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: Dharma Talks

                                                                               By Kando Inoue rohsi at Entuji Okayama

Shobogenzo The Sixty, Sanjushichi-Bon-Bodai-Bunpo: Thirty-seven Items of Bodhi 
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.
     There is “The law of Universe of old buddhas,” to say that koan; the law of universe is what everyone faces in public. The letter
kou means public. I t will be clear for you that you cannot live without it, rather than to say that you must adhere it. Which is called the law of universe.
     Thirty -seven items are briefly mentioned. We are going to see through them from now. As it is teaching, practice, and enlightenment, there is teaching and we practically experience it, then it will become clear for us how the content of experience is. Which is the proof. It is the proof as getting enlightened. From that, it comes first that it will not do just to understand reading what was written. Teaching. If you listened and found there is teaching, you received it and “Oh is that so?” “Well then how it is like, what this is, I will try to so, I will act.” That sorts of things will be done. When being done, there always comes out the result of the action. Accordingly depending on it, “I see. It is true like what I have been taught at first.” Thing like that happens. Teaching, practice, and realization.
     There is the phrase, “The entanglement of ascending and descending classes, is still the Fundamental Law of the entanglement.” I would say it ups and downs, ascending and descending. It is likely that saying to be able to understand well or not be able to understand. Like that we become one with things themselves and live to get at the truth of the things. That way, we go on the way to the end of the earth. The representatives of those who lived in that way is called buddhas or Zen adepts.

The Four Abodes of Mindfulness. I
t is also called the Four Foundations of Mindfulness.
The first is the observation that 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” The observation that the body is not pure” is one skin bag observed as a body now is the whole universe in ten direction. Because this is the true body, it is the observation that the body is not pure, springing up on the living road. 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 realize. But the manifestation of realization is already reached, remember it is the attainment 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 that this is precisely the second moon, 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 exist four. The four are expressed there. To observe that body is not pure. To observe feeling is suffering. To observe that mind is without constancy. To observe Dharma is without self. Like this four are expressed. Without constancy or without self is appears in the three dharma seals like myriad dharmas are without self or myriad things are without constancy. Being so they are words which always appear in the basic teaching of Buddhism.
      “The observation that the body is not pure; It is to observe that body is not pure” is that observing the body now, when you see the body, whole is covered with skin, the whole body. Inside it there is flesh, bones, vessels, entrails and it consists various things, which is the body of human beings. It is 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 direction.” Don’t you think, what? do you? You cannot easily think that this (this body) is all. There are so many various things in this room, who is doing (seeing) 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, toward the sea, all the field of vision widens, the night sky is endless, the whole universe in ten direction, all 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, divide just this, we are taught that only this is the self and the rest is out of yourself. We cannot know what we don’t see with our own eyes. We cannot know what it is like 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 this one. “ Because this is the true body, “ your body and mind is not like that, isn’t it? What I ama 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 living road.” It is active lively state, the living road, isn’t it? 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 that if you are concerned with the previous matter forever, you cannot observe the state of now clearly. Pan! Pan! Pan! (clapped his both hands) When I make sound like this, Pan! you remain the sound before, then you cannot hear sounds. Pan! Pan! If you want to hear a sound really, you should see the state which the sound of now is just sounding like this. Pan! Pan! That sort of thing is said “ But for springing,” You should spring up. While you are likely to deal with the previous issue, you cannot touch the real sound. It is the same as things. When you see this side like this, if you take up what you saw before, you cannot see this correctly. We can say same thing on everyday affairs in the living. You may possibly live such. You live on the state that you cannot see the truth. That ‘s 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, 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 realization is already reached,” is the way to be relieved for you. It says that everybody has already accomplished. It has been done, because the manifestation has reached. It has already been accomplished as such now. “remember it is the attainment of 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 a r e separated from all. Master Dogen see through such a fine thing as this.
        “The so-called 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 no doing 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 does not become clean, when the cleaning finished. They saw, they should have seen, though, but they didn’t see. They looks like to have touched, but they have not touch 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 that this is precisely the second moon, 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 brush. It is not such cleaning like you wipe as it is unclean, 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 no previous thing remains at all. It is good you make it clean to that extent.
     “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 from oneself. We don’t practice with things except 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.” It is translated as standing highly or the state surpassing. He says 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, each of us. 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. You already know that. Although you alredy know that, it is pitiful that you cannot think as if a cause is elsewhere separated from you, like he was hard on me. what was thought is all you thought this yourself such a thing.  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 arose such a though in yourself and see the person by the wrong way of thinking. Why you don’t realize that you have a wrong way of observing, is that you don’t face to yourself.      It is not body-observation. You observe thing as that of the person’s on the other side. “When body -observation appears, mental observation is all not yet touched and does not appear.” It is really such. When you see things there are so many things in this room, when seeing this side, you don’t see the others. We re formed like that. It is said the body and the mind, 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 should have been heard. It is strange. When you are seeing 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 and taste as the thing is does not budge an ich. Diamond- samadhi is such. It is not a diamond is sitting. Diamond, solid reliability. It is 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?  Leave it for a while, “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. He says it is not the talk comparing being pure or being impure, to say that it is not pure. “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 is 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 is, 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 the shoji screen to eat. We are taught to practice like that is called 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 should think that her body is full of urine when seeing a beautiful woman. We are learned this observation that the body is not pure. You might probably heard like that in school, 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 attracts us 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, it is OK with dawn. 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 when seeing with the naked eye, it is conspicuous. When seeing, there is not to see. None who are seeing comes out. Only the Venus is twinkling. There is not awakening too. Such state is called “the observation that body is not pure.” If we read it truly, where is observation that the body is not pure, it is not called into question being pure or being impure. It is true. This is the important point.



