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.

To say that the observation that feeling is suffering is that suffering is feeling. It is neither one’s own feeling nor the other’s feeling, it is not existent feeling, neither is it nonexistent feeling. It is the feeling of the living body, it is the suffering of the living body. It is to replace sweet ripen melon by bitter gourd, which is bitter to the skin, flesh, bones, and marrow. It is evenly bitter to the conscious mind and the unconscious mind. This observation is one of the divine practices and enlightenment. It is the divine practice and enlightenment which springs out from the calyxes and springs out from the roots. Thus, it has been said that sentient beings suffer, and furthermore, there are suffering sentient beings. Sentient beings are not self and they are not the others. Furthermore, there are suffering sentient beings, ultimately it is impossible to deceive others. Although sweet melons are evenly sweet to their calyxes, and bitter gourds are totally bitter to the roots, suffering should not be easily groped. We should ask ourselves, what is suffering?
     The observation that mind is impermanent: The old Buddha Sokei says “Non constancy is the Buddha-nature.” Therefore, non-constancy understood by various things is also the Buddha nature. Great Master Yoka Shinkaku says, “All things are impermanent, all is empty. Just this is the Tathagata’s Great and Perfect realization.” The present observation that mind is non-constancy is the Tathagata’s Great and Perfect realization, and it is the great and perfect realized Tathagata. 
     Mind, even if it intends not to observe, it follows the others, therefore, if there is mind, there is also observation. On the whole, reaching the Supreme Truth of Bodhi, the Supreme Right realization is, namely, non-constancy and the observation of the mind. The mind is not necessarily constant, because it separates the four corners; tetralemma, existence, nonexistence, both existence and nonexistence, neither existence nor nonexistence, and surpasses the hundred negations, so, fences, walls, tiles, pebbles, and stones large and small, these are the mind, and are non-constancy, and are precisely observation. 
     The observation that Dharma is without self. The long has a long Dharma-body, and the short has a short Dharma-body. Because it is the realized state of activity now, it is without self. A dog is without Buddha-nature, and a dog is with the Buddha nature. All sentient beings are without Buddha-nature. All Buddha-nature are without sentient beings. All buddhas are without sentient beings, all buddhas are without buddhas. All Buddha-nature are without Buddha-nature, all sentient beings are without sentient beings. Because it is like this, we learn that all Dharma being without all Dharma as the observation that Dharma is without self. You should know that it is to spring out with the whole body of being self-entanglement.  
     Shakyamuni Buddha says “All buddhas and bodhisattvas rest in this Dharma forever, which is a sacred womb.” Being so, all buddhas and bodhisattvas have regarded these four abodes of mindfulness as a sacred womb. You should know that they are the sacred womb of balanced realization and the sacred womb of subtle realization. It has already spoken of all buddhas and bodhisattvas, so buddhas who are not the subtle realization also regard this as sacred womb. Bodhisattvas who have sprung out being prior to balanced realization or beyond subtle realization also regard these four abodes of mindfulness as a sacred womb. Truly, the skin, fresh, bones, and marrow of the buddhas and the patriarchs are just the four abodes of mindfulness.  

    “To say that the observation that feeling is suffering.” Do we read like this? I would like to speak with simple example, to observe that the feeling is suffering. Problems happen because you hear someone talking, which you are usually doing. If other’s talk doesn’t come to your ears on this body, even if whatever he says, it does not become a problem. Having heard others talk, problems arise. It is the same with things. When you touch what other person does, when you see what he does, a problem arises. When you put something into your mouth and taste it, you take an issue on the taste. When you touched something, the thing that you touched becomes a problem. When smelled, what you smelled becomes a problem. That sort of thing is “the observation that the feeling is suffering,” which is said here. You all know it well. You are doing such in everyday life. Why does a problem arise? Why do you become distressed? In the truth, we are not formed that we suffer with what we received, of which we should learn.
