rivers into islands

rivers into islands

Sunday, October 26, 2014


.    Akira Kasamatsu M.D. andTomio Hirai M.D.
Article first published online: 17 MAR 2008
DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-1819.1966.tb02646.x

Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences
Volume 20, Issue 4, pages 315–336, December 1966

It’s So Simple / It’s So Beautiful

It’s not za, not oryoki [with “just enough” special food or special bowl or fast speed of eating], not special clothes or okesa [robe] or rakusu, not a committed vow-entrance (jukai), not a name, not a way to enter and to exit zendo, not chants, not prostrations, not sutras—not hidden in process.

In Korea, 1989, at exquisite Bapchusa Temple in Sang-gi National Park, the big outdoor-standing Maitreya Buddha and shrines with seated forms covered in open-faced temples where offerings were made by lay people obscure what Siddhartha saw.

It’s so simple.

You may be looking out the window, and the glass disappears and the bamboo you were looking at is you.  That’s the physical sensation you have.
Your realization comes when you see the objective world and realize that it is part of you:  the birds singing, the trees, the mountains, the wind, the sky.  Its all part of you.  This is one realization of truth: You as subject realizes that the object is no other than you.  It’s so beautiful.

The body is the physical self, and when the physical self dies, we cannot see, we cannot hear, our feet can’t run, our hands can’t grasp.  But original mind is still here, and again original mind is the one that ahs been seeing, hearing, laughing, or crying all along.  I know that you still don’t believe me when I say this—no matter what the Dharma says, you find it difficult to believe—but why do you think this?
            ….we have approached with our dualistic, conditioned thinking. But the Dharma is not just a subject to think about.  It is something to directly experience that actualizes the natural radiance of our original mind.
Jakusho Kwong, No Beginning, No End

So simple, yet beyond conceptual: Experiences of “oneness” and conceptual freedom/fluid concepts are still very far away, and still the same old dilemmas and koans that read like puzzles rather than clear answers.  To say that it is simple is really in the sense that E=mc2 or the structure of DNA is simple.

So again and again, way back past the sutras and centuries of discovery, back to the deep source of the human being Siddartha, see what Siddhartha saw—different appearance for you, but the same enduring thing that changes everything.

What appears?

Words Cannot Say It

Is it “One Thing,” “All,” “Not Two,” “Limitless”?

Language remains conceptual/conditional, conventional so that it cannot describe that which cannot be labeled.

So, why bother with language if words cannot say it?

Still, if intentionally “turned,” language can point toward that which cannot be labeled:

·     Language can negate, saying not or without or no [i.e., not this,  no end, endless].

·     Language can challenge dualisms/polarities, saying “All things are it,” “This exists because that exists,” “It is inside and outside,” or, for example, that “It stands still and outruns all that are running.”

·     But perhaps in its clearest teaching form, language can skillfully link words that seem disparate: “the limitless is everyday” or “whole body mind seeing” [Dogen] or mix metaphors such as “see sound.”
[Negate, challenge dualisms, link terms: Adapted from lecture by Anantanand Rambachan, Professor of Religion, Philosophy and
Asian Studies at Saint Olaf College, 10/9/2014, Drake University]

Why bother to point toward that which cannot be labeled? 

That which cannot be labeled is not esoteric, not distant.  Suffering develops from the domination of polarity and dualism because it is not the real nature of the world.  It does not actualize who we are.

“Who we are” is inherent in the phenomena/the objective world, the everyday world/the relative world: the clouds and sky, the flower, the dewfall and rain, the snow and frost.  Mountains and oceans and clouds and flowers literally bring us into being, and so they are walking in each of our steps, they are dimensions of self.  We are actualized by the “ineffable” that is expressing the myriad things.

So, in any age, looking at a tree or a leaf or a river or a star, a “turning word” can point something that we can see but not say that is the real working essence of the self/world.
“Elephant” and “house” and “mountain”—“ same” or “different,” “One” or “Two” or “Not Two or “zero”?

Then, seeing elephant or house or mountain, what appears?

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Not Leaving Your Life

Not leaving your life,
Leaving your “self”: contextual, conceptual, provisional

Right here, unhidden,
 your true life.

The body of reality is independent, without location,
Whatever strikes the eye is none other than true awakening.
            Pao-chih (Xiujing)

            ineffable, noumenon/phenomenon=equal

            The body of reality is rarely met,
            and yet, only concealed by dreamlike conceptual discriminations.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Even Siddhartha Could Never Explain It

…all things have mutual identity
…all have interdependent origination.

Mountain, river, grass blade spider web, bridge:
not simply related, not simply part of the same thing,
not similar.  Rather, they are identical to each other in every respect.

The Buddha could never explain it.


It’s already your life.  The problem is that it is obscured, buried under layers of conditioning, under habitual ways of using our minds.

Since it cannot be explained,
You have to see it to actualize it.

So, What do you see?

[Italicized material from John Daido Loori, The Zen Of Creativity, bold mine]