2012.07.29-serial.00138

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SO-00138
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Other comments? Please. I've heard, I feel I've heard for a long time, and I also was born in 1948. Oh, really? But concerning the vow, which is so important to me, it feels as if you're not choosing a vow, but the vow chose you in some way. There's this vowing, it's not even an object, For me, anyway. You see, more than I'm vowing to save all beings, there's like, I'm vowing. And I was wondering if you could speak to that. I think, I feel, I felt the same way. When I first read Uchiyama Roshi's book, my teacher's book, I was 17. I knew nothing about Zen or Buddhism. But somehow, I felt I was sucked into that way. I couldn't resist, even though I don't understand what is this.

[01:08]

And when I was ordained, when I was ordained, I was a university student, and I wanted to quit the school. But Uchiyamuro asked or encouraged me to finish the school and come to Hantaiji. So, I went back to Komazawa University, and after graduation, I started to practice with my teacher. At that time, my teacher asked me to study English, and I'm not interested in studying English at all. But, you know, General Schultz That was early 70s. Many Westerners came to Kyoto to practice Zazen, Atantaiji. And Uchiyama Roshi wanted to explain what the meaning of this very simple practice.

[02:17]

But he didn't speak any Western language. But he had some American students who could speak Japanese. But he wanted to have some Japanese people who have knowledge about Buddhism and then could translate for him. That's why he asked a few of his disciples to go to English school. And even though I was not interested in English at all, I never, I didn't speak English at all when I finished university. But somehow I couldn't say no. That was my problem. And actually the English school in Osaka was run by one of Suzuki Roshi's students. What's his name? Graham Petty.

[03:20]

So that was a connection between me and Suzuki Roshi's lineage. So, yeah, I felt, you know, this is not my desire. This is not what I wanted. But somehow I was kind of led towards that direction. So vow is not something I make my determination. But vow, I think I felt by, followed by vow. Not my personal vow, but by vow, Buddha's vow, and my teacher's vow. Is this answer to your question? Please. My teacher retired from Antaji when he was 63.

[04:38]

He was a physically very weak person. He lived with TB for 50 years. So he couldn't continue to We are teacher at a monastery. So he retired in 1975. At that time, he asked three of his disciples who went to the English school, come to United States. Because there was one American woman who lived in Northampton, Massachusetts, visited Antigua. And she asked Uchang Roshi to come to America. but because he couldn't come, so he sent first one of my elder Dharma brothers, and who first stayed with that woman, but his practice was kind of too much for her. He didn't expect, you know, sit 15 minutes a period for 14 periods a day for five days.

[05:48]

Sesshin Atantaiji. So, in the beginning, probably the first day of the Sesshin, they had the lady escape from her house. So, she separated from that woman and started to live with several young Americans, so-called hippies. rent a house in Northampton. And that is the origin of Pioneer Gware Zendo. And he sat with that group of people for three and a half years. And he started 100-day session. With anti schedule, 14 hours a day. And after 30 days, his body was So he returned.

[06:50]

But after, his name was Shojo-san. Before he went to Massachusetts, he stopped by at San Francisco Dental Center and visited Asahara and met Suzuki Roshi also. That was 1970. But after Shojo-san went back to Kyoto, the group continued to practice. So Uchiyama Roshi asked those three of us to join the group. And the first person who joined the group was Koshi-san. And Steve Yenick went to Massachusetts with that person, one year before me and another person. And they thought, you know, to pay a house rent each month is a kind of waste. So they wanted to buy a property and build a zendo in the mountains, in the woods, in the forest.

[08:00]

So they found a very cheap land. I mean, the owner of the land, the property, was interested in Zen and meditation practice. So she sold her property, one acre, $400 a acre. So we bought five or six acres. As I said, you know, only thing we had are trees. That's how we started. Okay. Please. I don't know. Japanese, no, Chinese origin, original is is called Issai Kai Sange.

