18.8.08

Thought doodles on the fouth noble truth

What is the Noble Truth of the Way Leading to the Cessation of Suffering? It is the Noble Eightfold Path, that is to say: Right View, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration.



Cessation of suffering is a nice idea. The idea that through following the eight fold path we actualize that idea is one that I have enjoyed. In a movie I saw recently there was a guy with a tattoo written in a foreign language; when he was asked what it meant he said: “there is a path to end all suffering, you should take it.” I thought that was pretty good advice and I smiled when I heard it.

As stated above that path is Right View, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration. I have a kind of problem with the language used here. To say something is right opens it up to dualistic interpretation, if there is a right than there must also be a wrong. So it is when we are dealing with concepts. Conceptualization is not the goal of the eight fold path. Some might argue that ceasing conceptualization is the goal of the eight fold path. I guess I tend to lean that way, but there is something more to it than that. But without conceptualization, this blog would just be a blank space, or maybe a video of me blowing a single note on the flute. Even that isn’t on point. To me the eightfold path is the golden rule. As it has been pointed out before; all of these words are all empty. I will continue writing more empty words later.


Bowing in deference to everything,
Jordan

2 comments:

Ted Biringer said...

Hello Jordan,

Thanks for the post.

It seems to me that there is a difference between 'conceptualization' and 'conceptualizing.'

Conceptualization, at least for me, refers to creating some-thing from no-thing, while conceptualizing is one fuction or aspect of no-thing. In other words, when we experience ideas, notions, concepts, or any of the myriad dharmas as seperate, or somehow distinct from our own true nature (reality, true nature, oneness, or whatever term you prefer), that is conceptualization. When we experience ideas, notions, concepts, or any of the myriad dharmas as our own true nature and allow them to 'advance and confirm the self', which includes reasoning, analyizing, evaluating, planning, etc. that is conceptualizing. See?

It seems to me that the same thing applies to words. Both hearing and expressing words can be experienced as conceptualization or conceptualizing.

Maybe I should quit groping around here and just quote a few things by that master of expression, Eihei Dogen:

Until you can put It into words, you have not directly experienced That which is above and beyond Buddhahood...
(Shobogenzo, Butsu Kojo Ji, Trans. Hubert Nearman)

Great Master Tozan Gohon once said, “I put into words what I am unable to demonstrate by action, and I demonstrate by action what I am unable to put into words.” This is the way a lofty Ancestor put it. His point is that his practice illumines the path that makes understandable what he has put in words, and his explanations have pathways that make understandable what he does as practice. Hence, what he preached in a day is what he practiced in a day. The point of this is that we practice that which is difficult to practice, and we explain that which is difficult to explain.
(Shobogenzo, Gyoji, Trans. Hubert Nearman)

If the words the World-honored One used were really something superficial, then His holding the flower aloft, with His eyes atwinkle, would also be something superficial. Were anyone to consider what He said to be merely name and form, that person is not ‘such a one’* who has learned what the Buddha Dharma really is. Those who consider what is spoken to be no more than names and forms have not yet comprehended that the World-honored One was beyond the use of language as merely ‘names and forms’. They have not yet let go of the confused, emotional attitudes of ordinary, worldly people. What permeates the Body and Mind of Buddhas and Ancestors is the dropping off of self, Their giving expression to the Dharma, and Their using language to voice It, that is, Their turning the Wheel of the Dharma. There have been many indeed who, having witnessed and listened to
It, have greatly profited from It. Those whose practice is based on faith, as well as those whose practice is based on understanding the Teaching, are cloaked in Its influence in places where there is an Ancestor of the Buddha, or partake of Its influence even in places where there is no Ancestor of the Buddha...

How does that other bunch understand ‘Makakasho’s face breaking into a smile’? Let them try to put that into words. If it were as those folks say, they would have called that smile ‘a secret communication’. But to call it ‘his not concealing anything’ would be piling foolishness atop foolishness. Later, the World-honored One said, “I have the Treasure House of the Eye of the True Teaching, which is the Wondrous Heart of Nirvana, and I have transmitted It to Makakasho.” Is His speaking in this way using speech or not using speech? If the World-honored One had a dislike for spoken language and preferred holding a flower aloft, He surely would have also held up a flower on this occasion. And then, how could Makakasho fail to understand and how could the assembly fail to hear? Do not rely on the tales of those folks who talk this way.
(Shobogenzo, Mitsugo, Trans. Hubert Nearman)

In general, all Buddhas say that to encounter Shakyamuni Buddha and to become Shakyamuni Buddha is to realize enlightenment and to realize Buddhahood. This realization by Buddhas has, from the first, been made possible by Their doing these seven acts: accepting, keeping to, reading, reciting, remembering, putting into practice, and making copies of what the Buddha said. Anyone who performs these seven acts is ‘one of those persons’ whom we should by all means undertake to know: they are ‘such a one’, just as he or she truly is. Because this is how we encounter Shakyamuni Buddha, hearing His words being recited is just like hearing the Buddha speak directly to us. Shakyamuni Buddha has been Shakyamuni
Buddha ever since He encountered Shakyamuni Buddha. Thus, His eloquent tongue has enfolded the three-thousandfold world far and wide...

Thus, only those who accept and keep to what He has expressed may encounter Shakyamuni Buddha. The meritorious functioning of the sense organs of such persons will be no different from this. And what is before and what after, what is to the right and what to the left, what is given and what taken, as well as whatever constitutes one’s daily attitude of mind, will also be no different. How can we fail to rejoice in having been born in a time when we have met this Scriptural Teaching of His, which permits us to encounter Shakyamuni Buddha? It is our having been born to meet Shakyamuni Buddha. Those who are diligent in body and mind, and have accepted and kept to these words of His on the flowering of the Dharma, have read or recited them, have accurately remembered them, have put them into practice, or have made copies of them, all such persons will consequently encounter Shakyamuni Buddha. Hearing these Scriptural words of His being recited is just like hearing the Buddha speak directly to us, so who would not be eager to hear them? Those who feel no compunction to be the best that they can be are human beings who are truly poverty stricken and lacking in good fortune and astuteness. Those who do their exploring and training are among ‘those persons’ whom we should by all means undertake to know, for, by doing so, we will consequently come to see Shakyamuni Buddha.
(Shobogenzo, Kembutsu, Trans. Hubert Nearman)

Don't blame me--I only wrote a couple of paragraphs--it was Dogen that rambled on at such length...(but oh what eloquence!) Ha!

Gassho,
Ted Biringer

Jordan said...

Ted,
I really appreciated the first 136 words. Then I started to dose off and started dreaming of this:


Tasty?


Looks good but will it satisfy hunger?

Gassho,
Jordan

Thanks for looking!