Thursday, September 15, 2011

Words And Phrases

Amongst our visitors from Tassajara this week is the tanto, and my predecessor as ino, Greg. Not content to swan around on vacation, he gave the talk last night, based around Dogen's fascicle on 'All-inclusive Study', 'Henzan', and the story of the exchange between Huineng and Nanyue. This is a great one to chew on, as Nanyue did himself for eight years. In the new translation of the Shobogenzo, Nanyue says, after he has come to his realisation, 'Speaking about it won't hit the mark'.
This morning in service we chanted the Song of the Jewel Mirror Samadhi for the first time in a couple of months, our Thursdays having been given over to the memorial services for David. When we got to the line, 'Although it is not fabricated, it is not without speech', I actually stopped chanting and tried to think how that line and Nanyue's line meet each other. Give me eight years and I will perhaps come up with an answer.
Over breakfast we were discussing this. Renee liked that Greg highlighted the line from the Full Moon Ceremony, 'To expound the dharma with this body is foremost', which as regular readers will know, I am partial to myself, and which, as I don't think I have mentioned, Lou had on the back of his rakusu. "How else are you going to do it?" I chipped in, "To expound the dharma with this iPad?" Gretchen said she had some friends who might advocate for Second Life at this juncture, and we started riffing about the qualities of virtual zazen, since I understand there is a zendo in Second Life - it is undoubtedly less painful, and perhaps less of a time commitment. Nonetheless, I think we mostly tend to think around here that it's better to focus on this first life. "I feel a blog post coming on", I said. "Is that like feeling the flu coming on?" Gretchen wondered. "It's more like feeling a poem coming on, or a painting", replied Greg. Thanks Greg. I promise to put your talks online soon.

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