July 10th, 2005, Serial No. 07015

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Okay, well, we'll try and stop it.
Why don't you just start the chant and we'll... I mean at the end.
Yes, yeah.
Linda, what time is it now, Tasa, her time?
It's 3.32.
Can we start?
and surpass penetrating and perfect karma is rarely met with even a hundred thousand million kalpas.
Having it to see and listen to, to remember and accept, I vow to taste the truth of the Tathagata's words.
Good afternoon.
So today and tomorrow and the next day, I'm going to be talking about buddha nature and Dogen's teaching of buddha nature.
But more than the teaching of buddha nature, I want to talk about the practice of buddha nature as a, not as a philosophy or teaching, but as a kind of mode of expression and a kind of practice that we can do.
So I'd like to do this informally, so please just feel free to raise your hand, ask questions in the middle.
There's a bunch of material I want to present, but we can, if you have questions about anything else, about Dogan's extensive record, or about Buddha nature, or about how come the Giants are a flop this year, whatever, you know, feel free to bring that up.
So I want to start with a
one of the short dharma hall discourses from Dogen's extensive record, in which he said, all Tathagatas are without Buddha nature, but at the same time, previously, they have fully accomplished true awakening.
Bodhisattva studying the way should know how buddha nature produces the conditions for buddha nature.
So that was the entirety of his discourse to his monks that day.
That's page 395.
So again, all Tathagatas or all buddhas are without buddha nature, have no buddha nature.
But at the same time, previously they have fully accomplished true awakening.
Bodhisattvas studying the way should know how buddha nature produces the conditions for buddha nature.
So that's kind of mysterious.
I want to focus on this last part.
Bodhisattva studying the way, by definition, in some sense, that's all of us.
Once you start doing Zen practice, you're involved in the Bodhisattva way and Bodhisattva practice.
How can something produce conditions for itself?
There's something mysterious about this and yet this is the point of our practice.
How does our expression of buddha nature encourage buddha nature?
How can buddha nature produce conditions that will support buddha nature?
So I just wanted to say that to start.
I want to go back and just introduce the teaching and probably some of you know these basic teachings but the basic idea of buddha nature
According to some versions of the Mahayana, it goes back to the enlightenment of the Buddha himself.
So there are various accounts of that.
There's a case in the Book of Serenity which quotes the Avatamsaka Sutra that Buddha, when he awakened, said, now I see that all sentient beings everywhere fully possess the wisdom and virtues of the awakened ones.
However, because of their false conceptions and attachments, they don't realize it.
So this is the basic idea of Buddha nature, that all such beings completely are endowed with the wisdom and virtue of the awakened ones from the beginning.
However, because of our false conceptions and attachments, we don't realize it.
So the Buddha realized this,
And this is like Dogen saying in the, in Bhandawa, that when one person fully expresses Buddha mudra, all space becomes enlightened.
This is the part of Buddhism that is really radical and mystical, that all beings awaken with the Buddha, that all of reality awakens with the Buddha.
But the Buddha said, seeing this, that
How wonderful, how is it that these beings all have the wisdom of the enlightened ones, yet in their folly and delusion don't know it or see it.
I should teach them the right path to make them abandon illusion and attachment forever, so that they can perceive the vast wisdom of the awakened ones within their own bodies and be no different from the Buddhas.
So, in a way, this realization of the Buddha nature of everyone and everything is what Buddhas realize when they awaken, and the work of Buddhas is simply to help everyone enter into the path to expressing this themselves.
There are other, just to mention Hongzhi's expression of the same thing from cultivating the empty field.
He says, the field of boundless emptiness is what exists from the very beginning.
You must purify, cure, grind down, or brush away all the tendencies you have fabricated into apparent habits.
So we're actually born with karmic tendencies, and out of these we have what he calls apparent habits.
He says, once you do that, you can reside in the clear circle of brightness.
In another part, I may come back to that, but another expression of that is... He says, amid living beings is the original place of nirvana.
So from the point of view of early Buddhism, this is quite radical, that it's right amid sentient beings, amid deluded beings, is where nirvana is fundamentally.
And then he says, how amazing it is that all people have this but cannot polish it into bright clarity.
