You Are Invited: a LIVE 'SIT & CHAT' with Zen Historian & Dogen Specialist, Dr. Steven Heine

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jundocohen
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You Are Invited: a LIVE 'SIT & CHAT' with Zen Historian & Dogen Specialist, Dr. Steven Heine

Post by jundocohen » Mon Jul 20, 2020 3:17 pm

You are invited to a LIVE 'SIT & CHAT' with Buddhism & Zen historian, the noted specialist on the life and writings of Master Dogen, Prof. Steven Heine... this SUNDAY July 26th ... All are welcome!

Steve is the author of the recent, amazing book on Dogen and Shobogenzo, Readings of Dogen's Treasury of the True Dharma Eye, as well as dozens of other books on Dogen and Zen history including From Chinese Chan to Japanese Zen: A Remarkable Century of Transmission and Transformation; Like Cats and Dogs: Contesting the Mu Kōan in Zen Buddhism; Did Dōgen Go to China? What He Wrote and When He Wrote It; The Zen Poetry of Dōgen: Verses From the Mountain of Eternal Peace; Dōgen and the Kōan Tradition: A Tale of Two Shōbōgenzō Texts, and many more.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B081V ... bl_vppi_i0

The event will start at the following times in different time zones, will last about 90 minutes or so, and consist of a short Zazen sitting, Steve's talk and a Q&A from participants... all via ZOOM ... commencing 11am in New York, 8am in California, London 4pm and Paris 5pm, all SUNDAY July 26th.

Anyone here is welcome to attend via ZOOM, just PM me (Jundo) and I will send you the link and a password to join. The event is sponsored by Treeleaf Sangha (www.treeleaf.org)

This is for everyone who digs a little Dogen.

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Gassho, Jundo

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Re: You Are Invited: a LIVE 'SIT & CHAT' with Zen Historian & Dogen Specialist, Dr. Steven Heine

Post by desertwoodworker » Wed Jul 22, 2020 12:26 am

Prof. Heine is a great fellow. I thank him for the five books of his that I have, and enjoy, pertaining to koans.

The less said about Dogen, the better, though. I think Master Dogen would agree!

I attended "The First International Dogen Conference" at a hotel in New York City in 1980, over two days, and it was too much of a good thing. In fact, a lot of it was not even good. But those philosophers had to read their papers out vocally or orally, and it bored most of the 85 participants. I was there as a recently graduated Philosopher from Columbia, and a Ch'an practitioner. Some people who stood to raise practical matters were summarily and quietly silenced. Even after 40 years, the taste in the mouth is still bitter and mildewy. What a travesty of misunderstanding. Icchh-h.

Met some neat old figures there, though, including Abe.

--Joe

Kodera_re_Dogen_formative_yrs_China_2.jpg
by Takashi James Kodera, 1980; Columbia University.
---
Kodera_re_Dogen_formative_yrs_China_2.jpg (46.21 KiB) Viewed 4259 times

michaeljc
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Re: You Are Invited: a LIVE 'SIT & CHAT' with Zen Historian & Dogen Specialist, Dr. Steven Heine

Post by michaeljc » Wed Jul 22, 2020 10:02 am

I kinda with you Joe

I cannot stomach being told what the masters are meaning in their writing

Is it a case of self-perceived intellectual or spiritual superiority?

Probably both

Cheers

M

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Re: You Are Invited: a LIVE 'SIT & CHAT' with Zen Historian & Dogen Specialist, Dr. Steven Heine

Post by jundocohen » Wed Jul 22, 2020 3:29 pm

Heine's lastest book truly is masterful.

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Re: You Are Invited: a LIVE 'SIT & CHAT' with Zen Historian & Dogen Specialist, Dr. Steven Heine

Post by desertwoodworker » Wed Jul 22, 2020 8:14 pm

His earliest ones are, too. Hat's off.

