Friday, May 4, 2012

The Wholehearted Way

A couple of weeks ago the Thursday morning Young Urban Zen study group polished off Meditation in Action, and we ambitiously decided to tackle some Dogen next; the translation of Bendowa, The Wholehearted Way, by Shohaku Okamura and Dan Leighton was the choice. Amazingly enough, Bendowa has made but one appearance on this blog so far, but I noticed how happy I was to pick it up again. Having gone through the introduction in the last two sessions, this week we began with the text itself. Hearing the first few paragraphs read aloud - several times to allow for their density to unravel a little - I felt both energised and completely relaxed, reconnected with how Dogen's articulation allows my faith in practice to come alive and be grounded in my body. So, what better way to take a leap into the weekend?
"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. When you let go, the dharma fills your hands; it is not within the boundary of one or many. When you try to speak, it fills your mouth; it is not limited to vertical or horizontal. Buddhas continuously dwell in and maintain this dharma, yet no trace of conceptualization remains. Living beings constantly function in and use this dharma, yet it does not appear in their perception.
The wholehearted practice of the Way that I am talking about allows all things to exist in enlightenment and enables us to live out oneness in the path of emancipation. When we break through the barrier and drop off all limitations, we are no longer concerned with conceptual distinctions."


Anonymous said...

can you give some translations of the first paragraph? lots of new words for me there....

Shundo said...

My apologies, I was feeling too lazy to footnote or translate this morning.
anuttara samyak sambodhi is often translated 'unsurpassed complete enlightenment'; jijuyu zanmai often becomes 'self-fulfilling samadhi', and samadhi is concentration.

I would also recommend you read the entire notes on this from the book for full illumination of the nuances: