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Mundane life is not an obstacle to the dharma
February 2nd, 2013
illustration

illustration (attribution, if any possible, is at the end of the article)

Mundane life is not an obstacle to the dharma

Those who regard the mundane life as an obstacle to the dharma only know there's no dharma in secular activities. They do not know that no secular activities exist in the dharma.
— Dōgen, Genjokoan

To practice the Way singleheartedly is, in itself, enlightenment.
— Dōgen. Fukan Zazengi

In buddha-dharma, practice and enlightenment are one and the same.
— Dōgen, Bendōwa


What defines mundane or dharma is the state of mind. Saṃsāra is nirvāṇa, and vice versa. The state of mind during one's activity dramatically affects the context in which one experiences reality. Not every phenomena is in your mind, but your experience pretty much is, ignorance of the nature of reality and suffering pretty much are.

What the first quote really means is better captured in another translation:

Those who regard the mundane as a hindrance to life and practice only understand that in the mundane nothing is sacred; what they have not yet understood is that in sacredness nothing is mundane.
— Dōgen, Genjokoan

No translation is ever definitive. No source was ever meant to (truly) be definitive either: the world evolves and so do the teachings appropriate for the 'present' time.

Keep looking! If books help you to do so, use books. If they don't, don't!

Keep looking!


#Buddhism   #Zen   #Dharma  
[photo © Atta Kim, Museum Project (Aperture, 2005), "Nirvana" series.
 The "Nirvana" series (2001) depicts Buddhist priests and nuns nude, initially in a temple setting. Their chief abbot agreed to let them pose in the temple because Kim stated that his purpose was "to see the purity." The series was expanded to other settings, such as a constructed temple with paraffin Buddha figures, and other subjects.
 The other series also make use of buddhist teachings, if less in a provocative way to the 'religious'.]