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.

“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. 





      This is a collection of Zen Master Dogen’s essays, 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. 

     Master Dogen is the founder of the Soto school of Zen in Japan. He is the 52nd generation as Zen patriarch. He was transmitted the Buddha-Dharma from his teacher Rujing in China. 

     In order to transmit the Dharma-Seal to his disciples, he wrote 95 volumes Zen essays, Shobogenzo, The Right-Dharma-Eye Treasury. Shobogenzo is written from the state of enlightenment which he had experienced. He preaches us what is satori; Zen enlightenment, what kind of prospect spreads after getting realized, and how to practice to attain satori. Being so, it might be difficult to advocate the true meaning of Shobogenzo, if it is not a roshi who is enlightened same as Master Dogen. 

    Gien Inoue roshi(1894-1981) got enlightened and spent his life as a Shike; teaching master of Soto school and he advocated Shobogenzo throughout his life. His son, Kando Inoue roshi(1944-) who was transmitted Buddha-Dharma from Gien roshi has also advocated Shobogenzo throughout his life all over Japan. From their preaching, we can get what Dogen Zenji intended to show us; the truth of our existence. 

    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. Although we are now able to live in the awakened state, toward it a doubt arises with thoughts 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 as the Buddha-Dharma 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. For four years, having transcribed Kando roshi’s  sermons of Shobogenzo, I learned that transcription should be expressed as it is without interpretation. Like Zen practice, being free from thoughts, views, and discrimination, we can accomplish our work exceedingly, which I have found. On translation I take the same method. I have been careful not to use conceptional words and the words expressing thoughts and ideas. I am faithful to the original text of Dogen Zenji. I have received advice from Kando roshi on 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 of Dogen’s expressions 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.

                                                                                                                                     Shizuka Tatsuta

                                                                                                                                    


                                                                                       

                                                                                                          
                                                                                                          
                                                                                        

Shobogenzo The Four Abodes of Mindfulness
There is the law of universe of old buddhas, it is, namely, the teaching, practice, and realization of the thirty -seven items of bodhi. The entanglement of ascending and descending classes, is still the fundamental law of the entanglement. We call it the buddhas and we call it the patriarchs.

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 Dharma 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.
     Observation on the body is the body’s observation. It is the body’s observation not the observation of something else. Observation on the precise moment is that supreme having arrived. When body-observation appears, mental observation all does not arrive yet and does not appear. Thus body-observation is diamond-samadhi and suramgama-samadhi, both of which are the observation that body is not pure. 
     In general, the principle of observing the bright star at midnight is expressed as the observation that the body is not pure. It is not the critical comparison of purity and impurity. This existing body is not pure. The real body is not pure. In studying like this, 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, regulate the human being and to become buddha. We should study thoroughly that there is surely the way of things through in the spot of twirling up.
     For example, it is like the way of washing a robe. Water is dirtied by the robe and the robe is permeated by the water. Although we use this water to wash the robe completely, and change this water to carry on washing, we still use water and carry on washing. The first washing, the second washing, if it does not seem to be clean, do not liger on a rest. We used up water and use the other water to wash. The robe becomes clean and we still carry on washing the robe. We use many kinds of water, which is suitable for washing robes. We should study thoroughly the truth that when water is not pure, we know that there may be fish. As for robes many sorts of robes are completely washed. Taking suchlike effort, the law of washing robes is realized. All the same, we see what purity is. 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, in using dirty water to wash the robe, the truth exists. There are also ways of washing robes and washing things, by using fire, wind, soil, water, and space. And there are ways washing earth, water, fire, wind, and space by using earth, water, fire, wind and space. 
     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. 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? We should carefully keep it in mind and study perfectly to go thoroughly.
     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 neither existent feeling nor 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 the Buddha-nature, and a dog is with the Buddha-nature. All sentient beings are without the 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 the 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.  



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