When You Reach Pure Awareness You Will Have No Problems

My name is Brad and I subscribe to Deepak Chopra’s Twitter feed.

Hi Brad!

I don’t even really “get” Twitter. I’m not sure just what you’re supposed to do with it. The best stuff I’ve seen there has been funny one-liners like Shit My Dad Says or my friend Precious Veal.  She’s a hoot!

A lot of “spiritual” type guys are on Twitter these days throwing out little sound bytes of spirituality. But I doubt there’s anything truly worthwhile in the realm of spiritual practice that can be reduced to 140 characters.

Of course, having said that I also have to mention that there is a tradition in Zen of so-called “turning words.” These are short phrases that, when heard by just the right person at just the right time, have a profound effect. One such phrase that often gets quoted is, “From birth to death it’s just like this.” A lot of the koans end with “turning words.” For me, hearing the phrase “form is emptiness, emptiness is form” really blew my head right off when I was about 18 years old.

But I seriously doubt that a Twitter feed is the best way to disseminate “turning words.” It’s not like those ancient Zen guys subscribed to a service that would sling random “turning words” at them from multiple sources of varying quality at a rate of four to six an hour popping up on their cell phones among fart jokes from drive time DJs and news about Paris Hilton’s latest Brazilian wax job. It was a different sort of thing altogether.

I’ve responded to a couple of Deepak’s tweets already. But one came up last night that I think really needs to be addressed in detail.

Right at the outset I want to emphasize that this is not about the man Mr. Deepak Chopra himself. It’s about what he tweeted. It’s not even about everything he tweets. It’s about this one specific tweet. I don’t know enough about Mr. Chopra to criticize him as a human being or even as a brand. I know he’s got a comic book series and a bunch of TV shows and even a video game. As dubious as the spiritual applications of these things seem to me, I’m not even all that fussed about them. If someone wanted to make a graphic novel or a video game out of Hardcore Zen, I’d probably do it. So this isn’t about that.

It’s about what Mr. Chopra says in his tweet. And what he says is this:

When you reach pure awareness you will have no problems, therefore there will be no need for solutions.

Let’s analyze that for a minute.

When (in the future, not now) you (who exist now and will continue to exist in the future) reach (whatever you imagine to be) pure awareness you (who exist now and will continue to exist in the future) will have (in the future) no problems (for your self), therefore there will be (in the future, not now) no need for (you to have) solutions (and won’t that be wonderful, over there, past that hill, just out of sight, let me sell you a way to get there).

If it were only Deepak Chopra who believed this, it wouldn’t really matter much. But this is how pretty much everyone approaches meditation practice and it’s why meditation practice seems to fail those people. It is certainly how I myself thought of practice for a very long time. I wanted something for myself. I might have even thought of what I wanted to get in terms of “pure awareness.” I read enough shitty books that used shitty phrases like that.

There is no pure awareness for you.

That might sound harsh. But really it’s not. What you are can never enter that place. Because you are the subject that sees things in terms of objects. Joshu Sasaki put it like this in his book Buddha is the Center of Gravity; “The God that is standing in front of you as an object says, ‘I am your God.’ But he is not. Even if that God has great power, he is not the real God.”

Pure awareness, whatever that is, or God (my preferred term), cannot be the object of you, cannot be the possession of you, it isn’t in your future, it isn’t something you can ever possibly reach. It will not solve all of your problems. It couldn’t even if it wanted to. It’s a fantastic dream that can never come true.

This doesn’t mean everything is bleak and horrible and hopeless. It just means that approaching it in terms of you and the things you want to get cannot possibly work. It can’t work precisely because thinking of things in terms of you and what you want to get is exactly the thing that blocks it.

The attitude expressed in Mr. Chopra’s tweet sits right at the very epicenter of where things have gone wrong for mankind. It is the source of all of our troubles. The solution to what’s wrong in the world is not some distant dream of pure awareness. It’s the understanding that what exists right now is pure awareness, is God, whether you know it or not. We, who seek to know it and possess it, are the very thing that makes it so hard to understand that.

