Saturday, March 20, 2010

As Good As It Gets

Spent the evening reading sections of one of my favorite books, Each Moment Is The Universe: Zen And The Way Of Being Time, by Dainin Katagiri. I've read it a dozen times and still find something new each time i read it. I would be willing to wager a large sum that after another dozen times, i'll still find something that elicits an "Ah ha!" In the book, he discusses the Being-Time chapter of Dōgen Zenji's classic Shōbōgenzō.

"In 'Being-Time,' Dogen Zenji constantly encourages us to see time from a different angle by being present at the source of time. The source of time is the place where you can see your human life from a broad view. We usually think of time as streaming from the past through the present to the future, but at its source time is not like that. There is no stream of time from the past through the present to the future.

"The past has already gone, so it does not exist. The future has not yet come, so it also does not exist. So the past and future are nothing, no-time. Then is the present all that exists? No, even though there is a present, strictly speaking the present is nothing, because in a moment it is gone. So the present is also nothing, zero, no-time, no-present, no form of the present. But that nothingness is very important.

"Nothingness means total functioning, just functioning energy. When the present is no-time, it is interconnected with all sentient beings in the peace and harmony of timelessness. But when nothingness functions, there is a pivot, and it becomes the present. That pivot is called the pivot of nothingness. At that precise point—the intersection of time and space, which is called right now, right here—all sentient beings come together into the moment and a vast world comes up: past, present, future, earth, trees, planets, moons, and suns. In one moment, every possible aspect of human life, everything we can be, spreads out, unfolds, and a huge world comes up. That is called interdependent co-origination. Life is always at the pivot of nothingness; it is always right now, right here. Right now, right here is the eternal moment of the real present.


"[W]hen I do zazen, if zazen is just a portion of me, then zazen is opposed to me and I am always looking at zazen. If I am always looking at zazen, I can not become egoless because that 'I' always thinks about zazen, then criticizes, judges, and evaluates the zazen I am doing. Zazen and Katagiri are dualistic, and this is always egoistic. At that time, Katagiri is a portion of zazen and zazen is a portion of Katagiri.

"In order to become the egoless no-Katagiri, I have to occupy the whole of zazen. I have to become completely one with zazen. Then there is no-Katagiri and no-zazen. No-Katagiri means exactly zazen. No-zazen means exactly Katagiri. When the idea of Katagiri and the idea of zazen are completely empty, just the functioning of zazen appears. The same applies to Dogen's statement 'Being-time means that time itself is being.' That time doesn't occupy a portion of space; that time is the whole of space. Then time becomes a pivot of nothingness.

"When Dogen says, 'Every being is time' it doesn't mean everything is manifested in the stream of time, as we usually understand it. It means everything is reflected in the mirror at the pivot of nothingness. That is the vastness of the universe. It is very clear, very pure, just like a mirror. When you see your life reflected in that mirror, this is egolessness."

Or, as someone else said it:

Kanji Sai Bo Sa
Gyō Jin Hanya Haramita Ji
Shō Ken Go Un Kai Kū
Do Issai Ku Yaku

Sha Ri Shi
Shiki Fu I Kū
Kū Fu I Shiki
Shiki Soku Ze Kū
Kū Soku Ze Shiki
Ju Sō Gyō Shiki
Yaku Bu Nyo Ze

DHS 129

Think i'll spend the rest of the evening watching a movie. Always look on the bright side of life.

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