This blog presents Kando Inoue roshi's activities, mainly his dharma talks of shobogenzo in English. Kando is the top advocate of shobogenzo by Zen Master Dogen.

Saying for example, “it is like the way of washing a robe.” It is the way of washing, to wash this cloth. “Water is dirtied by the robe and the robe is permeated by the water.” So it is. It becomes like this when we soak what we wear into water. You will know if you do it. If you put what you wear into clean water, the water is naturally polluted with it, and the cloth is soaked as a matter of course.
     And next prat, it is written to wash using this water. “Although we use this water to wash the robe completely,” Changing water, it is alike in case of a washing machine. How many minutes for washing, how many minutes for rinsing, it changes water. It is not to wash to the end with the water put at the beginning. It put new clean water and carries on washing. It is in that way. “we still use this water and carry on washing.” “The first washing, the second washing,” When you wash once and twice, it will become clean that you feel so. “If it does not seem to be clean,” But, when you find that there remains dirt, “do not liger on taking a break.” He says that you should not stop there. That is so. You will wash it until it becomes clean. This is the least doubtful sentence.
     “We used up water and use the other water to wash.” To change water and to wash moreover. “The robe becomes clean, we still carry on washing the robe.” Doing such, we wash many times. “We use many kinds of water, which is suitable for washing robes. “is written. Do you know that it becomes clean, if you wash something with muddy water? When you wash your feet, the mud is removed washing in muddy water. You think it will not be removed by washing with what is dirty, it is not so. That kind of thing is. Many kinds of water are written, there are rainwater, tap water, river water, and there are people who wash using water left in the bath tub, because it is wasteful to drain using only once. Anyhow we use each of them, it is good for washing.
     “We should study thoroughly the truth that when water is not pure, we know that there may be fish.” To say that the water is muddy means there is fish. To say that the water is not pure is that there is a dirt in the clothe. When rinsing, you stop only after the water of rising becomes clean. Recently you leave washing to other people and you don’t know. It cannot be known if you don’t do it. “As for robes many sorts of robes are completely washed.” We wash kesa, clothes, inner clothing, and various things. On the way of washing there are methods but leave it alone. “Taking suchlike effort, “making effort like this, “the law of washing robes is realized.” By washing clothes, we learn the truth of things, what is written here is like this. What should we really do by doing washing now?  Following this, things like this is written, OK?
"All the same, we see what purity is." You have problems in yourself and whether they have been truly cleared off or not, which is practice. You have come to be at ease without restraint from the bottom of your heart. Whether there are some problems that worry you anywhere or not, things like that are said here. If you ignore it, your practice will not work, he says such. It is same as washing. That is why“we see what purity is.” Looking at yourself, you see through whether what you are is all right in every way or not when checking and you have become such.
     In case of spilt-toe socks, you turn them inside out and wash. You should not approve of washing only outside as you take them off. As for pocket, before washing you turn it inside out and see if there is the dust or not and brush the dust to wash. You wash it using washing machine. If you don’t do it, the dust piles up in the bag for dust, even though there is a bag to remove dust in the washing machine. It is not the way that it is fine the dust will be piled up. It is better to wash removing them beforehand.
This principle is that permeate the robe with water is not necessarily the true meaning and to dirty water with the robe is not the true meaning,” What is really at issue? “in using dirty water to wash the robe, the truth exists.” There is the true meaning to wash the robe with dirty water, which is the point we should see. We use a cleaning rag when cleaning, we wash the rag in water while doing so. Naturally the dirt of the rag is removed and the water is dirtied. In the dirtied water, we slosh the rag. And the rag become clean rapidly even though it is dirtied water, which can be happened. We should wipe with the rag washed in the cleaned water, otherwise it is useless. You already know it. In temple, there are important place where Buddhas abide like a dais for a Buddhist image, floors a hexagonal building. We treat with care each of them. So we use the rag called jhokin; a clean rag, if the rag is not clean, it is useless to wipe with dirty one. “There are also ways of washing robes and washing things, by using fire, wind, soil, water, and air.” Well there will be methods by which to make clean.” And there are ways of washing and clearing earth, water, fire, wind, by using earth, water, fire, air and apace. “They will exist too. You are doing in everyday life, so you should see.
The principle of this observation that the body is not pure is also like this. Depending on this, whole of body, whole of observation and whole of being not pure are just Kasaya to which a mother gives birth. Kasaya to which a mother gives birth, human beings come into being wearing a kimono which is called the seamless heavenly garment. A robe of feathers, a celestial robe, we come into being wearing a seamless kimono, it could be said. Everybody received this Kasaya to which a mother gives birth. Earlier it is written a skin bag. It is written taihi; the skin of body. When it is said taihi, it may sound like compost. A skin bag, a seamless kesa, namely it is skin. It covers the body covers the mind, covers sentient beings.whole of body, whole of observation and whole of being not pure
