Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Knock On The Door

Genine knocked on my door last night after lecture, in the mistaken belief that she was on the floor below and was knocking on Sam's door. Undaunted, she continued with her mission, which was to share a quote from Moby-Dick which Valorie's talk had brought to mind for her, and which seemed to her a wonderful description of zazen. Unfortunately, even with much thumbing through already well-thumbed pages, she was unable to find the right page in her copy of the book, so we googled it, with 'disport' being the key search word:
And thus, though surrounded by circle upon circle of consternations and affrights, did these inscrutable creatures at the centre freely and fearlessly indulge in all peaceful concernments; yea, serenely revelled in dalliance and delight. But even so, amid the tornadoed Atlantic of my being, do I myself still for ever centrally disport in mute calm; and while ponderous planets of unwaning woe revolve round me, deep down and deep inland there I still bathe me in eternal mildness of joy.
Now that word disport immediately reminded me of the opening lines of the Bendowa:
All buddha-tathagathas have been simply transmitting wondrous dharma and actualizing anuttara samyak sambodhi for which there is an unsurpassable, unfabricated, wondrous method. This wondrous dharma, which has been transmitted only from buddha to buddha without deviation, has as its criterion jijuyu zanmai.
For disporting oneself freely  in this samadhi, practicing zazen in an upright posture is the true gate. Although this dharma is abundantly inherent in each person, it is not manifested without practice, it is not attained without realization.
I confess that I have never read  Moby-Dick, which is not perhaps as highly ranked on school reading lists in England, but I read the Bendowa in my early years at Tassajara, and it made a very deep impression, even if I never felt like I actually understood it.

No comments: