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.

カテゴリ: Dogen・Shobogenzo

  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


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 attain. But the manifestation of attainment is already reached, remember it is the realization of springing up. The so-called 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 this is precisely second moon, 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 does not yet arrive at all 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 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, regulate the human being and to become buddha. We should study thoroughly that there is surly the way of things through in the spot of bringing 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, 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, air, soil, water, and space. And there are ways washing earth, water, fire, air, and space by using earth, water, fire, air 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 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 practice 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 furethermore, 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 negation, 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 they are the realized state of activity now, they are 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 Dharmas are 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.  



     When all dharmas are the Buddha-Dharma, there is delusion and enlightenment, there is practice, there is birth, there is death, there are Buddhas, there are sentient beings.
     When myriad dharmas are all not the self, there is no delusion, no enlightenment, no Buddhas, no sentient beings, no birth, no death. 
     Because the Buddha Way is originally transcendent over abundance and scarcity, there is birth and death, there is delusion and enlightenment, there are sentient beings and Buddhas.
     And yet, this is the way it is, flowers fall in our longing, and weeds grow in our loathing. 
     Driving oneself to practice and enlighten myriad dharmas is delusion. The myriad dharmas advance towards oneself to practice and enlighten is enlightenment. Those who greatly realize delusion are buddhas. Those who are greatly deluded about realization are sentient beings. Moreover, there are those who are enlightened upon enlightenment, and there are those who are deluded in the midst of delusion. When buddhas are indeed buddhas, there is no need for them to perceive that they are buddhas. Nevertheless, they are realized buddhas and they go on being buddhas realizing.
 
     In seeing forms with the whole body-mind, hearing sounds with the whole body-mind, though one intimately realizes, it is not like reflecting images in a mirror, and not like the moon and water. When enlightening one side, the other side is in the dark. 
     To learn the Buddha Way is to learn oneself. To learn oneself is to forget oneself. To forget oneself is to be enlightened by myriad dharmas. To be enlightened by myriad dharmas is to let one’s own body and mind, and the body and mind of others fall away. There is ceasing of enlightenment, which causes one to leave continuously the traces of enlightenment forever. 
     When people first seek the Dharma, they are far from the borders of Dharma. When the Dharma has already been rightly transmitted in oneself, just then one is the original oneself. 
     When a man rides in a boat and he moves his eyes to the shore, he misapprehend the shore is moving. When he closely keeps his eyes fixed on the boat, he knows that the boat is moving forward. Similarly, when one discerns the myriad things with the confused body and mind, one mistakenly thinks that one's own mind and nature are permanent. If one is intimately engaged in the activity of living and returns to the real state being now, it will be clear the myriad things are not self. 
     Firewood becomes ash, and does not become firewood again. However, we should not see the ash after and the firewood as before. Know that firewood abides in the Dharma state of firewood and it has a before and after. Though it has a before and after, the realm of before and after is cut off. Ash in the Dharma state of ash, has before and after. Just as firewood, after having become ash, does not again become firewood, so after dying a person does not become alive again. This being the case, not to say that life becomes death is an established custom in the Buddha- Dharma. Therefore, it is called unborn. That death does not become life, which is the Buddha preaching established in the turning of the Dharma-Wheel. Therefore it is said imperishable. Life is a temporal state, death is a temporal state. It is like winter and spring. We don't think winter becomes spring, we don't say spring becomes summer. 
     People's attaining enlightenment is like the moon reflected in water. The moon does not get wet, the water isn't broken. Though it is a vast expansive light, it is rests in an inch of water, the whole moon and the whole sky rest even in a dewdrop on the grass, rest even in a single droplet of water. That enlightenment does not shatter people is like the moon not piercing the water. People's not hindering enlightenment is like the drop of dew not hindering the sky and moon. The depth is proportionate to the height. As for the length and brevity of time, examining the great and small bodies of water, you should discern the breadth and narrowness of the sky and moon. 
     When Dharma has not completely filled one's body and mind, one feels it is already sufficient. If the Dharma fills one's body and mind, in one respect, one feels insufficiency. For example, when one rides a boat out to the middle of ocean where no mountains are in sight and looks four directions, the ocean appears round and no other characteristics are visible.  However, this ocean is neither round nor square; the remaining virtue of the ocean is inexhaustible. It is like a palace, it is like ornaments. Yet as for as our eyes can see, it only seems to be round. As it is for the ocean, it is for myriad dharma. In dust and out of the frame (in the secular world and the Buddhist world), there are numerous situations, but we see and comprehend only as for as our eyesight of learning in practice can reach. If we inquire into the family traditions of myriad dharmas, we should know that, besides seeming square and round, the remaining virtue of the oceans and mountains are endlessly numerous and that there are worlds in four directions. It is not like thus only around us; we should realize that even right beneath our feet and a single drop of water are also thus. 
     As a fish moves through water, there is no bound to the water no matter how far it goes.  When a bird flies through the sky, there is no bound to the sky no matter how far it flies. While this is so, the fish and birds have never left the water and the sky since the beginning. It is just that when the need is large the use is large, and when the need is small the use is small. In this way, though none ever fails to extent itself to the full, and nowhere does any fail to move and turn freely, the bird would instantly die if it left the sky, and the fish would instantly die if it left the water. Know that water is life, know that the sky is life. There is bird being life, there is fish being life. Life must be birds, life must be fish. Beside this we could proceed further. That there is practice and enlightenment and there are long and short lives of people is just like this.     
     However, if there were birds or fish that tried to go further in the water or sky after having found the limit of the water or sky, they wouldn't find a path or a place in the water or the sky. When one finds this Way, this activity of living now is the Realized Law of the Universe. This way, this place is not large or small, not self or other, not existing from the beginning, not appearing right now ―therefore it is just what it is.
 
     Similarly, when someone practices and realizes the Buddha Way, to get one dharma is to penetrate the one dharma, to meet one practice is to practice the one practice. In this state there is the place, where the way has been accomplished, hence being unable to know the boundary to be known is that this knowing is born together and practiced together with the thorough realization of Buddha Dharma. Do not learn that attainment necessarily becomes one's own knowledge, that it would be recognized by one's intellect. Although ultimate realization manifests immediately, the reality imperceptible is not necessarily actualized, why is there necessarily a manifestation? 
     Zen master Hotetsu of Mt. Mayoku was using a fan. A monk came and asked "The nature of wind is constancy and there is no place it does not reach. Why then do you use a fan? "
     The master said "You only know the nature of wind is constancy but do not know the principle that there is no place it does not reach."
     The monk said " What is the principle that there is no place it does not reach?"
     The master just fanned.
     The monk bowed. 
     The realization-evidence of the Buddha-Dharma, the living road of right transmission, is like this. To say that since the nature of wind is constancy one should not use a fan, and one should feel the wind even when one is not using a fan, is not knowing both constancy and nature of wind. Because the nature of wind is constancy, the wind of Buddhism causes the earth manifest being gold and ripen the long river into sweet creamy milk.

Shobogenzo  Genjo-koan  The First 
This was written in mid-autumn in the 1st year ofTenpuku, and was presented to the lay disciple Yo Koshu of Chinzei. Edited in the 4th year of Kencho



     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. 



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