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Buddhadharma : Spring 2018
72 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER'S QUARTERLY monastic training. These objects point to our spiritual training or the path we follow in order to actualize our understanding. The every day interpretation would be that “at a certain time” we are a teacher and “at a certain time” we are students. In this way of thinking, “for the time being” I am this or that. But being–time is larger than our definition of our experience and our quantification of spiritual prog ress. At the time of being a student, the teacher is already present. At the time of being a teacher, the student is also present. There is the dharma position of student and the dharma position of teacher, dis tinct states, but simultaneously present within each other’s position. The key to skillful response is seeing and acting from the appropriate position. Dogen writes extensively about equating the four objects—a staff, a whisk, an outdoor pillar, and a stone lantern—with realiza tion. The staff, whisk, outdoor pillar, and stone lantern may be understood in the same dynamic relationship as Dogen’s wellknown paring of practice–realization (shusho-itto). Conventionally, we understand practice as the stone lantern and outdoor pillar and realization as the whisk and staff; we think of practice as before and realization as after. In truth, realization is fully expressed in practice. Even as we endeavor to learn practice, we are exhibiting the mind of realization. Our efforts to understand and enact realization are driven by realization. In this way, the pillar and lantern do not repre sent steps along the path to attainment of the whisk and staff but are already fully engaged with actualizing the Way. On one hand there is practice, as expressed in the above quota tion, about shooting an arrow at a target. On the other hand there is realization—hitting the target. But when we look at the totality of the activity of making the effort to hit the target or enact realiza tion, this can only come from the mind of realization. It is realiza tion, fully present, that is the foundation of our sincere effort. Dogen opposite | La chute n° 20 ©DENISDARZACQ/AGENCEVU