Disagreeing with Greg Wonderwheel's "The Misnomer of Dogen's "Practice is Enlightenment" [MOD EDIT]

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jundocohen
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Re: Disagreeing with Greg Wonderwheel's "The Misnomer of Dogen's "Practice is Enlightenment" [MOD EDIT]

Post by jundocohen » Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:29 am

ol' spikey wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:03 am
jundocohen wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 1:56 am

Hi Spikey,

Just for my reference, Spikey, I am just wondering if you are a student of Chinese and Japanese yourself?

Gassho, J
Hi jundo,

Just for my reference, do you say that "satori" is a synonym of "sho"?
Hi Spikey,

Well, kind of yes. They are near synonyms. Greg presents the following Characters in his essay:
悟, satori or go in Japanese (Ch. wu), or “enlightenment” 覺, kaku or gaku in Japanese, (Ch. jue).
Well, 悟 means in Chinese and Japanese "to apprehend; to comprehend; to realize; to become aware," the verb "satoru" in Japanese and "satori" as a noun.

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E6%82%9F

覺 is to wake up, to become aware; to dawn on; to awaken to

https://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E8%A6%BA

... and all this "comprehending" and "realizing" and "becoming aware" and "dawning on" is a hop, skip and a jump from "witnessing, confirming, verifying" for oneself in enlightenment. I believe that Dogen and earlier/later Chan and Zen Masters really bounced back and forth between these terms without much distinction.

Gassho, Jundo

PS - I am wondering if you long studied Chinese and Japanese, Spike? Just to know where you are coming from in your opinion.
Last edited by jundocohen on Sun Jun 24, 2018 4:45 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Disagreeing with Greg Wonderwheel's "The Misnomer of Dogen's "Practice is Enlightenment" [MOD EDIT]

Post by jundocohen » Sun Jun 24, 2018 12:00 pm

One more reason this is moot. I did not see this mentioned in Greg's essays, pardon me if I missed it.

From a non-dual perspective, there is no one to do the comprehending and nothing to be comprehended, no one to become aware and nothing to be aware of, no witness and nothing witnessed, no verifier and nothing in need of verifying, no enlightenment and nothing enlightened, no satorier or satoried. Such is the satori of practice, where nothing is practiced and no practitioner. The realization and verification of this by the practitioner in practice is enlightenment. Thus, the terms do not matter so much. In that sense, one could also say "Practice is Duck Meat" or "Practice is the Hoochie Coochie." Of course, one realizes and verifies this in both the stillness of sitting which holds all the motion of the universe, and the motion of our daily doings which are still. That realization and verification in the still motion and moving stillness is enlightenment itself.

Another reason that this is a bit silly is that Dogen (I assume) did not speak English! The term "enlightenment," like "priest" and "Buddhist heaven," are allvery poor terms we use which were imposed by the 19th century missionaries/early Buddhist scholars. The word really belongs in 18th century European intellectual history, not in Buddhism.

Gassho, J
Last edited by jundocohen on Mon Jun 25, 2018 4:22 am, edited 3 times in total.
Teacher at Treeleaf Zendo, a Soto Zen Sangha, an online practice place for folks who cannot commute to a Zen Center due to health, living in remote areas, work or family needs. The focus is Shikantaza 'Just Sitting' Zazen http://www.treeleaf.org

ol' spikey

Re: Disagreeing with Greg Wonderwheel's "The Misnomer of Dogen's "Practice is Enlightenment" [MOD EDIT]

Post by ol' spikey » Sun Jun 24, 2018 1:03 pm

jundocohen wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:29 am

PS - I am wondering if you long studied Chinese and Japanese, Spike? Just to know where you are coming from in your opinion.
No, i have not "long studied" Chinese and Japanese. I can translate Japanese Buddhist liturgy pretty well, especially the Heart Sutra which has been my main practice since studying with Kapleau in '71, and the cafeteria head cook at the school where I drive a bus, and who has doubled as my bus aide, has helped me with Chinese ("cafeteria chinese"?) when I needed it, or not! I studied Latin for four years, and that is probably the other language I know best, plus it has been a great help with English word origins. I can get by with French or German. Back in the days of nuclear bomb shelters, I studied Russian for two years (giving up first recess!) And I know and have fun with "nadsat" from Clockwork Orange. Even if you don't know that language, you could probably guess nadsat words, as in the following, based loosely on the book, "I'd like to give you a real horrorshow tolchok right in your big fat litso, then go off and have a good smeck about it".
Last edited by ol' spikey on Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Disagreeing with Greg Wonderwheel's "The Misnomer of Dogen's "Practice is Enlightenment" [MOD EDIT]