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Re: You Are Invited: a LIVE 'SIT & CHAT' with Zen Historian & Dogen Specialist, Dr. Steven Heine

Post by desertwoodworker » Thu Jul 23, 2020 1:30 am

Michael,

There's also more to it, though I dislike disturbing those who are in a big way dedicated to Dogen. But here goes:

What I feel is overdone in some sanghas is where "consideration" of Dogen gives rise to "Dogen-ism". The shear "-ism" of it.

First of all, it's a bit like hero-worship, where worship is not at all a part of our helpful practices;

Second, the writings are "front-loadings", for a person who has not yet woken-up (big distraction and sink of time!). And for a person who has awakened even at least once, they are superfluous and unnecessary, and tiring to have others in earshot who keep harping on them;

Third, well, maybe the first two, over and over again. And, oh, yes, the issue of "body-and-mind-fallen-away" for Dogen in China, and his teaching anything but what could lead to that once he was home in Japan again. Granted, though, it was the "Zen" of Japan that needed reform as he saw it in the 11th century Japan, not the Ch'an of China where he studied and awakened in his late 20s.

As for the Philosophers at the conference, no, it's OK, of course, Philosophers (just like Scientists) will consider anything fair game in an academic context, and go deeply into it. It's natural for them. It doesn't have to help practitioners in any way. It's scholars speaking and writing for scholars. There's a long history of this, ...getting longer. :)

As for what helps practitioners, well, it's not Dogen's writings, ever, nor philosophical ruminations upon them. Best would be to perfect one's posture. And allow zazen to teach oneself zazen.

:namaste:

--Joe
michaeljc wrote:
Wed Jul 22, 2020 10:02 am
I kinda with you Joe

I cannot stomach being told what the masters are meaning in their writing

Is it a case of self-perceived intellectual or spiritual superiority?

Probably both

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Re: You Are Invited: a LIVE 'SIT & CHAT' with Zen Historian & Dogen Specialist, Dr. Steven Heine

Post by jundocohen » Thu Jul 23, 2020 4:53 am

desertwoodworker wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 1:30 am
Michael,

There's also more to it, though I dislike disturbing those who are in a big way dedicated to Dogen. But here goes:

What I feel is overdone in some sanghas is where "consideration" of Dogen gives rise to "Dogen-ism". The shear "-ism" of it.

First of all, it's a bit like hero-worship, where worship is not at all a part of our helpful practices;

Second, the writings are "front-loadings", for a person who has not yet woken-up (big distraction and sink of time!). And for a person who has awakened even at least once, they are superfluous and unnecessary, and tiring to have others in earshot who keep harping on them;

Third, well, maybe the first two, over and over again. And, oh, yes, the issue of "body-and-mind-fallen-away" for Dogen in China, and his teaching anything but what could lead to that once he was home in Japan again. Granted, though, it was the "Zen" of Japan that needed reform as he saw it in the 11th century Japan, not the Ch'an of China where he studied and awakened in his late 20s.

As for the Philosophers at the conference, no, it's OK, of course, Philosophers (just like Scientists) will consider anything fair game in an academic context, and go deeply into it. It's natural for them. It doesn't have to help practitioners in any way. It's scholars speaking and writing for scholars. There's a long history of this, ...getting longer. :)

As for what helps practitioners, well, it's not Dogen's writings, ever, nor philosophical ruminations upon them. Best would be to perfect one's posture. And allow zazen to teach oneself zazen.

:namaste:

--Joe
michaeljc wrote:
Wed Jul 22, 2020 10:02 am
I kinda with you Joe

I cannot stomach being told what the masters are meaning in their writing

Is it a case of self-perceived intellectual or spiritual superiority?

Probably both
Dogen had a few "unique" ways of expressing Dharma that are very precious (although most are actually found other places in the Mahayana such as Hua-yan, if one looks closely).

For example, that all of emptiness flows into all individual phenomena, things and people and moments, so that they are not real yet are as real-as-real can be. Every grain of sand or tick of the clock is a precious jewel fully expressing the whole of reality, the whole of time, boundless wholeness and timelessness too.

Every individual phenomenon, thing and people and moment, is fully exerting itself right now as that thing people and moment, and is Buddha fully exerting.

Time flows backwards and forwards and all directions at once, and is just timeless, and every moment thus is so too.

