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A Very Rewarding Essay Design

- unites many traditions and supports your own thinking, eventually. It should be rather easy to master too.


Patching Sayings Together

- according to plan

THE "Get Tao" icon heads a hundred chapter essays and more on the Gold Scales. Where you come across it, a summary of such an essay is usually further down there too. I recommend taking a look into the summary first. It may help you relate to the material somewhat, or whet your appetite. No matter what, you can save yourself time by glancing through the summary and the headings of the "Get Tao" chapter. The summary also suggests how to make practical use of the chapter content; there may be several options for each chapter, if you learn the details of the "trade".

The easy-to-learn basic structure or skeleton of a "Get Tao" presentation is multiform Taoistic in essence, and conforms to general lines of basic study, research and presentation in science. It further shows up that the standard take of extended "Get Tao" chapters is akin to that of Kigen Dogen (1200-53).

Below we go into some detail, so that you can see the underlying "skeleton" of the "Get Tao" essay format. As for Dogen, the Shobogenzo, his main work, is full of examples, as stated by Reverend Gudo Nishijima of Dogen's Zen lineage (see further down). The over-all way of Tao-presentation that is explained on this site, conforms all in all to a presentation pattern expounded by the Reverend Nishijima, a patterns he says he recognises in Dogen essays and lectures.

So, by piecing together selected data or sayings according to the Tao design, we may form tables, essays, poems, and generate many more sayings, as by-products, so to speak. But the most treasured use of the "Get Tao" articles (essays, tables) here, are practical applications. The summaries suggest step-by-step takes until some Tao is had. Further teachings may be needed after that, to be sure, but first things first.

By arranging and sequencing thoughts, procedures, and general presentations neatly, you arrive at a wider frame to put segments of main ideas into, and suggestive tools for mind training, lojong in Tibetan. In such training, fine ideas are given time to work deeply on the mind to expand it and reprogram from not adequate ways of thinking too. "Fin ideas" consist of key lines and carefully structured summary-gist which rides higher than isolated keylines (sayings). [More]

Dogen's Simplified Buddhism and Designs

In the Shobogenzo Master Dogen says, "To practice Zazen [Zen sitting] is the whole of Buddhism, and Buddhism is just the practice of Zazen." - Reverend Gudo Nishijima

You may find the passage near the rear of an interesting article, "The Theory of Four Views". [See "Three Philosophies and One Reality" in the downloadable [Ref. A]

According to "Buddhism is just the practice of Zazen", terms like "Buddhism" can be dispensed with, but there is no need for that, although what is meant by the finest "sitting" is the major thing to assess. There are other, sound outlooks of what Buddhism is to take into account. Buddhism is variegated, and Soto Zen is one school of Zen Buddhism which travelled to Japen through China.

The Soto school was founded in Japan by Dogen. Even though he taught sitting contemplation as the highest thing to do, he spoke and wrote and walked too - there is Zen walking, Zen archery and much else as well as what matters the most in Soto Zen, namely Zen sitting. Below we look into a good Zen way of presenting salient points and others. Zen reverend Nishijima of Dogen's lineage thinks that the all-round way of presenting items as used by Dogen (1200-53 AD) derives from four ideals in Gautama Buddha's teachings. [Zwm] [More Zen].

Our standard presentation of patched sayings and the like has no claims to a lineage, but the all-round, simplified designs line up with Dogen's way of writing nicely.

As one greets one is also thanked (German proverb).


One may take the many and sound academic reservations away from any text and add to text statements from such an "arsenal of reservations". Compare Sir Bertrand Russell's, "If you want to make a statement with a great many qualifications, put some of the qualifications in separate sentences." The site is aligned to Sir Bertrand's formidable counsel throughout. Details are spelled out here: [Link]

So, look deeply into "Buddhism is just Zazen (Zen sitting)" and read on. You may see that the interpretation of that statement depends on outlook and perhaps your schooling and standing too. For example, Gautama Buddha's Buddhism contains both (1) meditation, (2) teachings, and (3) organisation of adherents (in the sangha). These three are called the Three Jewels. Minding that the foremost way is a good, meditative one, later Buddhism got many diversified schools of philosophy, added teachings, cultural adaptations, and ceremonies added to it as time went by. And, interestingly, Dogen did not dispense with old Buddhism and earlier Buddhist writings either, after all: He referred to them and used them.

Here is how to handle dubious statements in two sound, all-round ways:

  1. Guard your own statements by added calculations (qualifications);
  2. Bolster tactlessly drastic, bold or strong-looking statements of others with some fit qualifications too, so as not to be taken in so easily.

