Sangha Notes


Sangha notes for 12-11-17

A quote from Korean scholar Hee-Jin Kim concerning Dogen’s view of active Compassion:

“In Dogen’s view, things, events, relations were not just given, but were possibilities, projects and tasks that can be acted out, expressed, and understood as self-expressions and self-activities of the Buddha-nature. This did not imply a complacent acceptance of the given situation but required man’s strenuous efforts to transform and transfigure it. Dogen’s thought involved this element of transformation, which has been more often than not grossly neglected or dismissed by Dogen students.”


Sangha notes for 12-4-17

An except from “The Zen Teaching of Huang Po.”

“Q. Allowing that the enlightened man who achieves the cessation of thought is Buddha, would not an ignorant man, on ceasing to think conceptually, lose himself in oblivion?
A.There are no enlightened men and there are no ignorant men and there is no oblivion. Yet though basically everything is without objective existence, you must not come to think in terms of anything non- existent; and although things are not existent you must not form a concept of anything existing. For “existence” and “nonexistence” are both empirical concepts, no better than illusions.”


Sangha notes for 11/27/17

A excerpt from a Dharma talk given by Zen Master Dae Gak at Furnace Mountain in March, 2010:

“In the activity of friendship, which is sangha, one is fully supported by the activity of each other. This means not to take refuge in each other but to take refuge in the dharma itself. What the dharma is, or how to take refuge in the dharma is that the dharma is none other than your very life itself, the very activity of your life itself. Getting up in the morning, one of the things you have to do when you get up in the morning, if you sleep in a bed, is that you have to turn and put your feet on the ground. This is called morning kensho, feet on the ground kensho. If you had only one foot and a stub, then you would appreciate having two feet. But we take it for granted, to be able to get up, turn and put your feet on the ground. The activity of the dharma, which is the appreciation, is just that. The activity itself is the activity of the dharma. There is no place that you could find yourself, no circumstance in which you could find yourself, no activity that you re doing that isn’t the activity of the dharma.”


Sangha notes for 11/6/17

An except from The Zen Teachings of Huang Po:
“The One Mind alone is the Buddha, and there is no distinction between the Buddha and sentient beings, but sentient beings are attached to forms and so seek externally for Buddhahood. By their very seeking they lose it, for that is using the Buddha to seek for the Buddha and using mind to grasp Mind.”


Sangha notes for 10-30-17

An excerpt from The Eight Gates of Zen By John Daido Loori:
“Dogen uses the example of Hsueh-feng as tenzo at Te-shan’s monastery: One day Hsueh-feng was washing the rice. Te-shan said to him ‘Do you wash the sand away from the rice or the rice away from the sand?’ This is a teaching about duality – about the absolute and relative, good and bad, heaven and earth, man and woman. Dogen constantly addressed these dualities in terms of everyday affairs: rice and sand, purity and impurity. Hsueh-feng said ‘I wash both rice and sand away at the same time.’ Hsueh-feng shows a side of [the bowl]. ‘Then what will the assembly eat?’ Te-shang brings up the other side. Hsueh-feng covered the rice washing bowl with his body. Te-shan said, ‘Some day you will be a great teacher’ and left.”


Sangha notes for 10-23-17

An excerpt from “Nothing Special” by Charlotte Joko Beck:
“When we’re engaged in pure activity, we’re a presence, an awareness. But that’s all we are. And that doesn’t feel like anything. People feel that the so called enlightened state is flooded with emotional and loving feelings. But true love or compassion is simply to be nonseparate fron the object. Essentially, it’s a flow of activity in which we do not exist as a being separate from our activity.”


Sangha notes for 10-16-17

From The Zen Teaching of Huang Po, On the Transmission of Mind, translated by John Blofeld:
“All the qualities typified by the great Bodhisattvas are inherent in men and are not to be separated from the One Mind. Awake to it and it is there. You students of the way who do not awake to this in your own and are attached to appearances and who seek for something objective outside your minds, have all turned your backs on the Way.”


Sangha notes for 10-2-17

We discussed the differences between approaches to spirituality based on the Old Testament vs Buddhist teachings and vows.
Here is one version of Buddhism’s Four Great Vows:
“However innumerable sentient beings are; I vow to save them.
However inexhaustible the passions are; I vow to extinguish them.
However immeasurable the Dharmas are; I vow to study them.
However incomparable the Buddha-truth is; I vow to attain it.”