shobogenzokandoのblog

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.

     When seeking the way, it is originally perfect and all-pervading. How could it be contingent on practice and enlightenment? The Dharma-vehicle is free and untrammeled. What need is there for concentrated effort? Indeed, the whole body is far beyond the world's dust. Who could believe in a means to brush it clean?

     It is never apart from this very place. What the use of traveling around to practice? And yet, if there is a hairsbreadth deviation, it is like the gap between heaven and earth. If the least like or dislike arises, the mind is lost in confusion.

    Suppose you gain pride of understanding and inhale your own enlightenment, gaining the wisdom that knows at a glance, attaining the Way, clarifying the mind, arousing an aspiration to reach for the heavens. You are playing in the entranceway, but you are still short of the vital path of emancipation.

     Consider the Buddha who was possessed of inborn knowledge. The traces of his six years of upright sitting can still be seen. Or Bodhidharma's transmission of the mind-seal, his nine years of facing a wall is celebrated still. If the ancient sages were like this, how can we today dispense with wholehearted practice?

     Therefore, put aside the intellectual practice of investigating words and chasing phrases, learn to take the backward step that turns the light and shines it inward. Body and mind of themselves will drop away, and your original face will manifest. If you want to realize suchness, get to work on suchness right now. 

     For practicing Zen, a quiet room is suitable. Eat and drink moderately. Put aside all involvements and suspend all affairs. Do not think good or bad. Do not judge true or false. Give up the operation of mind; sensation, discrimination, cognition. Stop measuring with Nensokan; consciousness, thoughts and views. Have no designs on becoming a Buddha. How could that be limited to sitting or lying down?

     At your sitting place, spread out a thick mat and put a cushion on it. Sit either in the full-lotus or half-lotus position. In the full-lotus position, first place your right foot on your left thigh, then your left foot on your right thigh. In the half-lotus, simply place your left foot on your right thigh. Put your robe loosely and arrange them neatly. Then place your right hand, palm up, on your left leg and your left palm on your right palm, thumb-tips lightly touching. Straighten your body and sit upright, leaning neither left nor right, neither forward nor backward. Align your ears with your shoulders and your nose with your navel. Rest the tip of your tongue against the front of the roof of your mouth, with teeth together and lips shut. Always keep your eyes open, and breath softly through your nose. Once you have adjusted your posture, take a breath and exhale fully, rock your body right and left, and settle into steady, immovable sitting. Think of not thinking. Not thinking, how do you think of not thinking? Non-thinking. This is the essential art of Zazen.

     The zazen I speak of is not learning Zen. It is simply the dharma-gate of repose and bliss, the practice-realization of totally culminated enlightenment. It is the manifestation of ultimate reality.  Traps and snares can never reach it. Once its heart is grasped, you are like a dragon gaining water, like a tiger taking to the mountains. For you must know that the true Dharma is manifesting itself, so that from the first dullness and distraction are struck aside.

     When you arise from sitting, move slowly and quietly, calmly and deliberately. Do not rise suddenly or abruptly. In surveying the past, we find that transcendence of both mundane and sacred and dying while either sitting or standing have all depended entirely on the power of zazen. In addition, triggering awakening with finger, a banner, a needle, or a mallet, and effecting realization with a whisk, a fist, a staff, or a shout cannot be understood by discriminative thinking; much less can it be known through the practice of supernatural power. 

     It must be deportment beyond hearing and seeing-is it not a principle prior to knowledge or perception? This being the case, intelligence or lack of it is not an issue; make no distinction between the dull and the sharp-witted. If you concentrate your effort single-mindedly, that in itself is wholeheartedly engaging the way. Practice-realization is naturally undefiled. Going forward in practice is, after all, the matter of everydayness. 

     In general, in our world and others, in both India and China, all equally hold the buddha-seal and each lineage expresses its own style. They are all simply devoted to siting, totally engaged in resolute stability. Although they say that there are ten thousand distinctions and a thousand variations, they just wholeheartedly engage the way in Zazen. 

     Why leave behind the seat in your own home to wander in vain through the dusty realm of other land? If you make one misstep, you stumble past what is directly in front of you. You have gained the pivotal opportunity of human form and function. Do not pass your days and nights in vain. You are maintaining the essential working of the Buddha way. Who would take wasteful delight in the spark from a flintstone? Besides, form and substance are like the dew on the grass, destiny like the dart of lightning-emptied in an instant, vanished in a flash.

     Please, honored followers of Zen, long accustomed to groping for the elephant, do not doubt the true dragon. Devote your energies to the way of direct indication of the absolute. Revere the one who has gone beyond learning and is free from effort. Accord with the enlightenment of all the buddhas; succeed to the samadhi of all the ancestors. Continue to live being such, and you will be suchness.

The treasure store will open of itself, and you may enjoy it freely. 



It is also called the four abodes of mindfulness. 