[09:21]

But Aval is a translation of Sange. To me, whether it's as dependence or Aval or atonement, whatever English word is the translation or equivalent of this Japanese or Chinese word Sange. And Sange is a very old practice from, I think, from the time of Buddha. So sange is a Buddhist term, Buddhist technical term. But when Japanese people translate Christian Bible, they use Buddhist word sange as an equivalent of Christian word repentance. That is a kind of a source of the confusion. So I use the word repentance as a translation of sange. But the meaning is not a Christian repentance.

[10:25]

The meaning of Buddhist practice of sange is, you know, when we became a Buddhist in India to become a monk, home leavers, they received the Vinaya precept. And lay Buddhists received five precepts. And twice a month, the night evening of full moon and new moon days, they had a kind of gathering. And the leader of the Sangha, besides all those precepts and When someone thought they did something, some mistakes against those precepts, they had to speak up. That is the origin or meaning of sange. That means we receive the precept, then we take a vow to follow the precept, and yet sometimes

[11:33]

Intentionally or not intentionally, we make many different kinds of mistakes. This making mistake is against my intention or my vow. So by making repentance, we return to the right track. That is the main meaning of repentance in other Buddhist practice. So I'm not sure if this English word, avow, or atonement, or repent, or repentance, can convey that meaning. So in the book, Living by Vow, I try to explain the original meaning with whichever translation we use in English. So I don't really know what a vow means. I think as the English word allows me to, how can I say, accept, you know, I did such and such unforesome deed.

[12:42]

But not... Pardon? Promise? Promise not to do it again? Vow means promise, yeah. Making a pledge. Is that your question? Acknowledge, yeah, about his acknowledge. Right? That's correct? But it's not only acknowledge. In the case of sange, we accept and speak up and renew our vow and determine not to do the same mistake again.

[13:47]

So just a vow is not enough, I think. Please. If we understand the vow is a promise, it's a... Yeah, it's a commitment and promise, but if we think, you know, those we make commitment about to fulfill all those four vows, then we are strange. Or the vows are strange. I don't think those vows are something we can accomplish. So these are really endless vows. There's no time we can freely accomplish. But that means we have no goal.

[14:53]

If we think there's no, there's some time, there's a goal we can reach to fulfill all those four versatile vows, I think we have kind of a fantasy. It's like, to me, it's like ladling the water from the ocean, one by one, to dry up the ocean. When we bow, because beings are numberless, and delusion are inexhaustible. So there's no time we can completely drain the ocean up. But somehow we, as a practice, water from the ocean one by one at the moment. And we need to do it endlessly. moment by moment, day after day, in each situation, try to do things based on being pulled by this vow.

[16:05]

So, Sawakiroshi said, Sawakiroshi, my teacher's teacher, said, we are not practicing to attain enlightenment or awakening, but we are practicing being pulled around by enlightenment. Being dragged around by enlightenment. So enlightenment is something we can attain or accomplish. I think vow is the same. But we are pulled by our bodhisattva vows and practice day after day, moment by moment. If we're not to strive for personal liberation, but to help others, how can we lead someone to a place we don't know?

[17:13]

That's a good question. Uchiyama Roshi said, you know, we make mistakes because of our delusion or some mistaken understanding. Those mistakes we have done is capital money, the money to fund, to open the business. So those unwholesome karma we have done before is a capital fund to open business as a Bodhisattva. That means because we made mistakes and somehow When we know how to fix it, or how to be free from it, how to get out of that difficult condition, then we can help others. So, in order to help others, we need to make mistakes. Otherwise, we don't know how to get out of being free from mistakes.

[18:21]

But in order to do so, we have to be free from mistakes. That means we have to learn, through making mistakes, how to fix the mistake. And it's not a matter of steps. First we make a mistake, then we find a method to fix the mistake, then we take a vow and help others. But those three should be each moment. That is our problem, I think. So we still make mistakes. And we try to find a way how to fix the mistake, how to change the situation made by my mistake. Then we learn something. Then when we find someone is in the same situation, difficult situation,

[19:25]

we can help that person in that situation. So our process of practice, of making mistakes, fixing my own mistake, and helping others at the same time. Does it make sense? Okay. Please. I appreciate you're bringing the Jataka tales again. And I was, I've been thinking that one delusion I have is I understand a little bit the idea of Bodhisattva vow, but in my mind I feel like there's not so much separation or difference between Buddha and Bodhisattva. So I wonder why or how Are you going to stay for Genzo-e?