Post by Caodemarte » Sun Jun 24, 2018 3:43 pm

Split discussion of the word “sunyata” to its own empty and yet full thread.

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Re: Disagreeing with Greg Wonderwheel's "The Misnomer of Dogen's "Practice is Enlightenment" [MOD EDIT]

Post by KeithA » Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:30 am

hehe...I wonder if James has been lurking 'round these parts:
The Meaning of Practice and Verification
(Shushôgi)
...

From here.
You make, you get.

New Haven Zen Center

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Re: Disagreeing with Greg Wonderwheel's "The Misnomer of Dogen's "Practice is Enlightenment" [MOD EDIT]

Post by jundocohen » Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:57 am

KeithA wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:30 am
hehe...I wonder if James has been lurking 'round these parts:
The Meaning of Practice and Verification
(Shushôgi)
...

From here.
James' piece does not go into the history of the Soto-shu's "Shushogi." It is not "a summation of Eihei Dogen’s teachings," and was never meant to be.

The Shushogi was written at a time when Soto-shu decided that lay people needed to just undertake the Precepts to express their faith, and that lay folks had neither the time nor inclination for Zazen, so never mentions Zazen. It is also an amazing cut and paste job, sometimes joining or editing Dogen mid sentence to create a whole new Dogen quote, and the entire flavor is meant to compete with Christianity.

Rev. Jiryu Byler, Soto Priest, historian and wit, has a good summary here on his blog (James does link to Jiryu's essay):
The text had rather been explicitly designed to establish the doctrinal foundations for a kind of “zazenless Zen” (to use Ian Readers’ term) for laypeople; it was drafted by a lay Soto leader who wanted to find a doctrinal work-around for the basic problem that laypeople had neither the time nor inclination to observe the more profound Soto practices like zazen. This prominent and prolific layman, Ōuchi Seiran, was driven by the fear that if Soto Zen was too hard for laypeople, they’d go join the Pure Land sects or turn Christian instead. ... The Shushogi authors and editors ended up resolving these debates through a Dogen text cut-and-paste job that would have made William Burroughs proud.
https://nozeninthewest.wordpress.com/20 ... mushrooms/

A more scholarly treatment is available online from Steve Heine, and the title sums it up: "Abbreviation or Aberration: The Role of Shushogi in Modern Soto Zen Buddhism."
https://books.google.co.jp/books?id=ajU ... gi&f=false

See also Ian Reader, Zazenless Zen
http://buddhism.lib.ntu.edu.tw/DLMBS/en ... seq=280138

John S. LoBreglio: Orthodox, Heterodox, Heretical: Defining Doctrinal Boundaries in Meiji-period Sōtō Zen
https://terebess.hu/zen/dogen/Lobreglio.pdf

Gassho, Jundo
Teacher at Treeleaf Zendo, a Soto Zen Sangha, an online practice place for folks who cannot commute to a Zen Center due to health, living in remote areas, work or family needs. The focus is Shikantaza 'Just Sitting' Zazen http://www.treeleaf.org

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Re: Disagreeing with Greg Wonderwheel's "The Misnomer of Dogen's "Practice is Enlightenment" [MOD EDIT]