In darkness, unawakened, they make foolishness cover their wisdom and overflow.
One remembrance of illumination can break through and leap out of the dust of kelpas.
So how do we together
open up our practice and expression of Buddha nature.
So this is one fundamental tradition of how we talk about the meaning of zazen and the meaning of our practice.
So any questions or comments about that?
Is it self-power?
What practice is?
The practice is beyond self-power or other power.
Beyond either self-power or other power.
So we can't do it ourself because we're connected with all other selves.
And we can't do it dependent on just another because we are ourself.
So it's Buddha power.
Even though at one point Dogen says sentient beings cannot realize Buddha.
Still, Buddha nature is... Well, Buddha nature is not a thing, first of all.
Buddha nature is kind of how things is.
So how we express that is something that comes, that grows out of practice.
But that's actually the question.
That's, that's... Can you elaborate on that?
Same thing you were just saying about what buddhanature is.
Well, buddhanature produces conditions for buddhanature, but that's what we have to find and express.
what buddha nature is what buddha nature buddha nature is the buddha nature is not a thing first of all buddha so um yeah can you hear me in the back
Okay, so Buddha nature is the way things is, is what I said.
Buddha nature is not some philosophy that you have to understand.
So this is not about understanding.
Well, maybe I can jump around the mandala of what I want to talk about here and say that, but David has something to say first.
I mean, you know, have you ever read Brian Victoria saying, he's on this trip, there's no Buddha nature and this is a false teaching?
That's actually, that comes from the, not Brian Victoria, but from the critical Buddhist people in Japan.
There's actually two Japanese Soto scholars.
Yeah, yeah.
So, if you think buddhanature is something, then that's a kind of self.
I actually disagree with their position, which is that all of East Asian Buddhism, because of Tathagatagarbha and buddhanature theory, is not authentic buddhism, because they're defining authentic buddhism in terms of anatman, non-self.
So, buddhanature is not a self, but it sounds like it.
We can talk about it that way.
So, one of the things that we have to say about buddhanature is that it's not a thing.
So, maybe let me jump into Dogen's buddhanature essay and do just the first little section of that, say a little bit about that, and that may help, and then we'll come back to that question.
So this, I'm not going to try and even attempt to go through this whole essay, but there's one of Doge's most important essays, it's called Bushō or Buddha Nature, and he talks about it.
and probably a lot of you have heard of this first part where he quotes the Mahaparinirvana Sutra, one of the most important Mahayana Sutras, that says, the usual reading of which is, all sentient beings, without exception, have the Buddha nature, Tathagata abides forever without change.
That's the conventional Buddhist reading of it.
Dogen turns around, the Japanese is Issei Shujo, that's all
sentient beings, shitsu-u busho.
Shitsu-u can be, without exception, have.
The u is the same as arimasu, to have, but it also means existence as opposed to non-existence.
So that statement, all sentient beings without exception have the Buddha nature, Tathagata abides forever without change.
is a problem to read it that way and that's why Dogen re-read it as all sentient beings whole being buddha nature or all sentient beings completely are buddha nature and I would gloss that as all sentient beings in our completeness buddha nature so
I don't know why each of you sits asan, but for me, if I had to say one answer to that, it would be just because when I do, I have this sense of this possibility of wholeness, that it's okay to actually be in this body and mind in this world.
that sense of wholeness is what buddha nature is about.
But buddha nature is not some thing that you can have.
So if you think about it that way, then the critical buddhist people are, you know, are right that then that's making a thing out of it.
And Dogen is very careful to un-thingify it, that all sentient beings complete being buddha nature, or completely are buddha nature, in our completeness, in our wholeheartedness, in our
in the way in which we are totally connected with all other selves and self-others, buddhanature.
This is, it's hard with our, not even with our English, but even with Chinese grammar, not to think of this in terms of subject and object, and that there's a thing called buddha nature that we, you know, that if you figure that out, then that's the point of your practice, and that's not what it's about at all.
Buddha nature's already here.
The first time you sat down and sat upright and faced the wall and were willing to be present and breathe, buddha nature.
Complete being Buddha nature.
Yes Yeah, and but I wouldn't say that all beings are Buddha so
So, okay, part of this teaching of Buddha nature, there's another way to talk about it in Sanskrit, Tathagatagarbha.
This potentiality, the basic teaching is that all beings are endowed with this potential for awakening.
Buddha means just the awakened ones.
So we have the capacity to awaken.
That's the fundamental teaching.
Well, it changes.
In East Asia, it becomes radicalized to all things, all being, not just all people, not just even animals, not even just animals and plants.
But space itself, as Dogen says in one of his earliest writings, becomes enlightened.
So this is radically non-anthropomorphic or anthropocentric.
And yet, you know, as people, we have to look at it from the point of view of people.
I mean, most of us are people more or less most of the time.
So what is this?
So going back kind of historically into this idea of Buddha nature as this potentiality that we all have, and if in our practice we can get rid of our preconceptions and not get caught up in our preconceptions and our attachments, then we could
freely realized Buddha nature.
Well, okay, there's one, just some historical footnotes here.
One is that early in Indian and early Chinese Buddhism, there was this idea of achantikas.
How many of you have heard of achantikas?
Just to get a sense.
Oh, so those are according to the early orthodox Chinese Buddhism from Xuanzang, the guy who went to India with Monkey and brought back all of those sutras, the school that he started.
believed in Echanticus, that there were some beings who had no possibility of ever, in any future lifetime, ever awakening to Buddhahood, that they were just so hopelessly vile and unredeemably
unavailable to any seeds of Buddhahood, that they were just hopeless.
Now, some of you may be able to think of some people who you might think of that way.
So, it's a very commonly available idea that those kind of people over there, you know, well, they can't be Buddhists or realize enlightenment or whatever, but, you know, we can do it about dogs or we can do it about Iraqis or, you know, there's all kinds of ways we can say certain people are Achantikas.
So that was actually the orthodoxy in China, in early Chinese Buddhism.
Do any of you know about Daoxiang?
Daoxiang lived in the
400s or 500s, he actually studied with Kamarajiva, the great translator of sutras into Chinese.
Kamarajiva was kind of the Chinese Tom Cleary.
He translated a huge number of texts.
Daoxing was one of his students.
He helped translate the Lotus Sutra into many other sutras.
When he was a senior monk at a monastery, Daoxing said, there's no such thing as a Chantagas.
Everybody has this potential for Buddhahood.
And because that was a violation of the Achantaka theory, they excommunicated him.
They made him take off his robes and leave the monastery, because that was heresy, even though he was a very senior monk.
What sect was that?
That's in the early Yogacara school that Xuanzang started.
But they didn't have sects in the way we think of it now.
It was just, that was one of the major monasteries in China and so he was forced to leave the monastery.
And then just a couple years later, and he was in his 60s I think at the time, a couple years later they got the full translation of the Mahaparinirvana Sutra.
And it said very clearly, this sentence, all sentient beings without exception have the Buddha nature to talk and to advise forever without change.
So they had to let Daoxing come back and apologize.
And so it was fortunate that it happened very quickly.
And he said, no, I don't want to go back there.
And anyway, he did other things.
But anyway, so there is this idea that there's some people who have
and some people who don't have buddha nature.
But the way Dogen turns it, it's not a matter of that buddha nature is not something that you can have or get.
So again, buddha nature is this possibility of awakening that we actually experience in some way.
this potentiality of kindness and clarity that is available, that kind of grows out from under your Zabotan or Zafu.
That's the reason we practice in a sense.
But it's not something to get.
So there are various practices that we can do to encourage Buddha nature and encourage conditions for Buddha nature.
One of them is just to see
buddhanature and others.
This is a very basic Zen practice.
So one way would be just to think of people you already respect and see qualities that seem to you to be qualities that buddhanature might have and to actually appreciate them.
This is a very traditional practice.
So to see buddhanature in others.
to see buddha nature in yourself.
When you've done that a while, you might even take somebody who you might think is an achantika and see, you know, positive qualities that they might have.
So this seeing buddha nature in all beings is part of the practice of arousing conditions for buddha nature.
Questions or comments?
Buddha nature is this possibility of just meeting reality as it is right now and yet again as Buddha said we don't do that because we have attachments we have preconceptions we have inevitably it's not that that's bad it's just the way things are we have
human sense faculties, human intellectual faculties, human spiritual faculties.
