- 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.                                                 ________________________

The “X” in Search of the Past behind your Back

In Shōbōgenzō Shunjū Nishijima’s footnote number 31 refers to a “story of a man who dropped his sword from a boat on a river, and tried to mark the place by putting a notch in his boat. He stubbornly searched under the notch, even though the boat had moved downstream”. (- The link is on the right, - Book 3 there of the Nishijima-Cross translation)

- Today’s religion is like this. - I mean those who originally leave the marks are not at all necessarily this foolish man off the story. - And the boat doesn’t move in a flash and the boat doesn’t move in a rush. - The situation humanity’s in doesn’t change overnight. - But it does change. - No one can deny that.

Judaism may be the worst. - Countless writings aimed at just the opposite of what Master Dogen means when he is saying about Master Nan’yo Echu (Nanyang Huizhong) that his “elucidation” “is never one truth or two truths”. (- Or, - “one way or two ways”, - Nishijima translates the Japanese “dō” as “truth" but this is clearly not the only way to have it, to say the least. - Chapter 53 (54 in Nearman’s translation) in the Shobogenzo, - Mujo-seppo.)

The allegory is very exact, in a way, - and this is what made me come to write this. - The unreasonability of the person in the story is so obvious while similar phenomena are ever escaping judgement of reason by eyes seeing them for what they are. - The nature of the spirit is not as the nature of physical matter in this rigid and rough world we are living in. - Still this is where we are. - It may be natural to write down instructions and directions received on the path. - And as well descriptions by those who know of what we don’t.

When a child is 3 years old he is told certain things. When he is 5 he is told certain things. When he is 6. - Parents would tell their children legends. A young child would not, of course, in many cases, - be aware that these stories do not reflect direct reality. He believes fairies, magic, witches, or whatever contents of these tales to be perceptible objects he might witness under possible circumstances. - I recall myself, at an older age, being concerned by questions such as who is stronger, - Batman or Spider-Man? - A friend trying to point to the fact that they do not in practice exist did not end my concern. I did not think at the time that abstract ideas (as these figures children uphold) do not have real features enabling us to relate to them as we might to real objects. But this is beside the point. - The point is of legends - as mentioned before that, - is it a lie a father is telling his son? Or is it not? Parents, of course, - are not unaware that young children at the appropriate age take what they are told as truth. Is it wrong? Obviously not many would think so.

- But if, - due to some distorted circumstances, - a child at 12 is still positively convinced his views of an earlier age are valid and true, - and further, - he can certify himself since he knows there is no doubt he was explicitly told so by those he trusts, - his reliable parents, - than there is undeniably something evidently wrong here.

- Of course wronger at 15 and worse if one is at an older age - possibly even an adult. Thinking of religion the situation is many times, as it seems, - about as bad as that. - It ever goes unnoticed because religion and faith are usually and normally taken to be nothing by most people today. Most would consider the issue pointless. - And in many cases the spirit itself is twisted in a way which makes things practically undetectable. - Due to a materialistic attitude within religious groups too. Materialistic attitude means they don’t know what understanding is and rely intellectually on written words. - But it is not only and merely about this.

It is not just about description of facts. - You might expect a child of 3 to behave in a certain way. You might give him according directions accordingly. - You would tell an older child of 5 or 12 different things. The two criteria would be the correct way for the child to act or behave according to his level of development and the appropriate means of presenting things regarding his ability of comprehending what you present him with.

Rules the Buddha gave over 2,000 years ago are not necessarily what he would order today. Some would still be in place, but it takes a certain kind of inner understanding to be able to tell. And this is of course never achieved through any form or kind of mere intellectual study. It takes more than that. And Jesus too, equally, - might have spoken somewhat different in accordance with humanity’s current level of development today two millenniums after the time he spoke his words we know. He somewhat related to that too, - changing earlier instructions and referring to the reason of that too. Things are much worse still. - It is not only that. There is the situation that scholars or learned men (or women, though not so frequently) imagine that after learning and becoming familiar with mere words and letters and acquiring knowledge the acquiring-of demands no inner or unique particular ability, they are able to “enrich” the existing contents of the religious or spiritual writings or customs, and on the basis of their materialistic familiarity with the external form of the issues and matters they may be dealing with, - they would expand and reform the field within which believers and practitioners innocently seek their path and way.

If scholastic knowledge as acquired and gained in the academic institutes would have been enough in the field of spirit, - (and understanding of the Dharma explicitly demands spiritual abilities, construction of the spirit, whatever anyone might say) practice as we know it would never have been necessary.

