Study Group: A Commentary by Inoue Gien Roshi on Keizan Zenji’s “Record of the Transmission of Illumination”

A Confluence Zen Center study group, for six consecutive Thursday evenings starting April 8th:

. . . will be reading a commentary by Inoue Gien Roshi on Keizan Zenji’s , “Record of the Transmission of Illumination” [German-English translation in PDF from Terebess and PDF from Shastaabbey]. This is the current text that Daigaku is translating. We will be reading the first 2-3 chapters. Keizan Jōkin ( 1268–1325), also known as Taiso Jōsai Daishi, is considered to be the second great founder of the Sōtō school of Zen in Japan. While Dōgen, as founder of Japanese Sōtō, is known as Highest Patriarch , Keizan is often referred to as Great Patriarch. All are welcome to attend.

Email confluencezen AT gmail DOT com if interested in joining. More details in the image below

[5/13/2021 UPDATE:]

Since this Study Group wrapped, some quotes from the text along with a few questions and comments with the disclaimer that what follows from the text is not necessarily what may/will make it into the official published version, and anything else added below is not (necessarily) associated with this project:

Two Questions

  • What are the seven penetrations and eight masteries?

Answer from the glossary:

“This is a play on the expression “to penetrate”, meaning to “understand fully.” The interpolation of the numbers “seven” and “eight” adds a sense of repetition and thoroughness, so the meaning of “seven penetrations and eight masteries” is “complete mastery.”

Three Quotes From Various Parts Of The Text

[At that instant [of the Buddha realizing enlightenment],] he suddenly realized a world which is truly one to the extent that he wasn’t aware of the oneness.

In a way similar to how he had suffered because of the “conscious mind,” all people were having difficulty just because they were deceived by the “conscious mind.” 

. . . the Buddhadharma [Buddhism] teaches what is not being touched [by the self]. Just because you don’t know the way to realize this, you cannot avoid [losing sight of it].

(My) Sub-Commentary

[The ability to know “I am alive”] is called the “conscious mind,” the discerning, knowing mind. This “conscious mind” is the most precious mind for all of you. Calling it “reason” or “intelligence,” people think this is the highest quality of the human mind. You all live by means of this mind. [You all live in the world of thoughts fabricated by the “conscious mind.”] However, once you see how things really are, [you will know] reason and intelligence bring the greatest harm. This “conscious mind” is the root of delusion. Human reason and intelligence mislead you and confuse you. They annoy and perplex you, and nobody is aware of this. Keizan Zenji, as well, did not understand this. On seeing great enlightenment, however, he clearly understood that these things are poison.

I somehow liken this to repeatedly forgetting to replace the empty shower gel bottle and finally throwing it on the floor where it will have to be addressed

Published by josh dippold

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