ZEN IRODALOM ZEN LITERATURE
« Zen főoldal
« vissza a Terebess Online nyitólapjára

 

[永平] 道元希玄 [Eihei] Dōgen Kigen (1200–1253)

普勧坐禅儀 / 普勸坐禪儀 (Fukanzazengi)




Tartalom

Contents

Végh József:
PDF: Dógen zen mester élete és művei

PDF: Dógen Zen mester magyarul elérhető írásai
Összegyűjtötte: Végh József

Hrabovszky Dóra:
Dōgen Kigen és a Fukan Zazengi

Fukan-zazen-gi
Általános javallatok a zen meditációhoz
Címet fordította: Terebess Gábor;
szövegford. Mák Andrea és Fábián Gábor

PDF: Fukan-zazen-gi Hakuun Yasutani mester magyarázataival
Fordította: Hetényi Ernő

Dógen versei

Dógen holdbanéző önarcképe

A zazen dicsérete
Fordította: Végh József

Az ülő meditáció szabályai (Sóbógenzó zazengi)
Fordította: Végh József

A zazen ösvénye
Fordította: Szigeti György

A szívében a megvilágosodás szellemével élő lény (bódhiszattva) négy irányadó tevékenysége
(Sóbógenzó bodaiszatta sisóbó)
Fordította: Végh József

Életünk kérdése (Gendzsókóan 現成公案)
Fordította: Hadházi Zsolt (2006)

PDF: Az Út Gyakorlásában Követendő pontok
Fordította: Barna Mokurin Gyula

真字正法眼蔵 [Mana/Shinji] Shōbōgenzō

仮字正法眼蔵 [Kana/Kaji] Shōbōgenzō

普勧坐禅儀 Fukan zazengi

学道用心集 Gakudō-yōjinshū Advice on Studying the Way

永平清規 Eihei shingi Eihei Rules of Purity

永平廣錄 Eihei kōroku Dōgen's Extensive Record

宝慶記 Hōkyō-ki Memoirs of the Hōkyō Period

傘松道詠 Sanshō dōei Verses on the Way from Sanshō Peak

DOC: The Zen Poetry of Dogen - Verses from the Mountain of Eternal Peace
by Steven Heine

孤雲懷奘 Kōun Ejō (1198-1280)
正法眼蔵随聞記
Shōbōgenzō zuimonki

修證 Shushō-gi, compiled in 1890
by Takiya Takushū (滝谷卓洲) of Eihei-ji and Azegami Baisen (畔上楳仙) of Sōji-ji
as an abstract of Dōgen's Shōbōgenzō

Kōshō-ji
Dōgen founded this temple in 1233

Self-portrait

Dōgen's Zen Ancestors Chart


PDF: Six English Translations Comparison

PDF: Fukanzazengi
Tr. by Norman Waddell and Masao Abe

PDF: Principles of Seated Meditation
pp. 174-187. A Comparative Translation by Carl Bielefeldt

Fukanzazengi, one of Dogen's early writings, is a manual that explains how to do sitting meditation. Fukanzazengi translates as “Universal Recommendation for Zazen.” There are two versions, the original version, Shinpitsu-bon (真筆本), and the so-called popular version, Rufu-bon (流布本), a revised draft that Dogen wrote later. The popular version is included at the end of Volume 8 of Dogen's Eihei Koroku.

"Written on Chugen [July 15th] in the first year of the 天福 Tenpuku Era [1233] at Kannon-dori-in temple."
Because it was written in the Tenpuku Era, this original version of Fukan-zazengi is sometimes refered to as Tenpuku-bon; this manuscript, which was composed in 1233 but lost until it was rediscovered in 1922.

A scroll of the original version of Fukanzazengi, calligraphed in Dogen's own hand, is in the possession of Eiheiji Temple and has been designated as a national treasure of Japan.

Contents

1
普勸坐禪儀 Fukanzazengi 真筆本 Shinpitsu-bon (Original Version)

2
普勸坐禪儀 Fukanzazengi 流布本 Rufu-bon (Popular Version)

3
THREE TRANSLATIONS COMPARISON
(1) Yokoi & Victoria; (2) Nishijima & Cross (3) Waddell & Abe

4
Fukan-Zazen-Gi
Translated by Gudo Nishijima

5
Fukanzazengi or Zazen for Anyone Anywhere
Translated by Hakuun Barnhard (with her commentary)

6
How Everyone Can Sit
Translated by Yasuda Joshu roshi and Anzan Hoshin sensei

7
Rules for Zazen
Translated by Reiho Masunaga

8
A Generally Recomended Mode of Sitting Meditation
Translated by Thomas Cleary

9
Recommending Zazen to All People
Translated by Kazuaki Tanahashi

10
Recommending Zazen to All People
Translated by Ed Brown & Kazuaki Tanahashi

11
Links

 

 

Fukanzazengi
普勸坐禪儀

Original Version
真筆本 (Shinpitsu-bon)

入宋傳法沙門道元 撰

原夫道本圓通。爭假修證。宗乘自在。何費功夫。況乎全體逈出塵埃。孰信拂拭之手段。大都不離當處。豈用修行之脚頭。然而毫釐有差天地懸隔。違順纔起紛然失心。須知歴劫輪迴還因擬議之一念。塵世迷道復由商量之無休。欲超向上之徹底。唯 解直下之承當。直饒誇會豐悟。獲瞥地之智通。得道明心。擧衝天之志氣。雖有入頭之量。尚缺出身之路。矧彼釋迦老子之爲生知。已在六年端坐之跡。達磨大師之傳心印。更貽九歳面壁之蹤。古聖既然。今人盍辨。所以 ニ 翻尋言逐語之鮮行。須迴光返照之退歩。自然身心脱落。本來面目現前。欲得恁麼。急務坐禪。

