- 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.                                                 ________________________

Ran said...

I am very busy lately, for sometime already, - somewhat - that is - for that “sometime”. But it’s getting worse, - lately at least, as I said.

As for the last post, - I wanted to give it another read, - to make sure there was nothing I wanted to change, or polish, though I don’t really think I’d change anything, - but I couldn’t. - Though that is quite (also) because I do take a lot of time for doing that. It is not just the time, - I do need the state of mind for doing that too, and it wasn’t much in hand.

I suppose I’d get to that sometime, - and slightly revise it retroactively if necessary; - the last post isn’t the point here; it is just to refer to my lack of free time I mentioned at first.

- The blog might be at rest for a while. - Though you might say it has been earlier. - Actually I am writing this post around the beginning of March, though you’ll only see it sometime later; - that is to say I’ll schedule it as I will. (- Practically I modified it too on March 24th.)

The next post is to be entitled “Time”, but I don’t know when will it be on.

- The situation might last for a few months, I don’t know how things will turn initially, - and it may be that I will write (here, that is) during that time, or it may perhaps be that I won’t. - Time always tells. - And in most cases we are actually there to hear it.
(- As much as you find interest in what I’m saying here. -)

That’s it for this post.

I might tell you sometime what it was about, - some of it is unblievable, but not for now, anyway.

See you, (so to speak)

Ran.                                                                                                                                                                                          (- the picture here is just off the web, - nothing to do with what I said)

The Inscription above the Internet’s Gate

The following is from Uchiyama Roshi. - It is from a book published in English as “the Zen Teaching of “Homeless” Kodo”. - I really don’t like the translation of the title. - There is no “Zen Teaching” in the original Japanese name Uchiyama Roshi called the book by. (- “Yadonashi Kodo Hokkusan” in Japanese)
- Still this has nothing to do with what I want to say.

- It seems the book is going to be published again in a new translation by Shohaku Okumura with some more commentary (- or intended elucidation, - perhaps just footnotes; - I don’t know) by him. - I don’t know how soon, but it’s not going to be very soon. (- this is off the Sanshin-ji newsletter) - I might hope he’d change the title this time, - but still again this has nothing to do with what I want to say here in this post.

- The following is from a chapter titled “Too much information and the abundance of life”.

- I brought Uchiyama Roshi’s words there in full: -

   - “Once a woman said to me, ‘You know quite a lot about the world even though you stay in your temple most of the time.’ I wonder how her statement can be true. Perhaps there are not many people my age who are as innocent of the world as I am. Up until now (and I am 60 years old), I have worked for a salary only half a year; the rest of the time, I have nothing to do with the world, but have spent my life doing zazen, begging, cleaning the temple, weeding the garden, making fire wood, and cooking. I read newspapers, but have no radio or TV, so there’s no reason why I should know much about what goes on in society. But considering the people who come to me for advice about their troubles, or who come to tell me that they are impressed with my writing, it seems that I know more about human society than people in the world do.

   People get so much information and experience so much excitement everyday, and are so paralyzed by it all that they cannot see the logical connection to the roots of events. They have often seen violent debates in the National Diet on TV, and their senses become numb from seeing them. They just watch TV thinking, ‘Oh well, the National Diet is that kind of place.’ If you lead a life of zazen in a temple, not watching TV, and you happen to see such a scene, naturally you would be surprised by it. You would come to understand this world is an absurd place when you see that even in national politics, problems are resolved with the kind of sordid violence you might find in Kamagasaki, one of the biggest slums in Osaka. If you live in a noisy situation, you cease to notice the noise. If you are in a quiet place, leading a life of zazen in a temple, you can perhaps see the true face of the world.

- This has been said before the Internet was even dreamed of. - Uchiyama Roshi was born in 1912; in the text he is saying he is 60 years old; - so this should have been in the ’70s.

According to Uchiyama Roshi’s prefaces the book was originally published as a series of articles in the Asahi newspaper, - later these articles were published in two booklets, - then later these were published as one item, - with 15 additional articles more written for this purpose. - And then again it was published, - around 1981 it seems, - with an additional appendix: - A lecture Uchiyama Roshi has given in Jinno-in (a temple, I don’t know where in Japan) sometime earlier. - The first printing of the English translation is from 1990.