So we can't see the fullness of the buddha nature that's all around us in the sound of the stream and in the air we're breathing together and so forth.
And yet buddha nature, all sentient beings complete being buddha nature.
So just to say that
All sentient beings, complete, is buddha nature.
Can you differentiate between buddha nature and buddha mind?
Buddha mind is that which is aware of buddha nature.
Buddha nature is... You know, we can differentiate.
I could differentiate the way I just did, but in a sense, buddha nature is beyond differentiation also.
buddha nature includes mind buddha nature includes non-mind unless you know so what do you mean by mind i don't know about that but um you know i mean the idea of a buddha mind comes up a lot i hear people throw that term around and um in my work i don't see it too often
I see more often Buddha, mind, seal.
Yeah, mind, seal, or the buddhas or something like that.
You're right.
But I don't see the actual Buddha mind too much.
Yeah, I don't either.
I think I have found it, but not too often.
But I hear it thrown around a lot.
I mean, I've heard it referred to a lot.
Zen centers and
to clarify anything about that?
Well, Dogen doesn't... I don't know that Dogen talks about Buddha mind.
Probably there's... he may use that phrase, but he does talk a lot about Buddha going beyond Buddha.
So that's actually Buddha.
I would say that's actually Buddha mind.
That any awareness of any expression of Buddha that
You have.
That's like the old Zen koan, if you see the Buddha, kill the Buddha.
If you see the Buddha in the road, kill the Buddha.
Buddha going beyond Buddha means that awakening is ongoing.
Buddha nature is not some thing that you have to get or figure out or understand.
Buddha nature is this kind of ongoing process.
So Buddha is only Buddha when Buddha goes beyond Buddha.
If the awakening that Buddha had 500 BC wasn't the end of his practice, it was in a sense the beginning of his practice.
He continued to do meditation every day, even after he became the Buddha.
We have this idea, I think this maybe comes from, I don't want to assume or project or whatever, but there may be this kind of consumerist idea of buddha nature and buddha mind.
That buddha nature and buddha mind is something we have to get.
And if you figure that out, if you understand buddha nature, then that's the point of our practice.
In fact, I'll jump to this.
One of the things I wanted to say, which is a little bit controversial, is
There's this idea that is popular in some branches of Japanese Zen and some branches of American Zen about Kensho.
Have you heard that phrase, Kensho?
Kensho means to see the nature.
It's an abbreviation for seeing Buddha nature.
And there are some branches of Zen where they emphasize very much that the point of practice is Kensho, to have some dramatic experience of seeing Buddha nature.
Seeing means also understanding, you know, really experientially getting it.
And I would say from the point of view of Dogen Zen and Tsuki Roshi Zen, the practice of Buddha nature is not Kensho but Genjo.
as in Genjo Koan, to manifest, to make real, to express.
So the point of our practice is not just to get some understanding of some idea about, some teaching about Buddha nature, or even to have some fancy experience or dramatic, flashy Kensho experience, or even to have some dull, unfancy experience of seeing Buddha nature.
The point is, how do we express it?
So in Genjo Koan, the Genjo of Genjo Koan means to manifest and make real.
And to me the practice of Buddha nature that Dogen is talking about in that when he says bodhisattvas studying the way should know how Buddha nature produces the conditions for Buddha nature.
The point of this Buddha nature teaching is for us to
develop our capacity for expressing and sharing Buddha nature.
It's not something to understand or figure out or experience by ourselves.
So it's actually an expressive practice.
There's a ceremonial side of zazen which, anyway, I kind of want to ask people, can I ask the Tenzo back there, why do you sit zazen?
Okay, that's expressing Buddha nature.
So her zazen cooks the rice so you can all eat.
So that's good.
That's what I'm talking about.
That's genjo busho instead of kensho busho.
Now, you know, I'm kind of being, I am, to criticize Kensho is controversial, and I think that actually people, there are, in the schools where they emphasize Kensho, ultimately they're also genjoing.
But just to emphasize the expressive part of it, we commune with Buddha nature in order to cook the rice.
Specifically, don't emphasize Kensho.
I don't know that he had to say it that way because I don't know that people around him were emphasizing Kensho.