It is not about mere empty knowing of this or that. - The situation is different than in the secular field. - There it is just about features or abilities we already know being perhaps sometimes somewhat improved. - Here practitioners are to acquire gradually something they are initially ignorant as for the nature of. The main point is to change yourself. Master Dogen might object to the expression in contexts existing at his time, but here the situation is - as it seems, - just calling for this point. I don’t know if he would find a better way of putting it, he very likely would, - but it does not in any way negate what I am saying. He somewhat refers to the point too but it would not be useful for us here as it seems.

- Anyway, - one needs to become able to understand, then he will. It is not about how much you heard or read as it may be in other shallower fields. Those unfamiliar with the field would normally be blind to the fact. - There is no inner change people are familiar with normally in adult life in the lives of most people today. - Spiritual development roots out some rigidity inside your guts enabling gradual changes to occur in your personality with time as you practice or live. There are other changes. People of course sometimes changes in ways that are not generally mysterious, - but it is not the same.

- It is not easy to explain. - Anyway, - through practice, sometimes, - the ability to bring about changes is introduced, - and actual changes too are brought about. - It is not the same as things that happen sometimes in the secular field. You might say psychiatry and psychology are idiotic, - but I won’t get into that.

As for the effect of “Zen”, - there is an idea I thought of long ago, - and I will present it here: -

      Suppose you live in a neighbourhood where houses are generally 3-4 stories high. - As is a great part of Tel Aviv. - And let’s say you wake up one morning, - and step out to the porch, - and you see in front of you, - where there was an empty yard yesterday, - between two houses just across the street as it sometimes happen, - a new building 8 or 9 stories high - fully completed, - there are even tenants living there, - as you can see from the windows half open or laundry hanging off porches there. The building is brand new, it is obvious it has just been completed, - but a few tenants at least have already moved in. - As you can see through the building’s general appearance, - As I said.

      Now let us suppose also that you speak to no one about it.

      First you would obviously - perhaps at least, - think you might be dreaming. Let us assume you live alone. - So you have no one to talk to at home, and let’s say you passed the ideas saying (if so) you might be dreaming and this might not be real and know this is just a fact.

      Now you go off to work. And I said let us suppose that you speak to no one about it. Here is the point: - Your view, - that day, - seeing things, - whatever you see and come across that day, - will be different. - Your mind will be somewhat more open. Things will enter you differently. The soft shock you received creates a different situation where your inner systems work in a different manner. All this is assuming you talk to no one about what you experienced. Otherwise your mental situation will be different. - But this is necessary for our story here, - to make it able to clarify and expound what it is designed to. - Thing enter your mind deeper, but not violently. - After a while the mood will fade. It does not last for ever. But through Zazen you enter a mental state, - very slowly and gradually, and not everyone will come to it, - but after years of practice you get a steady state which becomes your normal one, - where the virtue I was talking about is inherited within your being through practice.

There is no way to get to that through any new form of prescriptions by the ignorant professionals living and ruling the scene today.

It is not possible to bypass the spirit.

- Those blind to it are ever living in a somewhat 2-dimensional reality. - It is like a person living in world made up only of rigid solid cubes. You can’t tell him of other things unmatching phenomena his rigid mind is unaccustomed to. I related to a similar idea in an earlier post. - The Spirit is not something that could be devised by those who don’t know it by means of guessing. - I doesn’t work that way. Common men and scientists today take the spirit and all that may be in general associated with religion or faith or occultism to be reamains of a primitive attitude we have - in their view, - moved beyond. - It will not get serious attention. And even if it would, - they would not see it reasonable to apply the tools necessary to get anywhere in the field. - The main point I wish to make here is that there is something of a different nature, in the way clouds are different from plastic toys or robotricks, - which the materialistic rulers of our contemporary miserable society - in the cultural way I mean, - can not and will not fathom, - and the possible results the enabling-of-which they miss, - are unequal to whatever they may be able to construct through their materialistic means.

In other words, - materialism means superficiality. - But the post was supposed to be about another thing. - It is about how religious ideas stagnate and remain as a shell empty of its contents. - A dead sea creature could be a good allegory too.

These words observed for themselves devoid of the real context and meaning may be much like a clam where only the shell is left, - or some similar creature, - and where those dealing with it don’t get there was a living creature inside and the dead thing they are holding misses fundamentally the essential thing.

This is why I brought the story at the beginning. - Had things been so easy to present all that I am saying, or trying to say, - would have been already known. There are many who are aware of the funny situation. Even if these many can be very few. It depends what you call it. And it doesn’t matter. - Strict adherence to religious texts unaware of their living contents can mislead like a blind camel in the desert. The essence is not easily brought into words. If you take the words relying on which “Zen” students have been able to become “Zen” masters, - they may be the best examples: - They meant everything to the right person at the right time, they might mean very little or nothing at all otherwise. You can’t cling to words out of context.

This was intended to be one post. But I’ll cut it off here, I don’t know why, - and I’ll complete it some other time.