- Now of course, - these days, - the situation would be much worse. - The amount of information enabled, and practically perhaps even rather inflicted, - by the almighty world wide web - would be far greater than in what might be said to be the normal situation we lived in until the rise of this apparently beloved monster, still in unpredictable growth.

- The rhythms of our world and culture also turned quite significantly further insane, which it doesn’t seem they could be said to be in the ’70s. Or ’80s. Before the birth of the Internet. - Though the computerized plague does no doubt not bear exclusive rights over the disharmony attained, - and in some ways of course still in progress.

My point in this post is not so much about people’s mind’s becoming numb (- i.e. and blunt) by witnessing abnormalities, - perhaps even extreme abnormalities, - as a matter of course - therefore and thereby excepting them - both consciously and unconsciously, - as if they were normalities; - and of course [- thereby, - wrongly] setting their corresponding views, - and having them set - (- mind you: - Both passively and actively) accordingly.
(- This is of course - just to avoid mistake, - not mainly about conscious conclusions and deductions, but rather about those the heart make internally make without - generally, - our head noticing the process or supervising it through our normal ego-consciousness most of us are used to in every-day-life; - those ignorant of this description would normally refer to it as “subconscious”, - which is not really altogether a wrong term in my view; though it certainly - practically - in any case I can think of, - does not reflect wisdom.)

- Rather the main point I want to relate to in Uchiyama Roshi’s words is excessive reading trashing our mind. - Too much information has never been good. - But the tendency to read beyond the capabilities of your mind seems to be far greater while surfing (- or perhaps, - rather literally, - being caught in) the web than it has been prior to the beginning of the use of the enormous and complex tool you are presently reading my post off.
(- Assumably - that is: - Personally I sometimes print stuff on paper to read it later.)

People often seem to imagine the more they read or study the better. - This is a very shallow attitude. - Our mind is neither a library nor a computer’s hard disc. - The reason we need sleep is (- in part at least) thinking itself damaging our brain, - which repeatedly recovers it during sleep. (- Just for the record: - I did not say thinking always damages our brain, - and I did not say its recovery is not possible else than in or during sleep.) Personally I feel it is somewhat like a slalom. - When you think you as if run yourself through some sort of tubes. - If you touch the walls while flowing through the turns and the curves you kill your mind. - Slightly. - This tires you. When you sleep life is reestablished. - Whether you think this is crap, or whether you heartily agree with every word, - it is undeniable that most of humanity knows nothing of it.

I would say through Zazen and through spiritual development you become somehow aware of this. You learn how not to tire your mind. And you become aware of the damage excessive thinking does to it. (- I might say intellectual-materialistic thinking too, - but this is inexact and might therefore be misleading and have my intention correspondingly be misinterpreted; - and beyond this - if one does not see it for himself - it would generally be quite useless trying to point it to him.)

Zazen (or other practices) makes you feel the damage disharmonious thinking does to your body and mind; - to your mental abilities.

Through it you are able to maintain your mental state throughout whatever you are doing, - not just during zazen.

- But I suppose people in the world in general do notice the way the evil web fucks (that is to say “ruins”; - pardon the expression) their mind. - If you read too much you feel like shit, - don’t you? - Obviously people are normally aware of this, - but still this is not the same thing.

- However, - the notice I wanted to relate to here in this post is with regard to the way the Internet pulls you into reading too much, - thereby ruining your mind, - quite the opposite of what happens during zazen.

Unlike those of a computer the functions of our mind are not independent of the incoming data perceived by the senses. Excessive input deteriorates the quality of the procession. - A phenomenon which might vary greatly, - it seems, - in its character or severity.

At first its effect would be contemporary, as just said - of possible different appearance or severity, - depending on how intensively and by what means you are ruining your relevant systems by which you think.

- Then there is a more permanent effect, - the result of the contemporary one being repeated continuously. - And again this one too can be of a more permanent or a more transient nature.