A couple of blogs ago Broken Yogi made a comment that, “Brad is mixing categories. I can’t pole vault 18 feet like a top Olympic athlete, but I doubt that athlete would call me physically ill because I can’t do that… Likewise, I’m not enlightened, but I’m not spiritually lame either.”

In response I said something like, “Enlightenment (I hate that word) isn’t like pole vaulting 18 feet. It’s more like walking to the bathroom, if we were to continue that analogy. Most people, instead of walking to the bathroom, which (let’s say) just happens to be 18 feet away instead try to pole vault to the bathroom. And they can’t do it because the ceiling is too low. Yet they try anyway and keep injuring themselves. The pole keeps breaking, they keep hitting their heads, they keep beating themselves up over not being able to do it, and they still have to pee. The only thing an enlightened person (I hate that term) does differently is that she walks straight to the bathroom, does her business and then goes back to bed.”

Enlightenment or pure awareness or God or whatever isn’t some complicated thing we have to chase after far, far away. It’s the chasing itself that gets in our way. We wear ourselves out running in circles to try to arrive at the place we already are.

291 Responses

Page 6 of 6
  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 15, 2012 at 7:44 pm | |

    That's right previous anonyomus. Life sucks. It's always going to suck. There's never a moment when things aren't sucking– breathing in, taking the suck inside of you, breathing out, puking the suck back into the world. All for nothing. Meditation, compassion, relative truth vs. absolute, pleeeasssse, it all sucks, and even when you think you've transcended the suck, your sucky ego will find a way to turn that small spiritual attainment into a narcissistic trophy thing. Every Buddhist teacher who is teaching in the world today including the host of this blog has followed this path. They all suck, and we all suck for listening to them. Listen to the suck inside of you. Start there.

  2. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 15, 2012 at 8:00 pm | |

    M-porn, like M-theory, hurts your head and proves nothing.

  3. Mysterion
    Mysterion May 15, 2012 at 8:24 pm | |

    Broken Yogi said…
    "The Buddhist life is about living free of the bondage created by our cravings."

    yep…

    no more:

    I want a new car, this one is not prestigious enough…

    I want a new TV, this one has a smaller screen…

    I want a new house, this one isn't in a gated country club…

    I want a new young wife, the old one stretched her female parts having 3 kids…

  4. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 15, 2012 at 10:18 pm | |

    I've been poking around in this book lately…it's a pretty old stuffy book…but…it sort of ties in with this idea of reaching the Mind Ground, and Goal-less practice. Anywhys…Patriarch Ma(Baso in Japanese) said:

    "Those who seek the Truth should realize that there is nothing to seek. There is no Buddha but Mind; there is no Mind but Buddha. Do not choose what is good, nor reject what is evil, but rather be free from purity and defilement. Then you will realize the emptiness of sin. Thoughts perpetually change and cannot be grasped because they possess no self-nature. The Triple World is nothing but the testimony of one Dharma. What are seen as forms are the reflections of the mind. The mind does not exist by itself; it's existence is manifested through forms. Whenever you speak about Mind you must realize that appearance and reality are perfectly inter-fused without impediment. This is what the achievement of bodhi is. That which is produced by Mind is called form. When you understand that forms are non-existent, that that which is birth is also no-birth. If you are aware of this mind, you will dress, eat, and act spontaneously in life as it transpires, and thereby cultivate your spiritual nature. There is nothing more that I can teach you. Please listen to my gatha:

    Anytime you wish to speak about Mind, speak!
    In this way, bodhi is tranquil.
    When appearance and reality are perfectly inter-fused without impediment,
    Birth is simultaneously no-birth.

    It's a lot to digest…Patriarch Ma also use to do things like whack people back into 'reality' with impediment…like a person would ask "Why did BodhiDharma come from the West?" then Patriarch Ma would kick them in the chest. I gather that that one sudden shock brings them into awareness of the Mind of BodhiDharma(although, I am talking above my own head here), but I gather the kick in chest or the whack with the stick would cease the persistent tick-tock of (note the phrase l0l!) of mindless chatter in the brain.

