In part 3 of my series on the famous Zen text called “Genjokoan,” written in 1233 by Japanese Zen master Eihei Dogen, I discuss the sections about seeking the Dharma, riding in a boat (recognizing self-nature is impermanent), and firewood and ash (the Great Matter of Life-and-Death).
Liberation from self-concern is central to all forms of Buddhism, although the methods used to achieve that liberation differ widely. In this episode, I present a classic Zen teaching on not-self: Zen Master Dogen’s statement that “to study Buddhism is to study the self” and “to study the self is to forget the self.”
This episode explains several of the Buddha’s first teachings: the Three Marks and the teaching of Anatta, or Not-Self. From the beginning, the Buddha’s teachings featured the Three Marks, or Characteristics, of Existence: anicca (impermanence), dukkha (dissatisfactoriness), and anatta (not-self). Here I introduce the Three Characteristics and then go into the teaching of not-self in detail – what it means and doesn’t mean. For example, did you know the Buddha did not teach that we have no self?
Zen is a type of Buddhism, which is a 2,500-year-old tradition. When and how did Zen arise, and what is unique about it?