[20:28]

Yes. That's one of the very important points of Yoibutsu-yobutsu. Is Bodhisattva's and Buddha's same or different? That is... I can't tell you the answer. Dogen said both Buddha's and Bodhisattva's are the same. And another chapter of Shogun Genda, he said, different. So don't trust Genda. Please. So in your talk, thank you for your talk. You said that, I think you said that there's a relationship between the Jatakas and Sambhogakaya. And I wonder if you could say more about that. Well, I don't think there is a direct relation between Jātaka tales and the Sambhogakāyā.

[21:30]

Sambhogakāyā, the idea or concept of Sambhogakāyā was made in Mahāyāna Buddhism. Originally, before Mahāyāna, there were two bodies or two kāyās. Right after Shakyamuni died, they started to think, what is Buddha? And even though Shakyamuni as a person died, his enlightenment or awakening is still there in the form of his teaching. His teaching is Dharma. So originally there are Rūpakayā and Dharmakaya. But in Mahayana, there is, people started to think, not only in this world, in this world, after Shakyamuni died, passed away, until Maitreya Buddha appeared, there's no Buddha.

[22:42]

But Mahayana Buddhist studies think this is not only the world. There are many worlds within this universe, and in each world there must be Buddha. And those Buddhas, like Amitabha, and many other Buddhas, are called Sambhogakaya. That means they became Buddha as a result of many practices within many lifetimes. And that idea, I think, came from not only Jataka, but that story. Sumedha took a vow to become Buddha, and after many lifetimes he became Shakyamuni. So the idea of Sambhogakaya and this story, I think, is connected. At least one of the sources of that idea of Sambhogakaya.

[23:43]

That is my guess, so don't trust me. There's no evidence. Okay? Can we take the vow to save all beings we don't like all beings? Well, puppies like and dislike. That means you save only people you like? Or just to take the vow, I don't know if I'm saving anyone, but just to take the vow, sometimes I feel like the vows too much because my preference is too strong and anger comes up and my preference is challenged. Well, you know, those four conceptual vows, the first of them is being sunambulist, we vow to save our freedom. But as I said, those four vows are really endless vows.

[24:49]

There's no time we can accomplish. But to walk the path of bodhisattva, we need to make our personal vow. That is something we can actually achieve or fulfill within this lifetime with this conditioned body and mind. So there's no time we can save all beings. To me it's really difficult even to help my children. Sometimes I feel it's too much to have responsibility to raise children as good people. And I don't feel I can do the same thing for other people's children. So our ability is really conditioned, and I also have like and dislike, and also my ability has limitations.

[26:02]

You know, what I can offer to help others is only my experience as a Zen practitioner and my understanding of Dharma. That is the only thing I can do. So that is my vow, and my vow is to share my experience, Zazen experience, and my knowledge I studied in Japan, share them with American people, to not only American, but Western people, That is the only thing I can do with this conditioned body and mind. So I try to do my best, but my work is not so extensive, so I have to, again, I have to make repentance.

[27:06]

Because our ability is repentance and our practice is incomplete, needs to be aware of incompleteness. And that is repentance, one of the meanings of repentance. So, it's a kind of natural. You want to help people you like, and you don't want to help people you don't like. But you need to be aware of that limitation. If you have that limitation, and you have a heart of repentance, then that is part of endless power. Does it make sense? Please.

[28:11]

Do I say we? We use numbers without I vowel. I think I. But I think I means we. Means not only me. I'm sorry. Please. What if the nature of impermanence, the endless nature of existence is hinted at by beings are numberless, delicious or inexhaustible. So, I'm considering that that would lead me to feel in every moment that I am given a gift. In every moment I'm called moment by moment.

