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Shobogenzo Comments

  1. KEISEI-SANSHIKI. The Voices of the River-Valley and the Form of the Mountains
  2. SHOAKU-MAKUSA. Not Doing Wrongs
  3. UJI. Existence-Time
  4. KESA-KUDOKU. The Merit of the Kasaya


9   The voices of the river-valley and the form of the mountains


ESSENTIALLY the real body of an Awakened One is his body and not some distant mountain.

LoOne who collects is like a river in nature and can be forded

NATURE is the worldly side of the real world. That's the reason why it has been said since ancient times that sounds of rivers are the preaching of the Buddha.

Nature is the outward aspect, or face, of central meanings in the universe. Nature appears as collecting and recording payments of several kinds.

LoEssentially the real body of an Awakened One is his body and not a distant mountain, but then again there are metaphors to decipher - it's often like that in insider teachings

NATURE IS manifesting the law of the universe every day.

It has never been said since ancient time that forms of mountains are the body of the purest Gothamer or idiot. In Zen it is say they are the body of Buddha. Take it or leave it. But as it often happens, the mountain can be a symbol of a staunch body in general. The symbol is widely used in Indian teachings also.

LoBe allied with the Zen expert: One of them, Dr. D. Suzuki - affirms that Zen Buddhism is Taoism also

To the degree this world is the truth masked, nature is expressing truths and good stuff.

Some okay balance between yin and yang, between femininity and masculinity, also female and male prowess, is called Tao. There are many Taos, Ways and means. I hope you find Taos that suit you, that you can build on.



  1. They say sounds of rivers are the preaching of a Buddha. And "River sounds are river sounds" too, just as "A rose is a rose is a rose." (Gertrude Stein).
  2. Essentially the real body of an Awakened One is his body and not a distant mountain, but then again there are metaphors to decipher on top of nature. Aligned with Zen is Mahamudra, the Great Symbol teaching of Tibetan Buddhism.
  3. Balancing yin and yang is a delicate task. Acupuncture takes off from Taoist teachings, and seeks to accomplish it too.

IN NUCE Nature itself is a form of insider's lore that may be studied. The real body of an Awakened One is his body. Some insider teachings are rife with symbols. Symbolic language has to be penetrated, ultimately.

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10   Not doing overt wrongs - more is needed that that, such as following suit


Jokes or anecdotes can teach significant stuff in an insignificant-looking manner. Many anecdotes tell of meanings than not a few common-looking individuals do not forget, they teach rather embarrassing points.

Tratak Is Related to Fixed Zen Staring

Candle Do better than embarrass at nearly all times. Shelter your peace too. Talking about sound morality is not the same as being moral.

A variant of Zen sitting is basically glaring at a white-slabbed wall for up to hours a day. The practice is traditionally attributed to Bodhidharma, but it is much like the Indian yoga method called tratak(a), "concentrated" staring.

Here is how to practice tratak, or "fixed staring". You can employ the method when you look at a piece of art, a painting, and so on, aspiring to take in the artwork much better. There are very many tratak outlets and many variants. Gaze at an object without blinking. Just look steadily without straining, and go on gazing. By gazing steadily with unmoving eyes for a long while, something begins to work.

The meditation technique of gazing calmly into a mirror is a variant of tratak too. Relax as you look.

A candle is one of the most used objects to gaze at for tratak. A little ball that is hung in a thin cast or tread can be used too.

One variant: After gazing for some minutes, close your eyes and then visualise the object for a little while. Then open your eyes and gaze at it again, and then close your eyes and visualise once again, and so on.

Whichever variant you prefer, you can practice tratak for 4-5 minutes at a time for a month or so, and then increase the duration gradually. It is much up to you.

Vizualisations help to train the mind to get better aware, and the same does drawing objects or places. You may like sketching too. Depending on what you gaze calmly at, the practice may increase your observation skills and calm the mind also. It is okay to perform tratak before going to bed too.

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11   Time-existence and Saturn slows down

ANEC. WE TRY to have what is called "time enough" - time to complete a life, is not bad. Astrology teaches that the Saturn influence may be quite sweet at first, may bring on penitence, and is associated with hard, merciless labour, and unrewarding mental ideas. That may depend on how well aspected Saturn is, though.

