“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.
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.
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.