Zafu(a cushion for sitting on)
     Firstly the position of sitting. Spread out a thick futon and place a zafu(a round shape cushion for zazen) to sit. Use the front half part of it. It is possible to use a chair when unable to sit on the zafu for some reasons.

How to cross legs
     Let’s adjust from lower part. On how to cross legs, if possible, the one called Kekkafuza; the lotus position, with both legs are placed on the thighs may be ideal. Generally when you cross both legs, first you place the right leg on the left thigh and the left leg on the right thigh. It is the transmitted form. But on physical conditions, it might be easy to cross legs opposite, please try it. And Hankafuza; the half lotus position, the form to cross one leg is transmitted. It is written that when you place one of your legs, you place the left leg on the right thigh. 
     The point is the three points; the buttocks and both knees are made a shape of an isosceles tri angle, which is ideal. The angle of 120 degree is mostly stabilized. And knees are supposed not to be float. Knees and buttocks touch firmly to the ground.
     When you feel pains, put your hands together and make a bow gently and change your legs to cross.

The posture of upper part of body
     Next comes the posture. Let straighten your back well. The lumber spine which consists of five joints above the sacrum and the coccyx will be stretched well when you take the posture of pushing your navel forward. If this part comes down (bends), it is not good. Straighten it up. And place your body and head on it upright. Keeping the posture as it is, let the tension out as possible as you can.
      If this heavy head leans forward a little, considerable straining is applied on various parts. When you put the head on it straightly, you can be at east without straining. Sometimes people say that they feel stiff in their shoulders while sitting. If they take this posture rightly and concisely pull back jaws, they don’t feel stiff in their shoulders. When they have stiff shoulders, they are taking an unjustifiable posture. 
How to joint your hands
      Next the form of hand. It is said Hokkai Join; the Dharma-realm meditation mudra. Hold hands palm up, then place the left hand on the right hand and touch rips of the thumbs lightly to make an ellipse. It is better to have the feeling that the placed four fingers to be in line. You are supposed to pay attention to the tips of fingers. When you leave them alone, the tension of the hands ebbs away and become dangle. That is not the way. It is important to prevent the form from being slumped.

