By Peter Matthiessen
In August 1968, naturalist-explorer Peter Matthiessen lower back from Africa to his domestic in Sagaponack, manhattan, to discover 3 Zen masters in his driveway—guests of his spouse, a brand new pupil of Zen. 13 years later, Matthiessen was once ordained a Buddhist monk. Written within the comparable structure as his best-selling The Snow Leopard, Nine-Headed Dragon River unearths Matthiessen's such a lot bold experience of all: the hunt for his religious roots.
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Additional info for Nine-Headed Dragon River: Zen Journals 1969-1982 (Shambhala Dragon Editions)
Moonlight in a dewdrop Falling from a duck’s beak. nine via midsummer, heavily in poor health, Dogen was once persuaded by means of Lord Hatano to trip to Kyoto to hunt scientific suggestion. sooner than leaving, he appointed Koun Ejo because the subsequent abbot of Eihei-ji and offered him with a gown of his personal making. Ejo escorted him to Kyoto. at the fifteenth of August,10 lower than the complete moon he had used so frequently because the image of the woke up country (“the moon abiding in the middle of serene mind”),11 he wrote his ultimate verse: even if i'm hoping to determine it back in autumn, How, this night, am i able to sleep with one of these moon? culture has it that Dogen died on August 28, 1253, at Seido-in or Sonen-in, a temple now vanished from the Takatsuji District, yet Hirano-sensei tells us that he died on the condominium of his pupil Kakunen, positioned someplace close to the sting of what's now Maruyama Park. The forming of mountains, rivers, and the earth is all depending on the Buddha-nature. It being therefore, seeing mountains and rivers is seeing the Buddha-nature. Seeing the Buddha-nature is seeing a donkey’s jowls or a horse’s mouth. . . . The very impermanence of grass and tree, thicket and woodland, is the Buddha-nature. The very impermanence of fellows and issues, physique and brain, is the Buddha-nature. international locations and lands, mountains and rivers are impermanent simply because they're the Buddha-nature. very best and whole enlightenment, since it is the Buddha-nature, is impermanent. . . . Our current moment-to-moment task is the hole of a gate. . . . thoroughly using existence, we can't be held again via existence. thoroughly using loss of life, we can't be troubled by way of dying. don't cherish lifestyles. don't blindly dread demise. they're the place the Buddha-nature is. For countless kalpas some time past, silly humans in nice quantity have seemed man’s non secular awareness as Buddha-nature, or as man’s unique nation of suchness—how laughably absurd! . . . Buddha-nature is a fence, a wall, a tile, a pebble. Buddha-Nature —EIHEI DOGEN bankruptcy 16 EIHEI DOGEN, as he grew to become recognized, had constructed a faith that drew its energies from his personal insights and devotion, instead of from thin-blooded imitations of chinese language culture that had characterised eastern Buddhism ahead of this time. still, it remained too “Chinese” in personality to win broad attractiveness from the typical humans. Koun Ejo, Dogen’s unswerving successor as abbot of Eihei-ji, did his most sensible to checklist and hold his teacher’s phrases in his Shobogenzo Zuimonki, and the 3rd abbot, Tetsu Gikai, inspired the dissemination of the lessons, which within the early years after Dogen’s dying have been little recognized past Eihei-ji. Like Ejo, Gikai had include their instructor from Fukakusa and Kosho-ji, the place he had woke up upon listening to Dogen say, “This [absolute] fact abides on the earth of target fact. . . . within the spring, the hundred vegetation are crimson; doves are crying within the willows. ”1 Gikai based a Zen monastery at Daijo-ji, a spare, attractive temple on a wooded upward push overlooking Kanazawa at the northern coast, that's the birthplace of D.