- Suppose you run a engine beyond its capacity as a matter of course. - Gradually you ruin it. - Unlike an engine the living being that we are has self-recovery and self-construction [and reconstruction] abilities, - which are also very flexible, - which enable it far greater and longer running through various destructive conditions.
- It can even benefit and strengthen itself through such conditions, which it might be unable to do otherwise. (- though this point does seem quite irrelevant with regard to the matter discussed here)
Also, - the great inner flexibility, - at the same time, - enables a reduction in the quality of the process ran; - which after further deterioration due to attempted use the system is unable to deal with, - can not any longer be that easily reversed - as might have been possible otherwise, had it not been for this further deterioration.
The permanence of the damage is not to be discussed, - as it seems to me, - in terms of one or zero, - but usually rather relatively.
- However, - those who would be harmed the most, - would generally be the ones who would do the least to cure it.
- Quite naturally, - perhaps.

- This is also the reason why for intellectuals and academics, - obviously quite intelligent sometimes too, - (though the last fact is also quite irrelevant here) it may be quite difficult to obtain “Zen” or any other kind of spiritual understanding. - The more shallow one’s personality is, - the more importance would he or she attach to intelligence - that person’s own in particular, - in this context at least; - unable to get what the thing or the matter is actually about.

I would also remark that depth of personality is quite related to wisdom, - not necessarily to intelligence.

- Obviously.

- There are several other points I might have made, - but I will not. - The post anyway grew far greater and longer than I expected. - My initial point was that Uchiyama Roshi’s words quoted at the beginning are the “caveat lector” - in an altogether different meaning than the existing of course, - to be inscribed and presented above the mountain gate to the world wide troublesome labyrinth where the snakes originating with the head of Medusa are still living in the darkness of your heart and that of other surfers.

Watch out.

- This only. -

-        -       -      -     -    -   -  - - -  -   -    -     -      -       -        -

I might still get back to matters I’ve discussed here and relate to them at another time.

Kalo on “Zen” II

- I translated the text in the last post rather meticulously sentence by sentence. - Unlike my habit is, - I did not attempt to fundamentally relate to the spirit of the whole unit to be translated, and try to reflect it in the translation to be done.

I did not think I could observe things from the point of view of enlightenment, and so I did not think I could grasp the fine intention of the passage and construct my translation in a living manner in its light.

Therefore I translated as I did. - I tried to remain as loyal as possible to the meaning of each sentence without relying on my own self confidence with regard to the understanding of the text.

However I had some second thoughts. - Generally this isn’t the best way to translate a spiritual text. - Definitely. - So I still don’t think I made a mistake, - and I knew earlier it could be translated more beautifully, but I thought I would present also a somewhat freer translation, not one that is as carful as the one in the last (main) post.

- So here it is, - in case you find interest: -

- “The truth, in the end, is eternally none but one and all who dwell in it know it. Words alone – which are ever incapable of presenting and describing this truth – are the source of the distortions and misrepresentations. Indeed, the measure of distortion is minimal as the speech is serving great teachers. On the other hand, the measure of distortion related anyway to all use of words, might arrive at enormous and hindering measures none the like. And that is about those men [and women] who innocently practice ‘Zen’, analyzing and interpreting its ways and purpose and sometimes – but translate a ‘Zen’ story from one language to another – without having attained Enlightenment. (- ‘Satory’, - as to avoid any misunderstanding) These men are as pseudo bakers unable to tell flour from waste and never the less – they dare and knead a bread of gravel and serve it to the hungry audience. The result – the consequence – severe damage to both the servers and the recipients alike.”.

Kalo on “Zen”

I’ve mentioned Shlomo Kalo on two earlier posts. (the 2nd & the 5th)

- He is an Israeli Teacher. Not a Buddhist teacher or a “Zen” teacher. - Though clearly an enlightened one. If you doubt the fact this whole post might generally lose its meaning. - Though again, - I do not intend to argue for it, nor do I much know how to had I wanted to.

