Welcome back from Summer & A Short History of Japanese Philosophy


Well, it has been a beautifully long and busy summer, and in all of it I seem to have neglected posting my discussion notes. So, over the next few days you will get a few updates! This first post was not used for intro notes, but rather a guideline to some of the topics we’re discussing at the 5pmSLT Sunday meetings on Sengoku.


 

Japanese Philosophy

In the West we typically approach philosophy from finding the space between a set of opposites – for instance mind and matter, or self and other. In the Japanese traditions, rather, they try to find where these philosophies overlap, essentially negating that anything is separate from anything else, but rather everything is a process of apparent opposites.

Before 7th Century CE – Yamato Period
⁃ Shintoism, a native form of animism that addressed an essence within each of us and in every living thing known as “kami,” which governed the world.
⁃ respect for animals, weather, nature, and ancestors.

7th-9th Centuries CE – Asuka and Nara Periods
⁃ Confucianism and Buddhism imported from Korea and China.
⁃ “Confusianism addressed the “social self,” influencing government structure and patterns of formal behaviour.” (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/301242/Japanese-philosophy)
⁃ Buddhism focused on the workings of the inner self. The most common ideas in Buddhism are impermanence, emptiness, dependent co-origination, and the impermanence of the self.
⁃ Shotoku Taishi, the then crown prince, declared in the “Seventeen Article Constitution” (604 CE) that the goal of “philosophy as well as government was harmony, rather than competition or separation, between the traditions.” (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/301242/Japanese-philosophy)
⁃ Buddhism and Confusianism came together to allow the people to view the universe as a constantly fluctuating process, and acquire an understanding of the self as “interdependent with the social and natural worlds.” (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/301242/Japanese-philosophy)

9th-12th Centuries CE – Heian Period
⁃ Kūkai (774-835) and Saichō (767-822) were two primary thinkers of this period. They influenced the Shingon and Tendai Buddhist schools. The main ideas they brought about were of every phenomenon as an expression of the cosmos (macro mirrored in micro) and that enlightenment, a goal of Buddhist practitioners, was not able to be attained as a concept but “was an act of the full complex of mind, body, and spirit as transformed through ritual practice.” (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/301242/Japanese-philosophy)
⁃ It was in this period that the miyabi (elegance) and (okashi) charming aesthetic themes emerged.
⁃ The philosophical ideas of impermanence (mujō) and deep ontological being or mystery (yōgen), poignancy (mono no aware) and sensitivity (ushin) were further developed.

12th-16th Centuries CE – Kamakura Period
⁃ Samurai class takes over the court life seen in the classical period, turning people to search for a religious philosophy which would lead to peaceful everyday life rather than big-picture answers. Buddhist schools such as Pure Land, Zen, and Nichiren were established.
⁃ Thinkers of this time were Hōnen (1133-1212), Shinran (1173-1263), Dōgen (1200–53), and Nichiren (1222–82).
⁃ Hōnen and Shinran each founded a school of Pure Land Buddhism which focuses on faith in Amida Buddha, “the buddha of light who promises rebirth in the Pure Land to the faithful.” (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/301242/Japanese-philosophy) They critiqued the idea of self as an isolated ego.
⁃ Dōgen was a main figure in Zen Buddhism, known for his ideas of the self and consciousness, with a focus on zazen, a particular form of seated meditation. Zazen was developed not as a means to enlightenment but as a form of discipline as an end in itself.
⁃ Nichiren focused on the Lotus Sutra and its ideal of the bodhisattva.
⁃ The native Shintō ideas and practices were absorbed into the Buddhist traditions during this period.

17th-19th Centuries CE – Edo and Tokugawa Periods
⁃ Confucian ideas reemerged to encourage peace and stability, unifying the state to political centrality.
⁃ Bushidō, the Code of the Warrior, emerged. This code expressed ideals of loyalty, stoic self-control, and personal virtue. These are in line with, respectively, “Confucian propriety, Buddhist self-discipline, and Shintō purity of heart.” (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/301242/Japanese-philosophy)
⁃ There are two main groups of Confucian thinkers:
⁃ First are those who emerged from the neo-Confucian philosophies of Zhu Xi (Shushi; 1130-1200), Wang Yangming (Ōyōmei; 1472-1529), Hayashi Razan (1583-1657) and Nakae Tōju (1608-48). This group had some members who thought that the neo-Confucian philosophy was too abstract when detailing ri (metaphysical principle) was the structuring force of the universe – they emphasized that qi (vital force) was the main structuring force of the universe.
⁃ The next group was the school focused on the “traditional” ideas of Confucianism as presented by Confucius, which emphasized a less metaphysical view and was more concerned with the functioning of everyday lives than answering the greater picture. This school is known as the kogaku school.
⁃ During this period, a school of thought known as kokugaku emerged which held the idea of returning to the original “ancient ways” of Shintōism. They wanted to renew the ideas of mono no aware – a sensitivity to or sympathy for the things that constitute the world.

19th-Current Centuries CE – Taisho and Heisei Periods
⁃ A new word was coined during this period that was meant to be a direct translation of the English term “philosophy” – testugaku, comprised of wisdom (tetsu) and learning (gaku).
⁃ Here is when the Western constructs started to influence Japanese philosophers. The first major Japanese philosopher to use the Western style of philosophy was Nishida Kitarō (1870-1945) in his “An Inquiry into the Good” (1911). He introduced a philosophy he called “Nothingness” (mu), which fuzed the ideas of Zen and William James to come to an idea of “pure experience” based on experiential and logical experiences of judgement and action. His ideas inspired the Kyōto school of philosophy which explored the differences and similarities of Western and Eastern philosophical and religious traditions.
⁃ Nishitani Keiji (1900-1990) explored the idea of Nothingness and brought the ideas of Martin Heidegger (who he studied under), which was already arguably similar to Japanese ideas of being and existence.
⁃ Watsuji Tetsurō (1889-1960) disagreed with the ideas of Western individualism as well as Confucian collectivism, and instead posited an ethical idea of “betweenness,” as if each individual exists on a sliding scale of “individual freedom and socially imposed norms.” (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/301242/Japanese-philosophy).
⁃ Tanabe Hajime (1885-1962) also found a sliding scale between the universal and particular ideas, feeling that the schools of either ignore the fact of specific species. For instance, the respective schools would emphasize a person’s universal human nature or atomistic individuality. What Tanabe introduced was the idea of a person as an ethnic, national and cultural being, having an individual role as well as a universal role.
⁃ Some modern philosophers that have stuck to the traditional philosophies are Tamaki Kōshirō (1915-1999) and Nakamura Hajime (1911-1999) who follow a Buddhist tradition. Some others, such as Yuasa Yasuo (1925-2005) and Ueda Shizuteru (1926-current) focus on integrating ideas to establish a universal or global perspective rather than monocultural.