It is a wonder that when this one (pointing his body) comes into the world, everything comes out together. Before this one comes out, it is not known that it exists. This one does not know there is the world. He cannot know. When this one (the body) came out, all things suddenly came out together. It is not that only this one (the body) came out. What it says is that all things appear on this one (the body), all do. It is usually said being seen or being heard. All of them are what appeared on this body. Being so this letter ;gai is used. Covering all up. It is strange that if this (the body) does not appear, such a thing does not happen. When this one is finally going to disappear, it will end instantly and splendidly without any problems. So, it has never happened that a dead person has done something even once. Do you know that a dead person causes evil things on people? No there is not such a thing. Nowhere it is. What we care is that people who live think about the dead person and care for. What they think make them suffer. “I should have done that for him,” “I didn’t what he asked me to do.” You have various matters in yourself. Which becomes problems for you. Only which is at issue and a dead person has never made you suffer at all. I would like you to know it.
     If a Kasaya is not this Kasaya to which a mother gives a birth, Buddhas patriarch never use it. How could Sanavasa be only one? When coming out, the kasaya has stuck to this body to come out. It is different from kesa like this. (pointing the kesa he wears) It is the one essential. Everybody has it. It is the only one kesa unsurpassed by anything in the world. Being so, what is it ? Is there the phrase not to do injury to in the Imperial Rescript on Education? Not treating the body roughly and do injury is, there is the phrase that living like that is devotion to your parents. Anyway, leaving it aside for the time being, buddhas are using  such a thing. It is not only Sanavasa. We should carefully keep it in mind and study perfectly to go thoroughly.Well, you go ahead with it. There is the principle like this. There is the state of washing. Here “the observation that body is not pure” ends. Shall I stop here?
    In any event, we are likely to know well, on reading like this, that how Dogen Zenji is working on from day to day. On what he is doing now, in case of washing, on washing, he sees thoroughly with care what he is on it. When we wash, putting things in the machine, because it is automatic, when the time pasts, seeing that they are clean, we take them out and dry. Nowadays it is like that.
     People nowadays don’t wear clothes caked with dirt as they used to wear in old days. They wash clothes so that it may be said every day. It is the awful impression of cleanliness so much. In a sense, that is how things are now. Therefore, it will be almost clean if you wash without putting a detergent, I think. We wash cloth using a detergent ever yday and we dirty water when draining, which may be a problem. I would be same as taking a bath. If we take a bath every day, I think we don’t need to wash the body with soap and shampoo. By doing such, even though we have the thing to protect the body, we wash out and live to hurt the skin. It is not the advertisement of cosmetic, but we do it. It is said like that. Because we don’t know the thing essential, we tend to do the thing preposterous which is unnecessary to do. That sort of thing is here observation that the body is not pure. It is written that it is important to see through the body of your own.
     “Observation on the body is the body’s observation.” When observing that the body is not pure, to observe the body is to learn by the state of this body and it is not the other thing. “Observation on the precise moment” With doing such, being in the true state of your own now like this is especially important practice, which is written. But we don’t probably do such. Rather than the body, what we observe is that we take up thoughts which came out in ourselves to be concerned with, and make it a problem. We don’t observe the body. Don’t you think so? You haven’t observed the body. If thoughts come to arise and various things become problems in the thoughts, you take it up a problem. If so, it will not do as practice, it is written.
     On that occasion, when various things come out to be problems, you should learn from the activity of the thought itself. It is that you should turn your eyes to the state of your body now. This is the foremost core in the first observation that the body is not pure. Please try to do it. As Dogen Zenji teaches us like this, you should be engaged in real things. It is not the matter on thoughts, but on reality. This reality your are living now, how the real thing is living now? You should see thoroughly it, he says.
     Even if someone says that he can think of nothing, when I point at like this, whether he cannot see because he cannot think, it is not so. He can see them as they are. Even if someone says that I cannot listen the other’s talk, when he is asked “There is a tasty cake, Will you have one?” He answers “Yes.” He eats it and it taste correctly. By doing such you should observe the body. You observe the body not thoughts. Then without adjusting, you realize that the living state of your own correctly. I will finish.


