Thursday, April 22, 2010

Study Hall

This week I have been mostly reading Dogen. Apart from the Tenzo Kyokun and the Eihei Shingi I have not read much Dogen recently, and it seemed like it was time to pick him up again. I found a copy of 'Sounds of Valley Streams' in the book sale at City Center earlier this year, and I have now worked my way through it. I wouldn't claim to understand what he is talking about, but if I am paying attention, I often get a shiver down my spine reading the words, and this response gives me faith that something profound is being expressed, and that maybe one day it will be clearer to me. Or not.
Here is a passage from 'Ikka Myoju' ('One Bright Pearl'):
" 'One bright pearl' thoroughly expresses it even though it is not itself revealed in its name, and we can recognise it in its name. 'One bright pearl' directly transcends the eons, and because in the eternal past it never ceased to be, it reaches up to the eternal present. Though there is one's mind now and one's body now, they are just the one bright pearl. This grass or that tree are not grass and tree, nor are the mountains and rivers of the world mountains and rivers; they are one bright pearl".
It is often claimed that Dogen was a deep environmentalist, and I would agree with that, so these are good words for Earth Day. We will be celebrating that on Saturday here at City Center, at the morning service and with Robert Thomas' talk, so please come and join us.

1 comment:

Nedd said...

I do believe Dogen was a deep environmentalist as well and the reverence for all things in the world was one of the things that brought me to the teaching. Reading Dogen reminds me very much of reading the French phenomenologist Maruice Merleau-Ponty, who seems to be a French cosmic brother of Dogen. I have enjoyed reading your entries.