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Thread: Genjokoan

  1. #1
    Forums Member fletcher's Avatar
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    I would be interested in your thoughts about Eihei Dogen's Genjokoan http://genjokoan.com/ which I'm hoping may increase my understanding.
    With gratitude
    Gary

  2. #2




    This is quite a long koan, Gary. Is there any particular verse that you're interested in?....or perhaps you would like to select a section of the koan for discussion ?

  3. #3
    Forums Member fletcher's Avatar
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    Yes sorry, ok if we start with the first verse and work through, what/who is being referred to as the myriad things?
    with gratitude
    Gary

  4. #4
    Forums Member Element's Avatar
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    Hi Gary

    I can only guess the myriad things are all things; like all forms, sounds, smells, ideas, etc. The myriad things are the rocks, trees, clouds, birds, animals, feelings, thoughts, pots, pans, etc. All things, in their great & varied multitude.



    As the myriad things are without an abiding self, there is no delusion, no realization, no buddha, no sentient being, no birth and death.


  5. #5
    Forums Member fletcher's Avatar
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    Thank you Element.

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    This is an awesome-beautiful teaching!!! What is it that makes it a koan? I have a limited understanding of koans, I thought that they were short phrases, often paradoxical, on which one meditates until gaining insight/experience... Does koan mean something more general like truth or teaching?

    Quote Originally Posted by Element
    Hi Gary

    I can only guess the myriad things are all things; like all forms, sounds, smells, ideas, etc. The myriad things are the rocks, trees, clouds, birds, animals, feelings, thoughts, pots, pans, etc. All things, in their great & varied multitude.
    makes sense, that's what i took too

  7. #7



    I don't know much about Zen myself. There's something about koans here:


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C5%8Dan


    I also found some definitions on this page which was a link from the Zen Site


    http://www.ciolek.com/WWWVLPages/Zen...KoanStudy.html


    This is the Zen Site:

    http://www.thezensite.com/




  8. #8
    Global Moderator Esho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KoolAid900
    This is an awesome-beautiful teaching!!! What is it that makes it a koan? I have a limited understanding of koans, I thought that they were short phrases, often paradoxical, on which one meditates until gaining insight/experience... Does koan mean something more general like truth or teaching?
    Etymologically a Koan means something about a public event or something resolved through a legal system or jurisprudence. In Zen the Rinsai school learns, as is the case of Soto, through meditation so a Koan is intended to arouse the need of meditation and to arouse the need to still the mind.

    The Genjokoan of the Shobogenzo is a Koan because far from an intellectual understanding, it is needed a huge amount of sitting meditation. To understand clearly what the Genjokoan is about it is needed a thoroughly understanding of the Bendowa that is a teatrise about Zazen.

    The Koan was a very modern system developed around the X century so to acquire and evolve Right View. The Koan was developed in response to the tiring Tibetan way of learning through intellectual and philosophical struggle and debate. The essence of Zen is the direct understanding through meditative skills. Koans were developed so to stop the mind from the intellectual struggle, stilling it and forcing the disciple to meditate insted to get entangled in a useless philosophical discurse.

    We have the Kosoku Koans and the Genjo Koans. The Kosoku Koan is the traditional Koan which is about a paradox. The Genjo Koans are to be observed and developed into daily life so to awake within daily circumstances. Soto schools use the Genjo system anytime we are told to bring zazen into daily life. Rinsai is much more based into Kosoku but nowdays both schools have approached so close that there is no such difference at all.

    Gen means "eye"... so is the Koan that can be seen in daily life through the awakened "eye". It is not a paradox as are the Kosoku Koans tend to be.

    A Kosoku Koan is given like this:

    Joshu asked Nansen: "What is the path?"
    Nansen said: "Every day life is the path"
    Joshu said: "Can it be studied"
    Nansen said: "If you try to study, you will be far away from it."
    Joshu asked: "If I do not study, how can I know it is the path."
    Nansen said: "The path can not belong to the perception world, neither does it belong to the nonperception world. Cognition is a delusion and noncognition is senseless. If you want to reach the true path beyond doubt, place yourself in the same freedom as sky. You name it neither good nor not-good."

    At these words Joshu was enlightened.

    Mumon's comment: Nansen could melt Joshu's frozen doubts at once when Joshu asked his questions. I doubt though if Joshu reached the point that Nansen did. He needed thirty more years of study.


    In spring, hundreds of flowers; in autumn, a harvest moon;
    In summer, a refreshing breeze; in winter snow will accompany you.
    If useless things do not hang in your mind, any season is a good season for you.


    The Gateless Gate
    Zen Bones, Zen Flesh
    Paul Reps,1965


    And the Genjo Koans, as the Genjokoan of Dogen's Shobogenzo are much more about poetry and direct insight not pretending to be a paradox but a clear statement of the "state of art" of an awakened mind.

    In some way the "Hardware" of zazen is instructed in the Bendowa while the Genjokoan is a kind of subtle and poetic trace about the nature of Zazen as the main vehicle of Soto so to awake the mind and overcome Ignorance.



  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaarine Alejandra
    the tiring Tibetan way of learning through intellectual and philosophical struggle and debate

    Not entirely accurate, Kaarine. There are teaching 'songs' and stories composed by some of the early teachers of Tibetan Buddhism which are understood through TB practice ...and some are not unlike koans in their content.

  10. #10
    Global Moderator Esho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aloka-D
    ...and some are not unlike koans in their content.
    Thanks Aloka for the feedback.

    It is allways good to share different perspectives so to correct inexactness's.


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