夫 參禪者。靜室宜焉。飮飡節矣。乃放捨諸縁休息萬事。不思善惡。莫管是非。停心意識之運轉。止念想觀之測量。正坐之時。厚敷坐物。上用蒲團。然後結跏趺坐。 或半跏趺坐。謂結跏趺坐。先以右足安左上。左足安右上。半跏趺坐。但以左足壓右矣。寛繋衣帶可令齊整。次右手安左足上。左掌安右掌上。以兩大拇指面相拄。 乃正身端坐。不得左側右傾前躬後仰。要令耳與肩對鼻與臍對。舌掛上腭唇齒相著。目須常開。身相既定氣息亦調。念起即覺。覺之即失。久久忘縁自成一片。此坐 禪之要術也。謂坐禪則大安樂法門也。若得此意。自然四大輕安。精神爽利。正念分明。法味資神。寂然清樂。日用天眞也。已能發明。可謂。如龍得水。似虎靠 山。當知。正念現前。昏散曷到。若從坐起。徐徐動身。安祥而起。不應卒暴。於一切時護持定力。參究之超上關無本可據證。放之被自礙。所以未留乃道之十成 也。

誠 禪定一門最爲高勝。先以十分之會擧。次轉一半之證來。只在此法。拈花破顏禮拜得髓。皆承他之恩力而獲大自在者也。學般若菩薩。詎不隨順者乎。嘗觀。超凡越 聖必假靜縁。坐脱立亡能任定力。況復指竿針鎚之轉機。拂拳棒喝之證契。未是思量分別之所能解也。豈爲神通修證之所能知也。可爲聲色之外威儀。那非知見之前 軌則者歟。然則不論上知下愚。莫簡利人鈍者。放下六根。見轉全道。不生一念坐斷十方。凡其自界他方佛法本無異法。西天東地祖門遂開五門。等持佛印。各檀宗 風。唯務單傳。直指專事。翻身迴頭雖謂千差萬別。但喜歸程祥參。何忘却自家之坐床謾去來他國之塵境。若錯一歩。當面蹉過。既得人身之應會。莫虚度光陰。必 憶佛道之當行。誰浪樂石火。加以形質如草露。運命似電光。倏忽便空。須臾即失。冀其參學高流久習摸象勿怪眞龍。早向直指端的之正道。速成絶學無爲之眞人。 方遵百丈之規繩。遍通少林之消息。莫勞拂耳之風。更驚撃舌之響耶。但能正開自寶藏受用使如意。

天福元年中元日書于觀音導利院

 

Detailed character-by-character analysis and translation of Dogen's Fukanzazengi (真筆本 Shinpitsu-bon = The Original version)
http://the-middle-way.org/subpage8.html first half
http://the-middle-way.org/subpage9.html second half

 

Fukanzazengi
普勸坐禪儀

Popular Version
流布本 (Rufu-bon)

觀音導利興聖寶林寺沙門道元 撰

原 夫道本圓通、爭假修證。宗乘自在、何費功夫。況乎全體逈出塵埃兮、孰信拂拭之手段。大都不離當處兮、豈用修行之脚頭者乎。然而毫釐有差天地懸隔、違順纔起 紛然失心。直饒誇會豐悟兮、獲瞥地之智通、得道明心兮、擧衝天之志氣、雖逍遙於入頭之邊量、幾虧闕於出身之活路。矧彼祇園之爲生知兮、端坐六年之蹤跡可 見。少林之傳心印兮、面壁九歳之聲名尚聞。古聖既然、今人盍辦。所以須休尋言逐語之解行、須學囘光返照之退歩。身心自然脱落、本來面目現前。欲得恁麼事、 急務恁麼事。夫參禪者、靜室宜焉、飮飡節矣。放捨諸縁、休息萬事。不思善惡、莫管是非。停心意識之運轉、止念想觀之測量。莫圖作佛、豈拘坐臥乎。尋常坐 處、厚敷坐物、上用蒲團。或結跏趺坐、或半跏趺坐。謂、結跏趺坐、先以右足安左腿上、左足安右腿上。半跏趺坐、但以左足壓右矣。寛繋衣帶、可令齊整。次右 手安左足上、左掌安右掌上。兩大拇指、面相拄矣。乃正身端坐、不得左側右傾、前躬後仰。要令耳與肩對、鼻與臍對。舌掛上腭、唇齒相著。目須常開。鼻息微 通。身相既調、欠氣一息、左右搖振。兀兀坐定、思量箇不思量底。不思量底、如何思量、非思量、此乃坐禪之要術也。所謂、坐禪非習禪也、唯是安樂之法門也、 究盡菩提之修證也。公案現成、籮籠未到。若得此意、如龍得水、似虎靠山。當知、正法自現前、昏散先撲落。若從坐起、徐徐動身、安詳而起、不應卒暴。嘗觀、 超凡越聖、坐脱立亡、一任此力矣。況復拈指竽針鎚之轉機、擧拂拳棒喝之證契、未是思量分別之所能解也、豈爲神通修證之所能知也。可爲聲色之外威儀、那非知 見前軌則者歟。然則不論上智下愚、莫簡利人鈍者。專一功夫、正是辦道。修證自不染汙、趣向更是平常者也。凡夫自界他方、西天東地、等持佛印、一擅宗風。唯 務打坐、被礙兀地。雖謂萬別千差、秪管參禪辦道。何抛卻自家之坐牀。謾去來他國之塵境。若錯一歩、當面蹉過。既得人身之機要、莫虚度光陰。保任佛道之要 機、誰浪樂石火。加以、形質如草露、運命似電光。倐忽便空、須臾即失。冀其參學高流、久習摸象勿怪眞龍。精進直指端的之道、尊貴絶學無爲之人。合沓佛佛之 菩提、嫡嗣祖祖之三昧。久爲恁麼、須是恁麼、寶藏自開、受用如意。

普勸坐禪儀 終

 

 

THREE TRANSLATIONS COMPARISON
(1) Yokoi & Victoria; (2) Nishijima & Cross (3) Waddell & Abe

Yuho Yokoi with Daizen Victoria, Zen Master Dogen: An Introduction with Selected Writings (N.Y.: Weatherhill, 1976, pp. 45-47.)

The Standard of Sitting-Zen Recommended for Everyone. Master Dogen's Fukan-zazengi rufu-bon (the popular edition)
Translated by Gudo Nishijima & Chodo Cross (New Year 2003.)

Norman Waddell and Abe Masao, "Dôgen's Fukanzazengi and Shôbôgenzô zazengi", The Eastern Buddhist, New Series 6, 2 (1973), pp. 115-128

1. Now, when you trace the source of the Way, you find that it is universal and absolute. It is unnecessary to distinguish
between "practice" and "enlightenment."
2. Now, when we research it, the truth originally is all around: why should we rely upon practice and experience?
3. The Way is originally perfect and all-pervading. How could it be contingent upon practice and realization?