It will be on in October, I believe. Cheers.


In the field of education a lot of things are heard. – The importance of the matter is not – of course – altogether lost or missed. – Though, still, - I believe, - most would naturally perhaps be blind – to a great extent, - to the core of the living issue. – This may be quite natural, perhaps, - in times almost worshiping the thin intellectual layer of thought, considering the spiritual irrational by nature as a preliminary assumption, - and where and when human abilities are continually corrupted and degenerated through newborn-prejudices and corresponding dry and lifeless shallow atmosphere in which incapable immature humans could satisfy themselves with accepted approval through existing norms born through doubt. The ability to see is not appreciated while the construction of somewhat complicated structures reflecting the outcome of the view of those of mediocre abilities is considered the standard by which society should measure its standards and norms creating its being in contemporary times.

However, the issue is education, and not why the points I am about to relate to are not [so far] seen or raised in general.

The first point to observe in the field of education in general as it seems to me at the times we are living in is of a person’s ability to tell which of the views he imagines to be his own are actually so. – We are living in a time in which the intellect is greatly considered. I have related to it just above. – Wisdom, at the same time, with the utmost ease escapes procedural and formal tests and exams and could not be detected with measures the objectivity of would considerably rely on the question of whether they [the measures] would be verifiable by all – regardless of their own abilities as individuals. The practical situation is that many view themselves according to their intellectual-abilities, and here too, not much is demanded. (In most cases) – Depth of character, - liveliness of thought, anything that goes beyond the mere abilities which as-a-matter-of-principle could practically be those of an outstanding child of seven, - are underestimated and due to their-own-absence the ability to appreciate them is lost too.
– In this situation, - the ability to be able to tell what of a person’s overall view is truly of his own creation and of his own critical-filtering and what – on the other hand, - is absorbed off the society he (or she) lives in – is diminished and to a great extent lost with-regard-to-partial-points within his (or hers) world picture held by the person.

There are other situations too where other factors – of a rough character alternatively in many cases, - or an unclean mentality, - would lead to that result.

Unlike what people seem to believe in general, rendering their mind rational as a mathematical equation, practically human views held are sometimes absorbed, at some level, off what is common to believe around them. Depth of consciousness may very well be the main question here. And of course, many – particularly of shallow minds and a self esteem which does not correspond, - would not enjoy the comment regarding the issue and would react with typical insincerity attacking the commentator.

Consider Nazi Germany, now it is quite easy to see where the views generally held at the time originated, to a great degree. – But supposed you were at the time there, or that you were able to go there, - could you point and clarify that to a person at the time? – Quite obviously you might have preferred not to try. There may be rare individuals who might have the eye to glimpse your truth, but in most cases, - it seems, - failure is close to being guaranteed. – The situation is not identical. It is not merely about making individuals notice they are blindly absorbing issues off society and their surroundings but also, it is true, - about pointing to some emptiness or wrongness of views in themselves. – But thinking of the issue makes it easier to notice the phenomenon I-am-trying-to-relate-to today too.

With young children it might be easier. – Perhaps around the ages of 5 to 12. Children do have a lot of views or opinions or thoughts which they of course never have deeply considered. – They have been told this and they have been told that. Some may be right and some may be wrong. – Due to this situation it may be easier for them to come to notice the fact that they do not really know (many times) why they actually really think what they do. – With age the situation changes. Around 15 the situation would be different and again around 18 or 21. But anyway, - relating to the point at an early age would create consciousness of the related phenomenon in itself which would still exist at a later age too. – It is of course not wrong as-a-matter-of-principle to accept authority. Are we aware that we do? Are we aware of the reasoning? This is of course a different matter. – Very young children would of course believe everything their parents tell them is true. – This situation is not changed at once but gradually. As for adults, - when they live in a society where the standard is not to examine the issue they would very well absorb this too if they are absorbing the surrounding-of-their-ideas in general as referred to earlier. – But talking about children – if you question them about several elementary issues it might be quite easy for you to show them that they are not really aware of why they believe this or that. – Further, - though for this at a too-young-age this might not be so, - you might be able to make them notice that at certain points what they imagine to be simply what-they-think quite independently they don’t really know (unless particularly thinking about it) any rational justification to but simply have been told.

A child who has come to notice it as a child, - even though the nature of the phenomenon changes with age, - having become familiar with it at a stage when it is so easy to see, - would hold the awareness of the possibility of the phenomenon basically throughout his life later. Of course it is not guaranteed. If it is merely pointed out one day in school he might forget it the next. – But if he does come to the simple awareness at this age it is an understanding which will hold.

