Zen and the Enlightened Mind

1900 Words8 Pages
Zen and the Enlightened Mind

"I have forgotten everything. I don't remember a single word"(Masunaga 36). This is the mind of one who seeks the Way. In A Primer of Soto[JS1] Zen Dogen explains the Way of the Buddha and stresses the importance of "sitting in meditation" or zazen as a means of reaching the manifestation of wholeness. The manifestation of wholeness is a state in which one abandons both mind and body and empties oneself of ignorance, delusions, and dualistic modes of thinking. One who is free from dualistic modes of being enters a world in which both subject and object exist. This is a non-objective mode of being where "all self-centeredness has been emptied, where words and concepts are used not to divide but to unite, the self enters into a mode of being of the other and identifies itself completely with the other"(Taitetsu 130). Thus, the result is openness and liberation beyond the dichotomous world. It is important to note that Dogen believes that this state of being cannot be obtained however with any thought of this gain, rather one should study Buddhism only for the sake of Buddhism. Dogen places importance on the urgency to study the Way by pointing out the impermanence of life. Dogen believes that because of the transiency of life one should "avoid involvement in superfluous things and just study the Way"(Masunaga 83). This enforces the emphasis of detaching the self of worldly affairs. For Dogen there is also a detachment from language and written scriptures for it cannot serve as a means of explaining philosophical truth. Dogen instructs that no mater how elegant prose might be, "they are merely toying with words and cannot gain truth"(Masunaga 33). Language only obstructs the understanding of Zen Buddhi...

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... there is no Enlightenment to obtain. One just simply is. The world of ignorance, greed, and self-centeredness is non-existent for the Enlightened mind is completely open and liberated.

Works Cited

Earhart, Byron H. Japanese Religion: Unity and Diversity. 3rd ed. Belmont; Wadsworth, 1982.

Kasulis, T.P. "Nagarjuna: The logic of Emptiness" from Zen Action/ Zen Person. Honolulu: U of Hawaii P, 1981.

Matsunaga, Reiho, trs. A Primer of Soto Zen: A Translation of Dogen's Shobogenzo Zuimonki. Hawaii: East-West Center P, 1971.

Reps, Paul ed., Excerpts from Zen Flesh, Zen Bones. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1957.

Taitetsu, Unno. "When Broken Tiles Become Gold" from John Ross Cater, Of Human Bondage and Divine Grace. LaSalle: Open Court, 1992.

Tsunoda, Theodore de Bary, and Donald Keene. Sources of Japanese Tradition. 1 vol. New York: Columbia U P, 1958.
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