Zen Questions: Zazen, Dogen, and the Spirit of Creative Inquiry

Even if conversing of pupil or grasp, Zen hinges at the query. Zen perform doesn't unavoidably specialize in the solutions, yet on discovering an area within which we may possibly maintain uncertainty and stay current and upright in the course of investigations. Zen Questions starts off by way of exploring "The global of Zazen,"--the foundational perform of the Zen school--presenting it as an angle of sustained inquiry that gives us an entryway into precise repose and pleasure. From there, Leighton attracts deeply on his personal event as a Zen student and instructor to ask us into the creativity of Zen know-how and perform. He explores the poetic brain of Dogen with the poetry of Rumi, Mary Oliver, Gary Snyder, or even "the American Dharma Bard" Bob Dylan. what is extra, Leighton uncovers remarkable resonances among the writings of America's Founding Fathers--including Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin--and the releasing beliefs on the middle of Zen.

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Yet Tiantong Monastery, the place Dōgen studied with Rujing in 1227, used to be an analogous temple the place Hongzhi have been abbot for nearly thirty years as much as his loss of life in 1157. Dōgen refers to Hongzhi as an “ancient buddha,” and often rates him, in particular from his poetic writings on meditative event. in actual fact the meditative understanding that Hongzhi writes approximately was once heavily concerning Dōgen’s meditation, even though Dōgen additional constructed its dynamic orientation in his personal writings approximately simply sitting. Hongzhi’s meditation educating is generally known as “silent (or serene) illumination,” even supposing Hongzhi truly makes use of this time period just a couple of occasions in his voluminous writings. In his lengthy poem “Silent Illumination,” Hongzhi emphasizes the need for stability among serenity and illumination, which echoes the conventional Buddhist meditation perform of Śamatha-vipaśyana, or preventing and perception. This stability was once recalled as zhiguan within the chinese language Tiantai meditation procedure expounded by means of the nice chinese language Buddhist synthesizer Zhiyi (538–597). Hongzhi emphasizes the need for lively perception in addition to calm in “Silent Illumination” whilst he says, “If illumination neglects serenity then aggressiveness appears to be like. . . . If serenity neglects illumination, murkiness results in wasted Dharma. ”15 Hongzhi’s meditation values the balancing of either preventing or settling the brain and its actively illuminating functioning. In his prose writings, Hongzhi often makes use of nature metaphors to precise the average simplicity of the lived event of silent illumination or simply sitting. (I am ordinarily utilizing those phrases interchangeably, other than whilst discussing transformations of their usages by means of Hongzhi or Dōgen. ) An instance of Hongzhi’s nature writing is that this: anyone of ways essentially doesn't reside at any place. The white clouds are desirous about the golf green mountain’s starting place. the brilliant moon cherishes being carried in addition to the flowing water. The clouds half and the mountains look. The moon units and the water is cool. every bit of autumn includes titanic interpenetration with out bounds. sixteen Hongzhi right here highlights the convenience of this understanding and its functionality. just like the move of water and clouds, the brain can movement easily to movement in concord with its atmosphere. “Accord and reply with out laboring and attain with out situation. in all places flip round freely, now not following stipulations, now not falling into classifications. ”17 in lots of areas, Hongzhi offers particular directions approximately tips on how to deal with one’s feel perceptions which will enable the very important presence of simply sitting. “Respond unencumbered to every speck of airborne dirt and dust with out changing into its accomplice. The subtlety of seeing and listening to transcends mere shades and sounds. ”18 back he indicates, “Casually mount the sounds and straddle the colours once you go beyond listening and surpass looking at. ”19 this doesn't point out a presence that's oblivious to the encompassing experience global. yet whereas the practitioner continues to be acutely aware, feel phenomena shouldn't have to develop into items of attachment, or be objectified in any respect.

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