Food and Culture in Japan


Japanese Food Culture and Festivals

Second Life

Quotes taken from: http://www.savoryjapan.com/learn/culture/festivals/

What is your favorite kind of Japanese food?

Food in Japan is greatly affected by location – Japan is surrounded by the ocean, so a very common food is fish. Rice is a staple food, grown locally in huge rice fields. Though rice is the stable food, many kinds of noodles, such as udon, soba, and ramen, are also common.

On an interesting note, it was only in 2013 that UNESCO declared the traditional food cultures of Japan, known as washoku, as an Intangible Cultural Heritage. In other words, they only recognized it as something deserving to be preserved in order to keep the culture alive last year.

But, something that I didn’t know, was when Buddhism came to Japan in the 6th century, it became taboo to eat all flesh of animals and/or fowl. Because of this, the vegetarian style of cooking known as shojin ryori introduced soy sauce (shoyu), miso, tofu, and other products made from soybeans to replace the animal products. Also coming from the zen buddhist tradition is the well-known simple and elegant display of the food that we still see today and I’ll describe a bit below.

TEA CEREMONY

The sado, or tea ceremony, is highly ritualized and greatly influenced by Zen buddhism. The type of tea is a green tea known as matcha, which is powdered tea leaves. I won’t go in to all the details, even I don’t know them, but be sure that each movement is highly learned if it is done properly.

CHAKAISEKI RYORI

This is one of three basic styles of Japanese cooking, which we will cover all three today. This one in particular is served during a tea ceremony. The foods served are fresh, seasonal, and usually local, and are prepared without decoration. The meal is then followed by the tea ceremony.

HONZEN RYORI

In this style of Japanese cooking the food is served carefully arranged on legged trays, as it would have been to the nobility during the Heian period (794-1185) when this style emerged.

The menu usually consists of a soup with three types of side dishes such as sashimi (raw seafood), yakimono (broiled fowl or fish), and nimono (simmered veggies or meats). This is the minimum serving, sometimes they can be as large as three soups and eleven side dishes. It is important to ensure that foods of similar tastes are not served together.

It is particularly important when attending a meal of this style to follow proper etiquette, most importantly eating a bit of rice before passing from one dish to another.

KAISEKI RYORI

Kaiseki ryori is regarded as Japan’s most exquisite culinary refinement. This is a multi-course dinner consisting mainly of vegetables and fish with a seasoning base of seaweed and mushrooms, the dishes are characterized by their refined flavour.

There are two kinds of kaiseki ryori’s. The first is a set menu served on an individual tray. The other is the meal served before a ceremonial tea, known as cha-kaiseki.

The courses served in this style consist of the following:

Appetizers: sweet alcohol or local alcohol and bite-sized appetizers.

Main courses: soup, sashimi (raw fish), nimono (boiled vegetables, meat, or seafood in a mix of soy sauce, sweet cooking sake, and sugar), yakimono (grilled fish or meat), agemono (tempura – deep fried seafood and vegetables), mushimono (which is exactly what it sounds like…lol…a steamed dish. The most popular is chawanmushi, a savory egg custard flavored with fish stock with mushrooms, chicken, ginko nuts and seafood), and sunomono (vegetables and seafood in a vinegar based sauce).

The next set is called Shokuji, which we don’t typically do in western cultures, but it consists of rice, miso soup and pickles (tsukemono).

Dessert: can be anything sweet but is typically made up of local or seasonal fresh fruit or sorbet.

HOLIDAYS

Ochogatsu, or New Years, isn’t the best time to visit Japan since all the shops and restaurants are closed between Dec 28 and Jan 3. The time is spent in temples and shrines and with family. The chopsticks used during this time are pointed on both sides so the gods can partake in the feast of osechi-ryori. This is a dish of predominately vegetables with grilled fish, served in special boxes called jubako which resemble bento boxes. Many dishes can be served, so I’ll only name a few. They all have special meaning with regards to the New Year. Daidai, “from generation to generation,” is a bitter orange which symbolizes the wish for children in the New Year. Kamaboko is a broiled fish cake arranged in rows or patterns which resemble the Japanese rising sun. Konbu is a type of seaweed which is associated with the word yorokobu, meaning “joy,” and is used for wishing for joy in the new year. Ebi is skewered prawns cooked with sake and soy sauce and it symbolizes a wish for a long-life, symbolizing a long beard and bent waist.

Hina Matsuri, or Girl’s Day, is celebrated on the third of March. The most stunning thing about it is the heirloom dolls that are display, and promptly taken down on the fourth since they are thought to delay the girls’ marriage if they are left on display too long. These dolls the caretakers of the girls’ health and happiness, warding off bad luck and bringing in good fortune. This is probably my favourite festival food wise, because they get mochi! Hishimochi are lovely, diamond-shaped mochi (rice cakes) with pink, white and green layers. Pink represents plum blossoms, in season in late February and early March. White represents the snow of the waning winter, while green represents the new, fresh growth of early spring. They also get sake, or rice wine. Shiro-zake is the first variety of sake of the year, available in early spring. White, unfiltered and sweet, it came to be associated with girls, (and thus, the festival) even though women did not necessarily drink sake in the old days. The pure-white color of the sake also compliments the pink of the plum blossoms. Red (or pink) and white also signify happiness and good fortune, and are often displayed during festivals. The next treat they get to indulge in is hina arare. Hina arare are small, blossom or snowflake-like pink, white and green balls of crunchy puffed rice, sometimes sweetened with sugar. In the old days, arare were made of leftover mochi from the Oshogatsu (New Year’s) festival celebration, and therefore, were often enjoyed during girl’s day. This thrifty and creative use of materials also came to symbolize the desirable qualities of a good wife.

