Absorption, Awakening and Spiritual Fascination

Absorption, Awakening and Spiritual Fascination

We're back from sesshin and a little vacation. Both were wonderful, as is being home again in the hermitage and walking along the great lake.

Today, as promised, I'm sharing my translation of The  Record of Going Easy (Japanese, Shoyoroku, aka, Book of Serenity), Case 96: Jiufēng Does Not Agree (see attached pdf), the theme for our sesshin.

You may recall that this kōan text was collected with verses added by Hóngzhì (1091-1157). The introductions (aka, pointers), commentaries, and capping phrases (J. jakugo - indented and italicized throughout) were written by Wànsōng (1166–1246).

And although both masters hail from the Cáodòng (Japanese, Sōtō) lineage, a major theme in the text is what I call One School Zen - the phrase even comes up in Hóngzhì's verse for this case.

Other themes include the importance of the true cessation suffering, not it's near-enemy, the absorption of total cessation (Sanskrit, nirodha-samāpatti) - so awakening rather than just deep samadhi. And of equal emphasis in the commentary are the dangers of spiritual fascination.