Why Shinshu? Of all the nondual teachings, why this?
Because of what I’ll call the Shinshu “plus.”
Other teachings (Zen, Dzogchen, Nisargadatta, J. Krishnamurti…) contain this plus, but usually it’s implicit; in Shinshu, it’s usually explicit.
In Shinshu writings you find discussions of “Dharma-body as Suchness” and “Dharma-body as compassionate means.”
“Compassionate means” is the plus in this context. I’ll call it the unconditional error allowance.
Suchness, nonduality, impermanence, emptiness, spaciousness…plus “blind passions”: the bodymind is not cured of itself.
“Bodymind” and “blind passions” are synonyms.
These are the ordinary passions of the innocent baby and the saintly saint. In Shinshu they are perennially confessed.
…Recognized, confessed, and transcended in a flash—all day every day.
What is explicit in Shinshu? (a) The nonduality of blind passions and Suchness, and (b) the limitation, or impotence, of conceptual, grasping, accumulating mind.
Also, (c): the here-now orientation instead of there-then (this is not a progressive path).
And (d): in the “here-now,” the emphasis is on the experiential, the feeling-awareness of futile “selfing,” attaching—at the (empty) interface with no-self.
Finally, (e): the view of error-as-teacher.
That’s what I call the Shinshu plus. It’s a “return to ordinariness.” It’s why this icchantika continues with Shinshu specifically and primarily.
[This isn’t Jodo Shinshu of the temple, it’s clumsily based on independent and revolutionary teachings promoted by the Maida Center—the writings of Maida, Kiyozawa, Akegarasu, Yasuda, Soga, Haneda, and of course Shinran.]
Look up from your device at least once.
By “device” I mean thought-stream.
Below decks where it’s dim, our relentless rowers row.
Above, we’ve arrived.
Like a blue-collar Zeno I take the duration of a half-moment and saw it in half, then halve that, and keep going until duration disappears.
Then I take half an object, saw it in half, saw half in half and so on until extension disappears.
This destruction of duration and extension leaves me timeless and spaceless — and limitless in my shop of sawn saws.
What’s unexpected is how, as personhood fades, it also accretes.
Standing on a silo that used to be a hat.
Every single one of the seven billion are trapped in thought now.
And thoughts don’t exist.
True Dharma words evict.
There’s only surface, but surface sags and folds.
Folds look like pockets but “inside” and “outside” are illusions.
Past and future are like inside and outside but there’s only surface: “now.”
This universe is anthropomorphic: without content.
(1): The fact of suffering in this moment.
(2): The end of suffering in this moment.
If (1) applies to you, then (2) is your immediate desire and any prep-work is just a continuation of (1).
The progressive path is fine for you, but I have no future.
No future, no progress, no fate.
The entire Dharma of the Real Me is hidden in plain sight: it occupies its own denial.
Pity my compulsion...to spit-form artifacts (of sparks and ashes).
Karmic self, composed of non-karmic Self, lives within non-karmic Self.
1. Nothing is more me than my doubt, nothing is more mine. It’s an effect of causes I can’t trace. Removal would require a lobotomy, or faith. No thanks.
2. Confessed, my doubt is exposed — to the elements, to its own elements, it’s essence: dynamic impermanence (spaciousness, emptiness, absence). It binds, it is bound, by, in, and as perfect freedom.
3. Doubt is my one object, my one objection, my one hesitation, and my one-and-only gate. It’s a gate, it’s a pain. It’s a gift, a tumor. It’s ultimately unthinkable but always feelable. Now I’m so happy to see it and feel it and know it for what it is: this self, this vanishing paradox.
Question 1: Are they selling it?
...Since “it” is the “real you,” it’s like they’re selling you your own genetic code.
Question 2: Are they talking about process, progress, i.e. the future?
...Pie in the sky.
Question 3: Are they claiming to possess something knowable?
...Then they are talking in their sleep.
Nothing ever happens, including error.
You can’t free yourself from this freedom.
Just allow, for one second, the possibility that your chronic doubt is Buddha, or that your inner icchantika might itself be “Buddha’s calling voice.”
Nisargadatta Maharaj’s pronounced view “I Am That” is nonduality; it’s a boiled-down expression of ineluctable oneness. His “natural yoga” is a non-path path of instant recognition of Advaita-reality, not-twoness, or dynamic no-thing-ness.
The Ch’an (Zen) insight expressed in the well-known and variously translated “hsin hsin ming” is also “not-two,” an instant recognition of the impossibility of duality and boundaries.
The sudden Dzogchen shout “PHAT!” startles and instantly shatters the apparent formation of mind-objects; it’s a flash/recognition of the falseness of duality and thingness.
The nondual Shin Buddhist phrase namu-amida-butsuis also a recognition—a recognition of the impossibility of permanence, of fixed objects, of a true separate self in reality.
The formation of the illusory or limited self is like a whirlpool of water in the ocean; the whirlpool (aka, ocean water) is not cured or eliminated; it is, itself, recognized as impermanence!
These apparently disparate teachings tell us essentially the same thing. They all point to the living Dharma in (as) us, and they work to bust it out of the dungeons our minds have created—in our heads, our hearts, our guts, our tenseness. No, they expose the dungeons as void.
The living Dharma—the “light”—pours out of us, despite us. We thought we were recipients but we’re source!
The jail-bars are mirages created by our own well-trained (ill-trained) bodyminds, but they only sustain the appearance of solidity for the duration of our active insistence that they exist. Upon recognition, that insistence loses its fuel, its force. The bars are gone. They were always gone.
Nisargadatta’s nothingness is Zen’s emptiness is Dzogchen’s spaciousness is Shin’s impermanence. All of which are the living Dharma, the “Pure [flowing] Land” that (metaphorically) pours from, not to, our hearts through recognition of the error of the presumption of permanence.
Through the error? This is, in a sense, a negative view: we recognize, in a flash, our chronic coil and recoil in the face of this flowing reality. We doubt that this ungraspability is safe. We fear it because we are trained to see the death of the separate (illusory) self as a real death—but it’s life!
This is non-theistic. It doesn’t appeal to believers in fixed self, soul, God, and afterlife.
With the honorable exception of Nisargadatta, this is the Mahayana Buddhist view (if labels are necessary). Shakyamuni didn’t talk about God, he talked about self-examination and the recognition of self-caused suffering.
Impermanence (nothingness, emptiness, spaciousness…reifications all) is inescapable reality. We doubt that and suffer. We fear it instead of trust it. But recognition of that doubt and fear, and the fist-like constriction it forms in our bodyminds, is itself “true entrusting.” In other words, recognition (confession) of failure is success! Initially this is hard to accept, but sooner or later our ingrained view shows itself to be absurd and painful. In that sense, the error is the teacher.
When the perfect freedom of impermanence confronts us—in a flash—we chill out; it's as if we exhale all the falsehoods we’ve been clinging to.
And, as Nisargadatta said, “this must go on all the time.”
“Yes” pushes against the “no” wall.
This wall feels like an outside force pushing back but it’s just doubt and fear.