He is said to have seen the light in December of ’69. - I could just mention that I have never heard anyone doubting him. (though if you do say he is not enlightened this would clearly mean he’s just a fraud)

He’s translated several texts, mainly through the ’70s. - One of which is a collection of 128 “Zen”-talks (as he calls them) entitled “‘Zen’ and ‘Zen’-Sages”. (- Among other thing he’s translated the Patanjali [Yoga] Sutra, the Tao Te Ching, the Bhagavad Gita, Shankara’s Viveka-Chudamani, - and more recently the Gospel of Thomas. - All to Hebrew, - of course; - and most-at-least not from the original language.)

In his “Zen” book, - (the cover of my own unsaved copy of which you can see on your left) a translation of 128 “Zen” stories as I just said earlier, - he ends the preface he has written for the book as follows:

- “The truth, eventually, is none but one for ever and each who dwells in it knows it. The words only – which are ever incapable of describing this truth – are the source of the distortions and the deformations. Indeed, the measure of distortion is minimal as the speech serves great teachers. On the other hand, the measure of distortion related anyway to all use of words, might arrive at enormous and hindering measures none the like. And what these things are about are those men [and women] who innocently occupy themselves with ‘Zen’, analyzing and interpreting its ways and purpose and sometimes – but translate a ‘Zen’ story from one language to another – without having attained (- lit. ‘received’, - or - more literally, - ‘won’, - as the expression in Hebrew is) Enlightenment. These men are like pseudo bakers unable to tell flour from waste and in spite of that – they dare and knead a bread of gravel and serve it to the hungry audience. The result – severe damage to the servers and the recipients as one.”.

I will just leave these words as they are. I don’t wish to interpret and it doesn’t seem necessary.

- Though here is the text as it appears in the original book:

There is a quote from Master Dogen I might want to relate to in another post. - Though it won’t be that soon. - It will be at least a few posts before that. - A quote which might be related to the above matter. - I intend to call that post “The Master’s Intention”, but time will tell.

Either way, - so far that’s it for this time.

-                                                                                                                                                        -

A Real Story

The following is a real story which happened to a woman I know. This is the main point here. Had it not been a person I know personally I wouldn’t have published it here. Quite certainly.

I met her in ’94. - I wasn’t certain as for my own choice of a path and so I was interested in inquiring with regard to different possibilities. I contacted her in order to hear about Ramana Maharshi, - a Hindu non-dualistic teacher in the school of Advaita. - And so I came to hear the following story: -

At the point where our story here begins she was already married and had two sons. That is in the summer of 1972.
- One day during this summer she was spending time at the beach (in Tel Aviv) with her husband and teenage sons.

- Apparently that morning she fell asleep. - On the beach that is. - Falling asleep unintentionally on the beach may be considered an unfortunate event in itself, - in most cases, - but either way one might view it it remains the same fact; - and it did not turn unfortunate - to say the list, - in this story here told. - As the following occurrences might tell.

And in her sleep she then had a dream. - As does happen in stories told, - quite often perhaps, - only this one is real.

- In her dream she was as Indian boy, - not a girl, - she was walking with her mother in the street and she begged - she said - her mother to go to school. - Her mother said they can’t afford it. (- Apparently she [- him, - that is, - mind you - the child she was in the dream] was of a very poor family in the dream - as many do exist in India) - Shortly after an old man was walking in the opposite direction on the other side of the street. Her mother rushed her (- him, - i.e., - as before - the young boy that she was) to him; - she told her (- him) to run to this man. - She said this person could teach her far beyond [what] she might learn in any school.
- So she did, - run after the man, - who had advanced somewhat by the time. - He heard her heavy breathing (- as she was running) from behind him and stopped. He put his hand on the child’s head (- again, - remember, - all along, - it’s a boy, - not a girl) and looked at her. - This instance seems to have had a great impact on her. - She remembers that moment as most impressive and awe-inspiring. - And at this point she woke up.

I will not do about what it was about the old man’s glance that she found so overwhelming and loving.

Either way, - she found it an outstanding dream, - particularly due to its last moment, - and strange no doubt - but as she subsequently went swimming, - and returned home, cooked or prepared lunched, ate with her family, etc, - it would have likely had faded away at the rhythm of life, - hers anyway, - and somewhat practically did by these few hours already. - As you might expect.

