Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Study Hall - Shobogenzo

As I plough further into this, I start to notice more the moments where Dogen uses an unexpected turn of phrase. By which I am not talking about the way he turns language inside out, such as "Sheltering the eyes is opening the eyes within sheltering, vital eyes within sheltering, vital sheltering within the eyes" from 'Reading a Sutra', 'Kankin' - that is what we come to expect from him - but more something like "Although it is called the self, it is not bound by 'you' and 'I'. It is a vital eyeball, a vital fist". Or, from 'Old Mirror', 'Kokyo', "From wise to foolish, people are as varied and complex as the change of weather", which still sounds fresh.
As ino, I also paid attention to the section in 'Reading a Sutra' where Dogen outlines the procedures for reciting a sutra at a donor's request: "The donor receives a portable incensor in front of the hall, holds it up and enters the hall.  The portable incense burner has been kept in a communal area of the monastery. A worker puts incense into a box beforehand, sets it in front of the hall, and hands the incense to the donor at the host's signal", because it's definitely the ino who has to make sure all these actually happen...

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