You do not have to embrace Buddhist canon to get into Dogen's best hits: (a) study to ascend; (b) contemplate along with that; (b) think your own thoughs to help the dear ones. Thinking for oneself may work against dwarfing. [Mind mapping shown]

Good scholing may seem traitorous to average minds at times. And yet, sound breeding should be far more worthwhile than moulding minds a lot.

A small brook becomes a large river (German, adapted).

The Shobogenzo Structure

"I found that the Shobogenzo is in fact constructed in a very special way; using a unique pattern of expression.

Master Dogen expresses his ideas in the Shobogenzo based on a pattern of four phases. First, he explains a problem from the idealistic point of view; that is, as an idea using abstract concepts. Then, immediately after this first phase, he explains the same problem, but this time from the objective, or material point of view. In other words, he gives concrete examples and facts. Then, in the next phase, he explains the problem yet a third time as a real problem; that is, realistically thinking. Of course, he cannot explain the reality surrounding the problem with words in a book, but he does so by bringing together the subjective viewpoint which he presents first, and the second objective viewpoint. He synthesizes the two viewpoints into a realistic appraisal of the problem; a synthesis of the self and the external world. And in the final phase, he tries to suggest the subtle ineffable nature of reality itself by using symbolic, poetic, or figurative forms of speech.

The Shobogenzo is full of these four-phased explanations."

These words by a contemporary Zen priest, Gudo Nishijima, are found in the essay "The Theory of Four Views", written in preparation for a series of talks given in San Francisco in the Fall of 1986. [See "Three Philosophies and One Reality" in [Ref. A]

Nishijima also informs us somewhere else: "The Shobogenzo is written with a unique logical structure, which I have called "Four Views" or "Three Philosophies & One Reality." He also makes a deep study of how the work is "full of contradictions".

Problems may be resolved through a suitable depth structure and work according to plan.

Lots of problems are presented according to one's views. For example, it seems like a problem for a lover of beer not to have it around, but not a problem for others and beer drinkers with ample supplies at hand.

At some times the beer drinker misses beer, at other times he has had enough of it. Hence, some contradictions are resolved in "the river of" Time. And stepwise solution-building can be helped in or by the flow of time too.

Further concerns

There is a close match between Dogen's "unique logical structure" of ideas and the Gold Eggs design here: Nishijima writes - and we just repeat and add our standard icons and headings fit for them:

"Master Dogen expresses his ideas in the Shobogenzo based on a pattern of four phases." [Gudo Nishijima]

  1. INITIAL CONCERNS. "First, he explains a problem from the idealistic point of view; that is, as an idea using abstract concepts." [Gudo Nishijima]

  2. THE "GET SOME TAO" STUDY. To dao "Then, immediately after this first phase, he explains the same problem, but this time from the objective, or material point of view. In other words, he gives concrete examples and facts." [Gudo Nishijima]

  3. SUMMARY WITH ROOM FOR A TRAINING PROGRAM AND MORE AT ITS TAIL. Abstract service "Then, in the next phase, he explains the problem yet a third time as a real problem; that is, realistically thinking. Of course, he cannot explain the reality surrounding the problem with words in a book, but he does so by bringing together the subjective viewpoint which he presents first, and the second objective viewpoint. He synthesizes the two viewpoints into a realistic appraisal of the problem; a synthesis of the self and the external world." [Gudo Nishijima]

NOTE. A "Get Tao" essay or table is arranged for three steps toward gaining Tao welcomes (and handling skills, ways, means etc.) In some cases only the first two steps are found.

If there is no third step in a gist/summary, the following heading and fowl icon may be found instead of "Gist/Summary" and a magpie icon:

A solution to hold

Get a hold
  1. Highlights based on the first section.
  2. Highlights based on the second section.

This scenario tells how to get a hold somehow, one way or another. You start with the first item and get some kind of grounding as expressed or suggesed by the second item.

More poetically: With these two ideas we are already a good way away from getting our head in a vice or having a boa constrictor around our neck. Seek to get a footing by good and sound use of them -

  1. CANDID STUFF AS SEEMS FIT To anecdotes "And in the final phase, he tries to suggest the subtle ineffable nature of reality itself by using symbolic, poetic, or figurative forms of speech." [Gudo Nishijima]

"The Shobogenzo is full of these four-phased explanations." [Gudo Nishijima]

The Get-a-Tao Design that is suggested above, shows that Dogen items and those that go into the Gold Scales designs are structured in the same way. Additional use of icons is to assist readers identify the sections of the discourse. A presentation of Gold Scales icons: [Link]

The cauldron postulates

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

From the play Macbeth, by William Shakespeare (Act 4, Scene 1).


If you get into Shakespeare's cauldron, that is big trouble. Then you are made use of to no good and decent ends. If you are drawn toward a big cauldron, this may tell "Troubles ahead - resist the pull or drift toward it," or something.