The issue is not particularly important with children. It is important with adults. Mainly, I’d say, - perhaps – after their mid 20’s. It is merely considerably easier to deal with at a younger age. Advancing with age, until 28, a deeper attitude is (or may be) required in order to display it. – Since the phenomenon itself becomes accustomed to the development in one’s personality and is accordingly better hidden (or otherwise of course gone) and further complexed. – Trying to make it clear how to deal with it then would be far less easy. – However, - for example – we do know that in most cases those born in religious families remain religious and those born in secular families remain otherwise too. Does this make sense? Of course not. The religious are often not interested in rational examination due to feelings of guilt and the modern-common-materialists a lot of times possess common baseless confidence due to which they would underestimate it and imagine they have generally performed it [quite unconsciously] anyway. Even if you point to a religious person that the fact that he or she were born where they were does not conclude that the religious beliefs held there are correct, - it is very hard for them to accept this.

Hatred for others which is acquired through “education” at home is a lot similar. While beliefs considered to be enlightened in modern ages could be of the issue too. Uchiyama Roshi speaks of that very nicely in his commentary of Bendowa. Though he is not that explicit. He speaks of people stopping thinking – in the past, - when they heard the word “Buddha”, and later, correspondingly, - when hearing of the Emperor and later “Democracy”. But this might drift somewhat off my intended line here. I have not summed the subject but I will here leave it at that. – What I am saying is that it is important for people to be aware of when ideas they hold true are actually derived by their own mental-means through reason (including reasonable trust in others, this is not faulted) and whenconverselythey [the ideas] are merely the outcome of an unconscious habit they are unaware of since they see it generally everywhere around them. (– So to speak, - “everywhere” – considerably among others, that is to say)

Andthat this would be the first point to relate to when coming to dedicate your thought to the issue of education.

Second, - would be the matter of being aware how far could one’s abilities exceed. To what extent could one rely on his (or hers) mental-abilities and where – conversely, - one should know that his (...) judgment would be insufficient and that he would practically better trust that of some others, - if possible.

This would of course somewhat contrast – though not just at 180° – with the first point brought here just above. – Some might say perhaps it would (somewhat) balance it. I don’t find these observations particularly important. What is important is to note reality as it is and notice the practical tools in need. Sometimes they might be at one direction and sometime they might be at another.

However, - while the first point is to be aware of when your views are actually your views, and you might say consequently making sure that they are, - since you would not naturally want to hold opinions which found their room in your mind simply as some matter of random appearance through what would not be valid as-for assuring their truthfulness and realism as a picture of what-ever-you-observe, - the second point is about when conversely you might imagine yourself capable of coming to conclusions as for some issue while actually the real picture is more complex or complicated or refined then your natural assumptions, - or while it requires some unique or special expertise relating to some connection you are somewhat-unaware-of. I don’t see a way to make things clear as for the second point like it seems to be possible for the first. – The second phenomenon originates with an unclear mind, underestimation of an issue due to somewhat of a rough sight, - as it seems. – I don’t think it could be pointed to [– as a concrete incident, - that is] as the first could. – The matter is not as easy, - it mainly requires a change in a person’s personality, as it seems. Still, - when relating to actual people facing one who wishes to relate to the matter, - ones who are also willing to listen, - things are a bit different. – Success is not guaranteed, but real people are not abstract ideas, - and observing them, - in case you understand the issue itself related-to here, - you might find what to grasp and/or hold on to in order to clarify the second-phenomenon-I-find-importance-with here.

That would mean of course somewhere relating to concrete examples, adapting yourself to the audience – and I could hardly expect success with a crowd of more than a few dozens, - but there are those whose abilities I could not easily estimate.

This could be explained to an actual person, and as I made clear it need not be one, - but giving an explanation here in a written blog that would do the trick just as well, - I could not see as possible. There are always those whose abilities exceed expectations, - but given that Buddha or Christ would not give it a try I do not see it as practical.

Some would of course see what I mean, I would be a fool to write this otherwise. – But generally speaking the ability to clarify the second point relies on the talent or the inner capabilities of a person. – The reason we are sunk in materialism is to a great extent this issue. I recall Steiner somewhere saying or writing that the rise of materialism has to do with the popularization of science. As long as it was in possession of few it found no conflict with faith. – I don’t see a direct issue of humility, though it may be my limited sight, - but many – particularly when so habited in society, - (see of course first issue) would easily miss the fact, - (supported by the fact that this missing is joyfully performed by many) that their mental abilities are insufficient for the determination of certain matters, simply accepting existing standards blindly and dryly (again this is somewhat of the first matter, but here it might hardly seem they could tell themselves) as for what-they-could-determine-themselves and what-they-would-need-to-accept-authority-as-for.

This is all.
I wrote this on May 26th, May 29th, and June 16th 2015.
I don’t know when I will come to publish it.
My blog is stuck due to the “Time” post I can not complete because of fucking matters I don’t know if I get to write about.