Friday, January 15, 2010

Abide in the Unborn

I don't know why I came to remember Bankei's words.

Denmark is white all over. Snow takes in all sounds and we are forced to walk slowly and look around.

A Spanish translator reminded me of Laozi, retreating, losing, giving up, staying last and deepest, resting in the dao.

Abide in the Unborn
Just like water.
Liquid water.

Some people find a comfortable place; then they freeze, turn into ice and resist change. They know ice will melt down. The more one resists, the more painfull it will be.
And yet, rigth now, as water or ice, one rests on it, opening hands, giving one more step from the top of the 100 meter pole.
Every moment.


  1. Hi Do Jhana,

    "Some people find a comfortable place; then they freeze, turn into ice and resist change."

    Good point.

    I think a common misinterpretation of this is that 'the Unborn' is merely a state of our own mind, some personal psychological experience.

    Master Dogen reasons that, if the triple world is just the mind, then the mind must be the real triple world that has its circumstances which we must follow.

    'Following circumstances', as it appears in some koans and other sources, is sometimes interpretted as a being quite passive; but I think that to really follow circumstances is to act as effectively as possible in the present situation.



  2. Harry,

    the "Unborn" and also all things between birth and death are commonly misinterpreted. Thanks we have zen, buddhism and the practice to clarify misinterpretations (also the feeling of insatisfaction, which pushes us towards liberation).

    What I was thinking when I wrote what you labelled as "good point" was in the freezing of organizations and institutions but actually is also the same process of seeking security in samsara: craving or attaching to a (mental) state or situation. The "Unborn" can also be freezed and owned.

    Then it dies and we build a world for ourselves.

    "Abiding" is the process of melting the ice and, as if it was water, we lose all possibility of clinging; our "world" ends: no personal psychological experience, no triple world, no passive or active so there's acting effectively in the present situation, following circumstances.

    Thanks for you comment and gassho

  3. Hi Do Jhana,

    Thanks for your message.

    In the lineage I'm involved with we are instructed to accept all aspects of zazen: thinking/stopping thinking, non-thinking, and, yes, 'not thinking' where identity and values cease... We don't value one over the other though as the whole process is seen as the manifest result itself: the doing of zazen, both 'dropping off' and 'being dropped', are the attainment themselves in every instance. Also, we can intimately appreciate the fluid movement of how our life comes into existence in this way, and how thinking, not thinking and non-thinking actually do not conflict or contradict each other at all as circumstances are being made in this moment.

    We can experience the 'pivotal moment' where the self, where our world, is made. We can 'drop' the self even as the self is coming into existence... there seem to be many grey areas that do not conform to the ways we might categorize our experience. In this way we can learn that our self need not be limited or restricted in how it acts, even within circumstances, and that our own 'dropping off body and mind' is just part of a much broader enterprise which requires us to follow circumstances.

    Certainly 'dropping the self' is one neccesary aspect of Buddhist practice, but it seems that, if this is not brought into the circumstances of our normal life, it remains cut-off and ineffective. It seems as if it is only one area of focus of Buddhist life and experience.



  4. We see the nature of snowflakes here, transient life as a unique individual, a singular crystal frozen in time. We see ourselves as the unique form, different from all other snowflakes, yet we know deep inside that we are all water by nature. But to melt means losing the self of individuality, a great fear for a snow flake that clings to winter.

    All aspects of mind are aspects of our true nature, something more than snow but nothing less than water. Thinking and non thinking, being and not being, frozen crystals or mountain stream, these are seen in the apparent dichotomy of "this or that", but they are just the opposite ends of the same staff, one end touching the earth and the other pointing toward heaven.

    We are as unique as snowflakes and our experiences as such will be from the center. Allow this winter to be unique but always remember that Spring is near and our true nature will prevail. Dance in the wind drift while you can, but keep the stream flowing in your heart.

    Gassho to both of you!

  5. And there is a fire turning every drop of water into steam.

    Deep bows to you, beautiful dancing snowflakes. See you at the bottom of the sea.

  6. "...something more than snow but nothing less than water."

    Yes, nice.

    Is Spring (I mean the actual season) a matter of our waiting? Is time a matter of our waiting?

    Or is Spring, and is all of time, substantially a matter of the activity of everything right now regardless of the season?

    It seems that waiting for Spring might render now a 'Winter of our discontent'.