Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Astus » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:19 pm

tomamundsen wrote:Brad just blogged about this topic again yesterday - http://suicidegirlsblog.com/blog/brad-w ... r-you-die/


Using the teaching of no-self to deny rebirth? That is not understanding the relationship between dependent origination and emptiness, thus falling into the nihilist interpretation. Not to mention that in Mahayana rebirth could not be any more obvious as the bodhisattva path itself goes through immeasurable number of lives.

Using the SotoZen-Net's glossary (underlines added),

bodhisattva (bosatsu 菩薩)
S. bodhisattva, literally "awakening" (bodhi) "being" (sattva). 1. An epithet for the Buddha Shakamuni in his former lives, before becoming a buddha. 2. Any sentient being on the path to buddhahood, which is described in Mahayana sutras as beginning with a vow to attain awakening for the sake of all living beings and not to pass into nirvana while any beings remain suffering in the round of birth and death. 3. Exalted beings who have advanced so far on the path to awakening as to be virtually equal to buddhas in their wisdom, compassion, and ability to help ordinary beings. High level bodhisattvas such as Kannon, Fugen, Miroku, and Jizō are worshipped and prayed to as savior deities.

birth and death (shōji生死)
S. sasāra. 1. The round (rinne 輪廻) of repeated deaths and births in different modes of sentient existence, conditioned by karma (actions and their results). 2. A continuous process of change taking place every instant, that is, "momentary birth and death" (setsuna shōji 刹那生死), conditioned by karma. 3. The entire life-span of a sentient being, from birth until death (ichigo shōji 一期生死).
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby dharmagoat » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:41 pm

Huseng wrote:The point though is that the Buddha and Dogen all believed in this post-mortem continuity called rebirth.

We have a record of what they taught, not what they believed. It is important not to confuse the two.
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby pueraeternus » Thu Jul 12, 2012 11:50 pm

Simon E. wrote:I respect your view. My interest as a Dzogchen student is primarily in inclusivity. Or perhaps non exclusivity. :smile: Everyone is welcome aboard. Whatever model of reality they favour.
:namaste:


As a Dzogchen practitioner myself, my interest is primarily vidya and jnana, hence it is important to see things as they really are. Note that though there is disagreement, it does not mean that there is disrespect.
If you believe certain words, you believe their hidden arguments. When you believe something is right or wrong, true of false, you believe the assumptions in the words which express the arguments. Such assumptions are often full of holes, but remain most precious to the convinced.

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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby pueraeternus » Thu Jul 12, 2012 11:51 pm

dharmagoat wrote:
Huseng wrote:The point though is that the Buddha and Dogen all believed in this post-mortem continuity called rebirth.

We have a record of what they taught, not what they believed. It is important not to confuse the two.


Question: how else would anyone know what they believed, if not through the record of their teachings?
If you believe certain words, you believe their hidden arguments. When you believe something is right or wrong, true of false, you believe the assumptions in the words which express the arguments. Such assumptions are often full of holes, but remain most precious to the convinced.

- The Open-Ended Proof from The Panoplia Prophetica
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby dharmagoat » Thu Jul 12, 2012 11:58 pm

pueraeternus wrote:
dharmagoat wrote:
Huseng wrote:The point though is that the Buddha and Dogen all believed in this post-mortem continuity called rebirth.

We have a record of what they taught, not what they believed. It is important not to confuse the two.


Question: how else would anyone know what they believed, if not through the record of their teachings?

How does anyone know what they believed? Can we really know to what extent their teachings employed skillful means?
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby pueraeternus » Fri Jul 13, 2012 12:06 am

dharmagoat wrote:
pueraeternus wrote:
dharmagoat wrote:We have a record of what they taught, not what they believed. It is important not to confuse the two.


Question: how else would anyone know what they believed, if not through the record of their teachings?

How does anyone know what they believed? Can we really know to what extent their teachings employed skillful means?


But that would just be fanciful speculation, won't it? Using this thread of thought, I could even say that they are actually ancient Scientologists?

Such notions of using "skillful means" to replace ideas that we don't like is not good policy, does not survive critical analysis and leads to endless speculative flights of fancy.
If you believe certain words, you believe their hidden arguments. When you believe something is right or wrong, true of false, you believe the assumptions in the words which express the arguments. Such assumptions are often full of holes, but remain most precious to the convinced.

