- As for the blog's name: -

I was @ Gustav Ericsson's sight, - Anzenkai, and I was looking at Nishijima Roshi’s calligraphies over there. Particularly there is one - "seki shin hen pen" - about which Gustav has earlier said in a blog post that it is Nishijima's favorite phrase from Master Dogen.

This seemed strange to me. It was not what I would expect Nishijima Roshi's favorite phrase to be. It seemed it could be some Rinzai master's favorite quote, - it seems to express continuous and constant sincerity, - but it did not seem to fit my view of the way Nishijima Roshi saw things.

So - consequently - I tried to think what would I expect his favorite quote to be. But all phrases I could think of did not seem to fit just what I might have had in mind.

So I tried to come up with what I would see it as, - and what I have come up with - is - "this universe out here".

- And this seems to be the right name for this blog here too.

- Definitely.                                                 ________________________


I don’t know so much about World War II. I don’t know what made the Japanese team up with the Nazis, (- and the Italians) or under what or which circumstances did this alliance take place or emerge. - What I do know is mainly from William Shirer’s [- “the”]Rise and fall of the Third Reich”, - which I have never read in full.

I also did not read “Mein kampf” and only have general and common knowledge of it. - Still the general idea here would be roughly the same.

The deeds of the Holocaust were of course not widely known in real time. - The shock only aroused after the war. I think. I don’t really know how much of it spread earlier. - But the ideas presented in the book written quite earlier before Hitler’s rise as it was were never made secret. (- Originally the book was not intended to bear the title of “Mein kampf”, as it did. Hitler had a considerably longer name for it, which would have been made quite significant with time, - but the publisher did not find it commercial and had it changed.) They are generally known, I am not sure how well known all around the world, but clearly here in Israel, for obvious reasons, they are.

- Jews, along with blacks and members of their race, the Semites, meaning all Arabs, plus perhaps some other references I don’t know or don’t remember, - were to be eliminated. Wiped off the Earth, - as - I might mention, - (totally unrelated to the main point here) the Jews did much earlier to others who inhabited their land on conquering it after returning to it from Egypt. It was never made secret either but is documented in the book of Joshua. Still this is just a remark made by the way. Others, according to Hitler’s book, - were fit to serve as slaves to the race to which the Germans belong, - the Aryan race. They were not to be cleared off the way those viewed as the lowest were to, - but their contribution and value - as I understand - were to be in the service they would grant the Germens and Aryans who are valued in themselves, higher at least.

- The book was not written in secret, it was never a hidden document. - It was very popular in Germany. Not just as it was published but after Hitler’s rise. It was not some unknown paper only few show interest in, or some document only particular experts or weird geeks are familiar with. The intention was to ban religion in Germany and to have at every home (or so) an altar bearing only the swastika and “Mein kampf” as the only object on it. This plan was never carried out, since the Germans lost the war, but documents exist relating to it.

Even though Hitler did not necessarily publicly continuously and repeatedly speak of it, again for reasons which may be quite obvious, - it was there in his book which gained popularity as Nazism rose and flourished. - One did not need to occupy any secret service in order to learn of the issue. It was in the open, though, one might guess, in a way, - waiting for its time.

According to the ideas presented off this personality’s particular mind so widely and significantly affecting the German nation in the times of the war, - among those designated to become the poor servants dedicated to the welfare and general needs of the supreme Aryan race, were the members of the Mongolian race, never excluding the Japanese, of course. Obviously, no immediate intention of enslaving the Japanese according to the general plan existed. The Nazis were not altogether impractical. In spite of some most unreasonable conduct at the later stages of the war. There was a practical intention, following the ideas I mentioned, to deprive the Polish of education in order apply the policy, so that they would be only working to feed the Germans; but no plans were in hand as to make their former allies into a lower level supporting their material needs as the book guidelining the conduct suggests.

Still, - (and this is my main point here in this post) the question may be - how pleasant did or would the Japanese find this idea?

- Were they altogether ignorant of the ideas related to, or did they just not care?

What sense might it make for them to team up with, - to join and ally with, - those whose ideals are to make of them as said?

Clearly, this is not their cup of tea.

I might add a note relating to the extent to which agreements were not respected at the time. Perhaps not by the Japanese. I don’t know. But generally.

