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The wisdom of The Shobo Genzo
Onelittleangel > Buddhism > Mahayana > Zen (Chan) > The Shobo Genzo
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W hat sort of illness awaits us tonight, what sort of death tomorrow? While we have life, not to practice Buddha's Law, but to spend the time in sleep is the height of foolishness. Because of such foolishness Buddhism today Is in a state of decline. When it was at its zenith monks devoted themselves to the practice of sitting in meditation (zazen), but nowadays sitting is not generally insisted upon and consequently Buddhism is losing ground.' . . .

Upon another occasion his attendants said to him, 'The monks are getting overtired or falling ill, and some are thinking of leaving the monastery, all because they are required to sit too long in meditation. Shouldn't the length of the sitting period be shortened?' The master became highly indignant. 'That would be quite wrong. A monk who is not really devoted to the religious life may very well fall asleep in a half hour or an hour. But one truly devoted to it who has resolved to persevere in his religious discipline will eventually come to enjoy the practice of sitting, no matter how long it lasts.





3970 |   The Shobo Genzo, Buddhism, Mahayana, Zen (Chan)
Source : From the Shobo genzo zuimonki pp. 50-2, translated by Wm. Theodore de Bary, in De Bary (ed.), Sources of Japanese Tradition, op. Cit., Pp. 253-4  








I n the pursuit of the Way [Buddhism] the prime essential is sitting (zazen). . . . By reflecting upon various 'public-cases' (koan) and dialogues of the patriarchs, one may perhaps get the sense of them but it will only result in one's being led astray from the way of the Buddha, our founder. just to pass the time in sitting straight, without any thought of acquisition, without any sense of achieving enlightenment -this is the way of the Founder. It is true that our predecessors recommended both the koan and sitting, but it was the sitting that they particularly insisted upon. There have been some who attained enlightenment through the test of the koan, but the true cause of their enlightenment was the merit and effectiveness of sitting. Truly the merit lies in the sitting.




3969 |   The Shobo Genzo, Buddhism, Mahayana, Zen (Chan)
Source : From the Shobo genzo zuimonki, pp. 98-9, translated in De Bary (ed.), Sources of Japanese Tradition, op. cit., P. 253  








W hen you go out on a boat and look around, you feel as if the shore were moving. But if you fix your eyes on the rim of the boat, you become aware that the boat is moving. It is exactly the same when you try to know the objective world while still in a state of confusion in regard to your own body and mind; you are under the misapprehension that your own mind, your own nature, is something real and enduring [while the external world is transitory]. Only when you sit straight and look into yourself, does it become clear that [you yourself are changing ] the objective world has a reality apart from you.




3968 |   The Shobo Genzo, Buddhism, Mahayana, Zen (Chan)
Source : From Hashida, Shobo genzo shakui, 1, 142-64, selections translated in De Bary (ed.), Sources of Japanese Tradition, Op. Cit., Pp. 251-2  








T o study the way of the Buddha is to study your own self. To study your own self is to forget yourself. To forget yourself is to have the objective world prevail in you. To have the objective world prevail in you, is to let go of your 'own' body and mind as well as the body and mind of 'others.' The enlightenment thus attained may seem to come to an end, but though it appears to have stopped this momentary enlightenment should be prolonged and prolonged.




3967 |   The Shobo Genzo, Buddhism, Mahayana, Zen (Chan)
Source : From Hashida, Shobo genzo shakui, 1, 142-64, selections translated in De Bary (ed.), Sources of Japanese Tradition, Op. Cit., Pp. 251-2  






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