     The talk might deviate from the topic a little. You see things like this that there exist things in such way, though, smart people have known what they are. To explain to be seen, when watching TV, you see that there are people and there are things, it looks like various things are really exist in the screen. However, it is only an image reflexed on a plate like glass really. Nothing exists inside. There is nothing like human beings or things you can touch. When the image that someone is eating tastefully or the image holding things, it is not that there is a rice bowl. When you see the image which a house is built, it is not that there is a box like a house. They are just images. This is the same content with that you see things now. You are looking at like that. Things can be seen as you see on TV. I am not a scientist and I didn’t study enough to know the details, light is reflected off all things, i.e. what is not absorbed is reflected. They are light waves. The wave of light. There are long waves and short waves. The long wave is red and the short wave is violet. When you see a rainbow, you know how it looks, the color. When pass through human eyes, when lights come into human eyes, they are refracted and divide by the difference between the long and the short, which we have learned. And they attach to the retinas, if there are a plenty of red and round waves it looks like round. If they become being square, it looks like square. It is this sort of thing. So, we recognize that things exist. In reality, they are only acting like that, eyes are. What? You think so.
     Being so, in Buddhism, regarding that sort of thing, it is said that the real figure of things has no form. The real state of things is formless, the real figure is without form, which is said. You cannot believe it. Hence, to see things facing from this side does not exist at all. That things can be seen is to come into from the other side. The reflected light which the other side emits has just come to do to this side. It is useless however we do something from this side. But human beings do not think so and they think to be able to see when facing like this. They think that they can see when they face from this side. The reflected light always emitted from the other side such, we only come across it as it is. The mechanism is formed like this. Therefore, even if a paper is put in front of eyes, the image will instantly vanish. This is because the light wave does not reach to the eyes. Because what has been reached till now is shuttered by this, the image is vanishes. If I say what kind of image comes out instead, as the light that is emitted by this (paper) put here, we can see only this one. It is like that. You may think how this is related to Buddhism though, the teaching of the Buddha is the teaching which see through how we ourselves really are in that way. If you are not aware this, you surely think that there remains what you have seen. Observation means to see how it is.
     “Feeling is suffering, suffering is feeling.” I will read. Suffering is just feeling. We are formed that we always act coming together with things. Even if you like or dislike, when you go there, you come to live together with the things at the place where you went. Viewed from one side, it might be troublesome, but looking at the opposite side, that is why we can live. When facing things like this, if there is a person who can see what he likes and cannot see what he dislikes, it is awful. Regardless of whether we like or dislike, we can surely accept it as it is like this, we are formed such. 
     Seeing the content, “It is neither one’s own feeling nor the other’s feeling, it is neither existent feeling nor nonexistent feeling.” Which is explained. It is not to accept the thing of the other side to this side or to put things of the other side into this side, or it is not one’s own possession, which is all written here. To exist or not to exist. To say it plainly, it is not to be the composition of accepting from the beginning. It is not the composition that things exist on the other side and the person on this side see them. What do you see? Can you follow?
     When you see things, before you notice that there are things, you notice because there is the fact that things are seen. It is not that they are seen after you noticed it. Oh, which do you think is the first? Because you notice that they exist, do things come out there or are they seen? No, it is not. We only notice things existing. When we noticed that things had existed, we think they were seen. The truth is different. In truth, before we do such a thing, it has already been such as it is. Seen like this, when I do this suddenly, everything has been already existed. To be seen like this, everything had already been there when we instantly did open eyes such. In short, to be is to be seen. Without intension to see, when you open your eyes like this, all come out at once. And among what can be seen, how many people are, that person is, this person is, the new comer is, you start to do such, which is explained here. 
     Fundamentally it is not the way that you think. In plain words, it is that from the beginning, (without knowing) all are provided (it is the state of being now.) It is so complete and perfect that nothing lacks at the beginning. If you can understand that, you will gain ease immediately. We think that we cannot be real one without doing something or somehow, we are lacking something, or we don’t have enough, because we think such, we set out touching it to form ourselves as our ideal figure. However, if looking closely, it is different. Without dealing, we are perfectly formed with it. 
       “It is the feeling of the living body,” When we read it “namami”, living body, it will be easy to understand. To receive with namami, living body. It is the state of now, the living body of you each. In this room, you can see things this much, even these people gather, what you are doing is to be the way of you each now. The notion that the other person is watching comes into nowhere. It is the acting state of your living body. But there are various ways of thinking, you wonder how the person sitting next sees, how that person is looking at, you have the strength to think like that, you care for other people. When you care for other people, you have nothing to do with what you really see or touch now. It is silly. You don’t observe what you are doing and live only caring what other people are doing, which is foolish. “it is the suffering of the living body.” It is read as such.