    I think another way of explaining it is a lay disciple of Patriarch Ma, Lay-man P'ang Yun asked "How is it possible that water without muscle or bones supports a vessel of ten thousand tons?" Master Ma replied "There is neither water nor a vessel. Why are you talking about muscle and bone?"

    Anywhys…I could be wrong…but I assume that Patriarch Ma wasn't trying to sell anything, he was doing it for the benefit of all, and trying to keep himself and his monastics alive in process.

    jason

  5. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 15, 2012 at 10:20 pm | |

    I've been poking around in this book lately…it's a pretty old stuffy book…but…it sort of ties in with this idea of reaching the Mind Ground, and Goal-less practice. Anywhys…Patriarch Ma(Baso in Japanese) said:

    "Those who seek the Truth should realize that there is nothing to seek. There is no Buddha but Mind; there is no Mind but Buddha. Do not choose what is good, nor reject what is evil, but rather be free from purity and defilement. Then you will realize the emptiness of sin. Thoughts perpetually change and cannot be grasped because they possess no self-nature. The Triple World is nothing but the testimony of one Dharma. What are seen as forms are the reflections of the mind. The mind does not exist by itself; it's existence is manifested through forms. Whenever you speak about Mind you must realize that appearance and reality are perfectly inter-fused without impediment. This is what the achievement of bodhi is. That which is produced by Mind is called form. When you understand that forms are non-existent, that that which is birth is also no-birth. If you are aware of this mind, you will dress, eat, and act spontaneously in life as it transpires, and thereby cultivate your spiritual nature. There is nothing more that I can teach you. Please listen to my gatha:

    Anytime you wish to speak about Mind, speak!
    In this way, bodhi is tranquil.
    When appearance and reality are perfectly inter-fused without impediment,
    Birth is simultaneously no-birth.

    It's a lot to digest…Patriarch Ma also use to do things like whack people back into 'reality' with impediment…like a person would ask "Why did BodhiDharma come from the West?" then Patriarch Ma would kick them in the chest. I gather that that one sudden shock brings them into awareness of the Mind of BodhiDharma(although, I am talking above my own head here), but I gather the kick in chest or the whack with the stick would cease the persistent tick-tock of (note the phrase l0l!) of mindless chatter in the brain.

    I think another way of explaining it is a lay disciple of Patriarch Ma, Lay-man P'ang Yun asked "How is it possible that water without muscle or bones supports a vessel of ten thousand tons?" Master Ma replied "There is neither water nor a vessel. Why are you talking about muscle and bone?"

    Anywhys…I could be wrong…but I assume that Patriarch Ma wasn't trying to sell anything, he was doing it for the benefit of all, and trying to keep himself and his monastics alive in process.

    jason

  6. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 15, 2012 at 10:28 pm | |

    I've been poking around in this book lately…it's a pretty old stuffy book…but…it sort of ties in with this idea of reaching the Mind Ground, and Goal-less practice. Anywhys…Patriarch Ma(Baso in Japanese) said:

    "Those who seek the Truth should realize that there is nothing to seek. There is no Buddha but Mind; there is no Mind but Buddha. Do not choose what is good, nor reject what is evil, but rather be free from purity and defilement. Then you will realize the emptiness of sin. Thoughts perpetually change and cannot be grasped because they possess no self-nature. The Triple World is nothing but the testimony of one Dharma. What are seen as forms are the reflections of the mind. The mind does not exist by itself; it's existence is manifested through forms. Whenever you speak about Mind you must realize that appearance and reality are perfectly inter-fused without impediment. This is what the achievement of bodhi is. That which is produced by Mind is called form. When you understand that forms are non-existent, that that which is birth is also no-birth. If you are aware of this mind, you will dress, eat, and act spontaneously in life as it transpires, and thereby cultivate your spiritual nature. There is nothing more that I can teach you. Please listen to my gatha:

    Anytime you wish to speak about Mind, speak!
    In this way, bodhi is tranquil.
    When appearance and reality are perfectly inter-fused without impediment,
    Birth is simultaneously no-birth.

