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Monday, 01 July 2013 18:48

Zen teachers frequently talk about ‘the non dual dharma’, and we are all familiar with the standard dualities: mind/body, self/world, and so on.


Less attention is given to a very pervasive dualism: the container and the contained. So, our life occurs in time, the leaves fall from the tree in autumn, experience occurs in consciousness, and so forth.


For master Dogen, our lives do not exist in time, but in our lives, time exists. The container/contained duality is replaced by a sense of each thing being the full dynamic functioning of everything, The Whole Universe pivoting on each thing.

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Monday, 01 July 2013 18:48

The body is the ground of being. Our task as practitioners isn’t to change or empty the contents of our consciousness, but to fall backwards into the actual feeling, momentary state, which is prior to words, and prior to both thoughts and the type of thinking we call emotion.


The fog of the self collapses back into the ground, actualising space.


The ground upholds all things. Space contains all things. Thus are all things liberated from our love and hate, and so cease to be provisional and limited. Thus each thing is everything, and has absolute value.

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Monday, 01 July 2013 18:47

In our practice, we are continually drifting in and out of delusion. The delusion isn’t the intermittent noise, rather, it’s when our attention focuses on a kernel of thought/emotion, and our breathing becomes shallow. It’s a kind of trance state. In response, we throw the breath and attention wide open, unentrancing ourselves. This learning to fall out of self enchantment is giving life to all things.


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Monday, 01 July 2013 18:46

We say “ I am doing zazen”, but where in our actual experience can we locate the self?


Can we locate it in the thoughts that arise? No, because these thoughts arise within a broader awareness. Can we locate it in that awareness? No, because how is that awareness particular to you? Can we locate it in our experienced world? No, because this would entail each of us having our own world, which is absurd.

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Sunday, 30 June 2013 17:17

Common sense tells us that the cause of suffering is impermanence. We die, nothing lasts, we know this, ergo we suffer.


However, Dogen ascribed the opposite view –ascribed to Senika – that the body and mind/soul are separate, and the latter is permanent, as the root of suffering. The root of suffering.


To make sense of this claim, I think we have to assume that for Dogen, separation, dualism, was the cause of suffering, not impermanence. And so, a belief that we have an eternal essence solidifies dualism. And it follows from that, that impermanence has the primary function of waking us up to dependent origination, the dynamic wholeness of everything, waking us up from the dream of suffering.

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