The second video in a series on Dōgen’s
five waka inspired by The Lotus Sutra
© Can Stock Photo / Konstanttin
Previously, Okumura-roshi elaborated on Dōgen Zenji’s teaching that everything we encounter is Dharma. However, even though we may have aroused the aspiration to study and practice, our conditioning prevents most of us from seeing reality as it truly is. He explains it’s we who create Samsara by viewing ourselves as “subjects” and all else as “objects” we want to possess or avoid.
Now, we turn directly to the Lotus Sutra. Not only is it the subject of Dōgen’s first five waka poems, it’s the key to understanding them. Roshi points to two chapters that stand out — Chapter Two, Skillful Means, and Chapter 16, The Lifespan of the Tathagata.
Drilling down further, Hōjō-san tells us the most important teaching in Chapter Two is Shōhō Jissō, The True Reality of All Things. This permeates the five waka we’re studying. He adds it’s the most important teaching in the Lotus Sutra when studying Dōgen. In this video, it’s apparent we only have access to it because Shakyamuni’s key disciple, Shariputra, wouldn’t take no for an answer.
This great Mahayana teaching of interconnectedness gives us an invaluable understanding of our lives. And with that foundation, we’ll return to the waka poems inspired by Dōgen Zenji’s experience of this true reality.
Translation and commentary by Shōhaku Okumura-roshi
— Video is an excerpt from a September, 2016 talk at Great Tree Zen Temple of Asheville, North Carolina.
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