Awakening and Action


Good morning!


We are in Rohatsu (12/8) sesshin, commemorating the Buddha’s awakening on this day, usually with a week sesshin from 12/1. Sesshin is touching and embracing mind/heart through sitting, stilling karma, seeing the Dharma. Dogen said, “without cultivation it never develops: without verification it is never attained.” Only practice makes perfect. Individually, inaction only intensifies inclination (instinct, triple poisons, i.e., karma).


Socially, inaction institutionalizes injustice. The Dharma of Dependent Co-origination informs us that all things are interdependent, i.e., related and relative. The history of life tells us that all living beings are 4 billion years old and equal. However, institutionalized violence allows inequality and selfishness. Buddhas, Ashoka, Shotoku, Gandhi, King, et al showed us how to be awakened, active, equal, free, truthful, peaceful at the same time.


The triple crimes of killing, stealing, and lying, the first three of the Five Precepts or the Global Ethic are rampant in this world, often allowed by our sinful (selfish, sick, suffering) karma. One person can wipe out all living beings on earth in 12 minutes or so and drag into wars, warming, extinction, etc. The triple crimes are against truth and the ethic of equality, freedom, peace, beauty, goodness, holiness (wholly wholesome way).


Mahayana tells the triple vehicles of Hearers’(Śrāvaka), Personal Buddhas’ (Pratyeka Buddha, prati-eka is to-each, not pratyaya, interpreted as conditions for Dependent Origination, thus misconstrued as Buddhas who understand the Dharma of Dependent Origination), Great-way (Mahāyāna or Bhodhisattva, Awakening-beings who vow to save all before oneself) Vehicles. “Bodhisattva” was first used for the Buddha in his striving (for awakening).




N.B. Bodhisattva was first used for the Buddha before his striving for awakening, and later on it was used for anyone striving for awakening in unconditioned peace (nirvana, no-wind of karma). The Buddha’s awakening was in the Dharma of Dependent Co-origination, interdependence of all in time and space, so he strived to save and serve all by sharing his awakening/unconditioned peace, even after he attained awakening/unconditioned peace, despite his inclination to remain in the forest, enjoying his attainment, due to the difficulties of the world deeply sunken in laya (layer: stored) karma (Brahma’s beseeching of him to go into the world lest the world should be destroyed informs us of this process). He dedicated his life after his awakening, spending no time for his personal interests but for all, for forty-five years.  This aspiration/action is the ideal of Bodhisattvas, any awakening beings and awakened beings, which way is called the Mahayana, Great Vehicle or Way. Dogen said that if it is not all, it is not Mahayana.




The following pictures were taken by Mr. Katsuhiro Otsuka, relative

of Mr. Noriyuki Otsuka who sent them.

Hiuchi-yama (Mt. Hiuchi, Fire-striking, Flintstone?), 2,462m,

highest mountain among Kubiki-yama-gun, Mts. Kubiki,

located in Joetsu District of Niigata Prefecture,

with marshes, reflections of mountains

and flowers blooming in

profusion is 


Paradise on Earth 

Three Scenes of Mt. Hiuchi





Taken Aug. 27, 2017 C.E.







Taken Oct. 10, 2012 C.E.






Taken May 2, 2016 C.E.



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