[29:25]

So I'm considering turning around and devalue the whole, something that's solid, something that's permanent, a challenge or a building, a path to my personal freedom and liberation. Well, I think that is the only thing we can do, moment by moment. We try to live being with all beings, walk together with all beings, moment by moment, and I feel I isolate myself from other beings.

[30:27]

I try to open up by letting go of my self-centered idea and keep walking. I think that is the only kind of actual way we can walk. I think. Thank you. The original Chinese or Japanese sentence or vow is, bon no mu jin se gan dan. Dan literally means cut off. But whenever we cut off, it's sprout again.

[31:31]

So we have to cut off each moment. So this is also endless vow, I think. Please. I was thinking about this question back here about saving. And I myself have some difficulty with saving, maybe even creating. I was thinking Buddha's practice brought him to awakening. And he said, I awake with all beings. And I, in myself, sometimes I say I bow. I think the origin of that idea that we awake with all beings came from I think this is a Zen expression.

[32:51]

I think it's a Zen expression because I don't know the origin in the sutras. But when Buddha awakened, when he was sitting under the Bodhi tree, Buddha said, the mountains, rivers, and great earth awakened at the same time, simultaneously with me. That is the origin. And when Dogen Zenji described his zazen in Jeju Zanmai, he said, when we sit with this upright posture displaying Buddha mudra, this entire universe and each and every beings in the universe become enlightened simultaneously. So that is, I think, the source of The idea that we are awake with all beings. But when we are deluded, we are deluded with all beings. Is the actual translation, save or free?

[34:01]

Oh, for the Vajrayana, shujo, muhen, seigan, dou. Dou actually means crossover. you know, the river between samsara and nirvana. This shore of samsara and the other shore of nirvana. And do means to cross over. That means bodhisattva is like a boatman to help beings cross over this river and allow people to enter nirvana. So this do is this crossing over. And do is also used as a translation of paramita. Paramita also means crossing over. So this means we vow to help other beings to cross over this river between samsara and nirvana. That's actually the meaning of whether safe or free.

[35:04]

Okay? Please. I wondered, you said in your story that you needed to escape, and then you felt like you were free, and then you were able to come back and be a teacher. Do you know that you had some experience? Do you think that you could have gotten to that end place without having to leave where you were? Did you make convoys in Japan? I think it stays with me, but I need to be free from that awakening to engage in what I'm doing right now. So it's kind of a back and forth.

[36:05]

Sometimes I'm free, sometimes I'm engaged with something, so I cannot be free and I give up freedom. to really focus on what I'm doing. So, that is kind of an important point in Dogen's teaching. You know, in Shobo Genzo Daigo, or Great Awakening, or Great Realization, or Great Enlightenment, Dogen said, that's okay to have great enlightenment or realization, but we need to return to the illusion. to work within samsara. So we need to be free from enlightenment or awakening or freedom to work with all beings. Does it make sense? Maybe not.

[37:09]

She's asking if you have to move to another country to get freedom. Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't understand your question. Well, it's up to that condition. In my case, my teacher said you should go. I couldn't say no. So I came, but even if I stayed, even if I could say no and I stayed in Japan, I think I could do the same thing with the same spirit in different ways. So, whether you stay or you go, you can do. Please. How do you translate the last line of the quote? Butsudo, Mujo, Seigan, Jō. Literal translation is Buddha's way. Butsudo is Buddha's way.

[38:23]

Mujo is unsurpassable or unsurpassable. Mujo means nothing beyond. So it's the highest. So Butsudo, Mujo, Seigan is a vow to... Jō is complete, or achieve, or accomplish, or one of the translations is realized. I've always felt uncomfortable with the translation. I don't know how I got involved with it. It came up with, I think in 72, Yeah, to become Buddha way is kind of strange to me also. In this case, Buddha way, this way, or Tao, means Anuttara Samyaksa's body, so awakening. So Buddha's awakening is unsurpassable. And we vow to accomplish or realize it.