1. The supreme teaching is free, so why study the means to attain it?
2. The real vehicle exists naturally: why should we put forth great effort?
3. The Dharma-vehicle is utterly free and untrammeled. What need is there for our concentrated effort?

1. The Way is, needless to say, very far from delusion. Why, then, be concerned about the means of eliminating the latter?
2. Furthermore, the whole body far transcends dust and dirt: who could believe in the means of sweeping and polishing?
3. Indeed, the Whole Body is far beyond the world's dust. Who could believe in a means to brush it clean?

1. The Way is completely present where you are, so of what use is practice or enlightenment?
2. In general, we do not stray from the right state: of what use, then, are the tip-toes of training?
3. It is never apart from you right where you are. What use is there going off here and there to practice?

1. However, if there is the slightest difference in the beginning between you and the Way, the result will be a greater
separation than between heaven and earth. If the slightest dualistic thinking arises, you will lose your Buddha-mind.
2. However, if there is a thousandth or a hundredth of a gap, the separation is as great as that between heaven and earth;
and if a trace of disagreement arises, we lose the mind in confusion.
3. And yet if there is the slightest discrepancy, the Way is as distant as heaven from earth. If the least like or dislike arises,
the mind is lost in confusion.

1. For example, some people are proud of their understanding, and think that they are richly endowed with the Buddha's
Wisdom. They think that they have attained the Way, illuminated their minds, and gained the power to touch the heavens.
They imagine that they are wandering about in the realm of enlightenment. But in fact they have almost lost the absolute
Way, which is beyond enlightenment itself.
2. Proud of our understanding and richly endowed with realization, we obtain special states of insight; we attain the truth; we
clarify the mind; we acquire the zeal that pierces the sky; we ramble through remote intellectual spheres, going in with the
head: and yet, we have almost completely lost the vigorous road of getting the body out.
3. Suppose you gain pride of understanding, inflate your own achievement, glimpse the wisdom that runs through all things,
attain the Way and clarify your mind, raising an aspiration to escalade the very sky. You are making an initial, partial
excursion through the frontiers of the Dharma, but you are still deficient in the vital Way of total emancipation.

1. You should pay attention to the fact that even the Buddha Sakyamuni had to practice zazen for six years. It is also said
that Bodhidharma had to do zazen at Shao-lin temple for nine years in order to transmit the Buddha mind. Since these
ancient sages were so diligent, how can present-day trainees do without the practice of zazen?
2. Moreover, we can [still] see the traces of the six years spent sitting up straight by the natural sage of Jetavana park. We
can still hear rumors of the nine years spent facing the wall by the transmitter of the mind-seal of Shaoiin [temple]. The
ancient saints were like that already: how could people today fail to make effort?
3. Look at the Buddha himself, who was possessed of great inborn knowledge-the influence of his six years of upright sitting
is noticeable still. Or Bodhidharma, who transmitted the Buddha's mind-seal-the fame of his nine years of wall sitting is
celebrated to this day. Since this was the case with the saints of old, how can people today dispense with negotiation of
the Way?

1. You should stop pursuing words and letters and learn to withdraw and reflect on yourself. When you do so, your body and
mind will naturally fall away, and your original Buddhanature will appear. If you wish to realize the Buddha's Wisdom, you
should begin training immediately.
2. Therefore we should cease the intellectual work of studying sayings a chasing words. We should learn the backward step
of turning light and reflecting. Body and mind will naturally fall away, and the original features will manifest themselves
before us. If we want to attain the matter of ineffable, we should practice the matter of the ineffable at once.
3. You should therefore cease from practice based on intellectual understanding, pursuing words and following after speech,
and learn the backward step that turns your light inward to illuminate your self. Body and mind will drop away of
themselves, and your original face will manifest itself. If you wish to attain suchness, you should practice suchness without
delay.

1. Now, in doing zazen it is desirable to have a quiet room. You should be temperate in eating and drinking, forsaking all
delusive relationships. Setting everything aside, think of neither good nor evil, right nor wrong. Thus, having stopped the
various functions of your mind, give up even the idea of becoming a Buddha. This holds true not only for zazen but for all
your daily actions.
2. In general, a quiet room is good for practicing [Za]zen, and food and drink are taken in moderation. Cast aside all
involvements. Give the myriad things a rest. Do not think of good and bad. Do not consider right and wrong. Stop the
driving movement of mind, will, consciousness. Cease intellectual consideration through images, thoughts, and reflections.
Do not aim to become a buddha. How could [this] be connected with sitting or lying down?
3. For the practice of Zen, a quiet room is suitable. Eat and drink moderately. Cast aside all involvements, and cease all
affairs. Do not think good, do not think bad. Do not administer pros and cons. Cease all the movements of the conscious
mind, the gauging of all thoughts and views. Have no designs on becoming a Buddha. The practice of Zen (sanzen) has
nothing whatever to do with the four bodily attitudes of moving, standing, sitting, or lying down.

1. You should pay attention to the fact that even the Buddha Sakyamuni had to practice zazen for six years. It is also said
that Bodhidharma had to do zazen at Shao-lin temple for nine years in order to transmit the Buddha mind. Since these
ancient sages were so diligent, how can present-day trainees do without the practice of zazen?
2. Moreover, we can [still] see the traces of the six years spent sitting up straight by the natural sage of Jetavana park. We
can still hear rumors of the nine years spent facing the wall by the transmitter of the mind-seal of Shaoiin [temple]. The
ancient saints were like that already: how could people today fail to make effort?
3. Look at the Buddha himself, who was possessed of great inborn knowledge-the influence of his six years of upright sitting
is noticeable still. Or Bodhidharma, who transmitted the Buddha's mind-seal-the fame of his nine years of wall sitting is
celebrated to this day. Since this was the case with the saints of old, how can people today dispense with negotiation of
the Way?

