[2:13 PM, 11/19/2019] Soh Wei Yu: Kūkai (e.g. in his Sokushinjôbutsugi, ch.3) discusses Dainichi as a “body of the six great elements” (rokudaishin, rokudai-taidai), which are the five universal material elements (godai) of earth, water, fire, wind/air, and space, representing the “known,” plus the universal mental element (shindai) of consciousness, representing the “knower.” Ultimately the five material elements make up the body of Dainichi and the sixth element designates the mind of Dainichi. Their dynamic but harmonious interplay constitute the “timeless yoga” or samadhi (Jpn: jô) of Dainichi’s body-and-mind. But since Dainichi is equated with the cosmos, all things comprising the whole world are generated and perish through the interplay — “non-obstruction” and “interfusion” — of these elemental constituents. Kūkai then is definitely not an idealist taken in its western philosophical significance, and Shingon thought in this aspect is distinct from the teachings of the “mind-only” (Yuishiki; Skrt: Vijñapti-mâtratâ) school of Buddhism. For the mental and the material, for Kūkai, are two non-dualistic (interpenetrating and mutually non-obstructing) aspects of the same Dharma — as depicted in the two mandalic embodiments, which we shall discuss below. In other words Kūkai does not reduce reality to either mind or matter; his perspective is neither merely idealist nor merely materialist.

The interrelationship amongst the elements signifies their non-substantiality, i.e. the fact that they are not ontologically independent, and in Buddhist parlance this means “emptiness” (śûnyatâ, kû). Hence all elements and things they constitute, including the entire cosmos is empty. Dainichi’s body, as the hosshin that embodies the Dharma, is an embodiment of emptiness, analogically understood as a vast empty space — it is in part analogical but also exemplary of emptiness. Rather than obstructing the emergence of things, this emptiness permits it through their interdependent origination, which is the meaning of emptiness. Their materiality is then just as real as their emptiness, and emptiness and matter are non-dualistic. True to the “middle way” of Buddhism, Kūkai treads a path that avoids reifying substantialism on the one hand as well as utter nihilism on the other hand. And in the non-dualistic interrelationships between body and mind, matter and emptiness, known and knower, the Dharma itself, as the truth of non-duality in interdependent origination qua emptiness is revealed in every physical and mental process of the cosmos as the embodiment of the Dharma.

The “horizontal” interpenetration between the elements, i.e., the interdependence and mutual non-obstruction amongst the immanent phenomena of the cosmos, also translates into the “vertical” interpenetration between the whole and its parts, that is, between Dainichi as embodied in the cosmos and all thing-events within. The implications of such cosmic non-duality for the practitioner is immensely significant. In non-duality with the cosmic Buddha, one’s unenlightened self in both mind-and-body is thus an expression of the hosshin, an embodiment of the Dharma. That is, as one’s mental states express the samadhi of Dainichi, so also one’s body along with the bodies of all living and non-living things, in every bodily movement, manifests Dainichi’s body and its movements. Dainichi is preaching the Dharma through all phenomena of the cosmos. But as we ourselves are the bodies through which Dainichi preaches, we are enabled to realize the cosmic samadhi that our bodies-and-minds express. This points to the non-dualistic significance between the two exemplary concepts of Shingon Buddhism: hosshin seppô and sokushinjôbutsu, both of which we shall examine in detail in the following sections.

3.6 Hosshin Seppô: The Buddha’s Cosmic Preaching of the Dharma
As the hosshin, the Buddha Dainichi preaches the Dharma via his omnipresencing, that is, through every sensible media of the cosmos. Kūkai called this, hosshin seppô (literally: “the dharmakâya’s expounding of the Dharma”), and used its concept (e.g. in his Benkenmitsu nikkyôron) as an important criterion for distinguishing esoteric Buddhism from exoteric Buddhism. In his work Shôjijissôgi, this concept of hosshin seppô serves as the starting point. The seppô (“preaching,” “expounding”) therein is equated with the phenomena of the cosmos as comprising shôjijissô, that is, sound, sign, reality, and their meanings. (We will discuss the linguistic or semiological significance of this idea in the following section.) The point is that every thing and every event in the universe, as objects of our six senses, are the Buddha’s preaching of the Dharma. Each phenomenon manifest serves to explain (setsu) the truth, the Dharma. The hosshin in its omnipresencing throughout the cosmos, permeating every aspect of it, is perpetually informing all things of the Dharma. This cosmic omnipresencing of the Dharma via hosshin seppô entails a dynamism of continuous activity that accounts for the movements within the universe — both physical and mental.