The Sakura festival is the world-renowned cherry blossom festival between the end of March and early April (depending on when they blossom). I was going to try to explain this phenomenon myself, but I found this quote and it’s just perfect, ” I had thought it was sentimental hype until I found myself in Kyoto one year during the height of cherry blossom season. The city was awash in pink; enveloping me and everyone around me with their delicate fragrance; the petals falling, fluttering like gentle rain on the sidewalks and onto the hair of young women in their sakura-patterned kimonos. Since then, I haven’t missed a single season.” The season is a time of change, a gentle reminder that the harsh winter is over. It reminds us of the fleeting nature of reality, a prominent Buddhist belief. Hanami bento is a homemade dish that most people take to the viewing of the blossoms and accompanying parties. These boxes include seasonal grilled fish and spring vegetables, rice with vegetables cut into the delicate shape of sakura petals, green yomogimochi (spring herb dumplings) and kamaboko (fish cakes) with pink designs.

A poem about the Sakura flowers:

“The Sakura Flower

I watch the lovers walk hand in hand, and feel sad that I will not live long enough to do the same.

The sadness pulls me down, I sway, I lean, I can feel the wind pulling on me.

Eventually it succeeds and I drift slowly towards the ground.

I fear the landing, the eventual end that I know will come.

I remember all the beautiful people I saw in my lifetime;
All the lovers, all the friends, and I regret that I will not see them again.

But, rejoice!, next year, I will have been born again, and will watch, perched from my high branches, learning the ways of love.”

I found this lovely story for you, for our journey to the next festival…

“You’re in a roji (“dewy path”, a small Japanese tea garden) on your way to your friend’s tea house. As you mindfully step on granite stones freshly splashed with water for your arrival, you notice that the stone lanterns, lit for the evening, are shining a little more brightly than usual. You peer inside of one of them, and notice an extra candle.

However, as you round a bamboo fence, the tiny and simple thatched roof teahouse comes into view, and you notice that the windows are dark, and find this a just a little odd. The tea house roof is so low that you have to lower your head as you enter the genkan. Despite your quiet arrival, your host welcomes you, opening the small shoji door for you to enter the four mat tearoom. In the dim natural light, you see the tokonoma, where a scroll painting of a moon, barley visible against the palest grey sky, and a bold arrangement of pampas grass and autumn flowers are displayed. It’s grown chilly in recent days, so you’re happy when your host invites you to sit close to the coals as he prepares the kettle for tea.

The light begins to grow brighter to the east, and you look out of the open shoji doors to see the moon, barely visible at first, rising past the trees in the distance. The sky is cloudless and the air, clear, rendering the outline of the moon in crisp detail. As the moon appears, impossibly huge and dazzling orange, you take a deep breath and your heart fills with joy. As the moon scatters golden reflections on the garden pond below, you watch, speechless, as it rises, past the sweeping branches of the pines.”

Can you guess what festival this is representing?

It’s o-tsukimi, the harvest moon festival! This usually falls in the middle of October, on the full moon.

“Autumn flowers and susuki (pampas grass, which is at its tallest and most beautiful at this time), are displayed, and kabocha (pumpkin), chestnuts, satoimo (taro potato) and tsukimi dango (small white rice dumplings, piled high on a tray), are offered to the moon in the family alter. The dumplings were traditionally thought to bring happiness and good health, and the offering is not only for the moon’s beauty, but an expression of gratitude for the autumn harvest.”

It is tradition to write poems to the moon. Shall we give it a try?

This past year I wrote one while bathing on a river under the local harvest moon:

Harvest Moon

By way of night creation is born,
Spontaneously, energy emerges
Riding the back of a turtle.

Like a monk on a mountaintop
He leaves the shattered cage
Emerging into silence.

Birds stir into flight,
the miraged man
Bathing them in orange light

Giants grasp at him,
Longing for a taste of his grace.
Smiling, he eludes them.

All the creatures yearn,
They ask, “how can energy
Be so still?”

That is all for today! Phew! Any comments or questions?