He just said, just this is it.
Actually, his teacher said that.
He said, don't seek from outside.
But everywhere I see it, it now is me.
I'm not it.
That's Kensho.
Just this is it.
And then you ask, why do you sit Zazen?
That's what I'm curious to know.
How so?
Well, wouldn't sitting Zazen be an end in itself?
So Zazen cooks the rice.
Of course, then there's the side of it that we have to take responsibility for that.
So Zazen is not a passive practice.
It may look like we're just sitting there, you know, looking at the wall.
whatever we're doing, but zazen is an expressive practice.
We actually have to take responsibility for how buddha nature produces the conditions for buddha nature.
We say that we don't sit zazen to get something else.
Zazen is for itself, but it's not meaningless or purposeless.
the purpose of zazen is zazen and that expresses and that's to look and that is learning how we express buddha nature so the precepts are then about specific teachings about how to take on um genjoing buddha nature david yeah when andy asked uh mister
No, I mean, I was interested in what Tiger had to say about it.
I think there's more to it.
I could probably talk a little more about it.
I think it probably blew the mind yesterday.
But the question, what is mind, is the point.
Hongzhi, for example, and I can go into this talk, has particular instructions, practice instructions.
Hongzhi, in cultivating the empty field, has particular practice instructions for how to take care of our perception.
are seeing and hearing in the midst of zazen or in the midst of cooking the rice or whatever.
There are instructions about how to take care of mind, but ultimately, Buddha mind doesn't mean just human consciousness.
I mean, Dogen is extremely clear about that, that human consciousness is not the point, that human consciousness is this very limited vehicle.
And yet, through our human consciousness and through our expression,
of buddha nature in zazen and in all of our everyday activities, there is the expression of buddha nature.
So, if you talk about buddha mind, it kind of goes beyond consciousness.
Yeah, I think consciousness is one of those conduits.
Consciousness is one little part of mind, of buddha mind.
Buddha mind includes the sound of the stream.
Yeah, consciousness is one of those things
Well, so we can, I mean, the whole question of what is mind is, that's a huge other topic which we can go into, but...
You know I feel like we're like that question though is is Caught up in terminology.
What do we mean by mind, and I don't really care Yeah, but I met
Well, I think there's something in the teaching of Buddha nature that goes beyond just mind, however you talk about it, particularly in the way that Dogen talks about it as the mode of expression, the creative energy of Buddha mind.
Maybe I'll put it that way.
The Buddha nature is the possibility of sharing awakening together.
So there's a functionality to me about Buddha nature teaching that maybe is Buddha mind, I don't know, maybe you could translate it that way too.
I didn't say Buddha mind, I said mind.
Okay, well, but part of what I'm trying to say is that Buddha nature is beyond consciousness,
So that's fine.
If you want to mind Buddha nature, that's OK.
Oh, OK.
But I'm really interested in talking about Genjo Busho.
How do we actually express Buddha nature?
So again, this sounds like a kind of theoretical topic.
And I'm interested in helping us get it out of that a little bit into how do we actually support buddha nature?
This is about the precepts, this is about cooking the rice, this is about our understanding of maybe the ceremonial aspect of our zazen.
Zazen as a mode of celebrating buddha nature.
So we tend to think, I think most people when they first come to Zazen are looking for therapy in some way, or most Westerners, that we're looking for something to make us feel calmer, or maybe we're looking for something that's going to help us be more whatever.
But the way Buddha nature works, I think, is not that way.
That's kind of what I'm ... this Genjo side of Buddha nature.
So again, this question, this kind of challenge that Dogen offers, all Tathagatas are without Buddha nature.
Buddhas don't have Buddha nature.
Even God doesn't have Buddha nature.
All Tathagatas are without Buddha nature, but at the same time, previously they have fully accomplished true awakening.
this quality of Buddha nature, which is something we express, is the wholeness of our expression of Buddha.
And there's a kind of problem with talking about wholeness, too, complete being, because we might think that we're, oh, well, that period of zazen, I wasn't really completely into it, so that was like a half-hearted,
And in terms of Dogen's teaching of being time, he says that, kind of shifting it, he says a half-hearted Buddha nature is completely a half-hearted Buddha nature.