- The Open-Ended Proof from The Panoplia Prophetica
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby dharmagoat » Fri Jul 13, 2012 12:25 am

pueraeternus wrote:Such notions of using "skillful means" to replace ideas that we don't like is not good policy, does not survive critical analysis and leads to endless speculative flights of fancy.

Is it your habit to replace ideas you don't like? I am challenging the claim that we somehow know what the Buddha and Dogen actually believed. There is no speculation involved, just an acknowledgment that it is something we can't know for certain.
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Jikan » Fri Jul 13, 2012 12:34 am

Do you think that one can reasonably infer from someone's public statements (or other appropriate archival evidence, such as a written document) what someone might believe? e.g., someone can read Paradise Lost and conclude that Milton held certain Puritan beliefs?

Really, for contemporary practitioners, what counts is what meaning we can make of the teachings in a practical way. How does this material inform us in terms of how we practice now? exegesis is good (it's nice to hypothesize what Milton or Dogen might have believed), but the bigger fish has to do with how the teachings are practiced.

I suspect Dogen taught that samsara was a realm in which one is born again and again and again because he felt that was of some relevance to the lives of his students. It tells them something they will benefit from knowing. Is our world different from Dogen's in this respect? We may have better deodorant now, but stink is still stink.
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby pueraeternus » Fri Jul 13, 2012 1:30 am

dharmagoat wrote:
pueraeternus wrote:Such notions of using "skillful means" to replace ideas that we don't like is not good policy, does not survive critical analysis and leads to endless speculative flights of fancy.

Is it your habit to replace ideas you don't like?


Certainly not mine. But some others do apparently.

I am challenging the claim that we somehow know what the Buddha and Dogen actually believed. There is no speculation involved, just an acknowledgment that it is something we can't know for certain.


That would be just a facile challenge. What use is it to even ask that question, if not to create space to engage in speculation, speculation that clashes with the reality on the ground? If one needs to engage in such philosophical contortions, then one should honestly ask if these spiritual teachings are suitable for one's current condition, and perhaps choose some other teachings that are more in line with one's proclivities and worldviews.
If you believe certain words, you believe their hidden arguments. When you believe something is right or wrong, true of false, you believe the assumptions in the words which express the arguments. Such assumptions are often full of holes, but remain most precious to the convinced.

- The Open-Ended Proof from The Panoplia Prophetica
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby dharmagoat » Fri Jul 13, 2012 1:54 am

pueraeternus wrote:
dharmagoat wrote:I am challenging the claim that we somehow know what the Buddha and Dogen actually believed. There is no speculation involved, just an acknowledgment that it is something we can't know for certain.

That would be just a facile challenge. What use is it to even ask that question, if not to create space to engage in speculation, speculation that clashes with the reality on the ground? If one needs to engage in such philosophical contortions, then one should honestly ask if these spiritual teachings are suitable for one's current condition, and perhaps choose some other teachings that are more in line with one's proclivities and worldviews.

A necessary challenge. To create space is to avoid being closed-minded.

Any speculation has been yours. You seem to be going through philosophical contortions in anticipation of what I might say, but don't.

Are you now recommending that I replace ideas I don't like?
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby pueraeternus » Fri Jul 13, 2012 1:59 am

dharmagoat wrote:A necessary challenge. To create space is to avoid being closed-minded.


Not if the space is suddenly filled with wild and unfounded speculations.

dharmagoat wrote:Any speculation has been yours. You seem to be going through philosophical contortions in anticipation of what I might say, but don't.


Oh did I ever say "you" in the last few posts? I just made a general comment and you speculated that I was referring to you specifically.

Are you now recommending that I replace ideas I don't like?


It's not really about you, but about people in general who are wont to do so.
If you believe certain words, you believe their hidden arguments. When you believe something is right or wrong, true of false, you believe the assumptions in the words which express the arguments. Such assumptions are often full of holes, but remain most precious to the convinced.

- The Open-Ended Proof from The Panoplia Prophetica
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby dharmagoat » Fri Jul 13, 2012 2:04 am

pueraeternus wrote:Oh did I ever say "you" in the last few posts? I just made a general comment and you speculated that I was referring to you specifically.