Dogen’s Mountains and Waters Sutra P1-5 Transcript


((Copy of the Sutra taken from 108 Bowls))
[11:00] Chraeloos: Alright, we’ll give people a few more minutes to join us before we get started. If you click the poster behind me you’ll receive a copy of the Sutra, if you’d like
[11:02] Chraeloos: I’m going to warn everyone ahead of time that I am not a professional and am here to learn about this just as much as you do. I truly believe that we cannot possibly know everything about a sutra ever, so this will be a new experience (beginner’s mind!) for all of us. Please feel free to jump in with questions or comments whenever they arise. I will post the sutra in sections so we have an opportunity to read it in detail and with as much time as we need.
[11:02] Roel (roelenstein.vuckovic): ty for the warning
[11:02] Sky (sky.igeria): ty
[11:03] Chraeloos: I don’t expect that we’ll get through the whole sutra today, as it is dense, but we will take our time. If it goes well I may be able to host this again next weekend to finish, or as long as it takes
[11:04] Chraeloos: Hi Sophie 🙂
[11:04] Sophia (mixedmedia): greetings
[11:04] Chraeloos: we’re just about to get started
[11:04] Rhiannon of the Birds (rhiannon.dragoone): oh, hi everyone. NOt all here today, so forgot to say hi. So ‘hi!’
[11:04] Whispr εжз (whispr.xue): lol
[11:05] Chraeloos: hi Jachil 🙂
[11:05] Chraeloos: wb wildblue 🙂
[11:05] Roel (roelenstein.vuckovic): _/\_
[11:05] Whispr εжз (whispr.xue): you look completely here to me 😉 {{{{ Rhia }}}}
[11:05] Rhiannon of the Birds (rhiannon.dragoone): ty, Whisper
[11:05] Chraeloos: Alright, shall we get started?
[11:05] Rhiannon of the Birds (rhiannon.dragoone): Yes, I do manifest *completely*
[11:05] Chraeloos: If you click the poster just behind me you can get a copy of the sutra to follow along
[11:05] You decline Wellspring Island from A group member named Starheart Erdhein.
[11:06] Roel (roelenstein.vuckovic): mountains are w alking
[11:06] Chraeloos smiles
[11:06] Roel (roelenstein.vuckovic): wonder where atreu is….
[11:06] You decline Wellspring Island from A group member named Starheart Erdhein.
[11:07] Roel (roelenstein.vuckovic): but thats a neverending story
[11:07] Chraeloos: Should we wait a moment Roel?
[11:07] Roel (roelenstein.vuckovic): for another time
[11:07] Chraeloos: are you expecting them?
[11:07] Chraeloos: lol
[11:07] Rhiannon of the Birds (rhiannon.dragoone) wonders where Godot is, whether he’s already been here or maybe he’ll be here tomorrow
[11:07] Chraeloos: Hi Zen 🙂
[11:07] Roel (roelenstein.vuckovic): tyvm for the invite _/\_
[11:07] ButterflyAire: perhaps he is here in our midst and spirits already
[11:07] Chraeloos: glad you could all be here today, thank you so much for joining me in this Perfect Paradise!
[11:08] Chraeloos: I think so too, Butterfly 🙂
[11:08] Chraeloos: _/\_ Namaste _/\_
[11:08] Zen (zen.arado): Hi all
[11:08] Chraeloos: Hi Remael 🙂
[11:08] Chraeloos: ok, here we go, part 1…ready?
[11:08] Roel (roelenstein.vuckovic): Remael_/\_
[11:08] Whispr εжз (whispr.xue) waves to everyone just dropping in now 8)
[11:08] Remael: Hi
[11:08] Sky (sky.igeria): yes ready:)
[11:08] Chraeloos takes a deep breath
[11:08] Chraeloos: 1.
Mountains and waters right now are the actualization of the ancient Buddha way. Each, abiding in its phenomenal expression, realizes completeness. Because mountains and waters have been active since before the Empty Eon, they are alive at this moment. Because they have been the self since before form arose they are emancipation realization.
[11:09] Chraeloos: I will clarify here, because I was also unsure, An empty eon is a world cycle in which there is no Buddha.
[11:09] Rhiannon of the Birds (rhiannon.dragoone): Roger that
[11:09] Chraeloos: could also be considered as the eon before us…empty of all
[11:09] Chraeloos: what do you think?
[11:09] Zen (zen.arado): or a long time anyway 🙂
[11:09] Rhiannon of the Birds (rhiannon.dragoone): Is an empty eon anything like empty calories?
[11:10] Roel (roelenstein.vuckovic): or maybe an acronime for the next day meaning End Of Night
[11:10] Chraeloos: Rhi, lol could be
[11:10] Chraeloos: Roel, good point
[11:10] Sophia (mixedmedia): you people are funny, and smart 🙂
[11:10] Chraeloos: Sophia, you are too 🙂
[11:10] Sophia (mixedmedia): ty:)
[11:11] Chraeloos: Any other thoughts or should I post number 2?
[11:11] Roel (roelenstein.vuckovic): geophysically spoken is 100 years a spick on a plate for mountains to move an inch
[11:11] Chraeloos: Oh! I wanted to ask everyone as well, is it okay if I take a copy of this chat and post it to my blog? If anyone says no I won’t.
[11:11] Roel (roelenstein.vuckovic): so thats why it is figurely spoken to my point of view
[11:12] Chraeloos: Hi King 🙂 Hi Jordan 🙂
[11:12] Chraeloos: we’re just discussing part 1 of the sutra, which you can receive from the poster behind me
[11:12] Zen (zen.arado): Hi King and Jordan
[11:12] Chraeloos: true Roel
[11:12] Chraeloos: Yes, Dogen uses some interesting language in this sutra
[11:13] Chraeloos: I wanted to ask everyone as well, is it okay if I take a copy of this chat and post it to my blog? If anyone says no I won’t.
[11:13] Sky (sky.igeria): The word aeon /ˈiːɒn/, also spelled eon, originally means “life” or “being
[11:13] Sophia (mixedmedia): fine with me Chraeloos
[11:13] Whispr εжз (whispr.xue): No objections at all
[11:13] Chraeloos: Interesting Sky
[11:13] Chraeloos: thank you Sophia, Wihspr
[11:13] Chraeloos: Whispr8
[11:13] Sky (sky.igeria): indeed:0
[11:13] Chraeloos: ugh, lol I give up
[11:13] Zen (zen.arado): I don’t hear any objections
[11:13] Whispr εжз (whispr.xue): giggle… W works 😉
[11:13] Chraeloos: lol
[11:14] Chraeloos: Thank you Zen
[11:14] K I N G (raju.deed): hello for all
[11:14] Roel (roelenstein.vuckovic): _/\_
[11:14] K I N G (raju.deed): hello chraeloos:)
[11:14] Chraeloos: if anyone objects to this being posted on my blog please IM me at any point during this chat to be sure I get it. Thank you all
[11:14] jordanstarcheriscool: hello everyone
[11:14] Chraeloos: ok, let’s take a look at part two.
[11:14] Chraeloos: 2.
Because mountains are high and broad, the way of riding the clouds is always reached in the mountains; the inconceivable power of soaring in the wind comes freely from the mountains.
[11:14] Zen (zen.arado): I think we have to keep in mind that Dogen was living in the thirteenth century and we are only reading a translation from ancient Chinese
