Sunday, June 30, 2013

Self Receive Use Oneness

“Self Receive Use Oneness” is one translation of the characters that make Jijuyu Zanmai.  It is sometimes translated as “Self-fulfillment Samadhi” or “self-fulfillment and enjoyment Samadhi” or “Samadhi of receiving and using the self”.  This is the middle section of the Bendowa by Dogen in Shobogenzo.

This section is an incredibly poetic expansive description of interdependence.  It is really an intoxicating section of what it feels like in human consciousness to know giving and receiving as one gesture and to know inside and outside as one continuous seamless reality.  It is interesting to note that this fascicle was written when Dogen was young, 31 years old.  It is seen as a companion piece to the Fukanzazengi which he wrote when he was 28 years old.  In his later years, it would be very unusual to find such an expansive piece.  I think, as he got older, Dogen’s spirituality became very down-to-earth.  His main writing centers on how our understanding is expressed through the moments and events of daily life.  He died at 53.  What would his writing have become if he had lived to 80, I wonder?

The implication of this translation is that we have to use, employ or put to work our spiritual life in terms of our everyday, historic life.  There is a oneness of subject and object and of the absolute and relative which can be used through our work and by life itself.  In the Tenzo Kyokun, Dogen writes ”Put your awakened mind to work…..The Way-seeking Mind of a tenzo is actualized by rolling up your sleeves.”  What good to the world is transcendence or a spirituality that is regarded as an escape from reality?

Dogen’s Way is to receive your self as a Whole.  You receive your historic, karmic self in this 24 hours, intimately coordinated with the universal source, eternity. They exist simultaneously together.  This Oneness of the sacred and ordinary is how we find self-fulfillment and enjoyment.  As long as we live in this human body, we can never escape Samsara, the endless arising of greed, anger and ignorance.  BUT, if we can knead each moment with the understanding that this very moment is ALSO the eternal source point, complete unto itself, then we begin to understand that samsara and nirvana are in an intimate dance with each other.  Within this dance, we find self-fulfillment and enjoyment that goes beyond the ups and downs of our ordinary lives.  In this understanding, we find spiritual stability.  It seems pretty clear to me now that without this spiritual perspective on life, I am constantly riding the roll-a-coaster of my samsaric life.  Self-fulfillment can come only through the spiritual perspective in life.  The material world of desire is constantly dissatisfying.

I really appreciated Uchiyama Roshi translating Samadhi as Right Acceptance.  Wow!  It has such a different slant than the word “concentration”.  It means at every moment, we are accepting this moment as whole and complete.  We accept this moment as the only moment. This very moment is received regardless of our likes and dislikes. With this type of acceptance, we can find true Samadhi.  It excludes nothing and we are present for it.

So this Samadhi of oneness is not a “state” that we can find and hold on to.  It is not simply a peak experience, though we have peak experiences.  This Samadhi of Right Acceptance is a continuous seamless practice and realization.  Perhaps at some moments deep in sesshin, deep in the mountains, we fully realize this oneness but that is not the whole of it.  That is a wonderful and inspirational peak experience.  What I find is true practice is trying to understand every moment, high or low, as a part of this seamless continuum of sacredness.  It is as Dogen writes in Jijuyu Zanmai:

“The melodious sound continues to resonate as it echoes, not only during sitting practice, but before and after the fall of the hammer.”


Sometimes, we can hit emptiness right on its head.  That is the fall of the hammer.  But this melodious sound is always resonating.  Before our experience, after our experience, whether we know it or not, the sound of oneness is continuing forever.  If we are conscious with this understanding, we can actualize this awareness in “the enlightenment at hand”.  This enlightenment is right in front of our noses or at hand, it is the opening of this very moment.