One drops off bodymind even while embodied in bodymind, such that one can be totally free and bound at once without conflict.

Practice is realization at once such that there is nothing to attain, yet we must strive diligently right now to practice, to sit Zazen and to be free of excess desire, anger, divisive thinking etc. The very striving right now is already Buddha right now, much like climbing a mountain is not to get to a destination, but the very climbing is the mountain destination right in each footfall.

Zazen is not a means to attain, but the very realization of attaining in Just Sitting because free of all desire but just sitting. Zazen is sacred sitting when the heart knows such as sacred sitting, thus not a tool.

Stuff like that.

This is why many of us think Dogen kinda special.
the writings are "front-loadings", for a person who has not yet woken-up (big distraction and sink of time!). And for a person who has awakened even at least once, they are superfluous and unnecessary, and tiring to have others in earshot who keep harping on them;
Ya may have that "front-loading" backwards, for there is no back or front, and every step of the beginner is Buddha realized. It is important to get that message across. Awakened or not Awakened, all is Awakened. When they are Awakened, they will realize so, and before they are Awakened, they are already Awakened but just do not realize so.

Gassho, J

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Re: You Are Invited: a LIVE 'SIT & CHAT' with Zen Historian & Dogen Specialist, Dr. Steven Heine

Post by michaeljc » Thu Jul 23, 2020 7:46 am

Jeez - you guys go on

Give me one line of wisdom so I can listen

The breeze in the trees makes no sense

Dogen writes, never intending to make sense

I am primarily a 'just sitter' . Dogen would have tolerated me for all of a day, I recon

He was a KOAN man. NOT a 'just sitter'!

The record is there for anyone to see. It cannot be denied. Do I have to list the koans he refers to in his works?

or

Where he recommends that students find an authentic teacher, get given a KOAN and work on it diligently

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Re: You Are Invited: a LIVE 'SIT & CHAT' with Zen Historian & Dogen Specialist, Dr. Steven Heine

Post by jundocohen » Thu Jul 23, 2020 11:54 am

michaeljc wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 7:46 am
Jeez - you guys go on

Give me one line of wisdom so I can listen

The breeze in the trees makes no sense

Dogen writes, never intending to make sense

I am primarily a 'just sitter' . Dogen would have tolerated me for all of a day, I recon

He was a KOAN man. NOT a 'just sitter'!

The record is there for anyone to see. It cannot be denied. Do I have to list the koans he refers to in his works?

or

Where he recommends that students find an authentic teacher, get given a KOAN and work on it diligently
Of course Dogen was a Koan man. Shobogenzo is chock full of koans wall to wall, which he danced with and lit a light with. He encouraged his students, Ordained and Lay, to do so too. I work with Koans and promenade with Koans (a dance without two partners).

What Dogen did not do, however, is focus on a Koan --during-- Zazen in the manner of Tahui and Hakuin, lookin for the Big Kensho. How do I know? He left many writings about Koans, and many writings about how to sit Zazen which provide detailed instructions (how to breathe, fold the legs, think not thinking), but in all the detailed instructions he never once says "Then, pick up a phrase from a Koant" etc. Never, not once.

:103:

Understanding the above is very simple, not its own Koan. :hatsoff:

Dogen was also a "Just Sitter," but not just a sittin' around sitter. Sitting is a Koan, Sitting is all the Buddhas and Ancestor's sitting with your ass when you sit.

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Re: You Are Invited: a LIVE 'SIT & CHAT' with Zen Historian & Dogen Specialist, Dr. Steven Heine

Post by michaeljc » Thu Jul 23, 2020 5:26 pm

Sitting is all the Buddhas and Ancestor's sitting with your ass when you sit.
Jundo -

Do you really think people here do not know this? Spare us the 101

You are suffering from spiritual superiority complex IMO - and an addiction to the limelight. That's OK, I am addicted to tobacco and thinking

My Great Great Uncle was the first Catholic Archbishop of New Zealand. His brother attended his first mass after becoming ordained as such. Half way through the sermon, he stands up and says, "You are talking rubbish!" and walked out