[11:15] Zen (zen.arado): so some of the references he makes can be pretty abstruse
[11:15] Chraeloos: yes Zen, good point
[11:15] Zen (zen.arado): we can only guess at their meanings
[11:15] Chraeloos: “Riding the clouds” and “soaring in the wind” represent the state of freedom in meditation.
[11:15] jordanstarcheriscool: yes
[11:15] Chraeloos: yes Zen, that is very true, thank you for pointing that out. This kind of awareness should be practiced with any text.
[11:15] Zen (zen.arado): it’s not good to take him too literally anyway
[11:15] jordanstarcheriscool: i will pray for al of you to have a nice life
[11:15] Chraeloos smiles
[11:15] Zen (zen.arado): and most of his writing seems to be in koans
[11:15] Chraeloos nods at Zen.
[11:16] Zen (zen.arado): he doesn’t go out of his way to be clear as we would nowadays
[11:16] Chraeloos: Thank you Jordan, you as well
[11:16] Chraeloos: yes, this text is intended, I think, to be taken however it works for you now
[11:16] ButterflyAire: the wind can represent that of the breath of Gaia that holds the clouds aloft in order to kiss the mountains and cloak them in mystery
[11:16] Rhiannon of the Birds (rhiannon.dragoone): Well, he’s talking about a reality that can only be grasped metaphorically, anyway
[11:16] Chraeloos: Beautiful Butterfly!
[11:17] jordanstarcheriscool: life is like a butterfly let it fly high
[11:17] Roel (roelenstein.vuckovic): riding the waves feels for me sometimes like a preasure cooker
[11:17] Chraeloos: Rhia, not necessarily, he gets into a bit of science later on in the text…and remembering that the science he speaks of is a bit outdated.
[11:17] Chraeloos: Roel, lol, I think we have all experienced that
[11:17] Roel (roelenstein.vuckovic): 🙂
[11:17] Rhiannon of the Birds (rhiannon.dragoone): You need to let go, Roel
[11:17] Roel (roelenstein.vuckovic): ty for the warning_/\_
[11:17] Pia Sia (2011): interesting brainstorming!
[11:18] ButterflyAire: sometimes the waves are created by our churning the water instead of resting calmly to enjoy the rocking and embracing of them
[11:18] Whispr εжз (whispr.xue): Depends on if you have an anchor or are willing to float with the power
[11:18] Chraeloos nods at Butterfly
[11:18] Chraeloos: Whispr, yes, taking the leap of faith!
[11:18] Rhiannon of the Birds (rhiannon.dragoone): I’m thinking of the fundeamental truths that he’s trying to express; I’m sure he also describes the physical world and, as you say, in an outdated way
[11:18] Chraeloos nods at Rhia
[11:18] Rhiannon of the Birds (rhiannon.dragoone): Whisper, the anchor is the floating
[11:19] Chraeloos: sometimes those truths are quite hard to understand
[11:19] Rhiannon of the Birds (rhiannon.dragoone): Sometimes? lol
[11:19] Zen (zen.arado): I thought he was expressing the fact that the mountains are changing as well as everything else
[11:19] Chraeloos: To me it sounds like he’s saying the mountains, or at least the potential for mountains, is everywhere.
[11:19] Zen (zen.arado): it’s just that it happens on such a vast timescale but we think they are solid and immovable
[11:19] Chraeloos: Zen, I agree
[11:19] Pia Sia (2011): potential of mountains is indeed everywhere
[11:20] ButterflyAire: are the mountains metaphors for those self created and imposed borders that we create?
[11:20] Pia Sia (2011): what exactly is you are holding already is capable of and what wind/storm blows
[11:20] Chraeloos: Butterfly, beautiful! Yes, maybe they are! I hadn’t thought of that.
[11:20] Rhiannon of the Birds (rhiannon.dragoone): Well, is there an equivocation there? Mountains, in the sense of something that we think is changeless, isn’t, really, but as a symbol for achieving our peak potential, they would be eveywhere
[11:20] Rhiannon of the Birds (rhiannon.dragoone): Butterflye, if there aren’t, they should be.
[11:20] Chraeloos: Pia, nicely said.
[11:20] Zen (zen.arado): so mountains can be thought of as clouds but just on a different time scale
[11:20] Chraeloos: Rhia, good point!
[11:20] Chraeloos smiles at Zen. “Beautiful.”
[11:20] Rhiannon of the Birds (rhiannon.dragoone): Yeah, it’s a nice interpretation, Butterflye
[11:21] Chraeloos: yes, clouds are easy to understand in the way that they are always changing, but mountains maybe not so easy
[11:21] Pia Sia (2011): Mountain can be a unchangable/changable part of us – whichever way we look at it
[11:21] Chraeloos nods at Pia
[11:21] Pia Sia (2011): sometimes we see change as a challenge and other times change is alllll we want that moment
[11:21] Sky (sky.igeria): montain=anvient budha when in the now… freedom is reached in the hight and broadness of montains…
[11:21] Chraeloos: haha so true Pia!
[11:21] Sophia (mixedmedia): this is all very fascinating to me
[11:21] Chraeloos: beautiful Sky
[11:21] Zen (zen.arado): Zen teachers have always tried to deconstruct our so solid notions of reality
[11:21] Chraeloos: Sophia, agreed!
[11:22] Chraeloos: Zen, indeed!
[11:22] Sophia (mixedmedia): I have heard that enlightenment is a “de constructing” process
[11:22] Chraeloos: Shall we move onto part 3?
[11:22] Pia Sia (2011): sure
[11:22] Chraeloos: beautiful Sophia
[11:22] Rhiannon of the Birds (rhiannon.dragoone): Zen, Zen teachers neither try to deconstuct or fail to deconstruct. They just bonk you on the head if you try to analyze.
[11:22] Chraeloos: lol Rhi
[11:22] Sophia (mixedmedia): LOL
[11:22] Zen (zen.arado): 🙂
[11:22] Chraeloos: 3.
Priest Daokai of Mt. Furong said to the assembly, “The green mountains are always walking; a stone woman gives birth to a child at night.” Mountains do not lack the qualities of mountains. Therefore they always abide in ease and always walk. You should examine in detail this quality of the mountains walking. Mountains’ walking is just like human walking. Accordingly, do not doubt mountains’ walking even though it does not look the same as human walking. The Buddha ancestors’ words point to walking. This is fundamental understanding. You should penetrate these words.
[11:23] Pia Sia (2011): really? lol
[11:23] Zen (zen.arado): they bonk you on the back of the neck actually
[11:23] Zen (zen.arado): 🙂
[11:23] Chraeloos: A few notes…The Chinese character that Dogen used for this text did not distinguish between green and blue – it was the same character. Sometimes this is translated as “blue mountains are always walking”.