So there's a way in which Buddha nature just is.
And yet, can we, do we take it on?
So Bodhisattva studying the way, Dogen says, should know how Buddha nature produces the conditions for Buddha nature.
This how is very important.
How is it that we encourage each other or we are encouraged by each other to express Buddha nature?
This is, to me, where the practice is.
How is it that in your work in the kitchen, you're supporting the other people who are working in the kitchen or the people who are going to eat the food in their expression of Buddha nature that's going to help the people around them?
This dynamic practice of Buddha nature is, to me, what this teaching is about.
It's this quality of expression, this quality of aliveness and energy and vitality that is somewhere nearby around your sitting cushion.
It's around somewhere.
you know, we can't exactly measure it according to our human ideas of, you know, it might be that a sleepy period of zazen might be very encouraging to something.
So our usual ideas about what is Buddha nature and what is not Buddha nature are not Buddha nature.
And of course, Buddha nature isn't even a thing that we can define.
And yet this quality of, um,
producing the conditions for Buddha nature, of genjoing, of making real Buddha nature, is at the heart of our practice.
That's what I would like to talk about.
And let me jump to the next part of what Dogen says, because I think it adds something to this.
So this is related to Hongxue saying, right amid living beings, amid sentient beings, is the original place of nirvana.
In early Buddhism, they thought of nirvana as that which is the escape from hanging out with sentient beings, hanging out with deluded beings, hanging out with our own deluded mind.
Nirvana literally means cessation, extinction, getting out of here completely, just not having to deal with all the stuff.
But Hongshu says right in,
living beings, right amid living beings, is the original place of nirvana.
This is basic Mahayana teaching, basic Bodhisattva idea, that Bodhisattvas stay in the world of living beings.
even if you come to the mountains and do practice periods, that still your human consciousness and conditioning and attachment and complexes and psychology and family dynamics and all that stuff, you know, somewhere in the middle of the practice period might arise.
Or maybe right at the beginning of the practice period or, you know, maybe all through it.
It's not that we can't, the point of our practice is not escape.
Genjo in Buddha nature is about actually being right in the middle of this body mind, about not running away from ourselves.
So, in the next section of the Buddha nature essay, Dogen says, again, he kind of, excuse me?
we're not running away from ourselves.
So what selves are we not running away from?
The selves that we imagine, the selves that we've concocted, the selves that we've concocted with the help of, you know, lifetimes of karma and genetic karma and, you know, your grade school teachers and your parents and siblings and pet dogs and cats when you were a kid and, you know, whatever you got.
So we do have this illusion of a self.
Is there anybody here who cannot recite their social security number?
What country are you from?
Good for you, okay.
And Cecilia.
Okay, so the foreigners are free of that.
But those of us who are Americans, we all can recite our social security number.
So you have a self, okay?
I didn't know my social security number.
But now you do.
But also, the way I took, you think about getting away from stuff wasn't really the question itself.
It just meant getting away from the activity or this whatever it is.
This whatever it is.
This experience.
whatever it is, in past, future and present, yes.
Now that doesn't mean just passively accepting the way we think things is.
So sometimes we, you know, do something to cool off or whatever, you know.
There's a responsibility to take care of Buddha nature that you've all got, now that you've heard about this.
It's like, it's not that the Eno or the Tanto is going to take care of your practice for you.
You know, they might be very nice and want to, but they can't do that.
It seems to me there's a certain tension there, you know, this thing about we don't run, turn away or run away from ourselves.
Just letting the self stick to the death itself.
To study the way is to study the self.
To study the self is to forget the self.
That means study the self.
You don't try and forget the self.
Studying the self is itself forgetting the self.
If you try and forget the self, that's not studying the self, that's not studying the way.
Studying the self, really studying the self, not just analytically, therapeutically, but really feeling
how Buddha nature produces the conditions for Buddha nature, keeping looking at that how.
As you're sitting, I don't know if I should introduce this at Tassajara, but my favorite Zen mantra, which I feel, you know, Zen students would benefit from by using during Zazen is, goes, how does it feel?
So as you're sitting, feel what you're feeling.
That's studying the self in the way that Dogen is talking about.