Being hurried makes stress, and stress makes ill and dying, at worst. If Saturn is the number one stress indicator in a "birth certificate", a birth horoscope, study your Saturn, its placement in the 13 constellations, 12 star sign (they are different), houses (tricky things), dwadashamsas (2 1/2 degrees of the zodiak, computed variously by various schools), and main aspects, good and bad. The ideas you settle on may be marred by wishful thinking and by ignoring the bad facets too much. As for wishful thinking, the Barnum effect is into it in that it says that people like to advance a good self-image, and therefore take many general statements that could apply to almost anybody, to heart, as descriptive of themselves. In such ways they may program their self-image thoughtlessly. Also, there is the self-fulfilling prophesy of Rosenthal: What we expect is more likely to come about because we expect it, and thereby influence our activities -

Are you harried? Slowing down at work may not really help you either. But a good education may, in that you thereby may escape unrewarding manual labour and replace it with skills, subordinates, instruments, and so on. And being able to afford free time is the other boon of education, forming central ideas and being a bit tough in some respects.

This beginner's look tells us, bluntly, that to steer along in the course of time (it is a Saturnlike key agent for ageing, a sense of "must" and obligation, increasing or chronic illnesses and becoming deplorable), you could need much expertise of handling assets and stay clear of leeching agents, so as to far better understand the cores of what is going on.

A gullible Danish sect-member

If you know the day you were born, you can studywhat astrologers say mark your deep Saturn, among other things. Here is a link to a site that generates horoscopes for free. [▾More].

Now a Danish girl was born with her birth-horoscope's Saturn placed in the combined constallation Scorpio + the Snake-holder (Ophiucus). That is where the star sign placement of 2 Sagittarius 40 may take us, assumedly - but there are many "underwater skerries" for those who try to find out about constellational astrology by following assumptions and getting duped too. Constellations, the star pictures, are of uneven lenghts and different shapes. Regardless of such finer thought, her "Saturn in such and such a constellation" is said to speak of her straining field - her sex and death life at bottom of it. And often we can tell what constellation it is - by astrological agreements - for what they are worth.

Her father died when she was little, she had an abusive relationship with one of her stepfathers, her first fiance died of cancer, and so on. She was rejected and resented it violently. On top of that we find her Saturn stands in the star sign Sagittarius too, a field of nurturing, caring and travels to name three things that speak of Sagittarius. She got four children to care for.

If you do not know more exactly when you were born - hour and minute, you may not conclude anything about houses. But in this woman's case we can say Saturn is placed in the second dwad(ashamsa) of Sagittarius, and that Saturn is ca. 90 degrees off the placements of Sun and Zenith (MC) in her "birth parade" or radix, or birth chart and so on, and also ca. 90 degrees off Jupiter and Pluto. And these facets indicate that philosophical (Sagittarius) thought may stress her much, as when the tried to pass a preparation exam in philosophy, Examen philosophicum, passed two exams and failed in philosophy proper - and thereby flunked at all of them, according to the rules that were set up for university students.

Travels may get stressful too. This one got black outs from just a little to drink at a kibbutz in Israel, and managed to estrange herself when in Norway. Formidable isolation is said to be Saturn thing too, and this one slowly became nearly completely isolated and estranged from former friends, family and so on, and then entered a sect in Sweden, having overgrown hopes.

According to her horoscope, this one was likely to be "stressed by Saturn" in these fields one way or another, or several ways. Every stressor can be elaborated on, but this little may do.

One should be alerted to this also: It is said it is possible to relate almost anything to the horoscope in retrospect. Well, hardly. But such vital elements of her life as mentioned here, still fit the horoscope, and the patterns in it were there in advance of what later happened in the course of time. That makes it interesting, at least to me.

Regular Tantric teachings

Notions of time requires time measurement and a time measurer - "Time enough" is also grand time's daughter, the daughter of the Greek Chronos (Saturn of orgies in later, Roman myth). In a living being in time, time has to do with metaphoric "horses" (prana, life force) from the other side, according to tantric insider teachings. [Cf. Tm].

What is more, perceived time requires an observer. "If the husband be not at home, there is nobody." In major Sanskrit Upanishads the term "the witness", or atman, is used to describe that inside agent fairly often.