- Then after lunch she went to bed to get some sleep. - She had the same dream again. - Exactly, - as if it was a TV program rebroadcasted or a video media replayed.

(- though she says the impression the second time was stronger, - somewhat, - the dream seems to have been brighter on the replay)

- Consequently, - a person she has been previously unfamiliar with - the old man from the dream here previously described, - began to appear in her dreams - as a matter of course that is.

- You might find it strange, - or actually you certainly will, - but (among other things) he would advise her as for her daily life through his appearance in her dreams.

I think she only gave me one example when she told me the story. - Though you will certainly find it reasonably remarkable, and it is quite clearly an outstanding one, - somewhat at least: - When her son, - the younger one, - wanted a motorcycle, - (which means he was about 16 years of age at the time) quite eagerly - as I understood, - she and her husband were very much concerned.

- Then she had the following dream: -

She and her son were standing in Ben Yehuda street in Tel Aviv. - She says it was a very crowded and busy street those years. - We’re talking about the early 70’s.

- I actually lived just next to Ben Yehuda street for over 20 years, until about 4 years ago, - and though it indeed is one of Tel Aviv’s larger streets, - it was not that crowded then, - and is not now.
- But then that is just why she did make this point, - as for those earlier years when it was.

Her son was standing near the bike and then got on the bike, - and then her “uncle”, - as she was calling this person, - whom she did not yet have any idea as for the identity of, - appeared as well. - He sat on the bike behind Rafi, - as her son’s name is, - (“Raphael”) and they went off in a wild ride in the busy street - as it was in the dream, - bypassing cars in all possible directions, back and forth - as I managed to understand from her description of the dreamed occurrence.

She seems to have been quite frightened at this seemingly dangerous running or management of the two, but eventually they returned unharmed and her “uncle” - her current here-noted via-dreams consultant, - had reported to her that he had put her son through most uneasy situations and that he had proved a responsible and capable person.

Consequently, - the son’s request was granted - with peace of mind.
(She gives a more detailed description of the situation prevailing at the time of the dream, but I did not find that necessary here)

- Again remember, - at this point she did still not know who it was that was appearing in her dreams, nor did she seem to have any intention or direction of an attempted guess as for who might that be.

This situation seems to have lasted about two years. She had two occupations, - she was a Yoga teacher and a graphologist. - Of course she did not make public of the unusual story here among her wider circle of acquaintances, - as - as she said - (though I am not putting it here in her own words) they would have (or might have - that is; - R.K.) questioned her mental state consequently.
- At the time of the last dream mentioned only her husband new of it.

As she was a Yoga teacher she was borrowing books at the library of a Yoga center, - though not one belonging to the same tradition she was teaching in.
(She was a student of a Swami by the name of Venkatesananda)

- One day, - in the library of that Yoga center, - she opened a book, - and from within its pages, - off its first page, - she completely unexpectedly came across the picture of her familiar uncle’s face, - looking at her.

Apparently it was Sri Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi. - I will briefly refer to who Ramana Maharshi was in just a couple of paragraphs, - but I will mention here that he has not been around (- physically, - that is) for over 20 years at the period of time we are discussing; - he has taken his leave of this world in 1950.

Her surprise at the moment of seeing the picture was as you might imagine, - and her awe at the revelation of his identity was great as well.

- With reference to the influence of this realization on her life since you should perhaps relate to her own words, - not mine, - and this is anyway not the objective of this post here. Not primarily obviously, - at least anyway.

- However, - with a revelation a mystery has began rather than ended, - she says.