    It's a lot to digest…Patriarch Ma also use to do things like whack people back into 'reality' with impediment…like a person would ask "Why did BodhiDharma come from the West?" then Patriarch Ma would kick them in the chest. I gather that that one sudden shock brings them into awareness of the Mind of BodhiDharma(although, I am talking above my own head here), but I gather the kick in chest or the whack with the stick would cease the persistent tick-tock of (note the phrase l0l!) of mindless chatter in the brain.

    I think another way of explaining it is a lay disciple of Patriarch Ma, Lay-man P'ang Yun asked "How is it possible that water without muscle or bones supports a vessel of ten thousand tons?" Master Ma replied "There is neither water nor a vessel. Why are you talking about muscle and bone?"

    Anywhys…I could be wrong…but I assume that Patriarch Ma wasn't trying to sell anything, he was doing it for the benefit of all, and trying to keep himself and his monastics alive in process.

  7. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 15, 2012 at 10:30 pm | |

    sorry…i didn't see the newest> button so i was like…dude,where is my post!

  8. proulx michel
    proulx michel May 16, 2012 at 12:36 am | |

    Harry wrote: I've seen the excesses of that system of privaleged spiritual barons up close myself in the person of the very same Sogyal Rinpoche. What a strange and dubious little man.

    I'd have written "What a strange and dubious phoquer"…

  9. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 16, 2012 at 12:53 am | |

    Hi Brad, I found him and thought of you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8mQHotlaFo

    Cheers,
    Ren

  10. Harry
    Harry May 16, 2012 at 2:53 am | |

    "if we cannot move beyond doubt, where are we?"

    Hi Mark F,

    An important aspect of the message in Nishijima Sensei's 'zazen is action' may be that you can act whether you feel doubt or not. Now, clarfiying the nature of that action, and any doubt, is another matter. I suspect anyone who begins zazen will have to sit through a lot of initial doubt, but will clarify that doubt is no great hindrance fairly quickly (initially at least).

    Master Nishijima has indicated that there are what he termed 'two enlightenments'. The first is zazen itself, the second occurs after years of practice when the practitioner understands intuitively the teachings of Buddhism.

    http://gudoblog-e.blogspot.com/2009/04/what-is-enlightenment-or-satori.html

    Acting whether we have doubt or not does not seem to be much of a problem. Acting under the assumption that we know everything there is to know about zazen, ourselves and Buddhism just because we've sat a bit of zazen may be more of a problem.

    In Buddhist practice doubt may be a better friend than belief in this regards.

    Regards,

    Harry.

  11. roman
    roman May 16, 2012 at 3:14 am | |

    Broken Yogi, master Dogen wrote that when we meet someone who has the Dharma, we should learn from them. You can learn from Nishijima roshi about the four noble truths and you can learn from Brad Warner about the Dharma, they both have the Dharma. Without meeting or learning from someone who has the Dharma, there is no chance for us to learn what the Dharma is. I hope you will find the Dharma soon and help others find it. Gassho.

  12. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 16, 2012 at 3:37 am | |

    When I find myself in times of trouble
    Out of money, out of luck
    Speaking words of wisdom
    Let it Suck