The first is the observation that the body is not pure.
The second is the observation that feeling is suffering.
The third is the observation that mind is without constancy.
The fourth is the observation that Dharm is without self. 
     
     To say that "the observation that the body is not pure,” is that one skin bag observed as a body now is the whole universe in ten directions. Because this is the true body, it is the observation that the body is not pure, springing up on the road of liveliness. But for springing up, it would be impossible to observe, it would be without body. It would be impossible to practice, it would be impossible to preach, it would be impossible to observe. But the manifestation of observed attainment is already present, remember, it is the realization of vivid springing up. The so-called observed realization is everyday activity of living, sweeping the ground and sweeping the floor. Because we sweep the ground, upon what number moon it is, and sweep the ground and sweep the floor upon what precisely second moon this is, it is suchness of the whole earth.

And the first is the big item as “The Four Abodes of Mindfulness.” It says the four mindfulness, so there are four. The four come out there. To observe that body is not pure. To observe that feeling is suffering. To observe that mind is without constancy. To observe Dharma is without self. The four are expressed like this. “Without constancy” or “without self” comes out in what is said three dharma seals, like myriad dharmas are without self or myriad things are without constancy. Being so they are words that always appear in the basic teaching of Buddhism. 
     “The observation that the body is not pure.”
is that observing the body now, when you see the body, whole is covered with skin, all over. Inside it, there are flesh, bones, vessels, entrails. What is completed with various things is the body of human beings. It is also called the stinking skin body. Inside this one, full of ill smelling things are contained. That is the body of human beings, it is expressed like that. 
     Well,
“one skin bag is the whole universe in ten directions.” Don’t you think, what? You cannot easily think that this (this body) is all. There are so many various things in this room, who is doing such? Does the other person do it? This body called a skin bag has been always sensing like this. Opening the window, we can see the direction of the vast sea. I heard the story of the rising sun on the New Years’ Day. Beyond the sea, everything including the night sky spreads to the end of the earth, the whole universe in ten direction, though, the whole is the state of yourself. There is nothing as the state of others. Saying every conceivable kind of sounds, you are enjoying, though, you cannot absolutely hear the sound without this (pointing his body and mind). Depending on this (pointing his body and mind), the sound comes out, we can say that. 

     To that extent, this skin bag is the whole universe in ten direction. However, in general, we haven’t learned like that. This (pointing his body) is only this much,  just this separated, we are taught that only this is the self and the rest is out of yourself. We cannot know what is happening, if we don’t see with our own eyes. We cannot know how it is, if You don’t hear with your own ears. We know nothing at all, if we don’t depend on this (the body and mind). We understand all depending on this. That is why we learn what we ourselves are, being said Kojikyumei; to know oneself. We can know everything if we study only this one. 
     “Because this is the true body,” your body and mind isn’t like that, is it? What I am saying is unbelievable? Is there anyone who has a doubt? Anyone who is against it? That can’t be. “it is the observation that the body is not pure, springing up on the road of liveliness.” It is the active lively state, the road of liveliness is. What is called life is written being lively and being active. How great it is. 
     “But for springing up, it would be impossible to observe,” If it were not for springing up, it would be impossible to see. Its meaning is if you are concerned with the previous matter forever, you cannot observe the state of now clearly. Clap! Clap!(clapped his both hands) When I make sound like this, Clap! If you call the previous sound into question, you cannot hear the sound.  Clap !If you want really to hear a sound, you should observe the state where the sound of now is just sounding like this. Clap! Clap! That sort of thing is said "but for springing," it is said that you must spring up. While you are likely to deal with the previous issue, you cannot touch the real sound. 
     It is the same with things. When you see this side like this, if you take up what you saw before, you cannot see this correctly. The same can be said of everyday affairs in the living. You may possibly live such, you live on the state that you cannot see the truth. That is why you take up things of the past and grumble in disregard of that the vivid lively living is unfolding now. 
     It would be without body, “it would be without body.” “It would be impossible to practice, it would be impossible to preach,” You cannot obtain and preach. You cannot practice and you cannot observe. What's more, after seeing such a thing, there remains no sign of “I". It is wondrous that various things are taken up. But you don’t have to worry, “But the manifestation of observed attainment is already present,” is the way to be relieved for you. It says that everybody has already accomplished. It has been done, because the manifestation is present. It has already been accomplished as such now. 
     “remember it is the realization of vivid springing up.” There is none who are doing what happened before. Holding a pencil like this, there is none who is doing the previous event when writing. What do you think? When writing this, you cannot do the previous matter. There only exists the state you are writing now. That much you are separated from all things. Master Dogen sees through such a fine thing like this. 
     “The so-called observed realization is everyday activity of living, sweeping the ground and sweeping the floor.”
So called observation is everyday living, acting, the life. Tomorrow you are going to do cleaning, though, it is that you sweep the front, sweep the ground, and dusting the alcove. It is the everyday occurrence. It says that things of that kind have already been acted practically. When sweeping ground, you are not doing the previous event. You always do what you are doing now like this. But human beings, even though it is like that, are concerned with what they did before rather than what you are doing now. Therefore, it doesn’t become clean when cleaning finished. They saw, they must have seen, though, but they didn’t see. They seem to have touched, but they have not touched the thing of now. All the time their mind has gone somewhere. You should be careful. On this point, it can be said. 
     “Because we sweep the ground, upon what number moon it is, and sweep the ground and sweep the floor upon what precisely the second moon this is, it is suchness of the whole earth.” In this part, it is only said that we don’t do what was in the past. You should really look carefully. What you are doing now just exists as it is. The content is the supreme state which you seek for. There is no dust to brush. It is not such cleaning like you wipe as it is dirty, or you sweep as it is dirty. It is the Buddhist priest’s work, the work which is done in a temple. General cleaning is the degree that you make it clean because it is dirty or unclean. The Buddhist work in a temple is not so. When doing like this, the body and mind become purified depending on it. There is entirely no previous thing left. It is good you make it clean to that extent.





