BUKKOJOJI 佛向上事 (Going Beyond Buddha)
from "The Formless Self," by Joan Stambaugh
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There are persons who have more illusion within illusion. To have more illusion within illusion might well mean that a person has no idea that he is deluded. A person who realizes that he is deluded is no longer completely within the realm of illusion. As Socrates remarked, he knew that he knew nothing. In part this remark was ironical. Nobody ever got the best of Socrates in an argument or a discussion. But on a more profound level, Socrates meant this seriously. After all, when it comes to ultimate questions none of us ordinary mortals knows anything.

[...] [T]here are persons who attain enlightenment upon enlightenment. The basic sense of this would appear to be that of no attachment to enlightenment, ultimate freedom from the idea of something labeled "enlightenment."

Attaining enlightenment beyond enlightenment is also characterized as going beyond the Buddha. In his fascicle bearing that title (Bukkojoji) Dogen writes:

This one who goes beyond the Buddha is the "non-Buddha."
When you are asked what the non-Buddha is like,
just consider: We do not call him/her the non-Buddha
because s/he exists before the Buddha,
nor do we call him/her the non-Buddha
because s/he exists after the Buddha,
nor is s/he the non-Buddha
because s/he out-reaches the Buddha.
S/he is the non-Buddha only because
s/he goes beyond the Buddha.
This non-Buddha is known as such
because s/he drops off the Buddha's countenance
and because s/he drops off the Buddha's body-mind.

"Going beyond" is not to be considered as any kind of transcendence in the traditional sense. The whole import of Dogen's key term "dropping off" is diametrically opposed to "climbing over" (trans-cendere) and refreshingly obviates meta-physics, trans-meta-physics, meta-meta-meta-physics and the whole business of "meta" of which it is to be fervently hoped we have truly had our philosophical fill.
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(Zen Master) DOGEN ZENJI'S (道元禅師)
(Gender Inclusive) STUDIES OF THE WAY (學道) | (INDEX)
95-Fascicle SHOBOGENZO (正法眼蔵) & Other Writings
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