“Observation on the body is the body’s observation.” To observe the body is to face this one of your own, he says. “It is the body’s observation not the observation of something else.” He also says it is not the other thing. That is right. In order to practice, we do practice borrowing this body and mind of oneself. We don’t practice with the thing other than this body and mind of ourselves. 
     “Observation on the precise moment is that supreme having arrived.” It is really important to see the state of oneself. “Supreme having arrived” is translated as standing highly or the state surpassing. He says that it is very important matter to observe oneself truly. It is enough with it. Because problems happen on this body. Problems happen on this body and mind of our own each. Throughout our life, problems never happen any other place but this body and mind. When a problem happens, it surely happens on this body and mind of one’s own. It never happens on the other person’s body and mind. You already know that. Although you already know that, it is pitiful that you cannot think as if a cause is elsewhere separated from you, like he was hard on me. What was thought is that you yourself thought all like that. The other person didn’t think such. “He is foolish that he has done such a thing,” that sort of thing, you thought on what you had seen. Nobody did but you. You arose such a thought in yourself and saw the person by the wrong way of thinking. Why you don’t realize that you have a wrong way of observing is that you don’t face to yourself. It is not body-observation. It is unknown for you because you observe it as a thing of the person on the other side. 
     “When body -observation appears, mental observation does not yet arrive at all and does not appear.” It is really such. When you see things there are so many things in this room, when seeing this side, you don’t see the others. Though it is said the body and the mind, we are formed like that. When you try to hear something sounding, seeing become negligent. It is all right being such. When talking with many people, you intend to speak to a certain person, you have the ability to catch the person’s words, without concerning the other people’s voice which should have been heard. It is strange. When you are seeing a lot of things, being said that a beautiful flower is blooming, you come to be able just to see it. The other thing does not come into as an issue. We are living on such state day to day.
     “Thus” being so, “body-observation is diamond-samadhi” We can live as the thing is does not budge an ich. Diamond- samadhi is such a thing. It is not a diamond is sitting. Diamond, solid reliability. It is the fixed state that however people try to break down, it cannot be broken down. Or it is called “suramgama- samadhi” “both of which are the observation that body is not pure.” Later, Dogen Zenji explained rightly, is it all right? Leave it for a while, “In general the principle of observing the bright star in the middle of night is expressed as the observation that the body is not pure.” Such a difficult expression is used. He says it is not the talk comparing being pure or being impure, to say that it is not pure. 
     “It is the observation that body is not pure.” It is written such in the foot note under previous page, the sixth, “sentient beings see the body not pure and they are separated from wrong thoughts.” When we went to school to learn, how this the observation that the body is not pure was taught by teachers is that if there is a tasteful dish, human beings are attached to it when eating, so we should gather dust with a finger from the frame of the shoji screen and eat. We are taught that the practice to separate from attachment to things is called the observation that the body is not pure. As for human beings, if you fall in love with someone beautiful, what I would say lust, not being attached to it, you should think that her body is full of urine when seeing a beautiful woman. We are learned this observation that the body is not pure. 
     You might probably have heard like that in school, but what Dogen Zenji says is entirely different. He says that it is not the talk being pure or being not pure. This is the important point here. In general, this observation that the body is not pure is taught that from the beginning, seeing that this body is not pure, we should leave what clings to various things like human’s attachment to money or things. It seems easier to understand but it is different here.     
     “The principle of observing the bright star in the middle of night,” it is written in the middle of night, down is just as good. Shakyamuni saw the morning star. What time is the morning star in the morning? It is before daybreak. The morning star is Venus. As Venus is seen brighter and bigger when seeing with the naked eye, it is the conspicuous star. When seeing, there is not to see. None who are seeing comes out. Only the Venus is twinkling. Being without awareness. Such state is called “the observation that body is not pure.” If we read it truly, where is to see that the body is not pure, it is not called into question being pure or being impure, indeed. This is the important point. 
     “It is not the critical comparison of purity and impurity.” The observation that the body is not pure is not the matter of relative point of view like being pure or being not pure like the thought in general public. We call the lavatory Gofujho, a place being not pure. That is the purist place. It is not being impure, Otearai. Gofujho. Is it originated from here? Don’t you hear Gofujho? It is the lavatory. It is written that it is not pure, so is it impure? No, it is not. It is not being pure, it is not the matter of being pure or not pure. 
     “This existing body is not pure. The real body is not pure.” This one (the body the mind of self) changes as touched when it touched things. This one doesn’t have anything like shape or so, when it touched the shape of the branches of the pine tree, it becomes the state as it touched the shape of the branches of the pine tree. When touching an orchid, it becomes as touched an orchid. Because this one has the body. What is said is this. “This existing body is not pure.” When a sound arises Tap! (hit the table) it became such. Tap! It became as sounded. This body (the body and the mind) did. There is none who doesn’t change. Tap! This sound was done, before it sounds and after it sounded, it surly changed. “studying like this,” The way of studying like this, if bringing up a little different one, “when demons become buddha, they bring up the demon to defeat the demon and to become buddha. When buddhas become buddha, they bring up buddha to make buddha and to become buddha. When human beings become buddha they bring up human being to regulate the human being and to become buddha.” To say this in general, whatever the material is, you study on what you are doing now. There is no other thing.
     When cleaning, what does it mean when you do clean and it becomes clean? Is it enough if you make clean just one part of it? When planning a wooden board with a Japanese -style plane, what does it mean to become clean? Is it that only this side of the board become clean? When doing such, you cannot plane a clean board. You should ask to know a carpenter. When planning a clean board, it is not like that. As it surly is, with doing it, it is settled that you can establish yourself what you are. You don’t utilize the other thing. 
     Those who do calligraphy establish their life when they are writing like this, the way of their life. If they cannot do that, it is not calligraphy. It is doodling. For a person who plays a piano, producing sounds itself is all of one’s life, and he is assessed with it, not only the performance is assessed. The sound itself assesses the person, the appearing sound itself does. He plays like that. Being so, you should see the person who plays what is perfect. You will be moved.
     In case of a violin, only this part (showing the shape holding a violin) is not the violin. The whole body becomes one violin and the sounds are produced. This is it. Each of every deed, whatever will do. After this, the act of washing is written. It may be easier for you to understand. Dogen Zenji does washing his own wearing clothes. “We should study thoroughly that there is surly the way of things through in the spot of bringing up.” What it is said here is that you bring up what you are doing now and learn that there is the true way of studying in it, he says like that. 