     In suffering, what is mentioned first is birth, illness, aging, and death, which is called four sufferings. The first is to be born, which comes first. What? Is being born suffering? Yes, it is. Since we are born, we will die. Since we are born, we get old. The suffering of aging. Because we were born, we get sick or get injured, we experience variously. In other words, because we were born, in order to live, you feverishly live through suffering, lead life, and suffer to live. Being only yourself is OK, but in case of having a family, that sort of thing would rather take place. In general people suffer like that. Being so we should learn how to enjoy. 

Saying for example, “it is like the way of washing a robe.” It is the way of washing, to wash these clothes. “Water is dirtied by the robe and the robe is permeated by the water.” That is natural. 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 clothes are 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 will be such with washing machine. How many minutes for washing, how many minutes for rinsing, it renews the water. It is not to wash to the end with the water poured at the beginning. It serves clean water newly and carries on washing. It is such a thing. “we still use this water and carry on washing.” “The first washing, the second washing,” When you wash once and twice, you come to feel that they became clean. “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.” We change water and 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 that there is fish. To say that the water is not pure is that there is a dirt in the clothes. When rinsing, you stop only when the water of rising becomes pure. Recently you leave washing to others 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, thing 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 the same as washing. That is why “we see what purity is.” Looking at yourself, you see through by checking whether the content of your own is all right in every way or not, and that 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 dust or not and brush dust to wash. You wash it using washing machine. If you don’t do it, dust piles up in the bag for dust, even though there is a bag to remove dust in the washing machine. It is not that it is OK that 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 space.” Well there will be methods by which to make clean. “And there are ways of washing and clearing earth, water, fire, wind, and space by using earth, water, fire, wind, and space.” 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 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 observation, and 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 蓋;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 problem. 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 of the dead person and care for. What they think makes them suffer. “I should have done that for him,” “I didn’t do what he asked me to do.” You have various matters in yourself. Which becomes a problem for you 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 essential one. 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? Like not treating the body roughly and not injuring, 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, we see that they are clean and 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 almost every day. It is awful sense of cleanliness. In a sense, that is how things are now. Therefore, it will be almost clean if you wash without detergent, I think. We wash clothes using detergent every day and we dirty water when draining, which may be a problem. I would be the 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 things to protect the body, we wash out and live like hurting the skin. It is not an 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” By 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, we take it up as issue the thought that comes out in ourselves which is disagreeable and concerned. We don’t observe the body. Don’t you think so? You haven’t observed the body. If thoughts come to appear and various things become problems in the thoughts, you are treating them. 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 pivotal role 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 that you are living now, how the real thing of now is living? You should see thoroughly it, he says.

     Even if someone says that he can think of nothing, when I point at like this, if 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 stand listening to others talking, when he is asked “There is a tasty cake, Will you have one?” He answers “Yes.” He eats it and it tastes 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, throughout the life. You already know that. Although you already know that, it is pitiful that you cannot think of anything but 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 arise such a thought yourself and see the person by the wrong way of thinking. The reason why you don’t realize is that you have a wrong way of observing and 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 all arrive yet and does not appear.” It is really such. When you see that there are so many things in this room, when you see this side, you don’t see the others. Though it is said the body and 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 must have been heard. It is strange. When you see 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? “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. Leave it for a while, let's move to the following. You can know well. He says that being not pure is not the talk of comparing being pure or being impure. 
     “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 was, "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 shoji screen and eat." We were taught that such practice to separate from attachment to things was 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 have to think that her body is full of urine when you see a beautiful woman. Then you will come not to be attached to." We learned that  this observation that the body is not pure in that way. 
     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, seen with the naked eye, it is the conspicuous star. When we see, there is not to see. None who sees 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 which is generally considered that being pure or being impure. 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 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 a pine tree, it becomes the state as it touched the shape of a 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! (he hit the table) it became such. Tap! It became as sounded. This body (the body and mind) did. There is none who doesn’t change. Tap! This sound was done, before it sounds and after it sounded, one surely changed. “studying like this,” The way of studying like this, if bringing up a little different one, “when demons become buddha, they twirl the demon to defeat the demon and to become buddha. When buddhas become buddha, they twirl buddha to make buddha and to become buddha. When human beings become buddha they twirl human being to regulate the human being and to become buddha.” To put  this in ordinary words, 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 cleaning 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? If you use such a way, you cannot plane a clean board. You should ask to know a carpenter. When planning a clean board, it is not like that. Surely as it 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. The sound itself assesses the person, the appearing sound itself does. He plays like that. Being so, you should see the person who plays perfectly. 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. It is like this. 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 twirling.” What 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.