Monday, June 16, 2008

8. Bowing to Attainment of the Marrow

When it comes to getting oneself into the groove of the supreme truth of full integrated awakening, the hardest thing is to find a guiding teacher. That guiding teacher is beyond appearances such as those of a man or a woman. She should be a big broad bloke. She should be somebody who is it. Not a person of the past or the present, she might be a good mate, with the glint in her eye of a wild fox. These are the features of one who got the marrow. She may be a guide and supporter. She is never unclear about cause and effect. She could be you, me, or him.

Having met the guiding teacher already we should, chucking all involvements and not wasting a moment, strive in pursuit of awakening. We should work on ourselves mindfully, we should work on ourselves mindlessly, and we should work on ourselves being half-mindful and half-mindless. Thus we should learn to go on tiptoes, as if to put out a fire, on our head.


Plato said...

Hi Mike
How can we understand master Dogen's instruction to practice like we want to extinguish a fire on the top of our heads? I have the tendency to get too serious and to try to be right when I read it!

Mike Cross said...

Hi Plato,

Listen! I bow to nobody when it comes to being too serious in my burning desire to be The One Who Is Right, The One Who Knows, The One Who Is Top of The Class in Clarity! If you think that you might become more of a control freak than me, you have got another thing coming, you lick-spittle! Your tendency to try to be right might be like the light of a firely compared with my blazing sun.

No, to speak seriously for a moment, I think that Shobogenzo is full of ironic humour, and I hope to allow that to come out more in these translations.
That is what I tried to do with the comma in this sentence, as also in the same sentence in chap.58 -- to give it a bit of a sense of comic timing.

So your question contains the answer already -- don't take the instruction too seriously.