But this is not the point. It is not about practical danger in near future. It is mainly about the spirit. It may be that the Nazis would some day turn against the Japanese if they would win the war. The question for them would quite obviously be just practical. But relating to the spirit in which the Japanese (I guess) joined in, - how would they like the fact that their allies whom they have joined (who were clearly the main force in the alliance, the Italians and the Japanese were secondary) view their future designation and appropriate place in the world as their inherent servants and slaves. How would the public opinion in Japan accept such an attitude and view? For some reason nobody seem to have thought of it, until today. Food for thought. This only.

I don’t understand

I travelled to Japan first in 1991. On April 6th I first arrived at Narita airport. - The season in Ryutaku-ji begins on March 15th but the first sesshin only begins on April 18, or rather on the evening before - of the 17th. - I went through three flights: - Israel to Greece, Greece to Thailand, and Thailand to Japan. I guess since not so many flights go through Israel, being such a small country. - When you get to Japan, assuming you have no earlier special arrangements, - you can get an entry permission for 90 days.

- In travelling through Greece, I had to change airports. There were two airports in Athens, the flight from Israel arrived in one, and the continuing flight was leaving from the other one. - As far as I recall I went from one to the other on foot. - The first incident was then. A person, just someone I don’t know, was walking straight toward me singing the Beatles song “Hey Jude”. He was kind of singing it at me. Nothing offensive, as far as I got it. I never spoke to him or responded in any way, I just went on. I guess he might have noticed I was from Israel, these things can sometimes be identified, - and therefore sang as he did.

- Before going to Japan I was very indecisive as for which path to pick.

I started sitting in ’85. But then - around 1990-1991 - I had the wish to then dedicate my life to the path, - to the way, - and therefore wanted to choose that which is best. [for me of course]

- I got very indecisive as for two paths: - “Zen”, - as the name Master Dogen tells us not to use, (though the reasoning for it seems to relate to the time and place then, and is not equally in place now, as far as I understand) and that which is called “DAT” (Initials in Hebrew, though it is interesting that the word you get in Hebrew is the Hebrew word for the Sanskrit “Prajna” - pronounced da-at - as two syllables - and not “dat”-  which is the Hebrew word for religion (spelled differently too)) taught and created by Shlomo Kalo, who died not so long ago on August 30th, 2014.

It does seem really silly looking back, - but at the time I was severely troubled. At last I made my decision and went to Japan. As I said above.

I got my entry permit for 90 days, arrived at the Ryutaku-ji on April 7th, - and stayed there thereafter. - It is possible to get 90 days twice, (It might depend on your nationality, this is the way it was for me) without leaving Japan. - As my 90 days were coming near the end, - the roshi had one of the monks drive me to the immigration office (which was quite far, it was a 2-3 hours drive as far as I recall) to renew it. We passed through a lawyer on the way, but he and the monk spoke in Japanese, which I could not understand, but it was for the purpose of it, as far as I understand. - We got to the office - handed in whichever papers we did, - and got what we came for.

As we were about to drive off, - when we were already in the car, either already started or not, there was a car with a few kids a few meters ahead of us, not blocking the way, just a bit to the side. - These kids were singing - or just started to sing - the same song, - “Hey Jude” again. What does it mean? I don’t know. I happened to be a monk who likes the Beatles. He knew the song. I told him about the first incident. As for people who think this whole shit is meaningless, - they might have not read it in the first place. I am not interested in arguing with these. But as for those who understand this need to have some meaning, - they are in place reading it. I won’t go further. I am leaving it at that. Time has a habit of telling, but it is not obliged. So far.

A note regarding Intuition and false understanding of it

At the time I was at the Dojo (Nishijima’s Ida Ryogokudo Zazen Dojo in Ichikawa, Japan, which no longer exists for quite a long time) people sometime asked what is the difference between Prajna and Prana, or something of the sort. - We were just a few people in the kitchen speaking and I referred to what Prana is as far as I could, - and mentioned that I don’t know what Prajna is. It is usually referred to as “transcendental wisdom” but it is quite unclear what this is supposed to mean, possibly to those using the term as well - as it seems to me.

Sometime after that Nishijima mentioned a few times that “Prajna” means Intuition. He was not present in the kitchen at the time but masters have their ways of knowing things they are not generally interested in revealing to us all these days. (not interested in revealing these ways that is, in our present materialistic era, as things are) - I don’t deny Nishijima’s words, - I don’t negate them, - his clarification or telling (informing) as mentioned above, - but unintentionally they may be somewhat misleading.

