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

 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.

(13C. Japanese Zen Master;Dogen, Fukan Zazengi)


When all dharmas are the Buddha-Dharma, there is delusion and enlightenment, there ispractice, 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 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 one’s 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 insight on learning in practice are able to 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 experience-realization 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 makes the earth manifest being gold and ripen the long river into sweet creamy milk.  (Translated by S.Tatsuta.)

After word

On translation “Shobogenzo Genjo Koan; The realized Law of the Universe” into English
This is an experiment. This translation does not directly relate to Kando Inoue roshi. I have learned Zen with roshis who got enlightened, received Dharma from Gien Inoue roshi. They show us how to practice not using human thoughts and view.
     Master Dogen preaches on the state that he got enlightened as “We inherently possess the Buddha Nature.” In order to express his intention, it is supposed to be translated with enlightenment or realization as its core.
     I tried not to translate with my interpretation and not to use the words which express thoughts, thinking and views. In Zen we sometimes encounter illogical unfolding of a plot.
      As for practice and enlightenment, Master Dogen expresses “Oneness of practice and enlightenment.” In English it is expressed separately as practice and Enlightenment or realization. When using it as a verb, it is rather difficult to translate. Can we say “A thing realizes us or enlightens us?”
     In Genjo Koan there is the  phrase “When enlightening one side, the other side is dark.” Most people translate this phrase “When we see one side, the other side is dark” or “When one side is realized, the other side is blind.” However, Gien Inoue roshi said “Being dark means being assimilated.” Kando Inoue roshi says” When assimilated, the other vanishes. The definite state is that there only scenery exists. There is no person who sees it. This side does not exist. As for hearing, the voice of the other is just sounding. It is not only on oneself. We say this being dark.” No one can preach like this but roshi who has gone thoroughly the Way. If English dharma talks by those roshi are published, the truth of Master Dogen will be recognized in the English- speaking world.

     This is a clumsy piece of writing. I tried it as the result of my study of Zen and English. Any comments will be appreciated.  


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