Dogen & Ecology
SANSUI-KYO 山水經 Mountains and Waters Sutra
from Moon in a Dewdrop, edited by Kazuaki Tanahashi
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 with COMMENTARY on "Nonanthropomorphic Experience"
from "The Formless Self," by JOAN STAMBAUGH
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 "In keeping with his complete lack of anthropocentrism, Dogen investigates not only the perspectives of fish and birds, but also inquires into the "activity" of mountains and waters. He does not relegate mountains to the dubious status of picturesque "landscapes," but considers them thoroughly alive in a manner not identical with human life, yet at the same time non-dualistic with it. [...]"
[Dogen says in the Sansui-kyo:]
  [T]he views of all beings are not the same. You should question this matter now. Are there many ways to see one thing, or is it a mistake to see many forms as one thing? You should pursue this beyond the limit of pursuit. Accordingly, endeavors in practice-realization of the way are not limited to use of one or two kinds. The ultimate realm has one thousand kinds and ten thousand ways.
 When we think about the meaning of this, there seems that there is water for various beings, but no original water — there is no water
common to all types of beings.

 "With this passage Dogen wipes out all traditional ways of viewing the world. One thing is not to be seen in many ways nor are we to reduce many forms to one thing. Returning to his discussion of water, he then states that there is no original, primal water that is differentiated into various forms, there is no water common to all types of beings under which they could be subsumed. All our modes of classification fail us here. Dogen's advice is simple: pursue this matter beyond the limits of pursuit. The fact that there is no intellectual solution to those aporias [Gk. impasses] makes little difference. [...]

"A final quote should suffice to convey Dogen's insistence on leaving ordinary human thinking and experiencing behind. Perhaps he is unique in this effort, not only to reach some 'authentic' kind of experience, but to abandon any human viewpoint whatsoever. We have an emphasis on authenticity on nineteenth- and twentieth-century 'existential' philosophers such as Soren Kierkegard, Jean-Paul Sartre, Gabriel-Honore Marcel, and Martin Heidegger. But there seems to be no precedent, at least in the West, for an absolutely nonanthropomorphic way of experiencing."
[Dogen says in the Sansui-kyo:]
 If you do not learn to be free from your superficial views, you will not be free from the body and mind of an ordinary person. Then you will not understand the land of the Buddha ancestors, or even the land or palace of ordinary people.

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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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