In a few places on this site you see a cauldron icon in a summary, often named gist. That cauldron goes into telling (according to the aligned postulate-way) that the general drift - maybe only the last stretch of it - seems non-productive for most part, and that this drift may become alarming too, perhaps dangerous and ruinous to health and other resources - more or less so.

Thus, a cauldron signals a drift - a take - that should be avoided, as it seems little likely to get you into "welcoming arms" of Tao. That is to say, one may get difficulties in keeping and attaining some all right solvency-conformity. The gist of it is that you may be used and used up by others through "cauldron conform ways." Or you may end up getting non-productive at best. Better beware in good time.

One may possibly steer away from this take by moving in some opposite direction. If that is not feasible you may just stop - and do it before things get out of hand. Don't risk losing fruits of former attainments by going in a derangement-direction, into such a negative course in life.

More thought on how to present good items

ONE MAY study Buddhism as a victim of alien canon, as an expert reader, or let it be. But it seldom pays to be uninformed outside one's waters or on thin ice for long. The information shared with you above, should go against fictitious standards if some people co-operate with tact.

Life is for the living - let it rise above words and thought and include mantrayana (mantra contemplation) too to be weighty.

Dogen's work Shobogenzo exists in several versions. The Zen teacher Nishijima has taken substantial part in a translation of it, and also done a remarkable analysis of it. He tells that Dogen constructed his philosophical system around four intermingling ideation groups - they are cardinal ideas with some ramifications. A fit aim for using them is to rise higher in spirit than falling victim of this and that special statement. Further, our back-up orientation is that of fostering sanity and fitness by and large, and smartness can be helped on and up too by sound and delicate measures to probe.

How Dogen structured his Shobogenzo is laid bare under the headline "The Structure of The Shobogenzo" in a booklet by Reverend Nishijima. [Ref. B]

The surface arrangement of various points in a Dogen discourse is according to a groundwork, and here at the Gold Scales we too build up chapters of such pinpointed items (salient points) in a very similar if not identical groundwork.

  • The statements that are felt to contain salient points are worth remembering, and Tony Buzan's cognitive mapping of ideas (also called mind-mapping) helps it. There are other ways too.

"Tao is Zen"

Professor D. T. Suzuki once said that "Tao is Zen and Zen is Tao." It is seldom as simple as that, but a Tao outlook is at the backbone of many Zen teachings and intermingles with some of Buddha's. A succinct term for Tao is Way. Tao means such as ways or means of handling this and that, ideas and things, and so on. Zen is also eminently practical in a series of outlets. Below is how to reach such outlets stepwise for tactful ones.

  1. FRONTED VIEWS correspond to "OUR INITIAL CONCERNS" right above.
    Slapstick entry A stringent, non-sordid, intuitive-subjective view aligned to sound values stands up first. Where you find a bramble marker in our text and read the adjacent stuff, think of it.

    To dao Next Dogen goes into a judicious sort of evaluation (some would say Zen man revelation) of the nature of some matters. The viewpoint or some outlooks may be spectacularly realistic or objective one way or other. This textual part is often about how to relate to topics and things on an over-all basis, inside the framework of tradition. When you study our very strategic handling programs, the tick-tack-toe analyses and its blocks, think of this second phase of Zen man exposition. A tilted woman's face (from a painting by Modigliano) is found at the rear of most of them, and maybe there is room for one more woman (detail) too. These images are markers attached to the fixed skeletal arrangement of the text itself.

    IN SUM The third level or grade is candid, realistic appraisals: Our deep-probing summaries called homilies for "all and sundry", are for that. They do a lot in this street. They strive for okay, unison programs to train by, or more precicely: they can open up for that sort of handy practice as time goes by.

    ANECDOTE After the summary we spend either poetics or cultured jokes. Like Dogen's fourth section of arrays in his disposition, such statements are rather quite ineffable suggestions, and can be very offhand-looking - maybe some look like serious jokes that may allude to higher reality between the lines. The state to reach up to in grand Zen sitting is kindled by such stuff. We happen to like casual-looking jests too.

So here you find a site linked to one of the most influential Zen teachers in history, and what is more, we hold on to a sort of skeletal arrangement of topics that is fairly accurately identical with the grand TULIP considerations of Calvinism. It is the stratifified tick tack toe design of ours that is purely Calvinistic, and much else ties in with it. Our special way of designing the material is also terribly much akin to the main ways of Dogen throughout, as the Zen roshi Nishijima has laid bare - see our main reference source: [Ref. B]


The Main Stand Is Cybernetic

1. The Gold Eggs design easily relates to the structural ascent trek of Algirdas Greimas, who designed in the footsteps of Vladimir Propp, so to speak.

