Saturday, April 25, 2009

Reflections on my dharma name

"A person getting enlightened is like the moon reflecting in the water. The moon does not get wet, the water is not disturbed."

The above passage is from Dogen's Genjokoan. The image expressed in it is very basic, very common. How many of us haven't at some point or other seen the moon reflected in a lake, river, or ocean? And yet this issue of enlightenment in spiritual practice is a tricky one, easily shunned and dismissed, or clung to fiercely as the sole goal of our lives.

I received my dharma name last year, after several years of practice, and a fair amount of hesitation about entering the jukai process and being "more serious" about what I am doing. The several months of classes, sewing, meditation, and reflection that made up jukai for us at Clouds in Water Zen Center were a wonderful time filled with powerful moments. This blog is one of the recent outgrowths from that time; an effort to strengthen both my writing practice and my study and expression of the teachings.

So, what is the dharma name, you might be asking by now?


Which translates as devoted to enlightenment, or taking care of enlightenment.

It's no lightweight of a name, for sure. And with it, I find myself turning more and more toward extending everything in my life into practice. I'm noticing how things that used to just be annoyances or difficulties that I would bitch about with others, now are being seen as opportunities to explore Buddha's teachings, and see through the preconceived notions I have about whatever situation I'm in. This doesn't mean I never bitch and whine, nor that I never get lost in delusional stories about my life anymore. But the tugs of those last for shorter periods, and often are less intense than in the past.

It's all a process, this path of ours called life. How are you devoted to enlightenment? How do you take care of enlightenment, even if you don't really know what "it" is? That's the real question if you ask me.


englishspot said...

Thanks for your enjoyable blog. I'll be going back to the start and reading the entries in chronological order. I'm sure it'll be a treat.

I'm new to Zen, attending dharma talks since February and regularly meditating since March ( at Dharma Field in Edina). I welcome your insight and appreciate your time and thoughts. Thanks!

Nathan said...

Glad you enjoy the writing. It's really been another practice for me, trying to put into words what I've learned, and to reflect on the teachings. I've never been to Dharma Field, but have heard good things. The teacher there has been to Clouds a few times for talks over the years.


Anonymous said...

Hi Tokugo,

I love the layers of meanings in your name. Taking care of, and devoted to, - it sounds like a mother holding her child.

Enlightenment as both gift and responsibility. Wow, this is a name that will grow over time. This is a beautiful name.

Thank you for sharing,


(Known in the Dharma realm as Seok Jeong!)