1. You should stop pursuing words and letters and learn to withdraw and reflect on yourself. When you do so, your body and
mind will naturally fall away, and your original Buddhanature will appear. If you wish to realize the Buddha's Wisdom, you
should begin training immediately.
2. Therefore we should cease the intellectual work of studying sayings a chasing words. We should learn the backward step
of turning light and reflecting. Body and mind will naturally fall away, and the original features will manifest themselves
before us. If we want to attain the matter of ineffable, we should practice the matter of the ineffable at once.
3. You should therefore cease from practice based on intellectual understanding, pursuing words and following after speech,
and learn the backward step that turns your light inward to illuminate your self. Body and mind will drop away of
themselves, and your original face will manifest itself. If you wish to attain suchness, you should practice suchness without
delay.

1. Now, in doing zazen it is desirable to have a quiet room. You should be temperate in eating and drinking, forsaking all
delusive relationships. Setting everything aside, think of neither good nor evil, right nor wrong. Thus, having stopped the
various functions of your mind, give up even the idea of becoming a Buddha. This holds true not only for zazen but for all
your daily actions.
2. In general, a quiet room is good for practicing [Za]zen, and food and drink are taken in moderation. Cast aside all
involvements. Give the myriad things a rest. Do not think of good and bad. Do not consider right and wrong. Stop the
driving movement of mind, will, consciousness. Cease intellectual consideration through images, thoughts, and reflections.
Do not aim to become a buddha. How could [this] be connected with sitting or lying down?
3. For the practice of Zen, a quiet room is suitable. Eat and drink moderately. Cast aside all involvements, and cease all
affairs. Do not think good, do not think bad. Do not administer pros and cons. Cease all the movements of the conscious
mind, the gauging of all thoughts and views. Have no designs on becoming a Buddha. The practice of Zen (sanzen) has
nothing whatever to do with the four bodily attitudes of moving, standing, sitting, or lying down.

1. Zazen is not "step-by-step meditation." Rather it is simply the easy and pleasant practice of a Buddha, the realization of
the Buddha's Wisdom. The Truth appears, there being no delusion. If you understand this, you are completely free, like a
dragon that has obtained water or a tiger that reclines on a mountain. The supreme Law will then appear of itself; and you
will be free of weariness and confusion.
2. This sitting in Zazen is not learning Zen concentration." It is simply the peaceful and joyful gate of Dharma. It is the
practice-and-experience which perfectly realizes the state of bodhi. The Universe is conspicuously realized, and
restrictions and hindrances never reach it. To grasp this meaning is to be like a dragon that has found water, or like a tiger
in its mountain stronghold. Remember, the right Dharma is naturally manifesting itself before us, and darkness and
distraction have dropped away already.
3. The zazen I speak of is not learning meditation. It is simply the Dharmagate of repose and bliss. It is the
practice-realization of totally culminated enlightenment. It is things as they are in suchness. No traps or snares can ever
reach it. Once its heart is grasped, you are like the dragon when he reaches the water, like the tiger when he enters the
mountain. You must know that when you are doing zazen, right there the authentic Dharma is manifesting itself, striking
aside dullness and distraction from the first.

1. At the completion of zazen move your body slowly and stand up calmly. Do not move violently.
2. If we rise from sitting, we should move the body slowly, and stand up calmly. We should not be hurried or violent.
3. When you arise from sitting, move slowly and quietly, calmly and deliberately. Do not rise suddenly or abruptly.

1. By virtue of zazen it is possible to transcend the difference between "common" and "sacred" and attain the ability to die
while doing zazen or while standing up.
2. We see in the past that those who transcended the common and transcended the sacred, and those who died while sitting
or died while standing, relied totally on this power.
3. In surveying the past, we find that transcendence of ignorance and enlightenment, and dying while sitting or standing,
have all depended entirely on the strength gained through zazen.

1. Moreover, it is impossible for our discriminating mind to understand either how the Buddhas and patriarchs expressed the
essence of Zen to their disciples with finger, pole, needle, or mallet, or how they passed on enlightenment with a hossu,
fist, staff, or shout. Neither can this be understood through supernatural power or a dualistic view of practice and
enlightenment. Zazen is a practice beyond the subjective and objective worlds, beyond discriminating thinking.
2. Moreover, the changing of the moment, through the means of a finger, a pole, a needle, or a wooden clapper; and the
experience of the state, through the manifestation of a whisk, a fist, a staff, or a shout, can never be understood by
thinking and discrimination. How could they be known through mystical powers or practice and experience? They may be
dignified behavior beyond sound and form. How could they be anything other than criteria that precede knowing and
seeing?
3. Moreover, enlightenment brought on by the opportunity provided by a finger, a banner, a needle, or a mallet, the
realization effected by the aid of a fly whisk, a fist, a staff, or a shout, cannot be fully comprehended by human
discrimination. It cannot be fully known by the practice-realization of supernatural powers. It is activity beyond human
hearing and seeing, a principle prior to human knowledge or perception.

1. Therefore, no distinction should be made between the clever and the stupid.
2. Therefore, we do not discuss intelligence as superior and stupidity as inferior. Do not choose between clever people and
dull ones.
3. This being the case, intelligence, or lack of it, does not matter. No distinction exists between the dull and sharp-witted.

1. To practice the Way single-heartedly is, in itself enlightenment. There is no gap between practice and enlightenment or
zazen and daily life.
2. If we singlemindedly make effort [in Zazen] that truly is pursuit of the truth. Practice-and-experience is naturally untainted.
Actions are more balanced and constant.
3. If you concentrate your effort single-mindedly, you are thereby negotiating the Way with your practice-realization undefiled.
As you proceed along the Way, you will attain a state of everydayness.

1. The Buddhas and patriarchs, both in this world and that, in India and in China, have all preserved the Buddha-mind and
enhanced Zen training. You should therefore devote yourself exclusively to and be completely absorbed in the practice of
zazen. Although it is said that there are innumerable ways of understanding Buddhism, you should do zazen alone.
2. In general, [the patriarchs] of this world and of other directions, of the Western Heavens and of the Eastern Lands, all
similarly maintain the Buddha's posture, and solely indulge in the custom of our religion. They simply devote themselves to
sitting, and are caught by the still state. Although there are myriad distinctions and thousands of differences, we should
just practice [Za]zen and pursue the truth.
3. The Buddha-mind seal, whose customs and traditions extend to all things, is found in both India and China, both in our
own world and in other worlds as well. It is simply a matter of devotion to sitting, total commitment to immovable sitting.
Although it is said that there are as many minds as there are people, all of them must negotiate the Way solely in zazen.

