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262Re: [U-Zendo] Gratitude

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  • Weasel Tracks
    May 24, 2006
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      At 8:51 AM -0700 06/05/24, Pat Stacy wrote:
      >I asked my teacher why the two verses which
      >follow the first long one are so contradictory
      >to the first. These last two reintroduce time,
      >effort, and the whole world again; and at W.T.
      >noted, are a grand non sequitur. He said he
      >thought the last two were added after the first
      >one by those who did not see as clearly. It
      >would be even better if they were deliberately
      >added to tickle us.

      I believe that I heard there were two accretions
      -- one talking about the mantra, and then the
      mantra itself.

      It's believable that those that added the
      accretions were less awake, but generations of
      practitioners saw value in them, and so retained
      them. Anyway, it works as it is.

      I had a question about another fortuitous mistake
      that has become a Zen formula. I asked two
      prominent Zen writers about whether it was truly
      fortuitous or intentional. Perhaps the list may
      be interested in the exchange.

      I wrote to David Chadwick:
      >Since I sat with Ed Brown in the dim past, and
      >he knew Suzuki-roshi, I asked him this:
      >I was speaking with someone about favorite Zen
      >catchphrases and mentioned "Zen can be summed up
      >in two words: Not always so!" My friend is of
      >the opinion that it was a lucky piece of broken
      >English. Indeed, my own [immigrant] parents
      >would come up with some inventive gems without
      >being fully aware of the humor or aptness of
      >their own creations. I don't remember reading
      >any discussion in books by you or David Chadwick
      >or elsewhere about how deliberate a construction
      >that was. If you can point me to one, great! If
      >not, what do you think?
      >Edward thought it likely that it was fortuitous,
      >but suggested that you might know better.

      He replied:
      >Definitely an accident. It's two in Japanese. He
      >said something like "just two words - two in
      >Japanese, three in English. We have milked it
      >for the humor but it wasn't intentional. Hey - I
      >just realized that I just put that very lecture
      >on my web site. Let me go look. Here, from the
      >verbatim version of that lecture:
      >The secret of So-to- Zen is, you know, just two
      >words: "Not always so." Oh—oh—three words
      >[laughs, laughter] in English. In Japanese, two
      >words. "Not always so." This is secret of the
      >teaching. If you understand thing in that
      >way—you don't ignore, you know. "It may be so,
      >but it is not always so.
      >There you go.

      The lecture is at

      Fortuity happens so often in spiritual
      traditions, one might almost believe a guiding
      spirit informs them.

      ---Weasel Tracks
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