Jundo Cohen - Treeleaf Zendo · Soto Zen Buddhism · Teachings of Dogen

Notes on the Four Fruitions – Jundo Cohen Roshi

Master Dogen and the Soto sense of the Four Fruitions (Stream Entry, Once Returner, Non Returner, Arhat) is not like this. The endless end of Practice-Enlightenment is already realized in the beginningless beginning and the middleless middle, and is brought to life in our Practice-Enlightenment in each instant along the way. The Raft is not used to cross the river, but all sides of the river are already present and the Raft is never cast away. So, your definition of “Stream Entry” is more a “Hinayana” concept to Dogen’s Mahayana. This was Master Dogen’s view of beginningless endless Continuous Practice. So, for example, he wrote this in Shobogenzo Juki, which is a twist by him of the usual view that someone receives a prediction that they will someday, down the road and in the future become Enlightened or become Buddha: “The Great Way that has been singularly transmitted by buddhas and ancestors is giving the prediction [of buddhahood]….the prediction is given to beings who have not yet aroused [the wish for enlightenment];…the prediction is given to beings with a body; the prediction is given to beings without a body; the prediction is given to all buddhas. We should not learn that we become buddhas after receiving the prediction; we should not learn that we receive the prediction after becoming buddhas. At the time of conferring the prediction, there is becoming buddha; at the time of conferring the prediction, there is practice. For this reason, there is the prediction in being buddhas; there is the prediction in going beyond buddhas.” ..”And do not say that the prediction of Buddhahood cannot be readily given even to those humans who have not yet awakened. In ordinary, worldly ways of thinking, people have customarily been taught that they will receive this prediction when they have completely fulfilled their training and practice, for that is what is critical to their becoming a Buddha, but in the Way of the Buddha this is not what is taught. … Why would the prediction of Buddhahood not include all the myriad thoughts and things that arise? Why would the prediction of Buddhahood not include training and enlightenment? Why would the prediction of Buddhahood not include the Buddhas and the Ancestors? Why would the prediction of Buddhahood not include one’s doing one’s utmost in practicing the Way? Why would the prediction of Buddhahood not include great realization and great delusion? … it is just as Meditation Master Enō said to his disciple Nangaku, “You too are like this, and I too am like this.”

Jundo Cohen – Feb 5 2019

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