Montag, 9. März 2015

Mind here and now is Buddha

(Soku-shin-ze-butsu, Part 1)

In this chapter, Dogen distinguishes the Buddhist teachings from ancient Indian philosophy, which was advocated at the time of Gautama Buddha by the Brahman, Srenika.

Several disputes between Gautama Buddha and Srenika took place, which define the essential core values of the new Buddhist teachings and distinguish them from the teachings of Brahmanism.

Brahman, Srenika believed that an eternal and unalterable soul existed and transmigrated from one body to another, independent of the particular physical body, through various incarnations.

He thought this to be the great principle, easy to recognize and understand. Moreover, he believed that the teachings of the immortal soul would liberate one immediately and effortlessly, without imposing the burden of practicing.
According to Srenika, this spirit-substance distinguishes between suffering and pleasure, warmth and coldness, pain and irritation.

It (the spirit substance of the Srenikan view ) is supposed to be completely independent of the physical body and fully self-dependent. Above all, it cannot be limited or restricted by any physical thing or accompanying condition.

Such an eternal spirit permeates the souls of normal and saintly humans. Srenika states that once you have attained this spiritual intelligence, illusions of body and mind will fade away and disappear. He believed that one would be immediately and effortlessly freed and would not have to suffer any longer. Also, it would be a chance to discern one’s innate spiritual consciousness clearly. According to Srenika, this spiritual intelligence is eternal and permeates through worlds and eons.

In contrast, manifestations of this world and universe are transient, they arise and perish, they have no persistence.
With regard to Srenika, you could call this spiritual intelligence the spiritual consciousness or the true self. Following his teachings, those who acquired this great wisdom could leave the miserable cycles of reincarnation and were able to return to eternity.

The agonizing cycle of life and death has finally come to an end once the spirit enters eternity. Then the spirit-substance is absorbed by the everlasting ocean of the essence.

These are the main propositions of the Srenikan view.

How does Master Dogen react to this, and how does he outline the teachings of the Buddha Dharma?

Wouldn’t it be nice if Srenika and his teachings were correct? A simple realization of the “spirit”, understood in this way, would liberate us and we could escape suffering and other dreadful experiences in life.

By the eighth century AD Buddhism in China had reached its peak, which was due to the time of Master Daikan Eno, who was Boddhidharma’s sixth successor in China.
In northern China, cultural life had reached remarkably high standards and thus differed from the under-developed South, which, at that time, included parts of Cambodia and Vietnam.

Dogen reports that Buddhism wasn’t practiced as accurately in the South as in the North of China, given the fact that the teachings of the so-called masters in the South came very close to Srenika’s teachings. Their teachings equated the spirit or the spiritual-essence with Buddha.

Dogen vigorously rejects these teachings and explains this on the basis of the famous statement,

“Mind here and now is Buddha”.

According to him, it is not about beliefs, wishful thinking and abstract ideas – but about the real truth, whether we like it or not. Fleeing reality into daydreams is one of the main causes of human suffering. A conclusion Sigmund Freud already came to decades ago.