1. There is no reason to forsake your own sitting place and make futile trips to other countries. If your first step is mistaken,
you will stumble immediately.
2. Why should we abandon our own seat on the floor, to come and go without purpose through the dusty borders of foreign
lands? If we misplace one step we pass over the moment of the present.
3. Why leave behind your proper place, which exists right in your own home, and wander aimlessly off to the dusty realms of
other lands? If you make even a single misstep, you stray from the Great Way lying directly before you.

1. You have already had the good fortune to be born with a precious [human] body, so do not waste your time meaninglessly.
2. We have already received the essential pivot which is the human body: we must never pass time in vain.
3. You have gained the pivotal opportunity of human form. Do not let your time pass in vain.

1. Now that you know what is the most important thing in Buddhism, how can you be satisfied with the transient world? Our
bodies are like dew on the grass, and our lives like a flash of lightning, vanishing in a moment.
2. We are maintaining and relying upon the pivotal essence which is the Buddha's truth: who could wish idly to enjoy sparks
[that fly] from flint? What is more, the body is like a dew-drop on a blade of grass. Life passes like a flash of lightning.
Suddenly it is gone. In an instant it is lost.
3. You are maintaining the essential function of the Buddha Way. Would you take meaningless delight in the spark from a
flintstone? Form and substance are like dewdrops on the grass, destiny like the dart of lightning-vanishing in an instant,
disappearing in a flash.

1. Earnest Zen trainees, do not be surprised by a real dragon or spend a long time rubbing only one part of an elephant.
2. I beseech you, noble friends in learning through experience, do not become so accustomed to images that you are
dismayed by the real dragon.
3. Honored followers of Zen—you who have been long accustomed to groping for the elephant—please do not be suspicious
of the true dragon.

1. Exert yourself in the Way that points directly to your original [Buddha] nature. Respect those who have realized full
knowledge and have nothing more to do. Become one with the Wisdom of the Buddhas and succeed to the enlightenment
of the patriarchs.
2. Devote effort to the truth which is directly accessible and straightforward. Revere people who are beyond study and
without intention. Accord with the bodhi of the buddhas. Become a rightful successor to the samadhi of the patriarchs.
3. Devote your energy to a Way that points directly to suchness. Revere the person complete attainment beyond all human
agency. Gain accord with the enlightenment of the Buddhas. Succeed to the legitimate lineage of the patriarch’s samadhi.

1. If you do zazen for some time, you will realize all this. The treasure house will then open of itself; and you will be able to
enjoy it to your heart's content.
2. If you practice the state like this for a long time, you will surely become the state like this itself. The treasure-house will
open naturally, and you will be free to receive and to use [its contents] as you like.
3. Constantly comport yourselves in such a manner and you are assured of being a person such as they. Your treasure-store
will open of itself, and will use it at will.

Compiled by Taiun M Elliston, Abbot, Atlanta Soto Zen Center
http://storder.org/media/com_acymailing/upload/fkzzg_3_translations.pdf

 

 

Fukan-Zazen-Gi
Translated by
Gudo Nishijima
http://gudoblog-e.blogspot.hu/2009/05/translation-of-fukan-zazen-gi.html

Recently I have met my necessity to translate "Fukan-Zazen-Gi, or The General Introduction of How to Pracice Zazen." "The Fukan-Zazen-Gi, or The General Introduction of How to Practice Zazen" was written by Master Dogen in 1227, but later it seems to be revised by Master Dogen himself, and so nowadays "Fukan-Zazen-Gi" is usually published in its revised one. Therefore in this case I also utilize the edition, which has been used as the authorized one for hundreds years continuously.

Fukan-Zazen-Gi

Generally speaking, when we research the Truth, the Truth are originally pervading through the Universe, and so how is it necessary for us to rely upon sometimes practice, or sometimes experience?

Furthermore, the methods, which are useful to arrive at the fundamental principle, are existing everywhere, and so how is it necessary for us to be exhausted by the enormous efforts to get them?

Enormously much more, we, Buddhist monks, totally have got rid of the secular garbage or dust already, and so who is it be necessary for us to believe in the necessity of methods brushing off or wipe off them?

Generally, we, Human Beings, are impossible to get rid of our adequate place, and so how is it necessary for us to utilize even a bit of part of our legs for that purpose?

However, if there were any kind of the slightest gap existing actually, the gap of the expanse will become much more wider as if it were the width between the Heaven and the Earth, and so if there occurs any kind of difference, because of the difference we have to lose our mental and physical serenity completely.

Even though we are proud of our clear understandings, being full of clever decision, getting further excellently different consideration, getting the Truth, clarifying the mind, encouraging the will excellently piercing the sky, and even though we are taking a walk to put our head into the area of considering Action, but actually speaking, we are totally losing for ourselves to put our body actually into the area of Real Action itself.

Furthermore, in the case of innate Genius at Jetavana Anathapindikarama, we can actually look at the historical remains, where Gautama Buddha himself authentically sit there for 6 years. And the historical person in Shao-Rin-Ssu, who has transmitted the Central Symbol of Buddhism into China, has been presenting his authorized dignity of facing the wall for 9 years even today. Even in the case of such ancient examples those Old Sacred Personalities have been already like this. How is it possible for us, the people today, to spend the time without practicing Zazen at all?

Therefore we should stop our efforts to looking for words and to understand verbal expressions at all. It is necessary for us to study our passive steps of turning light to ourselves for reflecting ourselves opposite. The consciousness of our body and mind might vanish in a few minites, and our original face and eyes will manifest themselves naturally. And if we want to get anything ineffable at once, just practice something ineffable, that is, Zazen, at once!

Generally speaking, if we want to practice Zazen authentically, it might be better for us to use a quiet room, and what we drink and eat, might be better to be moderate. Many kinds of miscellaneous circumstances must be thrown away, and many kinds of business should be stopped so far totally. Don't consider Good and Bad! Don't worry about Right and Wrong! Stop the motion of Mind, Will, or Consciousness! Stop the consideration of Consciousness, Thoughts, or Reflection. Never, never, intend to become Buddha! And such a kind of efforts can never be limited only inside sitting, or lying.