To actually be present in your experience and don't have to go to try and jump to forgetting the self is not forgetting the self.
When you say how does it feel, I sort of think of a consonant, right?
I see what's happening.
Yeah, there's a way in which that's like Vipassana, but really feeling what you're feeling.
That means sensation, that means thinking, that means whatever.
It's really meeting just this.
So the next thing I was going to say, this is a perfect segue to the next section of what Dogen was going to say.
And I'll go over this tomorrow or the next day.
I'm kind of presenting the whole thing today.
And we can go further, too, the next couple of days.
But I'm kind of laying out a lot of the terrain today.
When you say tomorrow or the next day, do you mean you're going to be speaking at the same time for three days in a row?
I believe so.
Is that correct, Tosha?
I'm going to be here, same time, same place, tomorrow and the next day.
That's right.
And you're all welcome to come again and talk about this more and get into it more.
But the second section of this Buddha Nature essay, Dogen again rereads a passage from the Buddha.
He quotes the Buddha saying, if you wish to know the Buddha nature's meaning, you must contemplate temporal conditions.
If the time arrives, Buddha nature will manifest itself.
Now he's gonna totally reread that, but first of all, he says, if you wish to know the Buddha nature's meaning is not merely a question of knowing, it means also if you wish to practice it, if you wish to realize it, if you wish to expound it, or if you wish to forget it.
This expounding, practicing, realizing, forgetting, and including such other matters as mistaking it or not mistaking it are temporal conditions.
So this is turning it a little further.
Buddha nature is temporal conditions.
Buddha nature doesn't happen in some abstract realm.
Buddha nature is not an abstraction.
Buddha nature is not some
technical, philosophical, whatever that you have to figure out.
Buddha nature is in temporal conditions.
Someone contemplating or with something contemplated, it has no correspondence to right contemplation or false contemplation.
It's just contemplating.
Hence, it is not the self contemplating and it is not another person contemplating.
It is, look, temporal conditions.
It is the Buddha nature's emancipated suchness.
It is, look, Buddha, Buddha.
It is, look, nature, nature.
That's what Dogen says.
So he also says that people of past and present have read the words, if the time arrives to mean, await a future time when the Buddha nature might be manifested.
They think that if you continue your practice in such a way, the time of the Buddha nature's manifestation will come naturally.
Some of you might have that idea.
If you just log enough cushion time, if you just sit enough sessions, if you sit enough practice periods, eventually there will be Buddha nature.
That's not what it's about.
Dogen says, holding such a view, they return fruitlessly into the world's red dust and gaze vainly up at the non-Buddhists who hold that all comes about spontaneously as a matter of natural course.
So, I'm going to talk tomorrow or the next day about the nature side of Buddha nature.
Especially, I want to talk about that here at Tassajara and quote some of Hongshu about that, but it's natural.
Thank you.
Natural doesn't mean
Automatic and we tend to think that way.
I mean, it's possible to think that way there is that that's available That Buddha nature happens naturally.
Well, it does happen natural, but it doesn't mean that it happens kind of on its own So this is the side of responsibility There's actually it's actually next necessary to look at temporal conditions at these temporal conditions at just this at right now How does it feel?
And Dogen emphasizes that Buddhas don't wait for awakening.
Awakening is never something that's going to happen in the future.
The awakening in the future is only going to happen right now.
And the awakening in the past can only happen right now.
It didn't happen in the past.
So if Shakyamuni Buddha only awakened in the past, then there'd be no point in any of us being here at Tassajara.
But here we are.
So buddha nature is this expressive practice of celebrating buddha nature, of seeing how buddha nature produces conditions for buddha nature.
And the main way that Dogen retranslates that, he says, if the time arrives, means the time is already here and there can be no room to doubt it.
Even if you doubt that the time has arrived and thereby doubt the Buddha nature, you may do so, but then return the Buddha nature to me.
Return the Buddha nature to me.
Bring it back.
No, you don't have to think about buddhanature at all, but express it.
Or let buddhanature express you.
So, but even the idea of getting something out of zazen, let zazen get something out of you.
So our job in the responsibility, the precepts are about our taking on, allowing Buddha nature to express herself in our activity, in our taking responsibility for the world and for ourselves.
This is not our usual way of thinking about any activity.