  13. Misterfit
    Misterfit May 16, 2012 at 4:09 am | |

    It seems to me that a lot of people who comment here regularly are pretty well read in Buddhism. I've done quite a bit of reading myself, and I have tried to digest Buddhist Suttas from the Pali tradition in an effort to get to the really old "good stuff", but what I've found is that that old Buddhist stuff really has a limited usefulness for most people today. Frankly, it is written for a different era, and there is a real danger that by trying to co-op language from another time we are really just creating a sort of facsimile Buddhism. That is the real insight of Zen. By practicing Zazen now, we are able to extend the tradition and phrase the eternal truths of Buddhism in our own language and our own culture. When someone asks me about Buddhist meditation, I don't tell them that I'm seeking "Buddha Mind" or "The Dhamma Body" or any other ancient catchphrase, rather I tell them that when I look at the world everyday, the words I use to describe it are very limiting. My "truths" are all just limitations, and reality itself always overflows those truths and those concepts, so when I meditate, I am attempting to let go of my limitations and exist in that overflow of reality. That is the way I describe it, and my description is based in the language of my time and in my own educational experience. I believe that is more appropriate than all this quoting of ancient Masters and using of obnoxious Buddhist jargon.

  14. roman
    roman May 16, 2012 at 4:22 am | |

    misterfit, excellent, except that it is possbile to "translate" the language of ancient masters into modern language, it is possible to translate and understand what Dogen means in Shobogenzo – and all Buddhist teachers up today who practiced shikantaza relied on the teaching of master Dogen – it is a challenge to decode some of master Dogen's ideas but Nishijima roshim ade a great job, Brad is doing a great job and my taecher is doing a great job explaining what Master Dogen said, in our modern English

    on the other hand, absolutely, just parroting even the greatest ideas of master Dogen without having a clue what they mean is useless, while just sitting in zazen is expressing the truth clearly

  15. Saikat Maitra
    Saikat Maitra May 16, 2012 at 4:46 am | |

    While Deepak chopra is snake oil salesman of "spirituality" and what he says is meaningless – arguing it to be meaningless is also not of much help in my mind.

    "The transcendental unborn substratum of reality that buddhists and some non-buddhists are after is not achievable without practice. Yet it also not achievable by practice." (i just said that)

    But more importantly, it no less clear or achievable through statements like above.

    Talking about it is meaningful only in the correct context when the essence of what we are talking about is already known.

    So buddhism makes sense as buddhists, but when these arguments are taken outside its context to criticize some other schools for example it doesn't make sense.

    To cut the rant short, Deepak chopra can be making sense to his disciples if he is really capable of trasferring the essence of what he is talking about to the listener, just like vajrayana only makes sense after empowerment, zen only after mind-to-mind transfer.

    Stand alone what he is saying is crap, but so is trying to argue against it.

    Rather I would criticize Deepak chopra because what he says is vacous without context – so can't be criticized as such. But his money minting schemes, loose talks or his behaviors in general are objective enough to be criticized.

    I'd rather criticize persons than doctrines, in this context.

  16. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 16, 2012 at 8:43 am | |

    266

    mark of the mini-beast

  17. Odion
    Odion May 16, 2012 at 9:37 am | |

    Roman said, "I have no doubts Dogen recognized the truth, or that Brad recozniged the truth / it is impossible to prove scientifically."

    Roman, It sounds like what you are saying is that because you believe that Dogen possessed the Buddha's truth and believe that Gudo and Brad got it from him, and now you too recognize this truth and have access to it, whatever it is.. That looks a lot like a belief based pyramid scheme, the key being that you have to purchase a ticket to take the ride. You have to invest in it with belief. Having no doubts about something that is impossible to prove is making an end run around the Buddhism's message isn't it? Or maybe it's a nesscessary step?

  18. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote May 16, 2012 at 10:02 am | |

    "you can act whether you feel doubt or not."

    Two minds, which one of them is Zen?

  19. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 16, 2012 at 10:06 am | |

    Yours!

  20. Broken Yogi
    Broken Yogi May 16, 2012 at 10:19 am | |

    Roman, I'm sure Brad is a good man and Nishijima was a good teacher, but neither of them "have the Dharma". The Dharma is no one's property, and you don't get it from anyone. You don't get it period. You have to "be a refuge unto yourself", as Buddha advised, to understand that.

  21. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 16, 2012 at 10:19 am | |

    I'm warning you, Bradley. We need a new post from you or else I go all "Khru Jr." on you!

  22. Harry
    Harry May 16, 2012 at 10:20 am | |

    "Two minds, which one of them is Zen?"

