When the Dharma is correctly transmitted to the self, the person is immediately an original person- Dogen
Thursday, August 4, 2011
THE KEY TO DOGEN'S SHOBOGENZO
BY SHOHAKU OKUMURA
FORWARD BY TAIGEN DAN LEIGHTON
"Original person" is a translation of honbun nin, a reference to the self living in the network of interdependent origination. Hon can be literally translated as original, true, root,or source, bun means part or portion, and nin is person. So this word, which has the same meaning as "original face," refers to a person who is one with the original source that exist before karmic conditioning. This original person is actualized when we sit zazen and let go of thinking. When we open the hand of thought, in a sense we negate everything within our karmic consciousness, even the aspiration to become a Buddha. Thoughts well up even when we let go, but we just keep releasing them without grasping. We are also in a sense accepting anything that springs up from our consciousness; in zazen we neither negate nor affirm anything. We don't control the mind; we just sit. We really do nothing. We just keep sitting upright and waking up, breathing naturally, deeply, and quietly from the abdomen as we let go of thoughts. this is why Dogen says, "zazen is non-doing"; I do nothing. Sitting is no longer my action anymore. The entire universe is sitting, using this body and mind; that's all. In so doing, we put our entire being on the ground of interdependent origination, on the ground of impermanence and lack of independent existence that is the original source. This zazen is itself dropping off body and mind.