  This is a collection of Dogen’s essays ;The Fukan-zazengi A Universal Recommendation for Zazen, Shobogenzo Genjo-koan The realized Universe, Shobogenzo Sanjusiti-bon-bodai -bunpo   Shinenju Thirty-seven Elements of Bodhi The Four Abodes of Mindfulness.

     I came across the teaching of late Gikan Inoue roshi in 2015 and I have learned that the practice of Zen cannot be accomplished by using thoughts and discrimination. We cannot clarify our true state with thoughts and views.

     Gien Inoue roshi says that the enlightenment in Buddhism is to go through to the root of our origination that we are born without knowing. Though we are now able to live in the awakened state, toward it a doubt arises with thought and discrimination, which becomes a problem. To realize truly the fundamental mistake bottomless is the enlightenment of the Dharma, he indicates. 

     And everybody can be through like Zen adepts by the practice being free from thoughts and discrimination. The deportment of the practice is not to fall into thoughts and discrimination, to be free from your views, and to be just as the functioning of the six organs as tools. When keeping suchlike practice, you can come to attain the state separated from thoughts and discrimination in the real world, you are able to live on the activity free and limitless, he preaches.  

     I am now studying under Kando Inoue roshi who received the transmission of the Buddha-Dharma from Gien Inoue roshi, his father and teacher. For four years, having subscribed the talks of shobogenzo by Kando roshi, I learned that what he says should be expressed as it is.
     On translation I took the same method without interpreting. I have been careful not to use conceptional words and the words expressing thoughts and ideas. I have been faithful to the original text of Dogen Zenji. I have got the advice form Kando roshi the meaning of difficult words and the context behind the words in original Japanese text. Without his help, I could not have understood the true meaning and selected English expressions corresponding to the original. 

     I am truly grateful to Kando Inoue roshi for his generosity and kind guidance.

     I am very thankful that I could run across many English translations of Dogen’s works by experienced people.

13th May 2020     S. Tatsuta