Who else were you responding to?
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby pueraeternus » Fri Jul 13, 2012 2:10 am

dharmagoat wrote:
pueraeternus wrote:Oh did I ever say "you" in the last few posts? I just made a general comment and you speculated that I was referring to you specifically.

Who else were you responding to?


It was just a general comment. Just as you might not have said anything, I did not pointedly said it was you I was referring to.
If you believe certain words, you believe their hidden arguments. When you believe something is right or wrong, true of false, you believe the assumptions in the words which express the arguments. Such assumptions are often full of holes, but remain most precious to the convinced.

- The Open-Ended Proof from The Panoplia Prophetica
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Astus » Fri Jul 13, 2012 9:38 am

Saying that what the Buddha and Dogen taught are not what they believed and realised is saying that they were speaking lies.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby dharmagoat » Fri Jul 13, 2012 10:05 am

Astus wrote:Saying that what the Buddha and Dogen taught are not what they believed and realised is saying that they were speaking lies.

Just to be clear, I am challenging the claim that we can know what the Buddha and Dogen believed based on what they taught.

The Buddha taught different things to different people depending on their needs and understanding. Sometimes his teachings were contradictory. Was he lying to some and not to others, or was he exercising skillful means in each case?
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Simon E. » Fri Jul 13, 2012 10:31 am

There is also the point that although we know what Dogen taught the Interpretation of that teaching has been a matter of debate and division ever since, and that continues.
No matter how many dogmatic statements are made by those who are sure that they represent the truth of the matter.
Each group who claim to represent Dogen are convinced that they alone have the real skinny.
And some of them representing large numbers of adherents deny that Dogen taught literal post mortem Rebirth AT ALL.. Me, I have no idea who is right.
In the case of the Buddha I remain completely unconvinced that we have any idea at all what he taught.
The records of his teaching in a language extinct outside the "groves of academe" were not made until that language acquired a written form some 500 years after the death of Gautama.
If they were ever spoken they were spoken at a time and in a culture whose basic norms differ from ours totally.
The main points of " biography " coincide strangely with those of other religious teachers from the Subcontinent..including teachers who PRECEDE the Buddha.
I would submit that we are looking in the wrong place.
Ajahn Chah it was who said " do not look for the Buddha outside of your own mind , your own nature".
I dont think that was a merely a pithy saying.
Last edited by Simon E. on Fri Jul 13, 2012 10:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Andrew108 » Fri Jul 13, 2012 10:48 am

Ajahn Chah was right. This is a very important point.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Astus » Fri Jul 13, 2012 11:25 am

dharmagoat wrote:Just to be clear, I am challenging the claim that we can know what the Buddha and Dogen believed based on what they taught.

The Buddha taught different things to different people depending on their needs and understanding. Sometimes his teachings were contradictory. Was he lying to some and not to others, or was he exercising skillful means in each case?


Skilful means doesn't mean it is not true, but that it is not the final teaching. The path is a gradual one, so one should not stop on level one. And just because there are further levels, the higher ones don't invalidate the lowers, but rather give them context and further meaning. Also, if the Buddha spoke anything that was not true, he failed to uphold the basic precepts, and that is impossible.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Astus » Fri Jul 13, 2012 11:38 am

Simon E. wrote:There is also the point that although we know what Dogen taught the Interpretation of that teaching has been a matter of debate and division ever since, and that continues.
...
And some of them representing large numbers of adherents deny that Dogen taught literal post mortem Rebirth AT ALL.. Me, I have no idea who is right.
In the case of the Buddha I remain completely unconvinced that we have any idea at all what he taught.


What debate and division do you mean? Sotoshu is actually quite unified.

What large number of adherents? Do you mean in the West or in Japan? Just because Western Zen followers is still a minority anyway.

As for not being sure about the Buddha's teaching, that is something you have to sort out for yourself. Faith is something that comes with learning and experience.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Simon E. » Fri Jul 13, 2012 11:46 am

Or is reevaluated with learning and experience. :smile:

25 years ago I had a very different and more literal view than I now have.
I did not lose that faith...it just became less of an issue. And then an irrelevance to me.
Incidentally there are many non-gweilos who interpret Dogen in a non Sutric way.. :smile:
If I were motivated I could dig out the references.

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