Dharma thoughts

Peirce: we should say that we are in thought, not thoughts in us. Thought, insofar as it is determinate, is the context of our thinking. But thought as legisign, as the Type of which our thoughts are tokens (instances, replicas), ‘does not exist; it only determines things that do exist’ (CP 5.537) and events that actually happen, including mental events. Thought as a ‘definitely significant Form’ (Peirce) determines the content of all signs; this determining Thought is the universal logos – or in Dogen’s terms, the all-encompassing buddha-dharma.

All things speak this dharma. Who can hear it?

Investigate this question in detail throughout your life, throughout many lives. The question also can work as a statement. This statement is the skin, flesh, bones, and marrow.

— Dogen (Tanahashi 2010, 552)

Actually, hearing dharma is not limited to ear sense and ear consciousness. You hear dharma with complete power, complete mind, complete body, and complete way from before your parents were born, before the Empty Eon, through the entire future, the unlimited future. You can hear dharma with body first and mind last.

Such ways of hearing the dharma are all effective. Don’t think that you are not benefited by hearing the dharma if it does not reach your mind consciousness. Effacing mind, dropping body, you hear the dharma and see the result. With no mind and no body, you should hear dharma and benefit from it. Experiencing such moments is how all buddha ancestors become buddhas and attain ancestorhood.

Ordinary people cannot understand that dharma power transforms body and mind. The boundary of body and mind cannot be encompassed. When the effect of hearing dharma is planted in the field of body and mind, it never decays. It is bound to grow and bear fruit.

Foolish people may think that when we hear dharma, if we do not advance in understanding and cannot remember the teaching, there will be no benefit from it. They say it is essential to learn broadly and memorize extensively with our entire body and mind. They think that forgetting the teaching, absentmindedly leaving the place of instruction, creates no benefit and no accomplishment. They think in this way because they have not met a genuine teacher and encountered themselves. One who has not received authentic transmission face to face cannot be a genuine teacher. A genuine teacher is one who has received transmission authentically from buddha to buddha.

Indeed, to memorize in mind consciousness and not to forget is exactly how the power of hearing the dharma encompasses the mind and encompasses consciousness. At the very moment when this is done, you realize the power of encompassing body; encompassing past body, encompassing mind; encompassing past mind, encompassing future mind; encompassing cause and condition, action and result; encompassing form, essence, body, and activity; encompassing buddha; encompassing ancestor; encompassing self and other; and encompassing skin, flesh, bones, and marrow. The power of encompassing speech and encompassing sitting and lying down is manifest throughout the entire earth and sky.

— Dogen, SBGZ ‘Mujo Seppo’ (Tanahashi 2010, 553-4)

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