[39:29]

To become Buddha's awakening means kind of strange to me. I think the reason it became it is because I listed the meaning of the word. And that word can mean to become. So I think it might have been Richard Baker. I'm not sure who it was, but I was a little distressed by it. or to accomplish, to be successful, and it can be to become also. But it's not a Buddhist term, Buddhist meaning, to become. So as a translation, I don't like to become so much. To become is the same, I think. Because it's unsurpassable, there's no way we can accomplish.

[40:46]

That is the meaning, actually. And yet we try. I think that is the meaning of this vow. So it's okay to use, like, to accomplish or achieve, because we know it's not possible. That is why our practice is really endless. It's more clearly not possible and more clearly not a goal in the way like accomplish or achieve. It's kind of like I'm over here and I can do 10 steps and then I'll be over there. And become is a little less, seems less tangible and more like in the body. So I found. Okay. That's fine. Please? Sometimes I hear jo and do. It seems like they're used interchangeably sometimes.

[41:48]

I don't, I can't remember our vow, but I think... Do and jo. Do or jo. Jo? Jo. Would you like to hear something? Say jo? Yeah, sure. Butsu, do, mu, jo, se, gan, jo. It's never be do. Okay? Please? I'm studying the Opening the Hand of Thought and your teacher said that gain is delusion and loss is enlightenment. Can you say something more about that? That's a very famous teaching of, not my teacher, but that is Sawaki Kodo Roshi's teaching. That is a very famous expression. When we gain, there is something we want, and we gain, and we think, this becomes my possession.

[42:51]

To do in that way, to do things as something I want, and when I get it, it becomes mine. You know, if that is something that is possible, but if this is about enlightenment, that is a problem. But we commonly think that the goal or object of our practice is gaining enlightenment. But what Sādhāgiri is saying is, if we practice With this desire to attain enlightenment, to get it and make it my own, then Sakyong said, that is delusion. But when we open our hand, that means we lose enlightenment. Lose enlightenment means become free from enlightenment.

[43:56]

We don't practice to attain something, to get something, but we just practice. So we lose. That means we gain nothing. And this gaining nothing is Sawaki Roshi's translation to the modern Japanese from Dogen Zenji's expression, Fukatoku, or Mushotoku. Mushotoku also appeared in the Heart Sutra, nothing to gain. Because as a reality, nothing to gain, I try not to gain. That is, you know, when we practice to gain something, that is delusion. But when we open our hand and just practice without any expectation, that is what Dogen Zenji meant when he said, just sitting or shikan taza. So, that expression, sagakiroshi, is kind of a unique translation into modern Japanese of just sitting, shikan kaza, just sit.

[45:10]

Then we lose ourselves, actually. Losing ourselves means become free from our self-clinging. That's why I made that kind of a strange English expression. You know, opening the hand of thought is my translation of Jam Roshi's Japanese expression, omoi no tebanashi. Omoi is thought, and te is hand, and hanasu is open. So this is very literal translation of Jam Roshi's Japanese expression. And more kind of common English, letting go of thought, is more common expression.

[46:21]

But to me it's different. letting go of thought doesn't convey the meaning of what Uchiyamura-shi is saying. So I tried to keep the very kind of a strange English expression, but no American liked that expression. You know, first I worked with Arthur Bleverman. Arthur Bleverman made some translation. and wrote about Sawati Roshi and Uchiyama Roshi. First, he saw this expression, opening the hand of thought. He didn't like it. He said, this is not English. And the next person was Tom Wright. I worked with Tom Wright on translating opening the hand of thought, he didn't like that expression either. So we tried to eliminate all that expression.

[47:26]

The first American person who liked that expression was a person from Minneapolis, and she asked Tom to keep at least one chapter. So we kept that opening the hand of thought only one section. And Jisho Wana, who edited the final manuscript, liked that expression, opening the hand of thought. That fight became the title of the book. So probably if those two women didn't read the manuscript, the title of the book might be different. And now people like it. It's kind of strange. Okay. Any other questions?

[48:29]

Okay, thank you very much.

[48:31]