- It is normally said humans don’t have instincts. - That is contemporary “science”’s attitude without any exceptions, as far as I know.
I’d say it seems wrong. We don’t have instincts the way animals have, as it seems, (though if you had animals live the way humans do, get their food at the supermarket and their livelihood off sitting in an office all day, - I don’t know or am not sure what would practically be left of their instincts too, - would they not be practically degenerated and perhaps unnoticeable due to this way of living) but it seems we have instincts in thought. That is to say you might speak of what might be called “instinctive thought”. I do believe this exists.

- The thing is there are two separate phenomena, - instinctive thinking and intuitive thinking, - which are not told apart and are both ignorantly referred to as “intuition”. - This means when we are talking of “intuition” we are confusing two different abilities of a different nature and subsequently getting quite a wrong idea and notion of what we are talking about.

That is to say Nishijima is correct, - but unavoidably - in general - misinterpreted. “Intuition” raises an unclear impression based on an unexamined notion observing rough occurrences, quite mindlessly perhaps. - People generally have no reason or intention - I guess, - to pay attention and try to inspect the difference I am referring to. - Subsequently the present situation prevails. When speaking of “intuition” men and women refer to both true intuition which may be humans highest mental ability, in the field of thought and analysis at least, - and as well to a what-we-might-call a lower skill less reliable and of no-particular-need-for-a-refined-or-deep-mentality in order to obtain it.

It has been said the Shikantaza is the pinnacle of Buddhism. I suspect rather the Prajna Paramita is. However, I believe the observation brought here is in place and worthy of attention, - if I am not wrong. I am not sure my point is actually correct, therefore I said “it seems”. But chances of mistake are sufficiently scant in order for this post to be written and posted. So far.

A Remark Regarding Egoism and Selfishness

Some people, as it seems, think selfishness and egoism are just two words for the same thing. I have not questioned but it seems this is the situation. What is supposed to be scientific research of the relevant fields is quite a joke, I am quite happy I am getting a chance to mention, - so I wouldn’t assume any relevant understanding might dawn there. Whether I am right or wrong as for my estimation in the first sentence here, - these are not just mere synonyms describing the same phenomenon itself but are referring to different, even if close, - phenomena.

Selfishness could exist at the absence of egoism, egoism could not exist at the absence of selfishness. In animals, where due to inabilities compared to humans what we call an “ego” could not come to be or be formed, egoism could of course not be traced or appear in the same way we find it in humans. - More simply said, - animals do not have an ego. Referring to something Steiner somewhere said, an animal could not say “I” to itself. - It could not view itself in this way, - obviously it does not have this ability, which we might say is the main thing differing animals from us, - not other points quite reknownly referred to randomly and repeatedly, - and therefore the element in our mind (we aim at undermining the root of on the spiritual path) subsequently rising as what we might imagine ourselves to be, - does not and would not appear in the form we know it ordinarily in the mind and consciousness of almost us all, and as I said animals therefore do not have this “ego” construction in their mental field, of course it could not appear without self consciousness.

This is all of course while those being lower than man could not at all, as a matter of principle, (and it doesn’t matter what exceptions one might or might not think of) exceed beyond the sphere of fundamental selfishness within which they are locked for life. Here may be the place to also remark that there is a fundamental difference between natural tendencies inherited and merely representing a choice of uncontrollable inclinations induced through the body and between true spirituality or the result of actual development representing some real revelation (even if not necessarily clearly evident) regarding the nature of selfishness and consideration. Some might argue that it is all the same and we are nothing more than fundamentally-the-same more advanced animals and that the idea of spirituality is in the first place some primitive thought humanity is better to rid itself of - and the sooner the better. I will not answer this or refer to it here but I might mention this post here you might check. - Anyway no one will argue that animals are not unable - fundamentally at least, - to go beyond selfishness. This is evident to all. - And what this post was trying to refer to is just the difference between the words (and subsequently of course the concepts) “selfishness” and “egoism”. The missing of the differentiation is a mistake, and to this small point I wanted to refer here.

