How Empty Is Emptiness
The Evolution of Shunyata, Master Tozan’s Goi Koans And Roshi Genki’s Five Perspectives
“Emptiness that can be deemed empty is not true emptiness. Form that can be deemed form is not true form. True form is without shape. True emptiness is without name.” – Pao-tsang lun, Treasure Store Treatise, incorrectly attributed to Seng Chao.
For 6 weeks we will release a weekly video lecture by Roshi Genki and hold online discussion groups. We will send out materials to registered participants. Discussion Groups (choose one!): Fridays at 8pm Eastern Daylight Savings Time USA: April 10, 17, 24, May 1, 8, 15. Saturdays 10am Eastern Daylight Savings Time USA: April 11, 18, 25, May 2, 9, 16 $60 for members of Zen Garland Order Sanghas. $100 for fellow travelers.
Rice gruel for your time in hermitage.
In the Harada-Yasutani tradition of koan study, adopted from Master Hakuin, Tozan Ryokai’s (807-869)* Goi Koans occur at the end of koan study and are considered to express the pinnacle of awakening and the most rigorous training in embodying Zen dynamics. They are founded in Huayen philosophy and transformed through the practical experiential demand of Zen to ground spirituality in this very personal, existential moment. In koan study, the two poems that comprise the Goi must be understood and demonstrated from linear and chronological perspectives, from five awakened, simultaneous perspectives of the same percept, and from how each of the five perspectives contains every other perspective, is contained in each and every other perspective and how there are no perspectives at all.
As with all true Zen teaching, this is Tozan’s effort to help us live wholesomely, fully and meaningfully in the practice-enlightenment and realization of each moment, here and now – driving a car, cooking a meal, paying rent, talking and listening with friends, working and playing.
We will begin by tracing the evolution of emptiness in Buddhism from the Three Marks of Existence and 12-Fold Chain of Causation through the Prajnaparamitta literature, the Madhyamika and Yogacara Schools into the brilliant Chinese syncretism of Huayen School and the practices of Zen.
*Dongshan Liangji (Pinyin Chinese ) (807-869) Tung-shan Liang-chieh Tozan Ryokai (Japanese ).
Caoshan Benji (Pinyin Chinese ) (840-901) Ts’ao-shan Pen-chi (Wade-Giles Chinese) Sozan Hongjaku (Japanese ). Tozan and his greatest disciple (among 26 Dharma Successors of Tozan) Sozan are Co-Founders of the Chinese Ch’an School, Caodong (Japanese Zen Soto School), which combines their names.