Usually we think about our activities as to get something out of them.
That's our whole culture and our whole world and the whole human enterprises about teaching us how to take advantage of, you know, the available facilities and how to get something out of it.
And it's not that that's bad.
That's what human beings do.
That's the world of sentient beings that we live in.
So it's not that you shouldn't have that thought.
It's okay that you think that you have to think about buddha nature, but that's not buddha nature.
Buddha nature is that which expresses itself in your zazen regardless of whether or not you're thinking about buddha nature.
And enjoy allowing the Buddha nature to manifest.
But there's also this kind of, but the responsibility side of it is this turning it, this going beyond Buddha.
So as soon as you sit down, there's Buddha.
But are you going to hold on to that?
Or you could allow Buddha to reawaken.
So even like the Kensho teachers, like Hakuin, who started the whole Kensho thing in Japan.
Maybe he didn't completely start it, but he had many, many Kenshos.
So even if you think about it in terms of seeing Buddha nature, it's not that that happens once.
It's not that... If you figure out...
you know, what buddha nature means, then, you know, you, then you're done and you can leave Tassajara and, you know, go back to whatever.
Our practice, the nature of buddha nature is this going beyond buddha nature.
This ongoing creative expression of buddha nature, of how we, buddha nature can produce the conditions for buddha nature.
And then even if you're actually really fully doing that, you know, even if it's the host within the host and you're continuously engaging buddha nature and manifesting buddha nature and enjoying buddha nature and radiating buddha nature, your friend might have a problem.
So how are you going to help them to find their way to express Buddha nature?
So in guest season, you know, there's lots of people who come into Tassajara.
And I remember when I lived here, you know, sometimes
I confess that I sometimes felt a little irritated about all these strange guests coming in and longed for a practice period when I can just go and hang out in the zendo and not have to... I confess that there were times when I felt that way in the summers at Tassajara.
But actually, the only point of your practice is that you're sharing it with the guests.
Now there are also guests right on your cushion in a given period of zazen.
Somehow a guest shows up.
So buddha nature is the engagement in this process of creatively expressing buddha nature and sharing buddha nature.
So we're supposed to stop at 4.30.
I want to talk a lot more about this idea of contemplating temporal conditions as the time arrives, which is what's happening right now.
Right now, there's a time arriving.
There's always a time arriving.
There is always temporal conditions.
But it's in temporal conditions.
It's not somewhere else that we
that buddha nature is expressed.
So I want to talk more about that.
But one, just one of these short things that Dogen does that expresses that.
This is just a short four-line poem.
He says, the Buddha nature of time and season, causes and conditions is perfectly complete in past and future and in each moment.
Despite differences between merits gathered or layers of virtue, milk and cheese completely earn their names in their own times.
So we can, you know, it's possible with our human mind to calculate differences between merits gathered, between layers of virtue.
That's what our mind does.
That's what our consciousness does.
It's always calculating and assessing and measuring.
That's what human consciousness does.
But Dogen says, despite differences between merits gathered, layers of virtue, milk and cheese completely earn their names in their own times.
Cheese comes from milk, and we might think that cheese is better because that's the product of milk.
But actually, milk is milk, and cheese is cheese, and they completely earn their names in their own times.
So this is about this buddhanature happening in temporal conditions.
And I just have a minute or two, and one of the things I want to get to, I hope, is another short
one of these dharma hall discourses, which is related to buddha nature because, well, I sort of think of Tassajara and my time at Tassajara when I read this or when I translated it.
I'll just read it once, but it's number 434, for those of you who've seen the book, but it's a complete expression of our whole practice life.
It's pretty short.
It says, the family style of all Buddhas and ancestors is to first arouse the vow to save all living beings by removing suffering and providing joy.
Only this family style is inexhaustibly bright and clear.
In the lofty mountains, we see the moon for a long time.
As clouds clear, we first recognize the sky.
Cast loose down the precipice, the moonlight shares itself within the 10,000 forms.
Even when climbing up the bird's path, taking good care of yourself is spiritual power.
So please take good care of yourself.
And I apologize for giving you so much in one sitting, but we'll talk about it more tomorrow.
And I'll stay afterwards if people have questions.
In our intention,