Only at the existence of selfishness could the inner sphere within our mind representing one’s own interests and preferences come to be in the way it subsequently creates the more focused phenomenon you call egoism. (assuming you do) These things have to be seen. There is doubtly much point in just presenting words one is to intellectually refer to in an abstract manner. You have to see it for your self, and it doesn’t seem particularly difficult. You have to see what one phenomenon is and what the other phenomenon is. Otherwise this is to a great deal worthless. But still if some will see and others will following accept it is not devoid of value.

Anyway, this is not any great point, - this distinction is important, but only to some degree. I thought this post would come out much shorter, - but when writing it is sometimes, not necessarily rarely, - different. So far.

December 3, 2017. Will be posted when it does.


Today (10.12.17) I have understood the issue of the psycho-physical matter. The Reality is, roughly speaking perhaps, just mind. - But not self conscious of course, not this sort of doubled mind. You might say mindless mind perhaps. There is nothing of the sort of what we call matter, but the mind is clean, without any need for assurance or certification by some sort of extra checking as in what we are familiar with as self consciousness. - The appearance of matter, of any kind, spiritual too, - is as some sort of dream. It is nothing beyond that. It is real to us, that is to say it seems real to us, but it is nothing beyond some sort of dream, an illusion, - a phenomenon of the mind itself, or this mind itself, - nothing real beyond seeming only. This is possible because all is one. Considering us all, all beings, - different and separate entities - would quite clearly make this idea unreasonable. - But given that we are all one, that all is one, - it is possible that we all share the same dream. We are like different eyes (and other organs) of the same being, and therefore, and in this way, - it is not impossible and it does not negate common sense that we so share the same dream. Fundamentally. Our view is not identical of course, but we share the dwelling in the same swamp. I have thought of this dream idea before, but today I saw its relation to the psycho-physical issue, meaning that there is simply no matter, there never was, only what we might call the mental sphere, - though as I referred not in the way we are accustomed to it.

- This is why - subsequently, - the enlightened ones, - the Buddhas, those who have come to accomplish their potential as human beings, - say that the world does not exist. I have heard it before but I did not understand what was it they wanted to say. It was not clear to me whether it was true. - I did not understand what it was about, - what they meant. It raised no imaginative picture as to clarify the intention. I heard of delusion but never came across the above explanation. Now I understand, as it seems, what it is about. - Sawaki Roshi somewhere says we all live in a dream. He says where the discrepancies between the dreams occur or take place is where the trouble begins. This is also, as it seems, about this. I don’t remember his words exactly but they are off “Homeless Kodo” (Yadonashi Kodo Hokusan) where Uchiyama Roshi collected his sayings and referred to them.

I recall at Nishijima’s lectures in 1996 there was a time he used to say we think we are sitting there hearing his talk, we think we - including him, - are sitting or standing there - wherever it was - in Tokyo or in a temple or at his Dojo, - I don’t remember exactly the way he put it, - but that this is not so. I did not know what he was talking about, and I did not have any hope to understand (There and then, - at the time and place) what he was talking about, - so I paid no importance to it though I did not think it was untrue. I think he started it after talking about the teaching of Master Nagarjuna. - I only participated in one of his seshins. There and then was the first time he related to Nagarjuna’s teaching, as far as I remember. He spoke about negation of the world. And of affirmation of the Universe. - I didn’t quite understand what was the difference between “the world” and “the universe” but it seems it didn’t cross my mind asking him that.

“The universe” related to the original reality. That which Jesus calls “the Father”. This mindless mind I related to here above. - “The world" - as it seems, - was to indicate the phenomenal world as we see it, - delusion, - objects we perceive through the senses and subsequent interpretation. - I recall him giving the example of the tatami we were sitting on and the blackboard he was writing on. In this blog’s title - “This universe out here” - I was relating to the reality too in the same manner calling it “the universe”. - I used to capitalize “reality” when relating to this one incomparable distinguished reality, as to distinguish it from just the usual concept of reality (perhaps we should say pseudo reality) as us ignorant common humans relate to it normally in everyday life. But now I don’t. Not anymore.

Initially I started writing this in Hebrew. But then I (very quickly) came to write it in English. Perhaps it is significant that I am completing this post on Christmas. December 25 2017. Perhaps not. I’ll put it on on the 1st, of January that is. Perhaps I’ll get it off later and post it at a later date. The main issue is at the first paragraph. All the rest is just btw. So far.