using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Buddhadharma : Spring 2016
48 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly spring 2016 as we are, in everything else you described, it feels like we’re still talking about the same qualities of enlightenment as in the other traditions. DAVID MATSuMOTO: I believe so, but Shinran was very conscious of the depth of our karmic bondage, the realization that human beings are always producing and bound by karma. He said bonno, or kleshas, are ever unfolding, ever active, until the moment of death. At the same time, he says that with the real- ization of shinjin, we awaken wisdom—but in the sense that awakening to our ordinariness, our fool- ishness, our karmic bondage is in itself wisdom. We see ourselves in a way that was impossible before, but even that awakening is beyond the capacity of our discriminative consciousness. And yet, Shinran also says that even though our defiled selves remain as they are, our hearts and minds already and always reside in the Pure Land. BuDDhADhARMA: What does enlightenment look like? We’ve spoken about it as an internal experience or reality, but if we encounter it in another person, does it have particular qualities? Are there certain behaviors that we can reasonably expect? DAVID MATSuMOTO: Shinran says that “upon being born in the Pure Land, we immediately turn around and return to samsara.” I think that’s a very Pure Land way of talking about nirvana of no abode, or of awakening to the reality that samsara is nirvana, nirvana is samsara. He talks about “directing of vir- tue or merit transference in the aspect of returning from the Pure Land,” that is, attaining birth in the Pure Land and then returning to guide unenlight- ened beings to buddhahood. Here enlightenment as activity can take a variety of forms: as a person whom we encounter, perhaps a teacher, or as a range of other phenomena that represent this process of enlightenment and return on behalf of others. It implies that even though we can’t put our finger on it, we can sense the working of enlightenment in the lives of others, in the words of our teachers, perhaps even in crows cawing. I think those are all possibilities. BuDDhADhARMA: Gaelyn, going back to the story of Ikkyu, his teacher verified his experience, but what would that mean for Ikkyu in practical terms the next day, or for someone encountering him? GAELyN GODWIN: In our tradition, enlightenment is not a permanent state. Ikkyu had a taste or a glimpse that was verified. One of the important parts of that story is that it’s relational; going back to the story of the Buddha’s awakening, Bud- dha saw others as awakened, and that was also his awakening. So I think you could say that the enlightened mind sees enlightened activity, that there’s a resonance between the minds. Ikkyu the next day would look like ordinary Ikkyu. To an ordinary mind, his behavior would look ordinary. It would be Ikkyu being kind or thoughtful or play- ful or creative. But an enlightened mind would see slightly different behavior. One teacher told me that the most important teaching in Zen is the comport- ment of a Zen monk; this is a teaching that includes lay practitioners as well. That behavior is supposed to not hinder other people’s growth toward enlight- enment. So an enlightened person is conscious of activity and its impact on others. The Lotus Sutra teaches skillful means, skillfully working to aid the people around you. To appear as an enlightened person in a setting where people are frightened by that behavior would not be awakened behavior; appearing as an ordinary person in order to help people at the level needed would be more effective. So Ikkyu the next day might have looked like a shambling monk—if that was the appropriate way for him to behave. PONLOP RINPOChE: I would say that what enlighten- ment looks like is very clear from the life of Bud- dha. After he was enlightened under the bodhi tree, he stood up in the morning and started walking toward Deer Park as an ordinary person. So I think the enlightened person is like an ordinary person but possesses exceptional compassion, love, and wisdom, unbound by fixation or clinging. The union of both wisdom and compassion in a person’s actions, words, and thoughts is what enlightenment looks like. We have a story in the vajrayana tradition that is similar to the one Gaelyn told earlier. The great Dzogchen master Paltrul Rinpoche had a student