How to deal with Saturn (Chronos) is the task of the tantric insider, it is held. Look to Mahamuni Babaji - lots of persons think this South Indian avatar walks about as a young man to look at still, after being born in AD 203 - or spend some thought on Paramahansa Yogananda who used a bangle of lead to save his life against a "stressing Saturn influence". He describes an incident in his autobiograhy.

In other contexts the way out of Saturn's hold can look like that of a freak. Freaks can have ample time to do what they know best, or yearn not a little for it - but how meritorious these strides may be, have to be studied. For example, wearing bangle to escape "cosmic corrections" a la Yogananda, may actually aggravate the deeper sides to oneself unless one is sensible and careful, and seeks to be good. The big thing is not just a matter of seeking to escape punishment (Saturnal), if escaping consequences of bad acts worsens one's sound moral and decency (facets to one's inner being) and turns out wrong in the larger picture.

Time views in tune with some of Dogen's

Lo"Time enough" could mean metaphoric "horses". [Cf. Tm]

"DO not expect a good whelp from an ill dog." Secret teachings: Action can only be realised in time at a funnel point where existence and time can blend, at least seemingly.

On the practical side of this street ""Time enough" lost the ducks." Precautionary measures are better effected in ample time than delayed, such as locking up the ducks to protect them from the fox. [Dp]

Not too late, not to soon, then. "It is time to yoke, when the cart comes to the caples." "Caples" means "horses". [Dp]

LoNotions of time requires time measurement and a time measurer - not to be dispensed with

THE PRESENT moment is within the over-riding time-existence. Ttime requires an observer of it - there is this confluence, it seems fair to insist. So: "If the husband be not at home, there is nobody."

Lo"Truth is time's daughter" (British)

Time in Sanskrit is a high "thing-happening" called kala. You could call it "time itself", per se. And time per se can be ascertained in some cognitive contemplation.
      If you have much time, you have a great or budding resource there. MM

Awakened lifestyle is linked to great and sensible realism. It can be adjusted or toned down to teach, it may focus on things that are sweet and good a long way, and further. One should attune to it, attune to the grand teachings of Buddha, without being tactless or cruel.



  1. "Time enough" could mean metaphoric "horses". [Cf. Tm].
  2. Notions of time requires time measurement and a time measurer.
  3. Relaxed manners can be fit if you fit in and are proficient.

IN NUCE Take time out to measure (and compare) whether you are all right or proficient in your main daily doings, for example. You can measure how much time you spend on this and that activity regularly, and get surprised.

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12   What it means to wear great masks and freak costumes

ANEC. ALL RIGHT MANNERS can make life rather odd-looking, yet careful. All right manners and a bit politeness can make a big difference, or can make life much more savoury. Let common-sense help you to determine the value of professed excellence. Where little variance is allowed or found, conditions may be too strict and harsh.

Some persons travel to Japan and elsewhere and buy wooden platform shoes and rig up themselves by costumes to look different. Only inferior people of try to rig and puff up themselves by awkward costumes, customs and rituals that consume time and energy that could be well spent otherwise. Beware of elaborate ceremonies that can take hours each day, if not less. Living and levelling first-hand, authentically, is quite different. One of the formidable gains from Zen training (dhyana) is to wake up from stupid arrogance and conceit.

Costume freaks and ceremony riders are not the highest and most valuable persons, according to Gurdjieff, but low types. Leave them in peace with their rigmarole and ceremonies, stuch in outward appearances, but not if they try to tame you by their conform measures. As there is good, bad and middling conformity, the same applies to costumes and rigmaroles too, it may be seen.

You should not be tamed to forego your individuality, bogged down by silly-looking parading, but go for practical gear, solid food and basic footing. It can be hard for some, for fashions often work against it, and many are slaves to fashion in so many fields and walks of life. The slaves of fashion and stupid conformity do not dear to be themselves really - and may not have what it takes either. But one should try, maybe in a group. That may work well. At any rate, try to y make the best out of what is at hand, and whatever leeway you have, and try to impress well if you need to impress others.

What is it to impress well, and what are its fruits? Try having authority and try to have "good luck" at work in your life too. Try to stay down-to-earth and prefer home-life. A sensible and deep mate could bring the solutions you are after also. Apply respectability to your ability, and then you may end up satisfied.

