The one path of direct pointing

The wise sages in the ten times did not establish institutions or formulations, but only pointed to reality, urging you to awaken to the essence of mind and achieve liberation. They simply directed you to your own true mind; there is no other path, way, religion or practice. True guidance is only effected by teaching people to cease conceptualization and abandon dualistic thinking.

~The Flatbed Sutra of Louie Wing

by Ted Biringer

6 thoughts on “The one path of direct pointing”

  1. Hello Yamakoa,

    Thanks for your comment.

    Good to hear you!

    Although I suspect your question may be rhetorical, it has inspired my next post: another excerpt from Louie Wing’s commentary on Shobogenzo, Genjokoan. (9/09/2008)

    Gassho,

    Ted

  2. Hello clyde,

    Thank you for your comment.

    I think I understand your point. If so, I am in total agreement with you.

    Thanks again, hope to hear from you soon.

    Gassho,
    Ted Biringer

  3. Hello Ted,
    Wonderful post as usual and wonderful commentary. If I may use the Dabai quote ” The nature of perception being eternal, we go on perceiving whether objects are present or not. Thereby we come to understand that, whereas objects naturally appear and disappear, the nature of perception does neither of those things; and it is the same with all your other senses.”

    Where is perception if there is no “I” and/or “You”?

    Take care,
    “Y”

  4. Ted;

    Thank you for your response. And I apologize for not writing more clearly. I understood Master Wing and his use of “conceptualization” (as you described it, “biased”). My point is that if one has ceased conceptualization, then dualistic thoughts do not arise, not even such thoughts as “dualistic thinking”, so there are no dualistic thoughts to abandon.

    clyde

  5. Hello clyde,

    Thank you for your comment.

    While I think I understand your point, it seems to me that Louie’s use of the term “conceptualization” here refers to biased, or “one-sided” thinking. That is to say, using concepts is no problem (indeed, it is essential), the problem arises when one is used by concepts.

    For example, this excerpt from Louie Wing’s commentary on Shobogenzo, Genjokoan, might clarify his meaning some:

    After reminding us that, “To realize the buddha-dharma is to realize your self”, the Genjokoan tells us what it means to “realize our self:”

    To realize your self is to forget your self.

    Learning the Buddha’s truth (your truth) is to forget your self. Forgetting your self is what occurs when you truly achieve mustering your whole body-and-mind, which is zazen, the keystone of Zen. In his works, Dogen uses a num-ber of terms and phrases to refer to this forgetting; besides “mustering your whole body-and-mind” he uses “casting off body-and-mind,” “no-mind,” “nonthinking,” “the still-still state,” and a variety of similar terms. This is why he said that in the experience of Buddhahood, there is no sense of being Buddha. When you forget the self, grasping and aversion no longer bind you to abstract notions and conceptualizations. Theories, concepts, and knowledge are then seen and utilized within their proper sphere and context; not as unbending metaphysical laws, but as rational and dynamic methodologi-cal principles for living in the real world. This kind of “forgetting,” says the Genjokoan, reveals a fascinating implication:

    To forget your self is to be actualized by the many things.

    A skier mustering whole body-and-mind, totally absorbed in the activity of skiing down a mountain, forgets his or her “self” and is actualized by the myriad dharmas (the many things). With no ideas of self and not self, there is simply swoosh, swoosh, chunk, swoosh, swoosh. There is no “snow” there is whiteness, coldness. There are no “sounds” there is shoo, shoo, tweet, weeee! There is no “thinking” there is left, right, straight, watch out. In Shobogenzo, Hossho, Dogen gives us a delightful expression of this experience:

    In the Dharma-nature there is no “non-Buddhist” or “demon,” but only “Come for breakfast! Come for lunch! and Come for tea!
    (Gudo Nishijima & Mike Cross)

    The Genjokoan continues:

    To be actualized by the many things is to allow the body-and-mind of your self and the body-and-mind of other than your self to fall away.

    This expression reveals the essence and function of the universal mirror prajna, the dynamic quality of immediate awareness in the present moment. When the body-and-mind of your “self” and the body-and-mind of “other than your self” both fall away, there is only, “Come for breakfast! Come for lunch! and Come for tea!” This is why people often laugh upon their initial enlightenment experience; all along your inherent awareness, that is, your buddha nature or true nature, has been functioning perfectly. A couple explanations from Zen literature may help to clarify the meaning of this:

    Q: What is implied by ‘seeing into the real Nature’?
    A: That Nature and your perception of it are one. You cannot use it to see something over and above itself. ~Obaku (John Blofeld)

    The nature of perception being eternal, we go on perceiving whether objects are present or not. Thereby we come to understand that, whereas objects naturally appear and disappear, the nature of perception does neither of those things; and it is the same with all your other senses.
    ~Daibai (Thomas Cleary)

    One Buddhist scripture, the Surangama sutra, contains a passage that presents this point so directly that it is included as case 94 of the Blue Cliff Record:

    The Surangama scripture says, “When I do not see, why do you not see my not seeing? If you see my not seeing, naturally that is not the characteristic of not seeing. If you do not see my not seeing, it is naturally not a thing –how could it not be you?”
    ~ The Blue Cliff Record

    The Rinzai Zen master, Hakuin, comments on this koan in part:
    “Because it is not a thing, it must be your own awakened mind. The realm that is not a thing is your true vision; true vision is your essential nature. That’s the message.”
    The Soto Zen master, Tenkei, comments in part on the same case:
    “The point is that, of all the myriad things, none is not you. You are you, I am I. One can only know oneself. That’s what this means.”
    Dogen’s words, “To be actualized by the many things,” is an original and marvelous expression of the same truth that Master Tenkei makes here as, “of all the myriad things, none is not you.”
    (Thomas Cleary)

    Thanks again!

    Gassho,
    Ted Biringer

  6. Ted;

    It seems to me that Master Wing should have stopped at “cease conceptualization”. To continue “… and abandon dualistic thinking” can only arise WITH conceptualization.

    Do no harm,
    clyde

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