an expression complete in itself

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flames j s 7

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Dogen:

Firewood becomes ash, and it does not become firewood again. Yet, do not suppose that the ash is after and the firewood before. You should understand that firewood abides in the phenomenal expression of firewood, which fully includes before and after and is independent of before and after. Ash abides in the phenomenal expression of ash, which fully includes before and after. Just as firewood does not become firewood again after it is ash, you do not return to birth after death. 

This being so, it is an established way in buddha-dharma to deny that birth turns into death. Accordingly, birth is understood as no-birth. It is an unshakable teaching in the Buddha’s discourse that death does not turn into birth. Accordingly, death is understood as no-death. 

Birth is an expression complete this moment. Death is an expression complete this moment. [another translation: Life is an instantaneous situation, and death is also an instantaneous situation.] They are like winter and spring. You do not call winter the beginning of spring, nor summer the end of spring.

source: Dogen, Verse 6, Genjokoan

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My Comment:

This verse of the Genjokoan speaks to the movement of discontinuity that Krishnamurti mentions and that is the basic understanding of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. In this understanding every moment is complete and it is only by the amazing power of memory that any phenomenon can appear to continue from one moment to the next. This tells me that I have it in my power to ‘forget’ as well as to ‘re-member’. The well-known words: “Die everyday to everything the mind has captured and holds on to.” speaks this understanding in a nutshell. It is only the power of our mind that connects one moment, one phenomenon to the next and gives the appearance of continuity, of cause and effect. We link things together that are actually each on appearance in the vast ocean of  consciousness on their own and thus we are not bound by any ‘previous’ appearance. It is as if every bubble that rises to the surface of the waters of existence were connected and  co-determined by the neighboring bubbles, but each bubble is its own form. We are free in this moment to be with ‘what is’ independently of any past impressions we may be holding in our mind. Happy Independence Day!

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