I am saying the same to you brother. You are cherry picking Dogen to match a practice that suits you personally. Along with all of Soto, you claim Dogen as your exclusive patriarch who has no relevance to Rinzai. Wrong! Some of Dogen's work was so contradictory to the Soto philosophy that the movement buried it for a century or more

I have seen your commentaries on Koans. This is NOT working with koans. Anyone that comments on koans has missed the point completely. It a convenient cop-out designed to demonstrate self-perceived wisdom and an attempt to rationalize Dogen's extensive use of Koans

I am now well past being a good compliant student as expected from "Zen Teachers" (or Catholic priests)

A Zen teacher is going to have to show me some real curry before I listen. It is very rare - as Dogen warned us

Keep well

M

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Re: You Are Invited: a LIVE 'SIT & CHAT' with Zen Historian & Dogen Specialist, Dr. Steven Heine

Post by fuki » Thu Jul 23, 2020 6:25 pm

jundocohen wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 11:54 am
but in all the detailed instructions he never once says "Then, pick up a phrase from a Koant" etc. Never, not once.
So? Koans are given dependend on the students needs, karmic dispositions etc
So why should it matter if it's there in the detailed written instructions or not,
and how does it relate to sitting 'here and now' or whether there are koan instructions or not?

If Dogen would teach today, his instructions ofcourse would be adapted to humans current karmic dispositions, in other words, his direct students today and their potential. To think his written records/detailed instructions would be the same today is silly ofcourse.

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Re: You Are Invited: a LIVE 'SIT & CHAT' with Zen Historian & Dogen Specialist, Dr. Steven Heine

Post by fuki » Thu Jul 23, 2020 6:26 pm

michaeljc wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 5:26 pm


You are suffering from spiritual superiority complex IMO
I don't agree.

ps we all manifest that 'complex' from time to time, never met anyone, including every teacher I know who doesn't manifest that, but they are brief moments. It's kind of 'inherent' to comparing, not often does a student or teacher read something from another tradition/teacher and just understand it is based on causes and conditions why they teach/say etc what they teach/say, our brains are kind of designed like that, to have brief moments of labeling things "inferior" and "superior"
Luckily we are not our brains, so most practisioners/teachers are just aware of this process and dont make it into a "thing"
(apart from internet forums perhaps)
Often/sometimes seeing superioroty in someone else is our own sense of superiority.

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Re: You Are Invited: a LIVE 'SIT & CHAT' with Zen Historian & Dogen Specialist, Dr. Steven Heine

Post by p22 » Fri Jul 24, 2020 4:37 am

I like his writing "style"- A lot- It's like a smooth stone skipping across water- Poetic- And fun- I like poetry- Maybe I'm biased-

I also like turtles ..

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Re: You Are Invited: a LIVE 'SIT & CHAT' with Zen Historian & Dogen Specialist, Dr. Steven Heine

Post by jundocohen » Fri Jul 24, 2020 9:02 am

michaeljc wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 5:26 pm
Sitting is all the Buddhas and Ancestor's sitting with your ass when you sit.
Jundo -

Do you really think people here do not know this? Spare us the 101

... Anyone that comments on koans has missed the point completely. It a convenient cop-out designed to demonstrate self-perceived wisdom and an attempt to rationalize Dogen's extensive use of Koans
Your second statement shows that you do not understand and are ill-informed about all aspects of Koans and Dogen 101.

Tahui and Hakuin advocated holding a Koan, or rather a word or phrase, during Zazen without thought about the Koan. That's their way, very good I am sure, very common in Rinzai and mixed Rinzai-Soto circles.

However, most of the Koans are actually teaching stories too, with meaning, a certain logic to them (although not our ordinary 'day to day' logic ... ). We chew on Koans, Dogen chews on Koans, I chew on the traditional Koans, and that involves understanding (grocking) what they are conveying although beyond that ordinary, divided and confused logic that we normally use to solve problems. If you do not understand this point then, quite simply, you misunderstand the origin and purpose of the Koans.

