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  1. Frisk Zen: A Hum of Artist Living
  2. Tenet Presentation

Frisk Zen: A Hum of Artist Living

Enjoy life while you're at it

Buddha told a parable in a sutra: A man travelling across a field met a tiger. He fled, and the tiger came after him. Coming to a precipice, the man caught hold of the root of a wild vine and swung himself down over the edge.

The tiger sniffed at him from above. Trembling, the man looked down to where, far below, another tiger was waiting to eat him. Only the vine sustained him.

Two mice, one white and one black, little by little started to gnaw away the vine. The man saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other.

"Yummy, what a sweet taste," he said.

Seek alternatives to pitying yourself.

Artistic Living

Elegant living looks like artist living at least parts of the time, but not always. Where such living is quite regular and common, the supreme art could be called fitness for survival that breeds thriving - something like that.

Zen practitioners inform that adequate Zen is attunement to higher and subtler reality layers through "seeing" first-hand, in part as excellent artists are wont to do. Being skilful amounts to something and could give fine help.

Best help is the real stuff

If you refrain from doing something because people would think ill of it, or if you try to do good so others will look upon you as a true Buddhist, these are still worldly feelings. - Dogen

Buddhism originated in the Vedic culture of ancient India. Buddhism teaches many core elements of the ancient Vedic doctrines, but not all of them. This is seen in the Buddhist teaching poem Dhammapada, where many passages are considered as expressions of theirs shared background in Vedic India. Dr. Poul Tuxen present such good points in his translation of the Dhammapada (1953).

Hinduism took up many facets of Buddhism in time too. Mahayana Buddhism spread to Central Asia, China, and further to Korea and Japan. Japanese Zen (Chinese: Chan, Sanskrit: dhyana) contains many schools (branches).

Medical doctors estimate that stress hurts many. Emotional stress is involved in at least half of all common physical diseases (Smith et al 2003:505). It is a corner-stone of Buddhism to get out of dukkha, suffering - including stress - and into various degrees of sukha, real pleasures. The Buddhist Way is designed to end suffering and lead into top sukha, top delight in meditation.


Tenet Presentation

The Zen reverend Gudo Wafo Nishijima writes that he finds the all-round way of presenting items as used by Dogen, derives from four ideals found in the basic teachings of Buddha. The basic design used by Dogen, conforms much to the gold egg design on this site.

Dogen expresses his ideas in the work Shobogenzo based on a pattern of four phases, says Nishijima. In the final phase of many Dogen essays he tries to suggest the subtle ineffable nature of reality itself by using symbolic, poetic, or figurative forms of speech, Nishijima finds.

Nishijima also writes:

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

In other places Dogen says otherwise. And the noble eightfold path includes and builds up to fine meditation, and more too.

It could be well and do good to adjust to that two or three sides to living are supposed to work together in a well designed life:

  • Meditation - there are many forms, and some have documented effects. In the Bhumija Sutta, Buddha advises to go for methods that work well enough, and not just a little.
  • Adhering to proper guidelines: they may include sound moral standards and practical all-round tips to improve on one's living conditions, as the case may be. ]Cf. Apannaka Sutta]
  • Company that is not deranging, but preferably uplifting (sangha, community), that consolidates the good things and bulwarks against detrimental sides to life.

Another topic is how uplifting you yourself are, and how selfish. Are you worthy of the sangha, or good company? If not it could be fair to live by ourselves, without marrying, and so on. Another, possible solution is that of moving to another town or country or part of the world. These two point may be added to the three in the list. To live largely alone, meditating, doing yoga and behaving well, could be the best to do: it was a way of life that Buddha "prescribed" for monastic followers. They were to live by such rules during many months of the year, and in communities when it rained for long. Somehow, the rules and ways of life for monks and nuns changed. They are not exactly the same across the many forms of Buddhism either. (Wikipedia, "Vinaya;" "Buddhist monasticism")

We do ourselves a favour if we consider various claims and utterances well before committing to any of them, bearing in mind Buddha's teaching in such waters, namely that it could be OK for lay people to "doubt properly." [Kalama Sutta]

Presenting fit and savoury items

Dogen's Shobogenzo exists in several versions and several translations. The complete Shobogenzo is translated by Nishijima and Cross, and also by Hubert Nearman. They are online at ◦Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai (BDF America)]

Dogen is revered as an influential Zen teachers. But it could take time to find Dogen's nuggets of gold - his essays may confuse readers. [ ◦Ref. B: "Understanding The Shobogenzo"]


Zen, the art of Zen, Zen Buddhism, Literature  

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

Dogen. Beyond Thinking: A Guide to Zen Meditation. Ed. Edited by Kazuaki Tanahashi. Boston: Shambala, 2004.

Katsuki Sekida. Zen Training: Methods and Philosophy. Edited, with an introduction, by A. V. Grimstone. London: Shambala, 1985.

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

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

Nishijima, Gudo Wafo, and Chodo Cross, trs. Master Dogen's Shobogenzo. Vols 1-4. London: Windbell Publications, 1994-1999.

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

Smith, Carolyn D., ed, et al. Hilgard's Introduction to Psychology. 14th ed. Belmont: Thomson Wadsworth, 2003.

Sohl, Robert, and Audrey Carr, eds.Games Zen Masters Play: Writings of R. H. Blyth Selected, Edited, and with an Introduction by Robert Sohl and Audrey Carr. New York: New American Library/Penguin Books USA, 1976.

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

Tuxen, Poul, tr. Dhammapada. Copenhagen: Gyldendalsk Nordisk Forlag, 1953.

Harvesting the hay

Symbols, brackets, signs and text icons explained: (1) Text markers(2) Digesting.

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