Here I am at the Philadelphia International Airport with an hour to go before my re-rescheduled flight back to Montreal. I had an extra day in Los Angeles after the first flight I booked got delayed such that my connecting flight wouldn't happen. Now my connecting flight to Montreal today was canceled so I was put on a different one. This is why I need to cut back on travel!
I've been looking at some of the comments, and I'd like to point everyone to a website that's been linked on this blog for ages, but which some of the people who comment on this website seem unaware of:
Lectures and Articles by Nishijima Roshi
One of the comments under the last piece referred obliquely to Nishijima's "very personal and particular interpretation of Dogen." I have to assume he means Nishijima's ideas about the fourfold logical structure of Shobogenzo. This way of reading Dogen isn't simply a personal bias, but the result of decades of working with the text.
Nishijima has written a very detailed explanation of this way of reading Shobogenzo, which is available as a free download at:
Another comment says something about Nishjima being "the ANS/four views crank." Nishijima's ideas about the ANS (autonomic nervous system) are covered in this piece:
Buddhism and the Autonomic Nervous System
I do not find these ideas "cranky" at all. He is trying to use the language of science rather than the language of mysticism to explain the effects of zazen practice. He doesn't claim to be a neurologist or even an expert in the workings of the ANS. This he makes quite explicit in the first paragraph of the piece. But he does find this means of expressing how zazen works far more useful than the older, more mystical sounding language.
It's very easy to condense someone's body of work into a few choice words and thereby dismiss it entirely. D.T. Suzuki did that when he wrote about Dogen. So it happens to the best of us and is often initiated by people with impressive credentials.
I just wanted to give anyone who was interested a chance to check out Nishijima's own words for themselves. Most of the articles on the page linked above are short and easy to read.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010