Most of the Ch’an monasteries of the time were located in mountainous regions of China.

In the realm of nonduality, mountains and human beings are not separate.
[11:23] ButterflyAire: when you think of all the elements of life, they are there where the sky caresses the mountains, and the mountains are in constant movement because of the wind’s breath, and the tears of the sky water the sullen rocks and rushes to the green earth below to evenually melt into the seas that calm the volcanic fires of the core that is ever in a state of creation
[11:23] Rhiannon of the Birds (rhiannon.dragoone): Zen, I stand corrected
[11:23] Zen (zen.arado): reaches for his stick
[11:24] Zen (zen.arado): 🙂
[11:24] Chraeloos: Butterfly, beautifully put.
[11:24] Rhiannon of the Birds (rhiannon.dragoone): Well, walking is clearly a metaphor for changing. Except maybe on Easter Island, mountains don’t literally walk, and if they did walk, it wouldn’t be like humans at all. So it has to be changing, moving, that sort of thing
[11:25] Chraeloos: Rhia, I think that Dogen is challenging here our sense of time. Is it linear? If mountains walking is just like humans walking, are we only limited by our perception of time? Because mountains to move, literally, as they crumble and shift and that’s how they got here in the first place, right?
[11:25] Chraeloos: I agree that it is mostly a metaphor for change, but it is also an example of change in reality
[11:25] Chraeloos: in something that we see as the most solid
[11:26] Chraeloos: “a stone woman gives birth to a child at night”…physical mountains moving…earthquaks and landslides…
[11:26] Chraeloos: I don’t know
[11:26] Chraeloos: lol
[11:26] Rhiannon of the Birds (rhiannon.dragoone): Well, I see what you’re saying, Chrae, but this is a challenge to adapt to change and to not hang on, even to the “Earth and Sky.”
[11:26] Chraeloos nods
[11:27] ButterflyAire: the universe is within all things and all of us and we are flying through space so we are all in constant change movement and evolution
[11:27] Chraeloos: and a notion of nonduality, with saying that mountains walking and humans walking are not so different.
[11:27] Rhiannon of the Birds (rhiannon.dragoone): (reference to Kansas’ ‘Dust in the Wind.’)
[11:27] Chraeloos: Butterfly, love it.
[11:27] Chraeloos smiles at Rhi
[11:27] Rhiannon of the Birds (rhiannon.dragoone): Butterfly, you should write sutras.
[11:27] Chraeloos: lol! She should
[11:28] ButterflyAire: blushes
[11:28] Zen (zen.arado): yes but isn’t he pointing to the fact that humans and mountains share properties of existence
[11:28] Sophia (mixedmedia): yes Butterfly you are so eloquent
[11:28] Chraeloos: Zen, I think so.
[11:28] Rhiannon of the Birds (rhiannon.dragoone): Really, and get them published; they would be a nicely modern interpretation of some of these ancient ideas
[11:28] Whispr εжз (whispr.xue): As beautiful with words, as with inner beauty 8)
[11:28] Chraeloos: we have the potential for mountains in us, and they have the potential for humans, no?
[11:29] Zen (zen.arado): and I agree with butterfly yes who put it more poetically
[11:29] Zen (zen.arado): 🙂
[11:29] Chraeloos: ok, number 4?
[11:30] Zen (zen.arado): or that we are mountains and mountains are us?
[11:30] Zen (zen.arado): mountains R’us 🙂
[11:30] Chraeloos: Zen, yes, true, “we are all stardust”
[11:30] Chraeloos: lol!
[11:30] Rhiannon of the Birds (rhiannon.dragoone): I think all poetry, if any good, hits at fundamental truths.
[11:30] Zen (zen.arado): yes
[11:30] Sophia (mixedmedia): so true Rhia
[11:30] Chraeloos nods at Rhi
[11:30] Rhiannon of the Birds (rhiannon.dragoone): Zen, I’m still trying to grasp the implications of “Toys R Us.” Please don’t confuse me more
[11:30] Zen (zen.arado): because it can express deeper truths
[11:30] Chraeloos: Hi Helpful 🙂
[11:30] Zen (zen.arado): 🙂
[11:30] Chraeloos: lol Rhi
[11:31] Helpful.Meister (helpfulmeister): hello there chraeloos
[11:31] Rhiannon of the Birds (rhiannon.dragoone): We are stardust, we are golden, and we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden…”
[11:31] Zen (zen.arado): Hi Helpful
[11:31] Chraeloos: we are just about to get onto part four of the sutra, if you’d like a copy you can touch the poster behind me
[11:31] Helpful.Meister (helpfulmeister) waves at zen
[11:31] Chraeloos: Rhi, nice
[11:31] Pia Sia (2011): lol thats not quite true… so mountains maybe
[11:31] Chraeloos: Pia, 🙂
[11:31] Rhiannon of the Birds (rhiannon.dragoone): Yet if we take a Zen view, that’s saying the same thing as Carl Sagan’s “we are starstuff.”
[11:32] Chraeloos: In a sense, yes, Rhi, I think so
[11:32] Chraeloos: ok, part 4, here we go
[11:32] Chraeloos: 4.
Because green mountains walk, they are permanent. Although they walk more swiftly than the wind, someone in the mountains does not realize or understand it. “In the mountains” means the blossoming of the entire world. People outside the mountains do not realize or understand the mountains walking. Those without eyes to see mountains cannot realize, understand, see, or hear this as it is. If you doubt mountains’ walking, you do not know your own walking; it is not that you do not walk, but that you do not know or understand your own walking. Since you do not know your walking, you should fully know the green mountains’ walking. Green mountains are neither sentient nor insentient. You are neither sentient nor insentient. At this moment, you cannot doubt the green mountains’ walking.
