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.


“The observation that mind is without constancy.” To observe the mind is without constancy. Although the letter of mind is used here, it is not a character in that kind of meaning which you think in common sense that the mind thinks of something. The mind refers to all the things. It is the pronoun that indicates myriad things. You know well about impermanence, without constancy. If you see the life itself, it is all clear. There is none who is doing what existed a moment ago. When seeing every part of body, there is none who is doing what existed a moment ago. We are formed to be like that. 
     I wonder on what you feel obsessive, where you are caught to suffer. There is nothing to suffer, nothing remains to suffer. Nothing is to be taken up as a problem. Which is the state of impermanence. All of you, you haven’t observed impermanence like that. It is without constancy, a level of such is trifle. Look truly. To put it in a beautiful word, it is that people do only what they have never experienced even once, which means to live. Now we see like this (he looks around the room,) it is for the first time, to see this. It is different from what we saw a moment ago. What we saw a moment ago is what we did a moment ago. What we do now is the first time. We never have done once until now. But here this brain takes it ‘again’ ‘again and again,’ it is working like that. We do not see on such a way. There is not anything which existed a moment ago, on this occasion. It is the same on whole body. As it is mentioned here ‘the mind,’ not only the body but all myriad things are acting such, which is said to observe that the mind is without constancy. As a way of studying is you practice to this degree, you will be clear.
     “The old Buddha Sokei says Non constancy is the Buddha- nature.” Because there is such a thing, when we have really realized the state of this impermanent, we will know exactly what the Buddha realized, which Master Dogen says. “Therefore, non-constancy understood by various things is also the Buddha nature.” Every possible thing is said to be impermanent; without constancy, though, the content is formed like this. It is so simple as this much, but human beings think that things a while ago or many years ago appear. You think like I am speaking. It is not such a thing really exists, but you think so. You only think so, such a thing, like that, with the way of thinking. In reality, there is not such a thing. To that extent, whether you can see what is called the mind or you can see the true state of things or not. It is that kind of practice, “the observation that mind is without constancy” in four abodes of mindfulness is.
     Great Master Yoka Shinkaku was in China and among the words left by him, there is this, “All things are impermanent, all is empty.” All the activities, all things, what we are acting now only exists. It remains nowhere before or since. Even though we acted, the thing does not remain anywhere, he says. Empty is. “Just this is the Tathagata’s Great and Perfect realization.” This is what the Buddha enlightened. It is wonderful, he said so.
     “The present observation that mind is non-constancy is the Tathagata’s Great and Perfect realization, ” If the people become truly aware that the state of being now is only unfolding, they are certainly saved. It is impossible to touch the state of being now to adjust. Are you all right? Clap! (he claps his hands) You cannot listen again this sound. Clap! It is over now. Clap! Without doing anything. Clap! It will be good that you can hear it as it is. It is not like you only hear half of it. You can get all of it as it is, as it is said Great and Perfect realization, there is no deficiency. It is like that. Such a thing is clarified. 覚 “Kaku; realization” is to realize. It is self-awareness. There is no need to deal with. It is formed without necessity of improvement. Suppose if you notice a mistake and correct it, how will it be? If there is a person who has excellent ability to correct and he finds here what is mistaken and corrects it immediately, how will it be? If he corrects it as soon as he sees it, no one can find the mistake. 
     This is the matter of the body. If you feel pain and make it painless, if there is a person who make his body unpainful when he has a pain, he cannot notice his illness. It looks good, it looks good not to feel pain when being in pain, when being in pain it is really painful, it will become unknown what to do if touches to correct it. When seeing a doctor, you change the part of the body painful from here to there, even if you complain that you have pain here, the doctor will say no problem and let you go home. In reality it hurts here. However, human beings are such animals. When there is something wrong, they try to rectify it. That is not so. To be clarified that what is wrong is a wrong thing is the only way to correct a thing. To know that what is an mistake is a mistake is the saga. An ordinary person cheats an error. That is an ordinary person. The thing of the sort comes out here. 
     “Mind, even if it intends not to observe,” Not to see, you try not to see things of the kind. But “it follows the others,” is said. Because we always live with every movement together like this, it is impossible that only you are here. Look around. Look the way you are here. You live having all things be as your content. You don’t live without tatami mats, you don’t live without this room. You don’t live having removed all the air, do you? It is so. Truly, like not knowing from which part to which part is the state of our own, it is “it follows the others.” There is no boundary that being up to here is the state of my own. This part is so clear that the parts seen as your own body are yourself and the rest is other’s matter, which is not so. You have eyes and if there aren’t things like those as circumstances, your eyes would not grow up. Those things are all the nutrition of the eyes. Eyes eat those things to live. What can be seen like this raises eyes. When you are in the dead darkness, your eyes come to unable to see things. The functioning has been lost. When a person having stay in a completely soundless room for many years, his will lose his hearing. Putting someone in bedridden, he will come to unable to walk. All of them due to “it follows the others,” What surround you entirely become your nutrition. They are not different things. 