      How do we spend time when sitting? As the state of sitting, what becomes a problem is prudence and discretion, various things come up to mind or occur, or there is the case that we intentionally think from this side; the side of self. In general, those are thoughts. While being in zazen, you should not deal with such sort of thing. Concerning thoughts coming up, you should not discern. To say that do not judge goods or wrongs. This is good, this is wrong, or this is right, this is mistaken, you should not do like that.
      To be more specific, when various things come out on sitting, for the human beings there are thigs which weigh on their mind. Being so usually they try to solve the matters concerned about and start to plan various things in the head. Anyway, you should not to do this. Therefore, whatever entered into your mind, if there are things weigh on your mind among what you recalled or you thought, you don’t deal with them, do not spend time touching them. And you do not make them not to appear at all. You sit without manipulating from this side to reconstruct at all. This is the way to practice so called effort (kufuu) when sitting.
      When we are sitting like this, the sound of cars is coming. Without intension to hear, when the sound of cars comes, it sounds “buzz” ”buzz” You don’t try to hear. You don’t do not to hear. When you stay not to do anything, when sounding, you are formed to be the state as it is. That is expressed “Give up the operation of Shinisiki(sensation, discrimination and recognition)  “Stop measuring with Nensokan (consciousness, thoughts, views) In short you don’t take on or deal with what comes out by our thoughts. In the same way, we learn by the way of non-thinking; the state that is not thinking. (Generally, to learn something is to understand object using thinking, but here as mentioned above, it is indicated that when sounding “buzz” “buzz”, there are “buzz” “buzz.”) In other words, we stay without using various things that we have acquired after birth. As the state we are born with. Then we can touch the essence of human beings. Zazen is such kind of practice. Those are the important way to spend time in zazen.
      Why is it difficult when being recommended this? Because it is the thing which weighs on one’s mind and it is the thing to become problem, and yet is it all right to leave it without picking up? One is half in doubt. Usually they pick up things which weigh on their mind or things to become problems and try to solve them. However, if one acts such, it cannot be zazen.
      Why should we leave it off? The great reason is to see through the reality, how the way of things. When touching things, if we insert human thoughts and views, even a little, the reality is distorted. It is the first reason. That is why we should not treat with views or thoughts at all. When being such, the truth and facts are transmitted as they are. I would like you to do it anyhow.
     And one more thing, is that what human beings annoy and suffer is the phenomena happening on the thoughts. Being so I want you experience what has become of you when you don’t use thoughts. In fact, we can go on living and have no problem when we don’t use it. However, once something which weighs on your mind appears, you believe that it cannot be settled without dealing with it somehow. Well, what I have said is, I would say, the theoretical explanation. 
     Then how we are if we don’t pick up such things at all, when it occurs, it moves, it functions. You never be thinking it continuously. Thoughts cease instantly when they appear. Without touching yourself, it is formed to disappear. If you do it, you will see. 
     And What to be aware in the beginning is not to fall into sleep. In order not to sleep, ”Eyes should always remain open” Sit with eyes open. When you come to close your eyes, without fail, you are dragged around with thoughts; what come out. By the way when closing eyes, if you can see something there, it is the trick of your imagination and you are dealing with what you think in the head. From the beginning it cannot become zazen. So your eyes should remain open. When opening eyes, the state in front of you remains as it is. Because you can clarify the difference between the state in front of you and what you think in the head, you should not treat what you think in the head. I want you stay to be only the state in front of you.
     Then there are various functions of body like ears, they are all as they are. Sitting like this, as each of them is functioning, without doing anything yourself, they are functioning variously touching on conditions. Stay only as it is.
     Well please do as such carefully. Please put into practice. In addition to that, if you have questions, there is time of Dokusan; private consultation, please ask what you think without reserve.


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