Dogen Kigen (1200-1253)
(copyright owners of this picture, please read the p.s. at the bottom thanks!)
Today I have chosen again - maybe I am in a zen-mood this week ;) - a text from a japanese Zen-Master. This time it is the "founder" of Soto-Zen: Dogen Kigen (1200-1253). His main work is the Shôbôgenzô (a paraphrase of the notoriously difficult japanese title is Treasury of the Eye of the True Dharma ) a collection of ninety-five books or fascicles concerning zenbuddhist practice and satori. This is a passage from the notoriously difficult book called "Busshô" (written in winter 1241 CE, trans. Norman Waddell) about Buddha-Nature:
"As for the truth of the Buddha-nature: the Buddha-nature is not incorporated prior to attaining Buddhahood; it is incorporated upon the attainment of Buddhahood. The Buddha-nature is always manifested simultaneously with the attainment of Buddhahood. This truth should be deeply, deeply penetrated in concentrated practice. There has to be twenty or even thirty years of dilligent Zen practice. It is not something clarified even in the higher stages of Bodhisattvahood. It is this truth that articulates, "Sentient beings are Buddha-nature, sentient beings are no Buddha-nature". The right way is to study that it is a Dharma incorporated upon the attainment of Buddhahood.
If your study is not like this, it cannot be called the Buddha-Dharma. If it had not been studied like this, the Buddha Dharma would never have continued to the present day. Unless you clarify this truth, Buddha-attainment will not be clear to you, and you will not experience it.
For this, when the Fifth Patriarch, he said, "man of Ling-nan, you're no-Buddha-nature". When one first encounters a buddha and hears the Dharma, what is extremely difficult to understand, to really grasp is, "all sentient beings are no-Buddha-nature". Whether it comes from a good master or from the sutras, that which cannot help giving joy when heard, is " all sentient beings are no-Buddha-nature". One whose total experience is not filled to overflowing with "all sentient beings are no-Buddha-nature" has not yet experienced the Buddha-nature.
When the Sixth Patriarch sought with all his effort to attain Buddhahood and the Fifth Patriarch brought it about in him, there were then no other utterances, no other skillful means; all he did was to say, "man of Ling-nan, you're no-Buddha-nature".
You should know, the very uttering and hearing of "no-Buddha-nature" was itself his immediate passage to Buddha-attainment. Since it was, right at the very time of "no-Buddha-nature" he became a buddha. To have not yet experienced or articulated "no-Buddha-nature" is to have not yet attained Buddhahood."
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Have a nice weekend !
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P.S. Dear copyright owner of the picture, please contact me, if you don't want to see your picture above in this context! Your picture will of course be instantly removed! Thank you. S.K.G..