Saturday 8 March 2014

"Eihei Dogen Dharma;"

"Eihei Dogen Dharma;"

It may seem strange that whilst on Holiday,
a time of celebration and relaxation, I reproduce a Dharma about death.

I wrote this Dharma Xmas time 2012.
We were on holiday in Japan.
A most Joyous and Enlightening time.

Actually, this Dharma is about life and death and the delusion that surrounds both life and death.

We celebrated New Year's Eve, in Japan, at Jodi's dads ski lodge in Ishiuchi just north of the birthplace of Eihei Dogen, the founder of the Soto school of Zen Buddhism.

I had just finished writing a story about Eihei Dogen and that inspired me to go to a Temple for Zazen.

We decided to visit a very old temple, that was a school for the children of the Samurai.

We took a wrong turn and found Kikoji Temple.

We were made most welcome by Hidenobu Noguchi the Soto Priest in charge.

The first thing I discussed with this loverly man was
Eihei Dogen (1200-1253) the founder of his order, who lived some eight hundred years ago.

He then told me the great man travelled in this area to teach, actually stayed here and that Kikoji Temple is over eight hundred years old and is dedicated to Dogen.

The Priest then offered the following;

"Dogen argued that we possess everything we need in life when we are born, including being enlightened."

Dogen said;
"As I study both the exoteric and the esoteric schools of Buddhism, they maintain that human beings are endowed with Dharma-nature by birth.

If this is the case, why did the Buddhas of all ages — undoubtedly in possession of enlightenment — find it necessary to seek enlightenment and engage in spiritual practice?"

When Dogen studied in China under Tiantong Rujing,(1162-1228)
Dōgen realized liberation of body and mind upon hearing the master say,
"Cast off body and mind."

This phrase would continue to have great importance to Dōgen throughout his life, and can be found scattered throughout his writings, as—for example—in this famous section of his "GenjoKoan"

"To study the Way is to study the self.
To study the self is to forget the self.
To forget the self is to be enlightened by all things of the universe.
To be enlightened by all things of the universe is to cast off the body and mind of the self, as well as those of others.
Even the traces of enlightenment are wiped out, and life with traceless enlightenment goes on forever and ever."

The following section of his GenjoKoen shows us Dogen's profound thinking regarding life and death;

"Firewood turns into ash and does not turn into firewood again.
Do not suppose that ash is after and firewood before.
We must realize that firewood is in a state of being firewood and it has its before and its after...
Just as firewood does not become firewood again after it is ash, so after one's death one does not become alive again.
So life does not become death in an unqualified fact of the Buddha dharma....
Life is a period of itself.
Death is a period of itself.
They are like winter and spring.
We do not think winter becomes spring or that spring becomes winter. Nor do we say that spring becomes summer."
"The Genjo Koan"

This Dogen Koan is most profound as it deals with one of the most emotional sufferings of humanity.

What happens after death?
How is life formed, and is it reincarnated life?
In other words;
Do we come back!

Please comment......

May you all be guarded and guided by following the Dharma and may the Buddha bless you.

With Metta

Sent from my iPhone and
With love