Post by jundocohen » Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:11 am

LoBreglio has an interesting comment on how "Verification" had a rather special meaning, and came to be interpreted in the Shushogi without Zazen ...
How then does his Shushōgi embody a jiriki path? [The principle author] Ōuchi’s strategy is revealed in his understanding of the term shushōgi – “the meaning of practice and verification”. The phrase comes from Dōgen’s teaching of shushō funi – that practice and verification, that is, the verification of one’s inherently awakened nature (honshō), are not disjunct. One does not practice in order to awaken, but rather it is because one’s nature is inherently awakened to begin with that one is able to engage in practice. Here then is Ōuchi’s key move: he reinterprets “practice”, which for Dōgen clearly meant zazen, to mean the “practice” of taking the precepts. This required one’s own effort, and thus qualified as jiriki. To invest such a reinterpretation with Dōgen’s authority required, of course, some creative bricolage, and it is precisely those passages which disguise the fact that where Dōgen was referring to “practice” he meant zazen and not jukai, that have troubled, and continue to trouble, some Sōtō clergy (see for example Mutai 1991; Ozaki 1991; and Kagamishima 1965).

...

In the case of Sōtō we saw that with the implementation of the Shushōgi as the official embodiment of its teaching and practice, zazen was effectively displaced by jukai – the taking of lay precepts. Conceiving this “taking” of precepts as a “practice” effected by one’s own power (jiriki) afforded this “practice” the same status in terms of empirical verifiability as zazen did for thinkers like Hara Tanzan. The soteriological result of taking the precepts, “entering the ranks of the Buddhas” (nyūi), is likewise, in (Sōtō) theory at least, empirically verifiable in that it occurs simultaneously with the practice itself – the meaning of the eponymous shushō, or “practice and verification [are one and the same],” of the title Shushōgi. We see here an extraordinarily clever means of maintaining continuity with the soteriological goal of the monastic-elite paradigm discussed earlier, namely jōbutsu, or becoming Buddha. But in this new paradigm, the goal is open not only to Sōtō religious adepts, but to the unlettered laity as well. By taking the precepts, all “become Buddha” here and now. Such an approach both matches the Protestant affirmation of the value of this world and challenges the verifiability of such teachings of Jōdo shinshū, Sōtō’s main Buddhist rival, as “other power” (tariki) and the existence of a “Pure Land”
https://terebess.hu/zen/dogen/Lobreglio.pdf
Maybe Greg should have noted that too when he said that "verification" was used in the title of the Shushogi.

Gassho, J
Teacher at Treeleaf Zendo, a Soto Zen Sangha, an online practice place for folks who cannot commute to a Zen Center due to health, living in remote areas, work or family needs. The focus is Shikantaza 'Just Sitting' Zazen http://www.treeleaf.org

ol' spikey

Re: Disagreeing with Greg Wonderwheel's "The Misnomer of Dogen's "Practice is Enlightenment" [MOD EDIT]

Post by ol' spikey » Wed Jun 27, 2018 9:23 am

Maybe jundo should have noted that Greg has spoken his piece and let this subject go.

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Re: Disagreeing with Greg Wonderwheel's "The Misnomer of Dogen's "Practice is Enlightenment" [MOD EDIT]

Post by jundocohen » Wed Jun 27, 2018 11:01 am

Hi Spikey,

It is actually a very very important, if not the central question, for Soto folks, with great ramifications in understanding Dogen. I hope that Greg and others will continue to join in.

Gassho J
Teacher at Treeleaf Zendo, a Soto Zen Sangha, an online practice place for folks who cannot commute to a Zen Center due to health, living in remote areas, work or family needs. The focus is Shikantaza 'Just Sitting' Zazen http://www.treeleaf.org

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Re: Disagreeing with Greg Wonderwheel's "The Misnomer of Dogen's "Practice is Enlightenment" [MOD EDIT]

Post by boda » Wed Jun 27, 2018 9:22 pm

jundocohen wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 11:01 am
Hi Spikey,

It is actually a very very important, if not the central question, for Soto folks, with great ramifications in understanding Dogen. I hope that Greg and others will continue to join in.

Gassho J
Why exactly is it "very very important"?

Earlier you wrote to Gregory Wonderwheel "I think this is all a tempest in a teapot actually. Practice and Enlightenment are one. You are right too."

A very very important tempest in a teapot?

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Re: Disagreeing with Greg Wonderwheel's "The Misnomer of Dogen's "Practice is Enlightenment" [MOD EDIT]

Post by jundocohen » Wed Jun 27, 2018 11:59 pm

boda wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 9:22 pm

Why exactly is it "very very important"?

