Sunday, September 23, 2007

JI-JO-IPPEN: Natural Realization of Integrity

JI self, by iself, naturally, spontaneously
(This character, the big one, is originally the same size as the following three. It appears bigger here because on the original scroll it is at the bottom of one line of text, and I don't know how to make one character in one photo the same size as three characters in one photo.)

JO realize, become
ICHI one
HEN piece
IPPEN [= ICHI + HEN] being in one piece, integrity, unity

In Japanese these four characters are read aloud as:

ONOZUKARA by itself, spontaneously, naturally
IPPEN one piece
TO [particle]
NARAN will become
“will naturally become one piece.”

FM Alexander said:

When an investigation comes to be made, it will be found that every single thing we are doing in the Work is exactly what is being done in Nature where the conditions are right, the difference being that we are learning to do it consciously.

What FM is talking about, what we are learning to do consciously in the Work, is to accept and use the whole self in the carrying out of some activity.

That is also what Master Dogen is pointing to -- accepting and using the whole self in carrying out the act of sitting in lotus.

Not “mens sana in corpere sano,” but the whole self accepting the whole self, and the whole self using the whole self, for and by itself.

This process of the whole self accepting and using itself is as natural and spontaneous as falling rain, as a flowing stream, as leaves rustling in a breeze -- as natural as a robin singing. But, especially for a person who has been educated -- a mens sana in corpere sano -- the process is not habitual.

Because it is not habitual, Alexander spoke of learning to do it consciously, following the conscious means-whereby principle which is opposed to unconscious end-gaining.

Because it is not habitual, Dogen exhorted us to learn the backward step of turning light around.

When we understand it like this, the essential truth of Alexander’s teaching and the essential truth of Dogen’s teaching is so simple. So simple and yet, because our fear and end-gaining run so deep, because the false conceptions of body and mind are woven so deeply into the fabric of our being, so exasperatingly difficult.

Fearing to go down the wrong path, we are already on it. Eager to uphold the right path, we are already off it.

Thus, the teaching is so exasperatingly difficult that we are always liable to turn the teaching into its exact opposite, to turn nothing into something, and then think “I got it.”

That is precisely what my own Zen Master has been doing for the past 70 years. It is also precisely what I habitually do -- turning Master Dogen’s true teaching into its exact opposite.

I am a fraud, a liar, a thief, and a cheat. Not knowing what it was to be true to myself, I took refuge in end-gaining Zen and became the bastard son of the bastard son of the King of Masturbation. If you are wise, you won’t believe a single word I have written on this blog.

(But the camera doesn't lie.)



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes I find your posts very funny even if that was not your intent.

I have this image of a Zen Master repeatedly giving himself thirty whacks with his own stick

MC: "Is this it"
MC: "That's not it"
Thwack, thwack.......
MC: "Is THIS it"
MC: "THAT's not it"
Thwack, thwack.......

5:15 PM  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

A metaphorical stick is OK, especially if brandished with a good sense of humour.

But to tell the truth, “It is not that,” when you really understand what it represents, is something totally opposed to the usual carrot and stick method. It is the turning of Marjory’s golden key -- the golden key to real happiness.

7:45 AM  

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