- 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.                                                 ________________________

Living and Dying, Coming and Going

I did not originally intend to make this post, - though I thought some of it might get integrated into the previous one. - As it didn’t - I have come to write this, I originally intended to go on to a different matter in the next post. - So this isn’t an independent post in a way, - but as if appended to the last one.

- As I got into the matter of our origination as human beings, of where this form of ours comes from, which has to do with the origination of the ground beneath our feet and the planetary system to which it belongs, - and very likely the universe itself - or the physical plain as we usually see it, - and what a religion is, or what religions are, - for the purpose of which I initially got involved in this matter in the last post, - plus - also - perhaps the most important here - within this frame of things - what is the explicit reason for our present existence in particular and for that of that which is here surrounding us, - as I got into all that - which is of course of greater importance than the actual line and intended-aim of the last post in themselves, - and that is without almost any reasonable support for the fantastic story many would consider altogether outrageous, - I thought I would try and provide some support or relate to it in some way. - Now for all those who imagine themselves wise but may not be so, - this is not to be a proof. - Very obviously not.
There are many who know (- however extremely few these “many” may be) but very reasonably keep silent. (- or sometimes even explicitly argue contrarily, and I do believe you might have come across them)
Has it all been [that easily] reasonably provable you would have very likely have heard of it far earlier.

(- Though there may be many [lit.] hard headed academics and the like whose inflexible abilities of thought and silly blind heart blocked with externally-absorbed self-esteem they imagine to be of their own grounding would keep them from being able to appreciate the value of  practical arguments even in case such are presented to them to a possible extent.
- However, - I am not about these now. - I’m just as fond of them as I might be of an unexpected gathering of coals and ashes I might find on my new and clean Persian living room carpet.
- Particularly just after it’s just been bought or cleaned.

I don’t really have a carpet; this is just for the purpose of illustration, but stupidity, - while fundamentally innocent in its nature, - can actually be terribly annoying when assertive and confident.)

- So this post is to be a just a grouping of several unrelated points, - you might make of what you will.

- The first: - In ’93, - (- I’m quite certain, - though there may be a chance it was 92) it should have been April that year - I participated in a zazenkai in Nanzen-ji Monastery (Rinzai sect) in Kyoto.

- It was open to anyone, - as I guess zazenkais in Japan usually are, - though the hour it was scheduled was so early quite few would come.

It was either a Sunday or a Saturday morning - I can’t remember which. - I think when I walked there it was still dark. - There was Zazen, I can’t remember how many periods, - then there were the Heart Sutra and Hakuin Zenji’s song of Zazen, - (- chanting - that is, - each of them once) and then there was a short talk by Nanzen-ji’s Roshi, - (I don’t know his name) who conducted it all all by himself - as far as I can remember.

I was the only foreigner - again as far as I can remember. The talk was all in Japanese.

As we were afterwards walking away, - me and perhaps two or three of the other participants, - I asked them what did the Roshi say.

- In his talk - that is.

I can’t really remember exactly what they said, - and they probably didn’t think there was a reason to be so carefully exact about it, - but the general idea and the spirit were -
“The Sun shines, the trees grow, the birds are singing, - all so that we can come to realize our true nature”.
(- The words were very much like that too, - I guess)

- It didn’t occur to me at the time, - but what the Roshi was saying is just that which I was, - and am, - talking about. - Of course he didn’t make it explicit. - He didn’t even intend for anyone to understand what he was talking about; - unless he knew I knew something about these things - this is.

- But the fact - nevertheless - still stands.

- Second: - The “birth” mentioned in Job 38:21 is clearly Enlightenment. - It was known neither in Judaism nor in Christianity so the fact was completely missed.

Translations being so bad, - as - I assume - translators were not men who could actually speak Hebrew but merely had quite dry scholastic knowledge of it, - the inevident meaning of verses 18-21 has been almost completely lost. (- This is also why I don’t link, - though you might find the whole chapter, in the most reasonable translation I have come across, - (- though I haven’t searched that far) opposite the original Hebrew - here.)

Was I to try and translate it myself, - (- though my knowledge of English might be somewhat insufficient) I would try and present it as follows: -

“- Have you meditated onto the breadth of the land?

- Say, - have you known it all?

- Which is the way [in which] light shall dwell, -

And darkness, - its abode - where?

- As you will carry it to its borderline,

- And as you will understand its home routes.

- You have [indeed] known - (that) then you will be born, -

And the number of your days [is] great.”.

(- When it actually says “Where” - I translated “Which” - as to maintain the spirit; - and for the same reason when it actually says “place” I said “abode”; - and when it simply says “take” I wrote “carry”. - More significant, - where I used “meditated” the original Hebrew word means “looked” or “observed”, though it is somewhat different from these two, - and there is no exact English word for it. - At the same time, - it is the same word used today (- not without reason of course) for meditation in modern Hebrew.

I considered using “contemplated” but preferred as I did. - “Looked” might have done had it been the only possibility, - but I believe it is better as it is.

- However, - in verse 19 there is no “to” - which you might find in existing translations, - and it merely seems to be a rough and irresponsible interpretation.)

It does lose on translation, it’s quite inevitable in trying to convert the Biblical Hebrew to English, but it is still reasonably comprehensible.

- “then you will be born” does not relate personally to Job, - who has already been enlightened by that time, - but is a general reference. Since Job has already been enlightened by the time, - it says he does know a person will be “born” (- i.e. - will be enlightened) under the circumstances described.

As for the number of his days being great, - this again refers to the fact of us reincarnating throughout the history of the Earth, - toward enlightenment; - (I’ll try to cease using this word) while when we get there our horizons open. - This is - in a way at least - (that is to say - I’ll tell you when I get there) when we are truly born.

- In spite of the fact in Buddhism it is sometimes referred to as “death”.

- So in that birth the number of our days will truly be many.

It is possible to go somewhat further here, I prefer not to.

- Thirdly, - the John Lennon songs “Instant Karma” and “Whatever Gets You through the Night” are somewhat about this.

I won’t go over them word by word, I’ll just quote from “Instant Karma”: - “How in the world you gonna see? - Laughing at fools like me.”, - [- !]Why in the world are we here?”, - and, - “Why on earth are you there?”, -* and I will make a few references to “Whatever Gets You through the Night” too: -

It’s your money or life”: - The money or your life implies materialistic pursuit, - no less common today - of course - than it was in 1974, - (when the album and single were released) versus spiritual development which is the natural and significantly-inherent purpose of our lives, as they are taking place here on Earth.

- That is, - it is of the choice of dedicating your life to worthwhile, living and reasonable aims - or to dead pursuit of material possession, - in following the common ways of a blind society.

- “Do it wrong or do it right” is similar to Sawaki Roshi’s “To know there is no way to fail in becoming a Buddha is issaichi**. The night trains carry you along even when you are sleeping.***.

- “Don't need a watch to waste your time” is a dual meaning: - Else than the evident, immediate meaning, - “watch” (also) implies meditation, - which is perhaps the number one element in spiritual practice. - That is to say you don’t need meditation in order to waste your time, - or rather refers to the fact that if you completely ignore your life’s purpose for which you are here, - namely spiritual development or progress, - here generally implied by one of its primary tools - meditation - indicated by the “watch”, - then you are wasting your time.

- And your life.

(- though on the other hand there is another side to it Lennon doesn’t refer to, - but I’ll drop this here as well)

- It’s a bit like Master Seppo’s quote I’ll refer to next. (“Seppo Gison” is “Xuefeng Yicun” in Chinese, but I’m used to the Japanese pronunciations, so far at least.)

- “Out the blue or out of sight” refers to enlightenment (- explicitly so, - sorry to be using this word again) appearing out of the blue or being out of sight. - See the next line as well.

(The chorus is about how important the thing is, and the way people react when you try to tell them about it.)

Lennon evidently did not intend for the actual meaning of the song to be obvious to someone who knows nothing about all this. - And I need not expound about the reason. But in case of both songs, - the fact that this is what he was talking about is not in question for anyone who has a reasonable idea about the matter.

All my above (and below) references should be viewed in context of the songs and not independently. - I did not link but you can find the words very easily on the web. - Anybody in doubt who has a true teacher could inquire with his own teacher. - As I said it not open to interpretations, - though written in an inapparent way as to have only the acquainted comprehend.

Next is Master Seppo Gison’s quote you can find at the lower part of the blog page. The first part of the sentence again refers to the same matter I am here to support at this post. - Redemption is a facet of E often emphasized in the Eastern versions of the path.

The second part: - “people are not willing to enter even if they are dragged” - corresponds to what I said in my last post: - “humanity is not concerned about the way at all”.

- Last is Dogen’s quote I used as the title of this post. - It is a phrase appearing repeatedly in the Shobogenzo. Sometimes variated it seems.

- Living and dying implies reincarnation. - Nothing else. Teachers who claim otherwise either explicitly lie or know very little shit.

- But it is not only that, - but within the context I was talking about: - Life and death as enabling us to walk the path the Teaching of Master Dogen (- as many others, - that is) is about.

Coming and going implies ordinary daily actions within our lives. - But again, - it implies their value as contributing to the aim of creation. - As I said, - whatever we do here on Earth serves that purpose.§ - Every action a human takes contributes to his inner being learning at least the slightest bit as a result of it. - And particularly in “Zen” its quiet and ordinary character has value in itself. - Noisy and obstructive outstanding actions might take you nowhere.

So it is about the value of simple everyday actions within the living structure of the far wider picture, - and suggesting their inherent significance minorically expressing it.

Here too, - this is not a subjective interpretation of the phrase. I can not see a way in which it could sincerely and seriously be interpreted otherwise.
At the time Master Dogen lived there was no problem. - Even though the story wasn’t generally told in full man has not yet lost his faith. Such a process was not even in its beginning.
So good old ever young Master Dogen Could express himself freely, - though this does not mean understanding was immediate to all.

I did not allow comments for this post. If you feel there is something you want to say you can do it under the previous one.

* - Still, - I’d mention that “gonna knock you right the head” refers to intellectualism, - which is a barrier to spiritual development, - and that “what on Earth you tryinna do” implies the fact that that-for-which-we-are-here can only be achieved on here Earth, - not in higher realms.
** The book from which the quote is explains “issaichi” as “the wisdom which understands the total aspect of phenomena”.
***While the quote in the book says “train”, I changed it to “trains”. Japanese does not normally distinguish between single and plural, - and in the original text it seems quite obviously to mean both.
§ This is an exact quote from the last post.

The gun at the picture above is the gun that killed John Lennon. It seems the asshole who took it imagined it to be of artistic value. - The stupidity of intellectuals can still be surprising, - apparently.