(I might recommend a very very good book to you on this, Steve Heine's "Like Cats and Dogs: Contesting the Mu Koan in Zen Buddhism" ...

https://terebess.hu/zen/mesterek/Heine-Cats.pdf )

Dogen danced with the Koans, Dogen picked up the Koans and twisted them up like a pretzel in order to squeeze new juice out of well worn old tunes. But Dogen knew that the poetic references, inside jokes and puns, surrounding verses and the stories themselves were skits to express what is hard to express in standard language and explanation. The origin and roots of these stories are now well understood.

This is how we handle the Koans in Soto Zen, and why they are rich treasures for us. If you don't believe me, read here:
Koan Manuals (Monsan)

In general, monsan follow a standard question-and-answer format. First the koan is identified by name only. Following each name, there are one, two, or a series of questions to be asked by the teacher (usually introduced by the word shi). The questions might include requests to explain the meaning of key terms in the koan, to provide an appropriate Chinese verse or phrase (agyo or jakugo) that would express that same meaning, to explain (seppa; abbreviated as ha) the meaning of that Chinese phrase, or to sum up the basic meaning or purpose of the koan as a whole (rakkyo or hikkyo). After each one of these questions the expected response is indicated. ...

Koan training lay at the heart of medieval Soto monasticism. The full nature of earlier forms of training cannot be known, but significantly, medieval Soto koan manuals (monsan) suggest a different modality of koan training than that associated with descriptions of koan study in modern Japanese Rinzai Zen. Soto koan literature rarely urges students to create a mass of doubt, or to cling to a koan. Inducing an enlightenment experience (kensho) is hardly mentioned. Rather than mental conundrums or meditation exercises, koan were studied as models of truth or as idealized statements of truth. ...

(Soto Zen in Medieval Japan, William M. Bodiford)
https://terebess.hu/zen/mesterek/medieval.pdf
Last edited by jundocohen on Fri Jul 24, 2020 9:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: You Are Invited: a LIVE 'SIT & CHAT' with Zen Historian & Dogen Specialist, Dr. Steven Heine

Post by jundocohen » Fri Jul 24, 2020 9:14 am

fuki wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 6:25 pm
jundocohen wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 11:54 am
but in all the detailed instructions he never once says "Then, pick up a phrase from a Koant" etc. Never, not once.
So? Koans are given dependend on the students needs, karmic dispositions etc
So why should it matter if it's there in the detailed written instructions or not,
and how does it relate to sitting 'here and now' or whether there are koan instructions or not?

If Dogen would teach today, his instructions ofcourse would be adapted to humans current karmic dispositions, in other words, his direct students today and their potential. To think his written records/detailed instructions would be the same today is silly ofcourse.
Sometimes they are given to suit a particular student's needs or personality, and sometimes as a curriculum to go through.

The point is that ... for instructions on what to do DURING Zazen ... there were no instructions from Dogen or the founding Soto priests in Japan to pick up a Koan or phrase ala Tahui or Hakuin. A very good exemplar of this is Keizan's Zazen Yojinki, in which Keizan (the other Soto key founder) gives long and detailed instructions on how to sit Zazen ... and does actually mention picking up a Koan during Zazen BUT ONLY as one of several possible things to do when the student is having a particular problem such as tiredness or scattering of thoughts.
If dullness or sleepiness overcome your sitting, move to the body and open the eyes wider, or place attention above the hairline or between your eyebrows. If you are still not fresh, rub the eyes or the body. If that still doesn't wake you, stand up and walk, always clockwise. Once you've gone about a hundred steps you probably won't be sleepy any longer. The way to walk is to take a half step with each breath. Walk without walking, silent and unmoving. If you still don't feel fresh after doing kinhin, wash your eyes and forehead with cold water. Or chant the Three Pure Precepts of the Bodhisattvas. Do something; don't just fall asleep. ... If the mind wanders, place attention at the tip of the nose and tanden and count the inhalations and exhalations. If that doesn't stop the scattering, bring up a phrase and keep it in awareness - for example: "What is it that comes thus?" or "When no thought arises, where is affliction? - Mount Meru!" or "What is the meaning of Bodhidharma's coming from the West? - The cypress in the garden." Sayings like this that you can't draw any flavour out of are suitable. If scattering continues, sit and look to that point where the breath ends and the eyes close forever and where the child is not yet conceived, where not a single concept can be produced. When a sense of the two-fold emptiness of self and things appears, scattering will surely rest.
https://wwzc.org/dharma-text/zazen-yoji ... ware-zazen
That's how we know that we are not normally to pick up a Koan in Zazen.

