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Buddhadharma : Fall 2010
59 fall 2 01 0 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly M editation (zazen) can be restful and enjoyable, according to Dogen. Its state (samadhi) can be like an ocean that is serene and yet dynamic. Its field can be as vast as springtime, which encompasses all of its flow- ers, birds, and mountain colors. Being in spring, we hear the sound of a valley stream or become a plum blossom swirling in the wind. Dogen’s poetic descriptions may seem contrary to our usual meditation experience. Often we are troubled with physical pain and sleepiness; our mind may be scattered, and our daily concerns continue to preoccupy us. We may feel that we have had a bad meditation. Dogen, however, seems to show no interest in these specific issues. He simply speaks of the mag- nificence of meditation and asserts that we can experience luminosity as soon as we start to meditate. What we think we experience in meditation may be dif- ferent from what we actually experience. What, then, do we experience? How do we recognize our deep experience and apply it to our daily lives? These are some of the questions Dogen addresses. If we were to summarize Dogen’s teaching in one word, it might be “nonseparation.” In meditation, the body expe- riences itself as not separate from the mind. The subject becomes not apart from the object. While our thinking is often limited to the notion of “I,” which is occupied by “my” body, “my” mind, and “my” situa- tion, Dogen teaches that we can become selfless in meditation. Then, we are no longer confined by our self-centered world- view and a dominating sense of possessions. Only when we become transparent and let all things speak for themselves can their voices be heard and their true forms appear. As we calm down and move away from the usual mode of physical and mental activities, we often have a good idea or even, at times, an extraordinary insight during meditation. However, this is only a beginning stage. If we go further, we may experience a dissolving of the notion of the self. Dogen describes such an experience of his own at the climactic moment of his study as “dropping away body and mind.” Beyond Space and Time The distance from here to there is no longer concrete. A medi- tator walks on the top of a high mountain and swims deep in the ocean, not only becoming an awakened one but also identifying with a fighting spirit. A person who bows becomes one with the person who is bowed to. Sizes become free of sizes. The depth of a dewdrop is the height of the moon. The entire world is found in a minute Moment by Moment Nirvana In the introduction to his new translation of Dogen’s Shobogenzo, Kazuaki Tanahashi explores why even a moment of meditation is a moment of enlightenment. callIgraphIes by KazuaKi Tanahashi (Facing page) Mystery