Since everything to which Dainichi preaches, is itself his manifestation as an embodied part of the cosmos, the sermon is ultimately a monologue. The expounding of the Dharma is in one sense then really the Buddha’s monologic expression of his own self-enjoyment in samadhic bliss. And yet simultaneously it expresses Dainichi’s compassion for the unawakened (though ultimately they are non-dualistic with the Buddha) so that they may also enjoy the fruits of the Dharma. Through the help of Dainichi’s compassionate con-descension or kaji (more on this in a later section), the practitioner is enabled to inter-resonate with the sermon of the cosmos.

The idea of hosshin seppô also expresses a universalization in Shingon of the Mahâyâna Buddhist notion of expedient (or: skillful) means. The Shingon doctrine of hôben kukyô (“ultimacy of expedient means”) means that any phenomenon or thing-event of the cosmos can serve as a means to enlightenment, entailing a gradation of understanding, hinging on how the event speaks to the person relative to the time, place, and situational context. This also corresponds to the levels of mental states discussed in Kūkai’s Jûjûshinron (which we will examine in a further section below). The key to immediate and complete enlightenment however is to understand the comprehensive (or holistic) sense of the truth being spoken by the cosmos as a whole even if through the medium of a particular thing-event.

Kūkai’s claim was that only through the Buddhism of esoteric teachings can one attain to an experiential recognition of hosshin seppô, i.e. that the cosmos itself is describing the immediate enlightened body-and-mind state of the Buddha. By contrast exoteric truths preached by other forms of Buddhism are meant for a specific audience in a specific place and time, and hence are conditional, relative, and provisional. Moreover exoteric truths are limited by human language, which is inadequate to describe the state of enlightenment and the absoluteness of the Dharma. The esoteric truth revealed in hosshin seppô on the other hand unfolds through a non-human language, that is, a cosmic and esoteric language originating in the hosshin itself. This is the language of the mantra or in Japanese, shingon, literally meaning “the word of truth,” and from which Kūkai’s brand of Buddhism derives its name. Mantra (shingon) is the language of the cosmos involving all mental and physical-sensible phenomena. The esoteric truths expressed in this mantric language of the Buddha/cosmos reveal themselves only in accordance with the reader’s capacity to attune himself to, and read, this cosmic (con)text of the mantric universe.

3.7 Mantra: Cosmic Sound and (Con)Text
[2:23 PM, 11/19/2019] Soh Wei Yu: - https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/kukai/
[2:29 PM, 11/19/2019] John Tan: 👍
[2:34 PM, 11/19/2019] John Tan: Interesting they have such a view.
[3:11 PM, 11/19/2019] Soh Wei Yu: “The cosmos as such is a text articulating the Dharma within the empty space of the vast limitless and formless body of the hosshin. The cosmos as mantra is hence hosshin seppô.”
[3:11 PM, 11/19/2019] Soh Wei Yu: Using mantra to experience maha
[3:14 PM, 11/19/2019] Soh Wei Yu: “
It should be remembered however that while Kūkai thus links the hosshin’s preaching to the mantric sound and letter of A, this same preaching, symbolized in A, in fact encompasses all movements of the cosmos, involving colors, shapes, silence, bodily movements, etc., not just the explicitly vocal. Dainichi preaches the Dharma via all phenomenal means through the three media, the “three mysteries,” of body, speech, and mind, omnipresencing himself through all objects of the six senses (the five physical senses plus thought). The entire cosmos is hence the language of the Buddha, inseparable from the Buddha’s body that is in fact the embodiment of the Dharma (i.e., hosshin, dharmakâya). We now turn to the mandalic aspect of the embodiment of the Dharma and of Dainichi’s preaching of the Dharma.”*
[3:43 PM, 11/19/2019] John Tan: This hosshin is good...all about total exertion and maha...also anatta



*Similar to:
Zen master Bernie Glassman on chanting and maha:
http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/…/no-yellow-brick-ro…
Some people say it's not necessary to read the Heart Sutra in its English translation, that the essence of this Wisdom literature can be achieved by just chanting it in the original Sanskrit. Before I review the meaning of the title, let me say that when you truly just chant the Heart Sutra, all of it is contained in the act of just chanting. When we chant in such a way that nothing else is happening, that all our concentration, all our mental and physical energies are condensed into just being the sound A (the first syllable of the original text, from "Avalokitesvara"), that is all that exists. Just A! Just the elimination of any trace of separation between subject and object, which is nothing but our zazen itself. If we put all our energy into just chanting in this manner, there is no separation, and that state of no separation is the state of sunyata, or "emptiness," or what I also call not-knowing. That is the state of 100 percent action; everything is fully concentrated in this very moment. This is the heart of our practice, to be totally in this moment, moment after moment. It doesn't matter what words are being chanted; when you are totally A, it is not even A anymore; it is the whole universe, it is everything.
This is the essence of the first word of the Sanskrit title of the Heart Sutra: Maha.
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