Acting Out Buddha-Nature
CITATIONS from COMMENTARY on DOGEN ZENJI'S
BUSSHO 佛性 (Buddha-Nature)
from Eihei Dōgen: Mystical Realist, by Hee-Jin Kim
(Chapter Four: The Religion of Metaphysics & Buddha Nature)
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EXPRESSION [to Dogen] was necessarily activity and activity was
necessarily expression. An expression was not a theory or an
abstraction, but an activity to see, understand, and express
Buddha-nature was tantamount to acting out Buddha-nature. Thus, we
see the necessary connection between the Buddha-nature of expression
and the Buddha-nature of activity. With the following statement,
Dogen began his exposition on time and existence:
A Buddha said: "If you want to know the meaning of Buddha-nature,
you should reflect upon temporal conditions (jisetsu no innen).
If the time arrives, Buddha-nature will manifest itself." "If you
want to know the meaning of Buddha-nature" is not solely a matter
of knowing. You can also say, "If you want to practice it..." "If you
want to realize it..." "If you want to elucidate it..." "If you
want to forget it..." and so on.
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In light of this, Dogen's paradoxical statement...makes sense:
"The truth of Buddha-nature is such that Buddha-nature is embodied
not before but after becoming a Buddha (jobutsu). Buddha-nature
and becoming a Buddha always occur simultaneously."
Being Buddha and becoming Buddha
(i.e. original enlightenment and
acquired enlightenment) although distinct, occurred
simultaneously. To the extent that we took risks when we chose
to act, Buddha-nature became visible, audible, and tangible. Until this
happened, Buddha-nature could not be said to exist or subsist in
such forms as potentialities, innate ideas, and eidetic forms.
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