the teaching of whole-hearted sitting

Dogen’s Treasury of the True Dharma Eye edited by Kaz Tanahashi: teaching styles

“Wind” can refer to teaching styles and Dogen describes his own journey in search of a teacher.  

After the aspiration for enlightenment arose, I began to search for dharma, visiting teachers at various places in our country….  Later I went to Great Song China, visited masters on both sides of the Zhe River, and heard the teachings of the Five Schools.  Finally, I became a student of Zen Master Rujing of Taibai Peak and completed my life’s quest of the great matter.

It’s no easy journey, this finding of a teacher who can rouse the fires or stoke the coals of an aspiration for enlightenment.  We get caught up – student and teacher alike – in our craving not just for the teachings but for what the teachings will bring us.  We may wish that “the wind of the ancient sages be heard,” but we may wish for the sound to arise from our small heart.

There may be true students who are not concerned with fame and gain who allow their aspiration for enlightenment to guide them and earnestly desire to practice the buddha way.  They may be misguided by incapable teachers and obstructed from the correct understanding; intoxicated in confusion, they may sink into the realm of delusion for a long time.  How can they nourish the correct seed of prajna and encounter the time of attaining the way?

It’s a good question for our time of tangled lineages and multiplicity of sketchy teachers.  Dogen advises:

From the first time you meet a master, without depending on incense offering, bowing, chanting buddha names, repentance, or reading scriptures, just wholeheartedly sit, and thus drop away body and mind.

I would add that in the search of a teacher we take care of who we think is a master.  There is a difference between someone who is a master of befriending her own delusions and one who is  a master of befriending ours.

4 thoughts on “the teaching of whole-hearted sitting

  1. This *really* speaks to my heart this morning, Genju, for I find myself in this very place… Needing someone to just *sit* with – to reflect back the Truth of who I *really* am, without the “ritual”, without the delusions, without the veils of personality – just the bare bones Truth, so that I can once again see and experience the intimacy of Being myself…
    Thank you…

  2. “There is a difference between someone who is a master of befriending her own delusions and one who is a master of befriending ours.” This is worth its weight in diamonds or chocolate or some other precious currency. Thank you.

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