Earlier you wrote to Gregory Wonderwheel "I think this is all a tempest in a teapot actually. Practice and Enlightenment are one. You are right too."

A very very important tempest in a teapot?
I meant that the debate here was a tempest in a teapot about what is the meaning of the Kanji used, but the doctrine of "Practice and Enlightenment are One" is perhaps the central doctrine of Dogen's Way. The latter point is what is needed to clarify, and the "tempest in the teapot" arguments detracted from that fact. Pointing out that it is a "tempest in a teapot" is necessary because the doctrine is so important.

Spikey, you are not particularly a Soto practitioner, no? So, why even care. Just ignore this.

Gassho, Jundo
Teacher at Treeleaf Zendo, a Soto Zen Sangha, an online practice place for folks who cannot commute to a Zen Center due to health, living in remote areas, work or family needs. The focus is Shikantaza 'Just Sitting' Zazen http://www.treeleaf.org

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Re: Disagreeing with Greg Wonderwheel's "The Misnomer of Dogen's "Practice is Enlightenment" [MOD EDIT]

Post by desert_woodworker » Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:01 pm

Practice is making yourself susceptible to seeing that practice is not far from the awakened state.

I don't think that Dogen could have -- or has -- said it better. At least not in English.

--Joe

p.s. And, let's not be disingenuous: Dogen awakened first, under a Ch'an master who had his own ways and methods to help beings; afterwards, after Dogen's awakening under this master, after "body and mind fallen away", Dogen had things to say about practice, and about awakening. Kudos, surely, but let's not lose sight of the order and progression of events in Dogen's history, and biography. I repeat: let's not lose sight of that.

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Re: Disagreeing with Greg Wonderwheel's "The Misnomer of Dogen's "Practice is Enlightenment" [MOD EDIT]

Post by jundocohen » Fri Jun 29, 2018 1:06 am

desert_woodworker wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:01 pm
Practice is making yourself susceptible to seeing that practice is not far from the awakened state.

I don't think that Dogen could have -- or has -- said it better. At least not in English.

--Joe

p.s. And, let's not be disingenuous: Dogen awakened first, under a Ch'an master who had his own ways and methods to help beings; afterwards, after Dogen's awakening under this master, after "body and mind fallen away", Dogen had things to say about practice, and about awakening. Kudos, surely, but let's not lose sight of the order and progression of events in Dogen's history, and biography. I repeat: let's not lose sight of that.
How does one lose sight of what cannot be seen? What is seen even when unseen?

What is before and after? What holds all first and last?

If something falls away, to where does it fall?

Oh, awakening is vital, and having the eyes opened is vital. Then, Dogen's message on awakening and time sequence becomes clear.

Gassho, J
Teacher at Treeleaf Zendo, a Soto Zen Sangha, an online practice place for folks who cannot commute to a Zen Center due to health, living in remote areas, work or family needs. The focus is Shikantaza 'Just Sitting' Zazen http://www.treeleaf.org

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Re: Disagreeing with Greg Wonderwheel's "The Misnomer of Dogen's "Practice is Enlightenment" [MOD EDIT]

Post by boda » Fri Jun 29, 2018 7:52 pm

jundocohen wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 11:59 pm
boda wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 9:22 pm

Why exactly is it "very very important"?

Earlier you wrote to Gregory Wonderwheel "I think this is all a tempest in a teapot actually. Practice and Enlightenment are one. You are right too."

A very very important tempest in a teapot?
I meant that the debate here was a tempest in a teapot about what is the meaning of the Kanji used, but the doctrine of "Practice and Enlightenment are One" is perhaps the central doctrine of Dogen's Way. The latter point is what is needed to clarify, and the "tempest in the teapot" arguments detracted from that fact. Pointing out that it is a "tempest in a teapot" is necessary because the doctrine is so important.
The beauty of making two contradictory claims is that you're certain to be half right. You're right about it being a tempest in a teapot, in this case.

Dogen's conception of practice and enlightenment being one is great, if that is a good translation. But is it very very important? Sure it may be dualistic to see practice and enlightenment as linear or sequential but his concept is not essential to actual practice.

Of course, you're free to make an argument that it is very very important.

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