Impermanence is Buddha-Nature: Dogen's Understanding of by Joan Stambaugh

By Joan Stambaugh

Dogen Zenji used to be a eastern Zen Buddhist instructor born in Ky?to, and the founding father of the Soto college of Zen in Japan after traveling to China and coaching less than the chinese language Caodong lineage there. D?gen is understood for his huge writing together with the Treasury of the attention of the real Dharma or Sh?b?genz?, a set of ninety-five fascicles referring to Buddhist perform and enlightenment.

The fundamental suggestion underlying D?gen's Zen perform is "oneness of practice-enlightenment". in reality, this idea is taken into account so basic to D?gen's number of Zen-and, hence, to the S?t? college as a whole-that it shaped the root for the paintings Shush?-gi, which used to be compiled in 1890 via Takiya Takush? of Eihei-ji and Azegami Baisen of S?ji-ji as an introductory and prescriptive summary of D?gen's enormous paintings, the Sh?b?genz? ("Treasury of the attention of the real Dharma").

Dogen is a profoundly unique and tough thirteenth century Buddhist philosopher whose works have all started attracting expanding awareness within the West. Admittedly tough for even the main complicated and complex student of jap concept, he's sure, in the beginning, to provide a virtually insurmountable barrier to the Western brain. but the duty of penetrating that barrier has to be undertaken and, actually, is being conducted via many talented students toiling within the Dogen winery.

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D o g e n does not completely d e n y the a v e r a g e m a n ' s v i e w of time; it has a limited validity. B u t , far m o r e importantly, he wishes to point out a n d throw light on a d i m e n s i o n of time that no one before h i m had written a b o u t in j u s t this way. It is not that simple. At the time the mountains were climbed and the rivers were crossed, you were present. Time is not separate from you, and as you are present, time does not go away. As time is not marked by coming and going, the moment you climbed the mountain is the time-being right now.

Nikon, the "eternal n o w " is able to both encompass ("chew u p " ) and to surpass ("spit out") the conventional misconception of time. 19 Within this note there is also a certain a m b i g u i t y as to w h e t h e r there are two basic forms of t i m e , or w h e t h e r one of t h e m is a misconception. B u t the a m b i g u i t y that concerns us here is w h e t h e r all three a c t i v i t i e s — c l i m b i n g the m o u n t a i n , crossing the river, residi n g in the p a l a c e — a r e valid forms of b e i n g - t i m e , or w h e t h e r d w e l l i n g in the palace is an illusion.

T h u s n o t h i n g or b e i n g obstructs a n y other b e i n g , a n d every m o m e n t is a total manifestation of the entire w o r l d . T o see p h e n o m e n a in this w a y is to see t h e m in their suchness. B l a k e expressed s o m e t h i n g v e r y close to this w h e n he wrote: To see a world in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wild Flower Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour. 15 Philosophically, L e i b n i z ' s m o n a d s are also an expression of this idea.

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