Tuesday, June 2, 2009

One's Own Opinion

Sawaki Roshi: Human beings are not the same. Our consciousness is our own individual possession.
Everyone just sees the world from their own hole. They drag their opinion and thoughts along with them; that's why there is so much trouble in this world.

Uchiyama Roshi: Usually we consider ourselves to be very important. We take it for granted that our own thoughts are the best measure of things and judge others' activities and the conditions around us as to whether they are good or bad. When things do not go well according to our judgement, we become angry , get into trouble, and carry around bad feelings afterwards. At times like these, if you can see that this world does not exist only for you, and that your evaluation of things is not absolute, you will be able to breathe more freely and need not cause trouble for others.

Prince Shotoku(574-622 A.D.) expressed it skillfully in the Constitution of Seventeen Articles. He said: "If you are right, then others are wrong; if others are right, then you are wrong. You are not right all the time; others are not right all the time. We are all nothing but ordinary people." This means not only others but you are also just an ordinary person.


  1. see, that's the kind of stuff I'd like to be in the room with when it is uttered.

  2. Extra-ordinary is too often the exhortation one prods one's self and others with. Ordinary is everything.

  3. Jordan,

    Me too. I like these teachings because Sawaki utters something, then Uchiyama is in the backround going,"What he meant to say was....."


    How true.



  4. Thank you, Al, great post! I don't really have so much to say about these posts but I just love these. I think this world is full of philosophical mambojambo so I just want to thank you for publishing these teachings, not trying to offer some fancy metaphysical thoughts.

    Take care, Dharmabro!

  5. Thanks Uku,

    I have a degree in Philosophy and quite frankly the metaphyscial stuff bores me. Dogen's concept of Being/Time in Uji is often compared to Heddigger's Being and Time. The difference is that the latter is a huge book that leaves you with nothing but ideas. I know, I read the damn thing.

    Don't get me wrong, I like philosophy, but it amounts to nothing more than "mental masturbation".

    The sayings of Sawaki, Uchiyama, and Nishijima on the other hand are direct teachings that make you look at experience and give you a way to embody the teaching.

    Back at ya Dharmabro,


  6. Hi Al,

    yeah, I agree totally with you. Mostly the philosophical discussion seems to be nothing more than "mental masturbation" (like you said, nice term btw) and so often also Buddhists seems to think that when they can give fancy theories about Dogen's teachings etc. they're "good" practitioners. Of course we need intellectual thinking too but, I think, it should be based on concrete practicing, based on action and realism, based on daily life. For same reason I also respect a lot of Nishijima Roshi's and Sawaki Roshi's teachings because their teachings are based on action, on practice, not on intellectual crap. Even a parrot can learn how to speak and how to use words but talking about Zazen ain't the same as practicing Zazen. And that's why we need teachers to realize that we actually need to practice, not to talk bs (well, sometimes bs is ok but that's not the point). :)

    Peace, Dharmabro!

  7. Uku,

    You are sooooo right. The intellect is an incredible gift and used properly make for a great tool, but that is all it is. It won't pay our bills and it won't help us be compassionate towards others. Doing Zazen is how we take care of our life. Internet debating takes our life away.

    Deep bows,