Montag, 10. Juni 2019

Buddha-Nature: Mutual Arising and Wholeness

Buddhism is about to the wholeness and the interaction of our lives and the whole universe, which Dôgen describes as "rail of iron". This is the spiritual indivisible wholeness and not duality of subject and object. He used the same Japanese word for the dropping off of body and mind during the practice of zazen: the constricted meaning that we “have” or “own” the Buddha nature as an object has therefore to be dropped, in order to get to the encompassing entirety of real life.

To resolve the rigid meaning of "to have" and "object", Dôgen called the Buddha nature the "path of the birds". That sounds strange. What does he mean with that? In Chinese Buddhism it's central for this example that the birds leave no physical or even unethical traces when flying in the air. This is a parable that in our actions and generally in life no bad karma and no harm to other people remains. Moreover, the sky is a symbol for the space that has no end, that represents a space-infinity, and it is a parable for the highest state of human beeings. [i] This leads to an important correlation with the fourth immersion (Jhana) of meditation and of Samadhi in early Buddhism. This immersion is described with different terms indicating infinity, for example, the space-infinity. [ii]

Dogen sums with the following sentence, which is also a revealing reversal: "Therefore, the nature of all Buddhas possesses all the many living things."

That means, the living beings and we all are "owned" by the true nature of the Buddhas, so they are nothing else than the Buddha nature. This reversal indicates the

direct interaction and not a division into subject and object. Dogen adds that this statement illuminates the living beings and the Buddha nature at the same time, so that it denotes the essential of our lives. Thus an objectifying, simple and insufficient understanding of the Buddha nature as a thing, object or substance is dissolved.

According to Dogen we tend to forget that we are the truth itself and that at the same time reality is in the actual moment always present and alive. These include the four elements and the five components in the world (Skandas), the individual dharmas of truth.

It is crucial that verbal statements on the Buddha nature are understood through our whole encompassing life and that all the individual moments of our lives are linked directly and immediately with such fundamental truths.

[i] see. Chapter 2, ZEN Schatzkammer, vol. 1, p. 36 et seq .: "Die große intuitive Weisheit, die das Denken überschreitet (Makahannya haramitsu)".

[ii] see. Gäng, Peter: Buddhism, p. 94 et seq.