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 2017
28 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly spring 2 0 1 7 discriminating consciousness is active, the faculty of attention is always present; our mind is always directed at some object of attention. In taking up the practice of suchness, however, we attend to the quality of awareness itself. Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, my teacher’s teacher, often asked, “What is the most important thing?” I would add that perhaps each one of us cares about many important things; we don’t need to find just one. What do you really care about? In our practice, we can offer attention to all of that; we attend to how we give our attention, to the quality of our attention right now. What is it like to be present and intimate with this body–mind on your seat right now? How is it that we experience our breathing, our uprightness, the flow of perceptions and thought forms? As Bob Dylan asked, “How does it feel?” As a practice tool, this is not a question searching for a mere answer but, as in many Zen stories, a probing ques- tion that is itself a proclamation of wholeness and a guide to deepening attention. If we designate suchness as an object, then practitioners might imagine they could acquire or hold on to it; from the point of view of ultimate reality, however, suchness is not a thing at all but a convenient description for a way of experienc- ing reality, just as emptiness is. Rather than seeing suchness as some abstract transcendence of this world and its troubling situations, many East Asian teachers emphasized the dynamic aspect of such- ness expressed as the whole phenomenal world. As bodhisattvas, we aim not to achieve some exalted superhuman state of mind or being but to integrate our experience of absolute reality with our everyday experience and to express the ultimate right within TaiGEN daN LEiGhToN leads the ancient dragon Zen Gate in Chicago and teaches online at the Berkeley Graduate Theological union. his most recent book is Just This Is It: Dongshan and the Practice of Suchness. our world and its problems. We can embrace the reality of impermanence and change; we can find our own ways of encouraging helpful kindness amid the changes. We are conditioned by our consumerist culture to try to acquire things, whether material or spiritual. Not surprisingly, then, much of modern Western Buddhism and other Western spiritual approaches encourage a variety of systems involving stages of spiritual achievement. However, this mind-set can propel us back into the worldly samsaric trap of grasping after fame and gain. Other models of prac- tice are available. One model of stageless practice is clearly expressed in the teachings and stories of my own Soto Zen tradition, though this is certainly not the only tradition upholding suchness practice. The ninth-century Chinese master Dongshan (Jpn., Tozan) is considered the founder of the Caodong (Jpn., Soto) branch of Chan. Dongshan’s long teaching poem, “The Jewel Mirror Samadhi,” still chanted today, begins, “The teaching of suchness is intimately transmitted by buddhas and ances- tors. Now you have it, preserve it well.” The whole poem colorfully discusses aspects of engagement with suchness. “Turning away and touching are both wrong, for it is like a massive fire,” for exam- ple, points to the suchness of reality as unavoidable. It is impossible to pin down; it is equally impossible to grasp. The Japanese monk Dogen brought Caodong from China in the thirteenth century. He often cites the ninth-century successor of Dongshan, Yunju Daoying (Jpn., Ungo Doyo), who said, “If you want to realize suchness, you should just practice such- ness immediately” and also asked, “If you want such a thing, you must be such a person; already being such a person, why trouble about such a thing?” When we practice suchness without delay, we can let go of all striving, without deliberating mitsuenaGase