Drawing donuts–first sentence (cont'd.)

Today we’ll continue (previous post) our analysis of the first sentence of Dogen’s “Gabyo” (“Painting of a Ricecake”, or “Images of Donuts”). Let’s consult a Japanese commentary by Nishijima-sensei:


This says, in my translation, “What forms the base of the actuality of the many people who have obtained truth is experience. That’s because the distinctive feature of the people that have obtained truth is that they can experence what reality really is within their daily lives. Therefore, ‘because the various Buddhas are SHO ’ the wide range of material substances in the world also possess an essence related to the corresponding experience.”

Or, roughly, the objects in the world share in the enlightenment of the enlightened?

That’s illuminating, but we still haven’t gotten to where I’m trying to get: something that you could basically put on a bumper sticker. Getting to that point is not, and does not require, doing violence to what Dogen wrote; it’s honoring it and making it real for people today.

Tomorrow, we’ll move boldly onto the second sentence.

Art by John Azelvandre.

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