Okamura arrived for lunch yesterday. For the next five days we will study the fascicle 38 of the Shobogenzo, Only a Buddha Together with a Buddha.
It starts, "Buddha dharma cannot be known by human beings."
I don't find that discouraging, but I'm sure people do, and I used to. I read it as a advancement of epistemology, going beyond how we know what we know.
Epistemology states there is knowledge we learn, like an apple is red, has seeds, and grows on a tree, and knowledge we experience, like the apple has skin, can taste crisp or mealy, and the seeds don't actually grow the apples we taste.
Study and experience.
I think when Dogen says that Buddha dharma cannot be known (studied and experienced) by humans, he's asking humans to push past what it means to be a slave to the skandhas, to our perception.
I thinks he's asking us to cultivate our affinity notion by attuning another sense our Buddha bodies are equipped with.
We'll see what Okamura has to say about that!
It's noble silence for a week, but unlike a sesshin I can read and write about Only a Buddha Together With a Buddha. I'll be posting that here.
These retreats feel like a holiday. We break out our oryioki bowls, we open our gates to many house holders who come with passionate way seeking minds and they remind us of what we're doing here. We all sit up a little straighter and feel a little warmer in the presence of our greater sangha. In 5 days, it will feel like a great parting, a family cleaning up and heading back to our corners of the world. I'm filled with gratitude for this lucky, lucky, life.