2. The Gold Eggs design is for folk cybernetics: It derives in part from structures within Taoism, and exemplifies a general philosophy of cybernetics in its way: It is one that has its own schemas and structuring gambits evolved, and is fit for use today. The Gold Eggs model is designed to accord with a good life, ideally - and also deals with many chains and strains of thought, some of which precede proper handling of items. [More]

The Over-all Training Route

The "Get Tao" figure suggsts "Into welcoming arms, one pair or many" - provided you actually makes it to the sixth 'pearl' or bead at the sharp angle (origo) of the figure - Go for some decent way or ways, as the case may be:

Tao beads

Many survey schemes may explain the design better. See for example a mainframe exposition: [More]. By adhering to the general way or ways built into essays here, you "get to the (some) welcoming arms" - ways which can serve as a stepwise training route too. Practice is easier told of than done. Training may get hard, but one is advised not to exceed one's capacities and calibre.

Note in particular: The first two (blue) beads are grouped under "tick" below. Tick consists of two spans or levels of accomplishment, in other words. And so on with the rest.

The little figure is designed for beginning attempts and as an iconic reminder too.

Loose hint: "If you learn to access that trend-giving over-all systemic route, you tend to get richer and more favoured - maybe increasingly too." But be reminded that a route requires drill and careful study for things like that to happen. At any rate, here is a design for getting on and perhaps up too in this world. It allows for many-faceted ways (Taos) into good living and things that accompany it here and there - but to remain within your capacity is fit also, to be safer somehow.

NOTE: Each stage of our all-round model for progress is marked by important significators to be understood. If over-all conditions agree fairly well, you may set out to get figurative eggs of gold and go on also. The gold eggs we talk about, derive from helpful thinking coupled with decent, practical handling. At the very least the term 'gold eggs' refers to handy and good thinking according to the mainframe of schematas that is given. That goes into a definition.

The Golden Egg teachings


Summary for preparing some skeletal training program

LoTick, sifted or suggested

Do not walk blindly. Use common sense and be helped by jolly good extracts a very long way, so as to become more able as time goes by.

LoTack, likewise suggested

Weighty evidence is found.

LoTao, sound handling hints fit for beginners

Plain dealings are fit if none is bluffing.

More on this methodology

Many or few?

Should we get many gold eggs or make do with a few?

That is up to you. It often comes down to this:

Go for such eggs as you feel for, or need, first, then such eggs that improve your thinking.


Gold Eggs of Tao, Literature  

Dog: Masunaga, Reiho, tr. A Primer of Soto Zen. A Translation of Dogen's Shobogenzo Zuimonki. Honolulu: University Press, 1975. ⍽▢⍽ The Shobogenzo Zuimonki consists largely of brief talks, encouraging remarks, instructions and cautions by the Soto Zen Master Dogen (1200-1253). 'Shobogenzo' means "the eye of the true law" and 'zuimonki' means "easy for the ears to understand," or "simplified". Easy and well simplified - a fair introduction to Dogen's though.

EB: Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite DVD. Yearly DVD suite. London: Encyclopaedia Britannica. ⍽▢⍽ Or: Britannica Online.

Hed: Waddell, Norman, and Masao Abe, trs. The Heart of Dogen's Shobogenzo. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2002. ⍽▢⍽ Here are annotated translations of the difficult core essays of Shobogenzo, essays that generations have regarded as containing the essence of Dogen Kigen's teaching. Dogen founded Soto Zen. These translations are revised from those that first appeared in the 1970s. They aim to clarify and enrich the understanding of some of Dogen's basic ideas.

Shz: Cleary, Thomas, tr. Shobogenzo: Zen Essays by Dogen. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1986. ⍽▢⍽ A collection of Shobogenzo essays: thirteen of the ninety-five essays. The essays come with commentary, biography, and notes.

Sth: Nearman, Hubert, tr. Shobogenzo: The Treasure House of the Eye of the True Teaching. Mount Shasta, CA: Shasta Abbey Press, 2007. Online. ⍽▢⍽ All the essays are here, in a recommended, free resource.

Szd: Nishijima, Gudo Wafo and Cross, Chodo, trs. Master Dogen's Shobogenzo. Book 1. Woking, Surrey (UK): Windbell Publications, 1994. ⍽▢⍽ This is the first of four volumes that present all the essays in Dogen's Shobogenzo. The translation claims to be the definitive translation, and adheres closely to the original Japanese, with a clear style and extensive annotations.

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.

Zazc: Kasamatsu, Akira and Hirai, Tomio. "An Electroencephalographic Study on the Zen Meditation." Psychologia, vol 12, 1969, p 205-25. Kyoto, Japan. ⍽▢⍽ Interesting reading.

Zwm: Herrigel, Eugen. Zen in the Art of Archery. New York: Vintage Books, 1989.

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