Some of these mixed Soto-Rinzai folks want to stuff Koan Introspection Zazen down Dogen's throat, confusing his love and dance with Koan as being his advocacy of Koan Introspection Zazen (in fact, he was only critical of Tahui in Shobogenzo whenever his name is mentioned). Sorry, if there was just the least bit of evidence ...

Gassho, J

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Re: You Are Invited: a LIVE 'SIT & CHAT' with Zen Historian & Dogen Specialist, Dr. Steven Heine

Post by michaeljc » Fri Jul 24, 2020 9:33 am

Commentaries, commentaries, spare me the commentaries. We don't need them. We can read too

Soon I return to my old haunt in the forest where I will live with my family

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Re: You Are Invited: a LIVE 'SIT & CHAT' with Zen Historian & Dogen Specialist, Dr. Steven Heine

Post by jundocohen » Fri Jul 24, 2020 11:34 am

michaeljc wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 9:33 am

Soon I return to my old haunt in the forest where I will live with my family
These days, it sounds like a good place to be ... unless the kids have to go to school, which mine do each day here in Ibraraki. A 4th grader and a high school senior. Good thing that I moved beyond fearing death years ago.

:113:

Gassho, J

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Re: You Are Invited: a LIVE 'SIT & CHAT' with Zen Historian & Dogen Specialist, Dr. Steven Heine

Post by fuki » Fri Jul 24, 2020 1:19 pm

jundocohen wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 9:14 am
The point is that ... for instructions on what to do DURING Zazen ... there were no instructions from Dogen or the founding Soto priests in Japan to pick up a Koan or phrase ala Tahui or Hakuin. A very good exemplar of this is Keizan's Zazen Yojinki, in which Keizan (the other Soto key founder) gives long and detailed instructions on how to sit Zazen ... and does actually mention picking up a Koan during Zazen BUT ONLY as one of several possible things to do when the student is having a particular problem such as tiredness or scattering of thoughts.
Yes that's how I understand it too, hence I mentioned in the meditation thread methods like koan or hua'tou are medicine or methods while "zazen" is not, it's not even meditation.

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Re: You Are Invited: a LIVE 'SIT & CHAT' with Zen Historian & Dogen Specialist, Dr. Steven Heine

Post by fuki » Fri Jul 24, 2020 1:32 pm

michaeljc wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 9:33 am
Commentaries, commentaries, spare me the commentaries. We don't need them. We can read too
Then don't read them, some ppl might benefit from it.
I rarely read commentaries myself, but for instance Sheng Yen's commentary on the sutra of complete enlightenment, song of mind etc etc have always been helpful, not perse in "getting it" but most commentary or practise itself is not about "getting anything" but clearing or understanding one's misunderstandings, how it operates. So in a way it can assist in becoming clear about one's confusions. It can help people "dissolving" the intellect into "consciousness-only" But even intellectually it can assist in one's relations/sentience in responding to the world. I gain nothing from reading ppl's commentaries for myself, nor from practise, but its of great service for my relations.

I don't study Dogen myself, though I've enjoyed reading some of his "snippets" from time to time.

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Re: You Are Invited: a LIVE 'SIT & CHAT' with Zen Historian & Dogen Specialist, Dr. Steven Heine

Post by michaeljc » Fri Jul 24, 2020 5:53 pm

there were no instructions from Dogen or the founding Soto priests in Japan to pick up a Koan or phrase ala Tahui or Hakuin
Wrong - sorry. There are very explicit instructions (according to the translation) from Dogen. The text I refer to is buried among other stuff. Once I find it I will quote line and chapter.

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