How to shut your mouth
     How to deal with mouth is to push lightly the tip of your tongue against the root of the upper teeth and shut the mouth.
The position of your line of sight
     About the deal of eyes, when I look now, a half of people here are closing your eyes, but it is instructed “ your eyes should always remain open.” This strongly calls your attention to keeping eyes open. When you don’t pay attention yourself, eyes are soon closed. Zazen is not meditation. We sit with eyes open.  And if I say where we direct our eyes, it becomes half-closed eyes when we drop our line of sight about 1m ahead on the floor. It is written “not strain, not squint”. With these eyes, we don’t get tired mostly. As eyes remain open, the things in front of your eyes are exactly there. That is important. 
     The set of three; Is Hokkai Join the Dharma-realm meditation mudra not collapsed? Is the tip of your tongue placed against the roof of your mouth? Do your eyes remain open? This is the point to maintain the awareness in the least.
How to catch your breath
     Having adjusted your posture, open your mouth a little and breath out all air, which is called” Exhale one breath.” At that time, you should release the tension of your body and exhale all the breath like a balloon becomes deflated. On such way, you are supposed to breath out all along breath. Once you have breath out all, air comes in naturally. Repeat two or three times and your breathing becomes very gentle.
Swaying your body to the left and right
     Next place your hand, palm up, on your knee and slowly sway your body to the left and right. Lean your body feeling as if it leans with the weight of your head gradually. Lean your body slowly on breathing out. And with the inbreath, you come back upright, then you lean the opposite on exhaling. One of the purposes of this action is to remove the straining of the various part of the body when the position was formed. So, you are supposed to do it on that purpose, it is useless only swaying your body to the left and right. The tension of your body has to be removed. You are supposed to remove the tension of your body and come to sit at ease.
     The secret effect of this swaying your body to the left and right is to tighten the anal sphincter. Sitting without tightening it is likely to become piles. From ancient times, there are many people who have practice zazen long and suffered from piles. When get used to zazen, they sit immediately to continue sitting, they sit with anal opened. By swaying your body to the left and right, the anal sphincter tightens naturally and not to become piles. The Chinese character piles is written with a left radical called Yamai-dare and right radical called Tera (temple).
      Then make the amplitude of swaying low gradually and stop in the center and sit with your hands Hokkai Join; the Dharma-realm meditation mudra.
     When we form posture as instructed, it might be most natural, by which it turned out the strength drains out of us. Sitting like this (master shows us slumped posture) makes you tired. Being so, if you are said to sit with cross-legged for one hour, it is awful. It is hard to sit with formal seiza position; kneeling with your buttocks on your heels and your body upright. With seiza, it is inconvenient when swaying your body to the left and to the right. You soon touch your hands on the tatami floor. But with lotus posture, just like a self-righting daruma doll, you have the concrete center of gravity and do not fall. There is no other stable sitting posture. When we come to cross our legs with the lotus posture, we are at ease.
      However it may be troublesome for those who have stiffness of coxae, I don’t force to cross legs bending legs. Only to make posture is not zazen. It isn’t that it will become zazen when you sit enduring pain. You can do zazen if you cannot cross legs or you don’t have legs. And a person who lead a life lying on the bed and is unable to stand up or unable to sit up can do zazen. It might be a little different from that you think of zazen.
     What we cannot lack on any account is how we are when sitting. How are we going through? It cannot become zazen without it. If you are not careful. when sitting, you all along keep playing with ideas which occur to your mind and the time is out. It is you were thinking all through the time and you didn’t sit. Seen from outside, you took the posture of zazen and you looked like sitting but the content is that you were just thinking. 
    Even the person himself doesn’t know and he thinks it is zazen, he says he has done zazen. I fact he formed the posture and sit, but what he did is not different form that of daily life. He is doing not different from thinking. He is doing not different from the way that he spends time thinking one thing after another in the head around the clock. That is meaningless doing zazen. Concerning zazen, this sort of point is not known.
How to be when sitting
     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.


Kando Inoue 
Born in Shizuoka in 1944. The youngest son of Gien Inoue(1894-1981).He practiced at Hosshin-ji , Soji-ji temple in Yokohama, and other temples. He realized the truth in his teens and later received the transmission of Dharma from his father Gien Inoue. He served as the Yakuryou (the head priest who teaches monks ) at Kasuisai temple of Soto school in Shizuoka. He has been teaching Zen to monks and laypeople, Tokyo, Shizuoka, Kyoto, Kobe, Okayama and Kochi.  He is now todo (the retired head priest resides at the eastern hall) at Shorinji Temple in Shizuoka. 

Paper book(Japanese)
History of Shorinji Temple 
Gennibi- Genjokoan, Shobogenzo 
Truth, Satori, and Zen Practice 
Sanjushichi-bon-bodai-bunpo   37bonbodaibunpo order form

e-book ( Japanese edition)
Jisgo-zanma  Shobogenzo Amazon Jisho-zanmai
Shobogenzo     Amazon Dai-shugyo
Shobogenzo            Amazon Baika 

Sanjushichi-bon-bodai-bunpo Shobogenzo  Amazon 37bon bodai-bunpo