     “if there is mind, there is also observation.” Probably there is not a person who has the body and without the mind. There is not a person who has the body and without the function of mind at all. Even if it is said commonly that being put in a vegetative state or in a dead brain state, the body responds as it is touched when being touched. He may not have recognized. We are formed such. “On the whole to reach the Supreme Truth of Bodhi, the Supreme Right realization is non-constancy” Well, the supreme state is said, though, what is the content is that it is just this reality. The truth called non-constancy is, having never been neither before nor after, it is just maintained with the state of being now. We can recall what was yesterday, but we cannot do what was yesterday today. We tend to think what will be tomorrow but we cannot do now what will be tomorrow. Truly what we are doing now just exists now at where we are doing. This is the supreme state. You have nothing to say with that. Do you want anything more ? Is it not enough? When living like that, People who have various jobs can manage to live. If you spend exactly being such way as it is on every occupation, on every spot, on every instance, you all can do better job. Which is really to observe the mind. The observation of the mind. 
     “Mind is not necessarily constant,” If there is always something like mind, there is not such a thing. The working without suchlike mind is called the mind for the present. To say what it is, when facing a red rose, we can see it red, when facing a white rose, we can see it white, which working exists. There is no fixed matter that we should see like this. Without any fixed matter, it comes to turn into the color as it is, by which we touch. It turned into the color, then if remains somewhere sticking, when touching next thing like this, we all separate from it completely from one thing to another and we live. Which is called “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,” Four corners are said. Being or not being. That is being or that is not being, which is typically said. The hundred negation means a lot of things are brought up like it is not so, it is not so, it is not so, because, concerning our view, we have the habit of seeing things with the fixed idea. This is so strange. I can know well when talking with people. Even as for the person who is likely think himself that he has not such a fixed way of observation, he has unnoticeably his own way of thinking, which appears on various occasion. It is suchlike thing. Weighing on your mind is probably that sort of thing. While you live, if you are concerned when touching something, you surly have in yourself what you think should be like this without knowing. Being so, you respond it when you touched. Why is he suchlike? Why has he done such a thing? Why did he say like that? You feel uneasy about that sort of thing, you have in yourself like what is to be like this, what should be like this. You should know that such sort of thing make you dull.
     Sometimes it is said, “I came for the first time, zazen is to become nothingness, it is to become no-mindedness, isn’t it?” Where have you studied? How is it like? Do you know what is to become no-mindedness? When I say such, everyone certainly had something this or that in his head. That is why they don’t accept honestly however much I talk to them. When I talk to them what is different viewpoint from what they have learned, they say that he is strange, why he says such a thing, I haven’t come to study such a thing, and they don’t accept it. To that degree, you grasp thing s in yourself, you are in strange situation. However, when you become honest and you have nothing in this (pointing himself), what was told enters yourself and know well. The people who take a long time to practice have always such things(possessions) a lot in themselves. Without knowing, they have piled them up in themselves.
     The state which are all separated from or cut off that sort of things is said “it separates the four corners and surpasses the hundred negations.” Then as written here, you will realize when you touch things called fences, walls, tiles, pebbles that exist around there, that is, pebbles, walls, broken fences which you don’t value.  If you have possessions, you look at it “who cares about?” You think that they are different what you are seeking for. Seeing a stone, is this the study of the Buddhist Way, the study of Buddhism? Being said to look the pebble, you hardly think it the study of Buddhism. There is a fence over there, go and see, What? What is it all about? It will become such. It cannot be enlightening. 
     Here it is. “stones large and small,” Stones is written the head of stone. When we go to Sekitozan, stone mountain, there are stones, big stones or small stones a lot of stones, which is in a tale and brought up. You can study on such way. In common parlance, there is the way observing things “as it is” that you use. Truly it is the strength to receive a thing as it is. If you practice it, you came to be different. 
     In the way that we see things, firstly like and dislike, rights and wrongs, roughly speaking, thing of that sort always appears at the moment we see things. We hold nothing but such kinds of views. There is almost no person to see a thing as it is. When seeing a thing, we don’t see it comparing to the other thing. When you are said, “Look at this” and see it, you don’t see it comparing to the other. However, you see only this one quickly, feeling large or small, beautiful, suchlike thing appears, what is it? You are comparing it with something. You do it without knowing. You don’t see it truly as it is. You are not aware, are you? It is so simple thing, though. There is really a wonderful word “as it is,” but I wonder you can do seeing a thing as it is, you are doing it. Being so, it is said here “fences, walls, tiles, pebbles, and these are the mind, and are non-constancy, and are precisely observation.” To practice there is nothing special. You do practice on what you are doing, with what you are touching. Although you practice with what it is, if you are not cautious about this matter, it cannot be done. Well, what makes you say difficult might be this point. This is the end of “the observation that mind is without constancy.” 


“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. You already know that. Although you already 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 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 arose such a thought in yourself and saw 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. 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 yet arrive at all 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. Though it is said the body and the 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 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 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? 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 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 is that 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 and eat. We are taught that the practice to separate from attachment to things 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 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 when seeing with the naked eye, it is the conspicuous star. When seeing, there is not to see. None who are seeing 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 like being pure or being not pure like the thought in general public. 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 the 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 the branches of the pine tree, it becomes the state as it touched the shape of the branches of the 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! (hit the table) it became such. Tap! It became as sounded. This body (the body and the mind) did. There is none who doesn’t change. Tap! This sound was done, before it sounds and after it sounded, it surly changed. “studying like this,” The way of studying like this, if bringing up a little different one, “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 to regulate the human being and to become buddha.” To say this in general, 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 clean 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? When doing such, you cannot plane a clean board. You should ask to know a carpenter. When planning a clean board, it is not like that. As it surly 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 is assessed. The sound itself assesses the person, the appearing sound itself does. He plays like that. Being so, you should see the person who plays what is perfect. 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. This is it. 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 bringing up.” What it 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 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