Archive for January, 2010

Practice and enlightenment

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Dogen Zenji who lived betweeen 1200 and 1253,  founded the Soto school of Zen.  His basic tenet as far as I could tell was the unity of practise and enlightenment.  Suzuki Ryoshi who wrote the well known Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind was a soto practitioner.

I like just sitting.  I wrote post on Silent Illumination recently, which talks more to this I think, bry this from the back of Dogen’s Beyond Thinking

Spiritual practice is not some kind of striving to produce enlightenment, but an expression of the enlightenment already inherent in all things.

What a very packed sentence. Try these on for size:

  1. All beings are inherently enlightened, so when you practise, your expressing the enlightenment of all beings, not some individual enlightenment.
  2. Enlightenment is not dependent on striving, but on removing the sense of separation.
  3. To practise being aware of the enlightenment in others is the practise of enlightenment.
  4. Enlightenment is.
  5. If you are aware of the enlightenment inherent in all beings you come across in your daily life then you can help bring out that inherent enlightenment, that is the practise of enlightenment.

I’m sure there are more. Though I do like the sense of non-separation that comes through so loudly and clearly. Or is that just me 😉

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Dolphins declared as non-human persons

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Scientists say dolphins should be treated as ‘non-human persons.’ I like anything that demonstrates that there are other sentient beings on the planet. Too much of our thinking separates and isolates. Even so, if scientists can see that dolphins are the second most intelligent, it would be interesting to see just what’s going on inside that brain. What kind of brains do they have compared with ours? Where is the development in the brain? What I’d also like to know is why they’re the second most intelligent, other than by a brain mass to body mass ratio, which seems awfully simplistic, but what do I know and they suggest that they do. Did they study dolphins for meditative development? Imagine if we discovered that dolphins were more meditatively aware than humans. Now wouldn’t that be interesting.

Anyway, just acknowledging that there are other sentient beings is a step. Inanimate objects don’t become buddhas. Sentient beings are the soil from which a buddha is born. How do we know that buddhas haven’t arisen from dolphins? Perhaps because they haven’t yet become deluded, but another article shows that they display suffering.

The scientific evidence on dolphin sensitivities reveals that they are vulnerable to trauma and suffering when forced to live in the confined context of marine parks,” Marino said.

Animals do. So perhaps it is possible that a buddha has arisen from a dolphin. Who knows?

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The brain of a meditator

Monday, January 25th, 2010

I’m not expert but…

It seems that meditation enlarges certain parts of the brain. Science Daily published an article to this effect. And another article shows that buddhists really are happier.

The danger inherent in this understanding is that it is essentially materialistic. By that I mean that seeing it as a brain function, keeps the understanding as dualistic. Perhaps it might be better to see the changing brain structure as a reflection of a deeper spiritual awakening rather than the cause.

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