Stay as sensible as you can, and refuse to make a fool of yourself. Refuse to act to your loss, that is.

LoA practical gear rests on careful study and proficiency of those who make it

Very realistic common-sense reveres real life. Monk robes and other costumes had better be practical also, fit for common occasions, maybe with pockets for pocket-knives, cell phones and other items.

LoAll right manners can make life much more savoury

THERE IS no all-round value in eating to look great. Nor is there any cardinal value in going blind: All right manners can be likened to figurative costumes and excellent learning to eating good food - both these can be largely savoury.

LoThe practical outfit suits you and fits in

There are some good principles for attire and habits to be found, many variations of trousers too, but no rigid rules from above. Rigid rules as to clothing and so many customs had better fit in locally with aplomb to be of good service. MM



  1. A practical gear rests on careful study and proficiency where it counts. Good fod rests on good raw materials and semi-raw materials, and also on combining and preparing these so that the end result is fit for humans and a delight. Common-sense is much wanting among slaves to silly fashions, silly conformity that depletes, and slaves to what goes against one's health and beauty. Firmness is needed, and also a sense of responsibility in a wider context.
  2. All right manners can make life much more savoury. Manners and costumes can have common streaks.
  3. The practical outfit suits you and fits in harmoniously. A frock is a frock is a frock, although there are many variants and versions, and many values attached to some frocks and robes too. Seek to rise above silly bonds.

IN NUCE Fit for humans: Practical clothing, manners that makes life easier and more pleasant and rewarding, and sense enough not to get all bound by rigs and outfits and conform measures.

Kigen Dogen Shobogenzo comments, END MATTER

Kigen Dogen Shobogenzo comments, LITERATURE  

Compare: ◦The complete Zhobogenzo◦Chapter surveys.

Dog: Masunaga, Reiho, tr. A Primer of Soto Zen. A Translation of Dogen's Shobogenzo Zuimonki. Honolulu: University Press, 1975.

Orh: Blyth, Reginald Horace: Oriental humour. Tokyo: Hokuseido, 1963.

Prz: Chang, Garma C. The Practice of Zen. New York: Perennial/Harper, 1970.

Shz: Cleary, Thomas, tr.: Shobogenzo: Zen Essays by Dogen. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1986

Sth: Nearman, Hubert, tr. Shobogenzo: The Treasure House of the Eye of the True Teaching. Mount Shasta, CA: Shasta Abbey Press, 2007. On-line

Szd: Nishijima, Gudo Wafo and Cross, Chodo, trs.: Master Dogen's Shobogenzo. Book 1. Woking, Surrey (UK): Windbell, 1994.

Szi: Nishijima, Gudo Wafo and Cross, Chodo, trs.: Master Dogen's Shobogenzo. Book 2. London: Windbell Publications, 1996.

Szm: Nishijima, Gudo Wafo and Cross, Chodo, trs.: Master Dogen's Shobogenzo. Book 3. London: Windbell Publications, 1997.

Szp: Nishijima, Gudo Wafo and Cross, Chodo, trs.: Master Dogen's Shobogenzo. Book 4. London: Windbell Publications, 1999.

Tiy: Evans-Wentz, Walter Yeeling, ed. Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines. 2nd ed. London: Oxford University Press, 1967.

Zazd: Blyth, Reginald Horace. Zen and Zen Classics, Vol 1. Tokyo: Hokuseido, 1960.

Zazi: Blyth, Reginald Horace. Zen and Zen Classics, Vol 2. Tokyo: Hokuseido, 1964.

Zazm: Blyth, Reginald Horace. Zen and Zen Classics, Vol 3. Tokyo: Hokuseido, 1970.

Zazp: Blyth, Reginald Horace. Zen and Zen Classics, Vol 4. Tokyo: Hokuseido, 1966.

Zazr: Blyth, Reginald Horace. Zen and Zen Classics, Vol 5. Tokyo: Hokuseido, 1966.

Zeb: Suzuki, Shunryu: Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind. New York: Weatherhill, 1971.

Zf: Reps, Paul: Zen Flesh, Zen Bones. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971, updated 1997.

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