    Well, if such feelings are seen as 'another mind' then, yes, that's doubt for you. In that case I wonder what good 'Zen' does at all.

    Regards,

    Harry.

  23. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 16, 2012 at 10:35 am | |

    At this point it's pixels all the way down…

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…..

  24. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote May 16, 2012 at 10:55 am | |

    ("you can act whether you feel doubt or not…"- Harry)

    (two minds, which one is Zen- Bozo)

    "if such feelings are seen as 'another mind' then, yes, that's doubt for you. In that case I wonder what good 'Zen' does at all." -Harry

    so if such feelings are seen as another mind, Zen does no good at all. Yes, wherever this mind goes, there I am! But the action that is zazen, is that apart from this mind, and where this mind is? That would be the point I'm standing on (Zippy the Pinhead's hat).

  25. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote May 16, 2012 at 11:19 am | |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  26. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote May 16, 2012 at 11:28 am | |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  27. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote May 16, 2012 at 11:56 am | |

    If there is no doubt as to where our awareness is at the moment, and if our actions must inevitably be grounded in where we are, then so long as we are waking up or falling asleep to where we are as the ground of our action we find ourselves moving beyond doubt.

    Here's one from Kodo Sawaki's To You:

    "The basis of all actions is to follow through to the end. If your mind is absent even just for a moment, you're no different from a corpse." (Antaiji: Kodo Sawaki- To You, 34)

    That might sound like there's something to be done apart from waking up and falling asleep; Sawaki goes on to say:

    "It's all about finding the correct tension for your muscles and tendons. It's about becoming a person without gaps, about developing the proper tension and placement of muscles and tendons."

    Since the action that arises out of the proper tension and placement of muscles and tendons can only be witnessed waking up and falling asleep, I would say that what Sawaki is advising is close attention to awareness taking place.

  28. Harry
    Harry May 16, 2012 at 11:56 am | |

    Hi Mark,

    I think we are moving full circle (eventually!) back to the original subject of this post, funnily enough.

    Is realisation some sort of cut-off, remote, sanitised version of our current selves where we are 'beyond' normal human feelings such as doubt, fear, anger etc etc…?

    Old Kodo was a great man, and he said a lot of things in a lot of different contexts, but I don't think he was an advocate of an inhuman or unrealistic philosophy.

    The wild fox koan raises it's head again: Is the enlightened person beyond 'cause and effect'… or is he/she bound by cause and effect… or is there another way to look at this with our 'eye of practice' that isn't restricted by our crude 0/1, one-or-the-other type thinking?

    Regards,

    Harry.

  29. roman
    roman May 16, 2012 at 12:28 pm | |

    Odion, not sure what you mean. I don't believe, I experience.

    Broken Yogi, to have the dharma means to see what is real. It is better to find a teacher that will help you to see what is real than spend time on the web with people who you don't consider your teachers. I am here as I can learn from Brad, who "has the dharma", in other words who recognized reality as reality.

  30. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote May 16, 2012 at 12:52 pm | |

    Harry,

    Yeah, I was thinking this morning about the descriptions of the jhanas, and I had mistakenly thought that the description of the first jhana did not reference the entire body until I transcribed it here. "Rapture and absorption throughout the entire body", if I remember it correctly. So all the material jhanas reference the whole body, the second and the fourth laying particular emphasis on the surface of the body. Reading Dogen and he's quoting something old about "breaking out of this skin born of the womb".

    I do see that the sense of location connected with consciousness depends on the body of referred sensation, the ability to feel rather than the substance of feeling. At the same time, it's an acquired taste, the ability to feel and the sense of location in consciousness over and above the good and the bad of what is felt and the self apart from any particular location of consciousness. Acceptance into the sense of location of what I feel, I return to this.

  31. Broken Yogi
    Broken Yogi May 16, 2012 at 12:54 pm | |

    Roman, no teacher can do your seeing for you. You have to see for yourself.

  32. Broken Yogi
    Broken Yogi May 16, 2012 at 12:55 pm | |

    Also, I think you are inflating Brad in a manner he would find very embarrassing.

  33. Harry
    Harry May 16, 2012 at 1:03 pm | |

    Mark,

    Like his references to the 'self', Dogen had various contexts in which he discussed the 'body'.

    One particularly nice older phrase that he employed to describe the state of total inclusion and non-restriction was:

    "The whole universe in ten directions is just one human body."

    Regards,

    Harry.

  34. Dany
    Dany May 16, 2012 at 1:15 pm | |

    Hey Uku, nice to see you here. Just one thing, could you please please stop adding those "Gudo Nishijima Peter Rocca Brad Warner Kodo Sawaki" Tags to your youtube-videos? When you search for any of those these days like:

    http://www.youtube.com/results?search_type=videos&search;_query=brad+warner+zen&search;_sort=video_date_uploaded

    All that comes up is your stuff. Really annoying. You're not brad warner. Brad warner is not even in the room, neither is Gudo Nishijima or Kodo Sawaki.

    Thank you!

    Dany

  35. roman
    roman May 16, 2012 at 1:48 pm | |

    Broken Yogi, of course no teacher can see for myself, that's exactly what Brad teaches, what Kodo Sawaki taught, that Dogen taught and that my teacher teaches, so thanks to them I can use my own eyes, my own ears, hands, etc. It was very difficult, if not impossible before I met these great teachers. Now I am freely myself.

  36. roman
    roman May 16, 2012 at 1:51 pm | |

    as for inflating Brad, Buddha Shakyamuni said something like / too lazy to find the quote/ "If you meet the true eacher, serve them the most delicious drinks and food, bring the best musicians, prostrate a thousand times in front of them, etc".

    In other words, Shakyamuni said that we should kiss up to true teachers. Do you follow that Buddha's advice?
    But maybe kissing up is too much, I think it is enough to say they are the right stuff and that they have realized the truth clearly without any doubts.

  37. Misterfit
    Misterfit May 16, 2012 at 6:35 pm | |

    Roman, thanks for understanding where I'm coming from. I'm glad someone sees what I'm saying. And I know that you're right, of course we can translate Dogen for the present day, and Shakyamuni Buddha as well, for that matter, but I have to admit, that seems pretty hard to do….and I guess it bothers me a bit that a lot of people seem to think that understanding the Buddha or Dogen in their own words is as easy as just quoting them. I don't think that there is a proper level of respect for the barrier that really is there for us as modern practitioners. Zazen, since it is beyond words, is the only truly clear transmission, free from any possibility of linguistic confusion. I've always been more impressed by action anyway. I'll never forget the moment that Shakyamuni Buddha really became real for me, and it wasn't from anything that was ever written about what he said…it was in a documentary where the guy shooting the film took the camera to this beautiful cave and ledge of rock in the wilderness and said, "This was the Buddha's favorite place to meditate. He loved to come here and sit for hours." It hit me like a true Dhamma Thunderbolt….The Buddha had affection for a place. The Buddha, this character from a novel that I had created in my mind from reading a bunch of old quotes was more than a character, he was a real man who loved a place. He was just like me. It was a pretty damn profound experience for me.

  38. Broken Yogi
    Broken Yogi May 16, 2012 at 9:49 pm | |

    Good luck with that, Roman. You'll need it.

  39. roman
    roman May 17, 2012 at 10:59 am | |

    misterfit, i hope I can still catch you here as this comments section is probably ending, at last, but I just wanted to give you a link to a site of my teacher where you can find interesting talks and texts about the things we discussed here and Mike is great at translating and interpreting Dogen into modern life and understanding
    http://www.dogensangha.org.uk/about.htm

  40. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 17, 2012 at 1:44 pm | |

    If you want to build a rocket to reach the stars…you start from the ground up.

    Each person has to build their own rocket.

    jason

  41. RougeBuddha
    RougeBuddha May 18, 2012 at 4:52 am | |

    Set the captives free,Brad!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.