[11:33] Zen (zen.arado): the bit that stands out for me is ‘V’
[11:33] Pia Sia (2011): wonderful…
[11:33] Zen (zen.arado): which didn’t copy 🙂
[11:33] Zen (zen.arado): Green mountains are neither sentient nor insentient. You are neither sentient nor insentient.
[11:33] Whispr εжз (whispr.xue): nodding, if we don’t know our own minds & hearts, how can we understand others
[11:33] Chraeloos: Zen, something didn’t copy?
[11:34] ButterflyAire: could the green mountains be referring to the chakra of the heart so thus the heart is ever beating and keeping us alive just as the flowing waves of grass upon a mountain move and sway in the wind and rain fed from the mountain tops … therefore always growing and reaching skyward to the warmth of the sun in hopes to find the missing parts of self
[11:34] Pia Sia (2011): yes which is also a key to find where we stand often
[11:34] Chraeloos: Beautiful Whispr
[11:35] Chraeloos: Butterfly, spectacular. I’m not sure how much influence the Chakra system had on the Zen Buddhists of the time, but that’s a really nice idea.
[11:35] Chraeloos: wb Rhi!
[11:35] Chraeloos: Pia, “where we stand” I like that
[11:35] Roel (roelenstein.vuckovic): i think they can move mountains with it
[11:35] Zen (zen.arado): the whole way that we classify reality into objects that are sentiet or insentient is suspect
[11:35] Chraeloos: Roel, with what?
[11:35] Pia Sia (2011): Yes, can you proceed whithout knowing where your mountain stands?
[11:36] Roel (roelenstein.vuckovic): chakra’s
[11:36] Chraeloos nods at Zen, agreed.
[11:36] Chraeloos: Roel, nice!
[11:36] Chraeloos: Pia, lovely
[11:36] Chraeloos: Pia, a kind of checking in, embodiment even
[11:36] Chraeloos: meditation
[11:36] Sky (sky.igeria): green/ fruit unriped… child..walking….learning?…
[11:36] Rhiannon of the Birds (rhiannon.dragoone): Pia, seeing as your mountain is walking, you have to proceed without knowing where it stands, because as soon as you know where it stands, it has moved.
[11:37] Pia Sia (2011): true
[11:37] Chraeloos: Sky, love it
[11:37] Chraeloos: Rhia, nicely put
[11:37] Chraeloos: where’s your stick?
[11:37] Chraeloos: lol
[11:37] Pia Sia (2011): its bound to move… which is rightful walking or not you can f ind out
[11:37] Whispr εжз (whispr.xue): and the mountaing beneath you will always be your solid ground, your foundation
[11:37] Zen (zen.arado): but we know that in a relative way they don’t really move very much
[11:37] Pia Sia (2011): true whisper
[11:37] Zen (zen.arado): but it’s good to remember that everything is changing and not to believe our frozen concepts too much
[11:37] Chraeloos: Whispr, in a sense, do you mean the mountain as ultimate reality?
[11:37] Zen (zen.arado): I think
[11:37] Chraeloos: Zen, relative, true
[11:38] Pia Sia (2011): we often relate to our mountain we may not be our mountain
[11:38] Whispr εжз (whispr.xue): while allowing your head to be in the clouds, let you soar to heights that you never dreamed possible, wherever the wind carries you
[11:38] Chraeloos: is truth ever not relative?
[11:38] Whispr εжз (whispr.xue): maybe more core values
[11:38] Chraeloos: Pia, can we ever “be” anything or anyone?
[11:38] Roel (roelenstein.vuckovic): i refer in mountains often to the elements in general
[11:38] Chraeloos: Whispr, beautiful
[11:38] Zen (zen.arado): that is a big question in philosophy Chrae
[11:38] Chraeloos: wb jordan
[11:38] Pia Sia (2011): we are mountain to many or few
[11:38] Sky (sky.igeria): the truththatcan be expressed with words ormind is nontruth
[11:38] Roel (roelenstein.vuckovic): clouds can rain down on them and let them crumble from within
[11:39] Sky (sky.igeria): sorry broken keyboard
[11:39] Roel (roelenstein.vuckovic): its a delicate play of recycling
[11:39] Chraeloos: Sky, agreed, beautiful
[11:39] Chraeloos: it’s ok haha we all speak typonese by now I’m sure
[11:39] Sky (sky.igeria): ㋡
[11:39] Rhiannon of the Birds (rhiannon.dragoone): There are constants, in physics & in morality, so truth isn’t relative. Besides, if truth were relative and some people disagree with that, then the relative becomes the absolute
[11:39] Chraeloos: Roel, nice
[11:39] Chraeloos: Rhi, constants are never exactly the same, just close enough
[11:40] ButterflyAire: but the fire with can either create more mountains or an home where we can find paradise
[11:40] Pia Sia (2011): they can walk on us, put a trampolene on us… we are what we are…. unless we move .. add subtract . LEt rain n water make changes
[11:40] Rhiannon of the Birds (rhiannon.dragoone): Close enough that to say they are different is a distinction without a difference
[11:40] Zen (zen.arado): I’m not so sure of that Rhia but that’s a big debate
[11:40] Roel (roelenstein.vuckovic): so were on an ever changing path beneath our feet
[11:40] Zen (zen.arado): morality especially
[11:40] Chraeloos nods at Butterfly
[11:40] Chraeloos: Pia, nice
[11:40] Sky (sky.igeria): weonly see the light we can perceive
[11:40] Chraeloos nods at Zen and Rhi, “I’ve heard more about the debate than the truth”
[11:40] Sky (sky.igeria): so yes forever changing
[11:41] Chraeloos: nice
[11:41] Chraeloos: ok, shall we reach 5?
[11:41] Roel (roelenstein.vuckovic): nature is teaching us to be that way (moving constantly)
[11:41] Chraeloos: 5.
You should study the green mountains, using numerous worlds as your standard. You should clearly examine the green mountains’ walking and your own walking. You should also examine walking backward and backward walking and investigate the fact that walking forward and backward has never stopped since the very moment before form arose, since the time of the King of the Empty Eon.
