind is the Way.”

The master said, “Then may I direct myself toward it?”

Nan-ch’uan said, “To seek [it] is to deviate [from it].”

The master said, “If I do not seek, how can I know about the Way?”

Nan-ch’uan said, “The Way does not belong to knowing or not knowing. To know is to have a concept; to not know is to be ignorant. If you truly realize the Way of no doubt, it is just like the sky: wide open vast emptiness. How can you say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to it?”

At these words the master had sudden enlightenment. His mind became like the clear moon.
The Recorded Sayings of Zen Master Joshu, James Green, p.11

“Ordinary mind, it seems, turns out to be very special after all. Much later Chao-chou expressed his gratitude for Nan-ch’uan’s introduction to it:

The master asked Nan-ch’uan, “Where does a person who knows what there is to know go to?”

Nan-ch’uan said, “They go to be a water buffalo at the house of a lay person at the foot of the mountain.”

The master said, “I am grateful for your instruction.”

Nan-ch’uan said, “At midnight last night, the moonlight came through the window.”
The Recorded Sayings of Zen Master Joshu, James Green, p.12

But what was this moonlight he was talking about? Was it ordinary moonlight or divine moonlight? Perhaps Chao-chou can shed some light on this for us,

A monk said, “In the day there is sunlight, at night there is firelight. What is ‘divine light’?”

The master said, “Sunlight, firelight.”
Joshu, The Recorded Sayings of Zen Master Joshu, p.99

Yes, the warmth of the coals is a nice cozy place to be.

The fifth rank represent that reality that transcends knowing and not knowing, practice and realization, Buddha and Zen. We have done our work, “bending and fitting” and we are ready to go to the bottom of the mountain and become water buffalo’s. Does a water buffalo know it is helping others? Does it know when it is helping itself? A water buffalo, water buffalo’s, a water buffalo. Dogen Zenji said,

[When] the Flower of Dharma just now is the Flower of Dharma, it is neither sensed nor recognized, and at the same time it is beyond knowing and beyond understanding. This being so, five hundred [ink] drop [kalpas] are a brief thousandth [of an instant] of turning the Flower of Dharma; they are the Buddha's lifetime being proclaimed by each moment of red mind.
Shobogenzo, Hokke Ten Hokke, Nishijima & Cross

I wonder where Chao-chou and Nan-ch’uan are now? I suspect they are Arriving Within Together. Arriving within what? A water buffalo. Where does a water buffalo flow forth from? How long does it last? Can a water buffalo be used up? Master Yuanwu seems to respond to all these questions,

Everywhere everything becomes its Great Function, and every single thing flows forth from your own breast. The ancients called this bringing out the family treasure. Once this is attained, it is attained forever. How could it ever be used up?
Yuanwu, Zen Letters, T. Cleary

Gassho, Ted

Saturday, 25 November, 2006  
Blogger Jordan & The Tortoise said...

Ted,
I am aware of the Five Ranks but I haven’t paid too much consideration to them until now. I have a nice space heater and Sencha and Macha mixture that I am enjoying the company of for the moment.
I am glad you have and have added the Record of Tung-shan to my ever growing list of books I should read.
Thank you for the reference.

As for the Irony, I will be bold and say that Hsueh Tou may have been pointing to all our efforts as just attempting to enter the stream which we are already in. Just reality as it is.

Again with Master Tsung Yin this seems very practical. If you would provide an ISBN # for Transmission Of The Lamp, Sohaku Ogata it will be added to my list as well, Amazon dose not pick up that one exactly.

Most of these expressions of truth seem to point to reality as it is. Something I have noticed a lot of people having immense trouble with.

And now for something completely different, I would beg your pardon one thousand times for a slight correction of what you said:

“I think that herein lies the true meaning of the often-cited, and often misunderstood Zen saying about mountains and rivers is revealed in passages like these. The saying goes something like, “Before learning Zen, mountains were mountains and rivers were rivers. While studying Zen, mountains were no longer mountains, and rivers were no longer rivers. After learning Zen, mountains were mountains and rivers were rivers.” The fifth rank—Arriving Within Together—is, mountains are mountains and rivers are rivers. This, I think, is the same as “returning to sit in the warmth of the coals.”

And instead say it:
“I think that herein lies the true meaning of the often-cited, and often misunderstood Buddhist saying about mountains and rivers is revealed in passages like these. The saying goes something like, “Before learning Buddhism, mountains were mountains and rivers were rivers. While studying Buddhism, mountains were no longer mountains, and rivers were no longer rivers. After learning Buddhism, mountains were mountains and rivers were rivers.” The fifth rank—Arriving Within Together—is, mountains are mountains and rivers are rivers. This, I think, is the same as “returning to sit in the warmth of the coals.”

The Recorded Sayings of Zen Master Joshu, James Green is added to my list. I may have to make the drive up to Annacortez just to do prostrations to your library.

“Yes, the warmth of the coals is a nice cozy place to be.” And so is the space heater that warms my office at work.

And again 2000 pardons for “The fifth rank represent that reality that transcends knowing and not knowing, practice and realization, Buddha and Zen. We have done our work, “bending and fitting” and we are ready to go to the bottom of the mountain and become water buffalo’s. Does a water buffalo know it is helping others? Does it know when it is helping itself? A water buffalo, water buffalo’s, a water buffalo”,

“The fifth rank represent that reality that transcends knowing and not knowing, practice and realization, Buddha and Buddhism. We have done our work, “bending and fitting” and we are ready to go to the bottom of the mountain and become water buffalo’s. Does a water buffalo know it is helping others? Does it know when it is helping itself? A water buffalo, water buffalo’s, a water buffalo”,


The Flower of Dharma turns the Flower of Dharma. I am very happy to be able to turn the wheal with you.

As for the water buffalo? They are Flowers in space. We are the Water buffalo now.

Yuanwu, Zen Letters, T. Cleary, again, added to the list.

Please forgive my clumsy responce to your prolific post. I hope it is 80% right.

Gassho,
Jordan

Monday, 27 November, 2006  

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