After doing another lecture on the 5 Ranks of Dongshan, I
found some good language to describe it.
I talked about the 5 Ranks being the landscape of enlightenment that you
move around in. Sometimes hiking
the mountains, sometimes in the forest, sometimes sitting calmly by the
stream. We move around the
different positions but all are rooted in the knowledge and experience of no
centralized self and impermanence.
They are not like military ranks that you display on your uniformed
sleeve. They are not linear or
progressive but rather a map of the geography of enlightenment.
Now, after doing this summary lecture which you could listen
to on the Clouds in Water website, and having some feedback, I realize that
something I wrote in the last blog confused people and I would like to clarify
it. I wrote in the 4th
Many of us know this
state. Of being a Bodhisattva in
In some ways, that sentence is wrong. All of us know the fire of being in the
Samsara and suffering.
Human life presents like a constant fire of our dissatisfaction. We do know that fire. The image in the fourth Rank is that of
a Lotus shining or blooming in that fire.
What we don’t know or what we aspire to is being a Lotus shining in the
fire. Which means to be in the
fire of life from an enlightened or Right point of view. The 4th Rank needs and is
bound by the first three ranks.
From that point of view, we can work tireless in the world like
Samantabhadra Bodhisattva, the bodhisattva of Activity – working Samadhi. Tireless, because self and other are
equal (which means you can take care of yourself as well as others) and because
we are not attached to the outcome of our work. We are centered and flow even in the midst of great work.
One teacher wrote:
This is the only way to be a bodhisattva who does not complain.
The last two ranks are two geographies of the tenth
ox-herding picture: Returning to
the marketplace. They are
different views of activity and rest, effort and non-doing. They are as Katagiri Roshi wrote:
“We have to see
everything in equality but that doesn’t mean there is no difference. We have to see equality, but not in the
realm of equality; we have to see equality in the realm of differentiation. Differentiation must be formed not in
differentiation, but in equality.”
The last two ranks are the complete integration or
penetration of form and emptiness, differentiation and equality.
Not One, Not two. We truly
see each phenomena or moment of life as the expression of the source, or
emptiness, as it arises. Form and
emptiness, the ordinary and the sacred, completely co-arise. As the Tibetan teaching tells us: This is automatic emptiness. As each moment arises you see its truth
of interrelationship and non-substantiality and yet we still abide by the rules
of form (cause and effect) and in doing so find peace.
Check out Nathan's blog who wrote about this: http://dangerousharvest.blogspot.com
Labels: 5 ranks of Dongshan, form and emptiness, integration, Katagiri Roshi, Lotus in the fire, Samantabhadra bodhisattva, samsara, tenth ox-herding picture, working samadhi