[11:41] Rhiannon of the Birds (rhiannon.dragoone): I crash everytime you go to another section, but I’m game
[11:41] Chraeloos: Roel, yet again it is, we started with nature, and now we are trying to come back to it
[11:42] Chraeloos: Rhi, sorry
[11:42] Sky (sky.igeria): The word aeon /ˈiːɒn/, also spelled eon, originally means “life” or “being
[11:42] Sky (sky.igeria): lol
[11:42] Zen (zen.arado): I wonder why he says “green” mountains
[11:42] Sky (sky.igeria): just in case…^^
[11:42] Chraeloos: Sky, I like that. Coming into being
[11:42] Rhiannon of the Birds (rhiannon.dragoone): What can I say? I have a gateway; not up to handling fundamental truths
[11:42] Zen (zen.arado): was that in the note earlier on?
[11:42] Roel (roelenstein.vuckovic): seasonal trick ill guess zen
[11:43] Pia Sia (2011): green symbolizes progress
[11:43] Chraeloos: Zen, there is a podcast by Center of Gravity in Toronto, where Michael Stone examines that, from last december I think
[11:43] Whispr εжз (whispr.xue): or a reference to young and still being influenced
[11:43] Sky (sky.igeria): yes Pia
[11:43] Chraeloos: lol Rhi
[11:43] Rhiannon of the Birds (rhiannon.dragoone): I’m guessing that green refers to vegetation, and thus to life or living or the life force
[11:43] ButterflyAire: perhaps the forward backward upward downward sideways are meant to teadh us to forever move onward
[11:43] Whispr εжз (whispr.xue): still being flexible
[11:43] Chraeloos: Zen, no, just that the character he used in the original means both blue and green, they didn’t make a distinction at the time
[11:43] Whispr εжз (whispr.xue): forward & backwards
[11:43] Roel (roelenstein.vuckovic): the new cycle of that life
[11:43] Chraeloos: He uses “green/blue mountains” and “eastern mountains”
[11:44] Rhiannon of the Birds (rhiannon.dragoone): No distinction between blue and green? How primitive. Now, if you had said purple and blue–I get them mixed up *all* the time.
[11:44] Chraeloos: Rhi, lol
[11:44] Chraeloos: Whispr, young, maybe, a play on time
[11:44] Zen (zen.arado): Dogen uses a lot of metaphors about time
[11:44] ButterflyAire: do those movements create a balance within us so that we can learn to accept movements in always … but what about the inward movement where we find all the answers asked and unknown?
[11:44] Rhiannon of the Birds (rhiannon.dragoone): Seriously, though, we need to look at a study of what colors meant at the time
[11:44] Chraeloos: Butterfly, like that
[11:44] Chraeloos: Zen, yes, he does
[11:44] Rhiannon of the Birds (rhiannon.dragoone): Like today ‘red’ means anger–either that or communism.
[11:44] Chraeloos: some notes on this I took were:
[11:44] Chraeloos: Walking forwards is our perception of the linear progression of time, walking backwards is the wandering of our minds outside of that linear perception. Everything exists in this moment now, and it will all exist in this next moment, and it all existed in the moment before. Everything that ever did exist or ever will exist exists now. Our perception is delayed by a few moments from the actual event. By the time we interpret an object or an experience it has already changed.
[11:44] Sky (sky.igeria): it’smetaphores
[11:45] Zen (zen.arado): like when he talks about Spring doesn’t become summer et cetera in the Genjokoan
[11:45] Chraeloos: Rhia, lol, that would be interesting
[11:45] Chraeloos: Zen, I haven’t read that one, but that sounds interesting.
[11:45] Zen (zen.arado): oh the Genjokoan is the most popular one for study
[11:45] Chraeloos chuckles
[11:46] Chraeloos: I guess I go my own route, Zen. haha
[11:46] Zen (zen.arado): 🙂
[11:46] Rhiannon of the Birds (rhiannon.dragoone): Chrae, like Siddharta in Hesse’s eponymous book
[11:46] Zen (zen.arado): most people never get past it when they buy a copy of the Shobogenzo
[11:46] Zen (zen.arado): 🙂
[11:46] Zen (zen.arado): like me
[11:46] Chraeloos: Rhi, read that one
[11:46] Zen (zen.arado): 🙂
[11:46] Chraeloos: lol
[11:46] Chraeloos: Zen, lol I bet
[11:47] Chraeloos: Shall we fit in one more to this hour? Six is long
[11:47] Professorette Bunni Ninetails (ataraxia.azemus) is Online
[11:47] wildblueviolet Sunset: it sounds like what were saying numerous world being viewpoints different individual the world from
[11:47] Chraeloos: Wildblue, good point
[11:47] Rhiannon of the Birds (rhiannon.dragoone): I discovered Hesse when a friend of mine told me that the group Steppenwolf was based on Hesse; i thought he was making a joke.
[11:47] wildblueviolet Sunset: idivuals see
[11:47] Chraeloos: lol Rhi
[11:47] Sky (sky.igeria): maybe we could squeeze a silent meditation after all that
[11:48] Chraeloos: Sky, I’d like that
[11:48] Roel (roelenstein.vuckovic): that gets the lid of my cooker indeed ty
[11:48] Chraeloos: Glad Roel
[11:48] Chraeloos: It’s a decent start on the sutra
[11:49] Rhiannon of the Birds (rhiannon.dragoone): Chrae, this group got more out of the sutra that I had thought possible.
[11:49] Rhiannon of the Birds (rhiannon.dragoone): When I first read it I thought, ‘Walking mountains; yeah, right.”
[11:49] Zen (zen.arado): section 6 is rather long
[11:49] Chraeloos: ok, I know there are some events at noon, so lets take a meditation for about five minutes, then we’ll open the floor into more conversation.
[11:49] Chraeloos: lol Rhi
[11:49] Chraeloos: yes, we’ll stop here Zen