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Buddhadharma : Winter 2017
54 Buddhadharma: The PracTiTioner's QuarTerly Dogen used the term to address the intimate and dynamic relation- ship between enlightenment and delusion: The ultimate paradox of Zen liberation is said to lie in the fact that one attains enlightenment only in and through delusion itself, never apart from it... Enlightenment consists not so much in replacing as in dealing with or “negotiating” delusion. In essence, Dogen was saying that mind—or body-mind, as he referred to it—must be brought into the inherent intimacy between what is illuminated in our lives and what is darkened, that we must fully participate in the dance of these two, continually twirling together and trading places. I was already well acquainted with this dance, in which two parts of a whole each strive to overcome the other until, eventually, com- panionship develops and the struggle resolves. There is mutuality, and the gifts each brings are acknowledged. But isn’t the whole point of Buddhist practice to overcome delu- sion? Why would we ever want to entertain delusion as a guest? Most of us view enlightenment as a superior way of being. This view comes from ancient Vedic traditions, in which the goal was to negate the deluded mind, to negate thinking, but that is not the goal of Zen practice as taught by Dogen. And this is what I love about Dogen’s radical teachings. With respect to thinking and non-thinking, he taught that it doesn’t matter if we have discriminating, deluded thoughts. What matters is how we use those thoughts. with respect to thinking and non-thinking, Dogen taught that it doesn’t matter if we have discriminating, deluded thoughts. what matters is how we use those thoughts.