Sunday, March 07, 2010

To go a bit deeper on Leonard Cohen & the Flower Adornment Sutra & not being homicidal to each other

Expanding a bit on what I said here, in the video referred to in the recent post on Ox Herding (the video is here), what Leonard Cohen seems to be talking about is Sasaki Roshi's ability to be nondiscriminating in person-to-person dealings, "accepting each other the way a river accepts each drop of rain that falls into it."

I especially think that because of Cohen's describing Sasaki Roshi's behavior as either deeply caring or not caring - and Cohen could not figure out which it was.

Similarly the Zennist refers to A.K. Warden's description of Suddhana
in Suddhana's travels on the Way...

Mañjursri is the first of Suddhana's good friends, and having instructed him he directs him to another friend [mitra], a monk. By attending on one friend after another Suddhana will gradually increase his knowledge and understanding and learn to practice various kinds of meditation in which they are proficient. The friends are bodhisattvas whether they are monks (few are) or laymen and whatever their professions. Altogether Suddhana attends 52 good friends, traveling all over India in order to find them but with a preference for the South. All classes of society are represented among them and a few are gods. One is a slave and most of the others follow a variety of ordinary worldly occupations, the pursuit of some of which is in fact praised in this sutra as a form of well doing. It is noteworthy that 20 our of the 52 friends are women (or goddesses)

The Zennist remarks:

Underlying this marvelous chapter, and for that matter the Avatamsaka Sutra, itself, is the realization that our phenomenal universe is a manifestation of the One Mind (ekacittântaragatadharmaloka). But more importantly, from the perspective of a Buddha, things are foremost simply configurations of the absolute, like golden objects are only configurations of gold, to use an apt analogy. This is not so with the mind of non-Buddhas. The universe appears to them to be made up of coarse and fine things—from galaxies to ordinary thoughts. Unlike a Buddha or a Bodhisattva, the ordinary person does not comprehend the One Mind. More to the point, the ordinary person is incapable of seeing the absolute substance or matrix (garbha) from which all things arise and disappear again and again. But a Buddha does.

These "ordinary people" Suddhana met were bodhisattvas.

So are the ones you meet, if you can, as the Zennist says, successfully remove the delusion of non-enlightenment.

And if the ones you meet are bodhisattvas, that means, well, you treat them as such.

And yourself too.

And yes, you can even learn something from Genpo Roshi, or 12 Step Buddhists, or George W. Bush, or anyone else, provided you approach them with a non-discriminating mind, so that you can "see it all," so to speak.

And with that in mind, maybe, just maybe, you can avoid saying stupid things that start spats, arguments, and nuclear wars. And, by the way, that's why I have a problem with Gniz's post on "moralizing in Zen culture," because if used we Buddhists have tools that, while not exclusive to our tradition, do enable the promotion of the better over the worse.

At least that's how I put these bits together, and of course, that's just my humble view, not certified by anyone.

Your mileage might vary.

No comments: