13. Thursday, April 26, 1973
Word, Dharma, Imagination, Intuition, Alaya Vijnana, Atman, Adam, Christ

KOBUN: ... like when you say, "Kobun,” that Kobun looks like this man. Function of the word is not Rob, not Ruth, not Nora; in that way this “Kobun” word is working. But when we say “white paper,” we think, white paper, immediately. That is more accustomed knowledge.

So when we use word, the function of using word is actually discriminating, and dropping most opportunity. So to speak word is very big job, actually, because of that negative function.... Especially when we use negative word it works more stronger, this negative functioning of word become more clear .... When you say “zenji,” the real zenji say, “Oh, oh, I got this kind of limitation.” In the beginning we don't have such name, so when such name appears, you start to feel something wrong ...

STUDENT: Person of the original part...

KOBUN: Important word is “part.” “Part” is more stronger word than “original”.

STUDENT: “Part” infers that there is a “whole,” otherwise there could be no part.

KOBUN: Ya. “Part,” means there is a man. When you say whole thing, it is not necessary to say a man exist. Word “part” means “man.”

STUDENT: “Part” as opposed to whole; I thought it meant part in the sense of function. Like in a play, a role or part. I was interested that in Sanskrit the word, dharma also came to mean, in a Hindu sense, the function you had in life. The dharma of a man was his function in life.

KOBUN: “Function,” hmmm. You said Hindu concept?

STUDENT: I think so.

KOBUN: This Dharma is not Hindu concept.

STUDENT: Well, the word dharma, I think, is used by the Hindus to mean something else.

KOBUN: Word, Dharma, is very particular word, Buddhist term. When the Buddhists didn't take atman or brahman – instead of using those words in a negative way, they brought this term, Dharma. So when we feel that Dharma , the emotional sensation of man when he use it, it is not just like pointing something, phenomena, but deep respect comes. Respect and the word Dharma always working. So when the Dharma is seen, Buddha will be seen, so the Dharma is actually the content of the awakening, content of enlightenment. In this sense Buddha nature is realized only when one becomes Buddha ....


STUDENT: It's very difficult for me, sometimes, to ascertain whether I am feeling a truth or it's my imagination. It's so easy to put my assumptions on something someone else says.

KOBUN: Yeah. You can respect your imagination. You don't need to mix up imagination and truth. If you say, “Everything I know is imagination, everything I do I understand is just mere imagination,” if you really can understand this way, you are OK! Really OK. It takes great room not to be deluded by your imagination. Like when you experience seeing God, or feeling of an enlightened one, if you really say, “That is mere imagination of mine,” that makes great sense. If you say, "That is truth,” I start to feel, “Is that so?”

STUDENT: That's what you meant by the negative quality of words? To say, “This is enlightenment, this is truth,” excludes everything else.

KOBUN: Like what you understand is not the whole thing. I am sorry, what you understood was what you understood. What it means is that you just imagined it. “It must be this.” Like when you say, “This is rose,” you saw something as a rose. That word, “rose” is functioning in a negative way. This is not a poppy or a lily. And what it is, is how you understood yourself. Genjo Koan told us that. Genjo Koan is how you see the world, is how you saw the world. Genjo Koan is always a koan for yourself.

STUDENT: Sometimes one thinks that the world is created for them. It's a very beautiful way of living.

STUDENT: That is the way we think in the discipline I am studying. We say, “In my universe this is true ...” So the other person accepts that is true in your universe, but it doesn't mean it is true in their universe. That's how we talk. My grandchild says, “I have the best teacher in the whole school?” and the other grandchild says, “that's true in your universe.” Then they don't fight any more.

STUDENT: One thing that's confusing me ... if it's all according to your own perception, at what point do you trust your intuition? Isn't that just thinking, “Well, this seems right, “but maybe it isn't.

KOBUN: I said that you respect your imagination. Like when I say, “This is a dream,” and you say, “No, it is not dream, it is reality!” Like when you see yourself directly, the whole body, whole idea, and everything is like a figure in a dream. But it is very true, very real, because it's the only opportunity you have. In that sense your imagination, your universe, has to be respected, even if you are deluded. Like we cannot say where yesterday went. No trace, no particle of yesterday lets you think there was yesterday. We cannot see chips of that particle of yesterday. I think you understand that what is awakening and what is enlightenment is nothing special. It's a daily happening, and whether you can accept it or not is only one thing. Intuition – the word is really too limited. The knowing of things is always intuitive. You don't know things by thinking. If an eye thinks he cannot see, it is working very intuitively, mind is working very intuitively. When you say, “moment” it's too late. The knowing is working faster than a moment. But this certainty of intuition is also uncertainty of intuition.

So in daily activity logical thinking has to support this knowing, especially to carry yourself as you were yesterday. If you change every day you will become very lonely. Actually, you are a completely different person than yesterday, but you have to keep that gradualness. Speed is a very big matter in this present time. Speed is a conception of time and also a conception of space. A most important thing is to really understand speed. Speed is increased in daily life. But twenty-four hours doesn't change. If speed is increased, human life will become shorter. Speed is a very relative concept. When someone is running very fast, even if you are moving quite fast, when a faster person appears, you feel, “Am I lazy or too slow?” It's a comparative, relative concept of time ....

KOBUN: You are very young. Young energy is taking care of you. When you become 35, my age, you start to think, “I have to take care of myself little bit more carefully.”

OLDER STUDENT: It's relative!

KOBUN: Otherwise your body fall apart. When 40 years our body thinks that it is still 20 years. It makes trouble. I must say the body cannot be grasped by the idea of material. It is very intuitive. So it's like a knife; when you leave it without letting it work, it become ... it last very quickly. The body has to be really taken care of well. The mind too, how you feel has to be taken care ....

STUDENT: This alaya vijnana which you speak of, which I do not understand; this storehouse. Is it continually receiving and storing impressions? No. Then that's not it.

KOBUN: How can I say? It create ... like a field. It's not just a storing of things, but it makes things grow. In the sense that it's ground ... alaya vijnana is not something, phenomena, it is very empty thing. In alaya vijnana all phenomena can be seen. So alaya vijnana doesn't exist. If you say, “I have alaya vijnana ,” that is not the way to think. When you think that alaya vijnana exist, what it mean is, “I exist.” Buddhist text said, ”I don't speak about alaya vijnana , unless he or she is Bodhisattva, because he'll misunderstand. It is same as atman , which is “I am.” So alaya vijnana is when you say, “Who am I?” pointing to yourself. Alaya vijnana is this word, “who.” The character, “who” is alaya vijnana . Because of it, enlightenment exist, and also illusion exist.

So alaya vijnana is seen as the reason of delusion, illusion. Buddhist psychological approach to the self came to alaya vijnana. Many expressions come when alaya vijnana is the consciousness which unites all elements of this body. You here can feel that very strange feeling. Something which makes Kobun as Kobun is alaya vijnana . In traditional Indian concept it's nothing but the atman . But as you see, atman cannot be divided from Brahman . Atman and Brahman is always together.

STUDENT: Would that be amala vijnana ? Brahman ?

KOBUN: Amala vijnana – ya. If you replace Brahman like that, thinking of atman as the alaya vijnana.

STUDENT: What is it in Christianity?

KOBUN: I don't know how to say ... in Bible the one who breathes the breath into the original one, that is Brahman. That is God. The one who accepted the breath, that was atman . That is man.

STUDENT: Would that be alaya vijnana ? A man?

KOBUN: Um hmm. The one who had to leave the garden with Eve, whether it is called a sin, or not, that tells you what is the alaya vijnana . But when you say “Christianity,” my feeling is, it's a little different. Christianity teaches, that feeling is, Adam came back to the garden.

STUDENT: In what sense is Adam leaving the garden alaya vijnana ?

KOBUN: Sound like he ate apple, which is symbol of wisdom, isn't it? It looks like pushed away from the place, but in sociological sense it is his decision to leave there. That was the symbolic action of how human beings started to take care of themselves. Still, many enemy-like living beings are surrounding.... In my image, Adam and Christ is doubled figure, and only, how can I say, in the sense of the man of original part. The departure of Adam, and the choice of God is very close feeling. How do you say, the “loved son”? .... Christianity is like social development of Buddhism.

St. Paul answered the great need of the people, how to split the spirit of Christ. Jesus Christ was the Messiah. He was a Bodhisattva. He was needed in that society. So since that time he took a very strange position, kind of like a medium between the sinner and the god, the man and God. He had to be, how do you say, on the cross, always. The Christian faith is not toward God, but, finally, toward Christ. That is what Christianity is. So it is natural, to see him as a human, and at the side of humans, not the side of God.

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