Pigeon on a Log

COMMENTARY on DOGEN ZENJI'S
GENJO KOAN (現成公案, Actualizing the Fundamental Point )
The Silent Question: Meditating in the Stillness of Not Knowing by Toni Packer
CITATION from "Firewood Does Not Turn Into Ashes,"
Dialogue between Craig Hamilton and Toni Packer
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Craig Hamilton: 
"You are a teacher of what has been traditionally called 'enlightenment' — the life-transforming realization of our ultimate nature, which is widely considered to be not only the summit of all spiritual seeking but the greatest and final aim of human existence. This profound spiritual awakening has often been described as the realization of the changeless, the timeless, the unborn, the uncreated — the absolute reality that remains forever untouched by anything that happens in the world of time, evolution and becoming. What I would like to ask you is this: What does the discovery of this timeless dimension of being have to tell us about how to respond to the challenges of the world in which time itself seems to be accelerating out of control? How can the realization of the changeless help us to navigate a future in which constant change may well be the only constant?"

Toni Packer:
"Right now as we are sitting here, where are we? Are we in this timeless presence without division, without 'you' and 'me'? Is this from where we are going to look and talk? Or are we engaged in this accelerating, changing world? Because it makes a big difference whether we speak and look and ask and listen from the timeless or from involvement in the changing, in time, which includes wanting things to change, wanting to change ourselves — which is all part of the changing relative world the Easterners speak of. This, to me, is essential. Because the timeless presence, emptiness, if you will, or wholeness — that does not do anything. That does not operate in the usual way that we are accustomed to. It just beholds, observes, listens, understands, realizes. Zen Master Dogen once said, 'Firewood does not turn into ashes.' When I heard that the first time, I didn't know what he was talking about because obviously firewood turns to ashes. I mean we've all experienced it. So the next time I was at a campfire, I watched and observed, and the time quality fell away. It was just being there, and there was no change from fire to ashes. it was just what was; fire and then sometimes it collapses, and there are some sparks, and it seems to turn black. But when you're really there, timelessly, it is not a process of time that is observed but presence; eternal, everlasting, without time."

[...] "From this vast, unprejudiced, and non-referential perspective, from this presence, the relative world spins and spins according to unfathomable patterns. But this Earth is part of a huge vast cosmos of stars exploding, and stars newly creating out of hot gases. So what are we trying to do? To change this? Can we? Or is it possible just to behold wisely what goes on here and see whether it will not go out of control? The changes come and go like the tide. If war doesn't break out here, it breaks out somewhere else. We haven't really changed fundamentally. But let me make it clear, I'm not pessimistic at all. On the contrary, I am full of serenity and good cheer — not about events in the world that you're talking about as running out of control, but about this potential for a human being to wake up to what we are, changelessly."
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(Zen Master) DOGEN ZENJI'S (道元禅師)
(Gender Inclusive) STUDIES OF THE WAY (學道) | (INDEX)
95-Fascicle SHOBOGENZO (正法眼蔵) & Other Writings
Photo (Top): earlywomenmasters.net from:
Simple / blank / shapeable, like uncarved wood
Sound Effects: Tapping on Wood