- Now just a few words about who Ramana Maharshi was and is: - (assuming you don’t want to trouble yourselves to the links)
Born in 1879, he attained liberation at the age of 17, following which he left his parents home for Tiruvanamalai.
He lived in various caves on the hill, - also known as Arunachala, - (see the picture above) for about 34 years, - since somewhat over two years after his arrival there. Then he descended from the hill to where his ashram was later formed, and still stands and functions today.
For 17 years he did not speak, - since about the time he arrived in Tiruvanamalai I suppose.
- As mentioned earlier, - he entered Parinirvana in 1950, - which means in more common English that he has died that year. - However, - his ashram still maintains the spirit and atmosphere as it was during his life. I have not been there at the time of course but this is the way it is said to be. - Which is to say, - practically, - in common English, - that he is still there. - Though not in his physical body of course, - which he has left as referred to above and has been buried in the ashram as well.

- Anyone interested in more information about the Maharshi could easily find it through the last link, (and the one before that too) and in many other places [on and off the web] as well.

- Back to our story: - Following her life changing discovery, - she became a Ramana-Maharshi-devotee, - his path of course became hers - and quite fervently; - she altered her Yoga’s Vedanta for his Advaita, - though it has been quite some time (for reasons irrelevant here) until she has been able to visit his ashram in the south of India, - at the foot of the sacred hill known as the center of the Indian spiritual non-dualist school of Avaita.
- She has visited it three times since.

- However, - at the time I met her she said she would no longer go there, due to her age. - She was 70 at the time, - and India is not that convenient to travel at that age.

- Also, - following the discovery, - she published a book in Hebrew of his.

It is actually two separate pieces she put together (published in English as “Maharshi's Gospel” and “Who Am I?”) and had a friend of hers translate into Hebrew.

It is the book the cover of my-own-copy-of you can see in the first picture at the top of the post. - As I bought and read it I contacted her as her name appeared on it as the publisher. - This is how I came to meet her. - And as told in the beginning how I came to hear the story brought here in the above words.

(Added - 27.10.15)
About two years later - on my way back from Japan to Israel, - in the autumn of ’96, I visited Ramanashram (as the Maharshi’s ashram’s name is) and Papa-ji’s satsang house in India. - I stayed for most of my stay in Japan in Nishijima’s Dojo in Ichikawa. - (a city in Chiba prefecture, near Tokyo) Though I originally intended to go to Ryutaku-ji (a Rinzai sodo) near Mishima, - a city at the foot of mount Fuji.

- Either way, - traveling especially from Israel to India would have been too expensive for me. - But making a stop on the way back from Japan costs you almost nothing, - as far as I can remember. (- and India is so cheap the cost of stay is not beyond the normal cost of living in Israel; - again - i.e., - as far as I can remember)

When in the ashram, (I only stayed there for about five days) I thought I’d bring her a present from the place. - Ramana Maharshi means a lot to her, and as I mentioned - roughly - she can’t go there anymore. They have a bookshop at the ashram. I asked one of the personnel, - a person who seems to know her from her previous visits, - as for what [book] I might buy her. - As I mentioned, - prices in India are ridiculous. - The most expensive book would be roughly nothing compared to prices I’d be used to, - or you might be just the same.

- It seems she’d generally have anything they had at the store. But there was a new book he pointed to he said she’d probably not have. (- as it was a new one)

- It is the second of two books. - (- or was at the time: - A third one, - though unlikely, - might have been published by today) It seems she is not the only one to whom unusual events regarding Ramana Maharshi have occurred. - The most outstanding one, - I suppose, - quite clearly, - is that of H.W.L. Poonja, - known as “Papa-ji”, - slightly mentioned on my #5 post here at the blog and earlier in a word on this one too.
(- Just Papa-ji is mentioned, - not the story. - Ramana Maharshi seems to have appeared before Papa-ji in real life, - not in a dream. - This is why I’m saying this is the most outstanding one.)

- These books are about such stories. - It seems different people at different parts of the world had various incidents, - I don’t really know which - since I didn’t read either book, and I didn’t ask her particularly as well.

- I asked her for the book (the one I bought her) because I wanted to scan the cover and post the picture up here, as I did with the book the cover of which you can see above, - but she said she has a lot of books and can not find it. - Though she also said she’d give it another try, - so in case she finds it I could still add it here and update the post.

- That’s about it; - to read the story in her own words check this link.

(- Or in case you can read Romanian you might check here.)

- So far for this post. - Make of it what you will.