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Buddhadharma : Fall 2007
buddhadharma| 25 |fall 2007 Look at our modern life! Everything is moving quickly, and it’s hard to keep up with the dizzy tempo. You try to find satisfaction, but no matter how great your effort, it seems you hardly make any progress. Finally you recognize that you cannot keep up with the bewildering, quick changes of time. That doesn’t feel good. You feel uncomfortable, upset, or sad, and you want to escape. So you cover your eyes, turn your mind away from your dissatisfaction, and live your life based on having pleasure. That is modern life. I don’t mean to criticize modern life, but something is missing. Buddha said that in order to follow the eight- fold noble path and experience liberation from suf- fering, first we have to see in the proper way and then we have to think in the proper way. Then he explained how we can liberate ourselves through the activities of speech, conduct, livelihood, effort, having a calm mind based on meditation, and con- centrating the human life force. Buddha put seeing and thinking first, because to live in peace and harmony we have to see and think about life in the proper way. When you see in the proper way, what do you see? You see the true nature of time. In Japanese we say mujo. Mu is “nothing” and jo is “per- manence,” so mujo means “no permanence,” or “impermanence.” Seeing impermanence is not to face a kind of nihilism that leads to despair; it is to become yourself, as you really are, with joy- ful, open eyes. Thinking in the proper way is not to understand life through your intellect; it is to contemplate deeply how to live every day based on wisdom. When you see the true nature of time and understand how impermanence works in your life, you can use time to cultivate your life and to keep up with the tempo of life without feeling despair. That is the basis of a complete way of human life. The Naked Nature of Time Eihei Dogen, the thirteenth-century Zen mas- ter who founded the Soto Zen school in Japan, always emphasized how important it is to see that human life is based on impermanence. In Gakudo Yojin-shu (Points to Watch in Buddhist Training), he mentions that the great patriarch Nagarjuna said, “The mind that sees into the flux of arising and decaying, and recognizes the transient nature of the world, is called the way-seeking mind.” In Shobogenzo, “Shukke-kudoku” (Merits of the Monastic’s Life), Dogen Zenji said that most peo- ple are not able to acquire the way-seeking mind of spiritual awareness without deeply understanding that a day consists of 6,400,099,180 moments. This is a wonderful number. I don’t know where Dogen found this number, but saying that there are 6,400,099,180 moments in a day is not talking about a mysterious idea; it is talking about some- thing real. A moment is called ksana in Sanskrit. Sometimes we say that one finger snap has sixty moments, so one finger snap equals sixty ksana. A Buddhist dictionary may say that a moment equals one-seventy-fifth of a second. According to the Abhidharma scriptures, a moment consists Dainin Katagiri roshi (1928–90) was born in osaKa, Japan, anD traineD at eiheiJi monastery. he worKeD closely with suzuKi roshi at the san Francisco zen center until suzuKi roshi’s Death in 1971. the Following year he became the First abbot oF the min- nesota zen meDitation center. this article is aDapteD From a new booK oF Katagiri roshi’s teachings titleD Each MoMEnt Is thE UnIvErsE, publisheD by shambhala publications, 2007. (Opposite) Untitled by Michael David Murphy