In general situations, we should spread a thick carpet on the floor, and on there we use a thick and round cushion for Zazen. Sometimes we practice a full lotus posture, and sometimes we practice a half lotus posture. In the case of the full lotus posture, first we put our right foot on our left thigh, and then we put our left foot on the right thigh (for example.) And in the case of a half lotus posure, we push over our right thigh with our left foot (for example.) We should put our clothes over the legs for making the situation of clothes orderly.

Then we put our right hand on the left foot, and put our left hand on the right hand to put the tops of both thumbs together supporting with each other.

Then regulate our posture into the authentic sitting, and don't incline our spine left or right. Don't slouch the spine forward, or lean backward. The line of ears must be parallel with the line of the shoulers horizontally, and the nose aligned with the navel. Hold the tongue against the palate, keep the lips and teeth closed, and keep the eyes open naturally.

Breathe softly through the nose, and after settled the physical posture already, make a deep
breath once, sway the body left and right. Sit immovably in the mountain-still state, and think the concrete state of not thinking. How is it possible for us to think the concrete state of not thinking? It is just different from thinking. This is just the abreviated technique of Zazen.

What is called Zazen, is different from learning Zazen, but it is just the Peaceful and Pleasant Gate into the Universe. It is the practice and experience to clarify the Truth. The Universal System has been realized already, but nets or cages for us have never arrived at us yet at all.

If we have arrived at what we intend to, the situations might be the same as if a Dragon has got the water, or a Tiger has got mountains as the guard behind. We should exactly notice that the True Dharma has manifested itself naturally, and both darkness and vagueness have been destroyed first.

When we stand up from sitting, move our body gradually first, and then stand up stably. Don't be hasty or violent. In the case of standing up still, first we should move our bodies slowly, and then stand up. We should never be hasty or violent.

Reflecting Ancient Times, transcending the common sense, overcoming the Sacred, dying in Zazen, or passing away in standing still, all have been relying upon the power, which has been trained by the practice.

Furthermore a turning point utilizing a finger, a pole, a needle, or a wooden block, and another usual experiences utilizing a hossu, a fist, a wooden stick, or a cry of 'Katsu!', are also the identified experiences, which are far beyond the decision by consideration, or judgement. How is it possible for any kind of mystical ability, practice, or experience, to be available to know? It might be some dignified form outside of voice or color. How is it possible for them not to be criteria before recognitions or perception?

Therfore, we should never select abilities between the clever or the stupid, discussing higher wisdom, or serious stupidity, or selecting a clever person or a sutupid person. If we sincerely consider problems, it must be just pursuing the Truth. Practice and experience should never naturally become tainted with each other, and what is aimed at, should be balanced and constant.

Generally, this world and the other land, or the western world and the eastern land, all are keeping Buddhist characteristics, and solely including the authodox behavior. Just we are diligent in practicing Zazen only, and we are just being caught inside the state without motion.
Even though our situations are so much different having so many differences, we should solely practice Zazen for pursuing the Truth. How is it possible for us throwing our own sitting seat for wandering in the foreign countries here and there without any criterion? If we make a mistake even only one in our step, we have to commit our mistake just at the present moment.

Fortunately we have got the excellently valuable human body already. Should never pass the valuable time without doing anything. We, human beings, have already got the very important faculty for Buddhist Morals. How is it possible for anyone to lose the so valuable Time in vain spending it for instantly fleeting joy?

Not only like that, the physical substances are so fragile like a due drop on grass leaves, and the flimsy life is very similar to a flash of lightning. They suddenly vanish completely, and they eraze themselves at once.

I would like to ask to elegant people of studying Buddhism that because of having accustomed to models of dragons, don't be afraid of the Real Dragon itself. Relying upon the direct and simple efforts of practicing Zazen diligntly, and revering the person of transcending theoretical learning and forgetting intention. We will have identified ourselves with the Ultimate Truth of many Buddhas, and receive directly the balanced Autonomic Nervous System of many Patriarches's Samadhi. If you will continue this Something Ineffable, the Warehouse of Treasures will open naturally, and it will become easily possible for us to receive and utilize them as we like.

Fukan-Zazen-Gi The End

 

Fukan-Zazen-Gi (1) Commentary
http://gudoblog-e.blogspot.hu/2006/06/fukan-zazen-gi-1-commentary.html

MASTER DOGEN AT KENNIN-JI

Master Dogen became a Buddhist monk in the year 1212, at Enryaku-ji in Kyoto. He practiced the life of a Buddhist monk there for about 3 years. Noticing, however, that the training in Enryaku-ji at that time was too concentrated upon intellectual consideration, he went to visit Master Eisai at Kennin-ji in Kyoto, and eventually he moved to Kennin-ji.

Because Kennin-ji belongs to the Rinzai Sect, we can suppose that Master Dogen also received a Koan from the Master, and that he also considered the meaning of the Koan during Zazen as a method to get Enlightenment. Such a method is different from the practice of Zazen itself. But Master Dogen was a very sharp-minded person, so much so that it was likely impossible for him to have the misunderstanding that he had attained the so-called Enlightenment, when the fact was he had not attained anything. Therefore we can suppose that he might have worried about the fact that he hadn't experienced so-called Enlightenment at all.

Perhaps then Master Dogen had doubts about whether Zazen, as it was practiced in Japan at that time, was true or not. So he might have begun to want to go to China, in order to research the true Buddhist practice of Zazen, which was done in China at that time.

But at that time Master Butsuju Myozen, who had become the second Master of Kennin-ji succeeding Master Eisai, might have had the same idea as Master Dogen. Butsuju Myozen also had the hope to visit China to experience the real situation of Chinese Buddhism and Zazen directly. So Master Myozen and Master Dogen decided to visit China together in order to get Enlightenment there.

MASTER MYOZEN AND MASTER DOGEN IN CHINA

Unfortunately, Master Myozen fell ill about two years after they arrived in China. He died in Tendozan Keitoku-ji on 27th May, 1225.

Master Dogen continued traveling to several Chinese Buddhist temples, one by one. He hoped to meet a true Buddhist Master, by whom he (Master Dogen) could be satisfied. On the 1st of May in 1225, Master Dogen met Master Tendo Nyojo, who had become the Master of Tendozan Keitoku-ji. After that, Master Dogen studied Buddhism under Master Tendo Nyojo until his return to Japan in 1227.

The value of the historical fact that Master Dogen met with Master Tendo Nyojo is very great. Before meeting with Master Tendo Nyojo, Master Dogen practiced Zazen on the basis of the idea that by practicing Zazen practioners could get Enlightenment, which is different from the actual practice of Zazen itself. It was due to Master Dogen's great concern about the fact that he couldn't get the so-called enlightenment, that he visited China.

But Master Tendo Nyojo's Buddhist teachings were completely different from what Master Dogen expected. As Master Dogen described in the Shobogenzo chapter entitled 'Gyoji' (Chapter 30), Master Tendo Nyojo proclaimed that, "To practice Zazen is just to get rid of body and mind. It is not necessary for us to burn incense, recite Buddha's names, confess our sins, or read Sutras, at all. But if we just sit, everything has been got already since the beginning." These words suggest that "To practice Zazen is just to make the autonomic nervous system balanced and get rid of the consciousness of body and mind. If we practice Zazen solely, the getting rid of the consciousness of our body and mind has already been realized since the beginning."

This way of thinking is one of the most important principles of Buddhist philosophy. Zazen is never any idea that the method is to practice Zazen, and the aim is to get Enlightenment. The practice of Zazen is not to be viewed as some instrumental means to a separate end called Enlightenment. Zazen is just the act of sitting at the present moment. So it is absolutely necessary for us to think that in Zazen the aim and the method are perfectly combined into one by the act of sitting itself. Therefore it is very important for us to practice Zazen as the first enlightenment, and it is not necessary for us to worry about if, or when, the second enlightenment will come. The first enlightenment is just the practice of Zazen itself at the present moment. The second enlightenment is just the perfect understanding of the Buddhist philosophical system based on the Buddhist practitioner's sincere daily life on the basis of practicing Zazen.

MASTER DOGEN'S HOMECOMING

Master Dogen returned to Japan in 1227. He was 27 years old. Upon return, someone asked him, "What have you brought back from China?" At that time he answered "Nothing." And then he added, "If it is necessary for me to say something, it might be (what I have brought is) The Flexible and Soft Mind." And we can interpret his words to indicate our body and mind, as they are, in the balanced state of the autonomic nervous system.

WRITING FUKAN-ZAZEN-GI

Master Dogen, who had come back from China, stayed in Kyushu for a while, then he entered Kennin-ji in Kyoto once again. At that time we can think that he might have had a very strong feeling of duty to spread the true Buddhism in Japan, the Buddhism he had studied and learned under Master Tendo Nyojo in China. He wrote about this situation in the Shobogenzo chapter entitled 'Bendo' (Chapter 1.), saying it was as if he was carrying a very heavy burden on his shoulders. Therefore we can think of "Fukan-Zazen-Gi" as Master Dogen's proclamation for opening his teachings.

There are two different editions of Fukan-Zazen-Gi. One is called "Shinpitsu-Bon", and the other is called "Rufu-Bon." The "Shinpitsu-Bon" means the edition that was written in his own calligraphy, and "Rufu-Bon" suggests the edition that has been spread widely to the public.

"Shinpitsu-Bon" was written with a style of Chinese characters that was new at the time, and so it was designated as a National Treasure. It has been preserved in the Eihei-ji Treasury, where it remains at present.

After reading it again and again, I suppose that "Rufu-Bon" has been revised and polished a great many times by Master Dogen himself. So I think that "Rufu-Bon" might be the fully accomplished version and the best version to be used as the standard edition of Fukan-Zazen-Gi.

 

Fukan-Zazen-Gi (2) The original text of Rufu-Bon
http://gudoblog-e.blogspot.hu/2006/06/fukan-zazen-gi-2-original-text-of-rufu.html

Fukan-Zazen-Gi

In general, when we pursue the truth, the fundamental truth purvades throughout the universe, and so it seems to be perfectly unnecessary for us to rely upon the practice or the experience (of Zazen). Furthermore, the methods of arriving at the fundamental principles naturally exist, and so how is it necessary for us to exhaust our efforts (for getting the truth)?

Especially in our case, we, Buddhists, have already perfectly left the value of secular societies like garbage and dust. How is it necessary for anyone to believe in the necessity of methods to brush or wipe away those secular values?

Generally speaking we usually have not lost the adequate situations, and so how is it possible for us to necessarily utilize a bit of the tip of the edges of the feet (of Zazen) at all?

However, even if there was just a bit of the smallest gap, then the gap would become bigger and bigger as if it were like the distance between heaven and earth; and if the smallest difference slightly occured between right and wrong, we would have to lose our mind perfectly in serious confusion.

Even if we were so proud of our sharp intellectual understanding, and were full of intuitive decisions, getting sharp intuitive enlightenment in a perfectly independent area, getting the ultimate truth, clarifying the human mind, and even though we were elegantly strolling through situations, having the strong confidence that our intellectual thinking ability has surely entered into the real world, having the strong and sharp mind of piercing heaven, (but actually looking at the situations), it seemed to be perfectly impossible for us to avoid the faculty of intellectual consideration to get the vigorous state of real acts in the area of reality.

Furthermore, we can trace even the clear footprints by the genius (Gautama Buddha) of Jetavana Anathapindikarama, who made his efforts to practice Zazen for 6 years, and we can still hear even today the famous Master's information in Shorin-temple (Bodhi Dharma), who practiced Zazen facing the wall for 9 years. Even the ancient great Masters have shown their excellent example like those. How, then, is it possible for us to pass a bit of time of a day without practicing Zazen?

Therefore, we should stop the intellectual efforts of researching words and pursuing speeches at once, and should begin to learn the study of stepping back by illuminating ourselves. (Then the consciousness of) body and mind will drop off from us naturally at once, and our original face and eyes will manifest themselves suddenly. If we would like to get such a situation as this at once, we should do it at once, without any hesitation at all.

In general, when we practice Zazen, a quiet room is preferable. Eating and drinking should be moderate. Miscellaneous circumstances should be thrown away perfectly, stopping all kinds of jobs, don't think about good and bad, and don't have any concern between right and wrong. Stopping motion of mind, will, and consciousness, stopping consideration by image, thoughts, and intuition, and never intend to become Buddha! Such a state of practicing Zazen does never relate with sitting and lying down in our daily life.

At the place, where we sit, we usually spread a thick matting, and we use a round cushion. Sometimes we use the full-lotus posture, and sometimes we use the half-lotus posture. In the case of the full-lotus posture, first we place the right foot on the left thigh, and then we place the left foot on the right thigh. In the case of the half-lotus posture, we push the right thigh with the left foot. Covering over (the feet and the thighs) with wearing clothes, and it is necessary for us to make them orderly and neat. Then, place the right hand over the left foot, and place the left hand on the right hand, having the two tips of thumbs touching together against each other. Just then keep your posture in the regulated sitting exactly. Don't lean to the left, don't incline to right, don't slouch forward, and don't lean backward. It is necessary for us to keep the ears and the shoulders contrasted in parallel (parallel to eachother), and the nose and the navel should be contrasted (in line with eachother). Hold the tongue against the palate, keep the lips and teeth closed, and the eyes should always be kept open . Breathe softly through the nose, and after already regulating the posture, take a deep breath once, and swing the trunk right and left. Then sit stably without motion, similar to a mountain, and think the state without thinking. How can we think the state without thinking. It is different from thinking. This is just the summarized method of Zazen.

What is called Zazen can never be the so-called learning of Zen, but it is just the peaceful and pleasant entrance into Dharma. It is just the fusion of practice and experience to realize the truth perfectly. The rule of the universe has been relized already, and there is no possibility for net and cage to enter, which can capture the practioner. If we have grasped this meaning already, (our situations) might be the same as a dragon, which has got water, or a tiger, which stands up in front of a mountain guarding itself with the mountain. We should know the facts that the true universal rules manifest themselves first, and the states of both melancholy and gaiety fall down on the ground at once.

When we stand up from the sitting, we move the body slowly and gradually, then we should stand up peacefully and happily. Never should (our getting up) be hasty or violent. We have studied since the ancient time that the transcending ordinary poeple, or the overcoming saints, and the dying in Zazen and losing life standing still, have come from relying upon the power of balance, which has been got from Zazen.

Furthermore, the seriously important changing moment like the pointing finger of Master Gutei, the bringing poles down by Master Ananda, the using a needle by Master Nagarjuna for teaching Kanadeva, and the clapping block utilized by Master Manjusri, or the experienced states, which are indicated by a whisk, a fist, a staff, or a shout, can never be understood at all by mental consideration or intellectual distinction. How is it possible for them to be understood by mystical ability, or by the separation between practice and experience? They might be the dignified form out of voice or color. How is it not possible for them to be different from criteria before knowledge or view? Therefore, we should never discuss whether we are superior cleverness, or inferior stupidity. We should never prefer between a clever person or a foolish person. If we make our efforts wholeheartedly, it might be just pursuing the truth. The practice and the experience do never taint with each other, and the attitudes to go forward are much further balanced and constant. Inside ourselves and outside the external world, or the western,(India), and the eastern lands, we have kept the characteristics of Buddhas equally, and manifest the behaviors of fundamentally traditional habits solely, that is just to sit in Zazen, being restricted by the state of no motion. Even though there might exist tens of thousands of differences, or thousands of differences (in methods of Zazen,) just do Zazen and make our efforts for pursuing the Truth. How is it possible for us to forget our own sitting places by going to and coming back from others' dusty countries? If we have made a mistake in the smallest step, we have to make a stumbling, or mistakes just at the moment. We have fortunately got the important situations of human body already, therefore how is it possible for us to spend a bit of time without doing anything uselessly at all?

Fortunately we have maintained the human body and mind, which are the very important substance for pursuing Buddhist Truth, and so how is it possible for whom to enjoy the slightest instant joy like a spark of a flint at a moment, in vain at all?

Furthermore, the physical substance is as transient as a dew on a plant's leaf, and the situation of human life seems to be so similar to a flash of lightning. It has suddenly become vacant, and it has been lost at once.

Therefore, I would like to ask for those higher poeple, who are practicing and pursuing the Truth, that being accustomed to the miscellaneous images of imitative dragons, do not fear to meet the real dragon actually! Please make your efforts in the practice of Zazen, which indicates the Truth directly, revere a personality, who has transcended learning and having any kind of intention, become perfectly indentified with the Truth of the Buddhas, and receive the balanced state of the Patriarchs authentically. If you practice what is the ineffable, (which is Zazen,) it is impossible for you to avoid becoming the ineffable. The grand warehouse of jewels will become open naturally, and you have got the perfect freedom to get jewels and utilize them without any hindrance.

The End of Fukan-Zazen-Gi

 

Fukan-Zazen-Gi (3) Interpretations
http://gudoblog-e.blogspot.hu/2006/07/fukan-zazen-gi-3-interpretations.html

Generally speaking we can say that, what is necessary to write about Zazen, was written by Master Dogen in Fukan-Zazen-Gi, and what is not necessary to be written is not written in Fukan-Zazen-Gi. Therefore, what is written in Fukan-Zazen-Gi, has always inevitably had important value, and so I would like to trace through all of its sentences again according to my interpretations.

(1) Affirmation of the Real World

In general, a person, who absolutely believes in an idealistic philosophy, usually thinks that what they think in their brain is the highest criteria in the world. Therefore, they think that the real world, which is different from their ldeal, is always imperfect, that it is always unsatisfactory.

But at the same time, there are people who believe in a materialistic philosophy, who think that it is very clear that this world is made of matter. To them, the world strictly made of matter, is never satisfactory, but it is the one and only world in which we can live. And so, they think, if we want to make this world better, it is necessary for us to destroy the world.

In Buddhism, however, the world, where we are living now, is only one world, which really exists. So it is necessary for us to affirm the real situation of the world. It is inevitable for us to live in the world and to make the world a little better as much as possible. Master Dogen proclaimed that, generally speaking, human beings believe they are living usually in an adequate situation, and so to them it seems to be unnecessary to pursue the truth relying upon practice and experience.

(2) Real Situations of Human Life

When, however, we actually examine the real life of human beings, we find that our situations are not so adequate and easy. For example, when a very small problem occurs in our daily life, that small problem oftens becomes bigger and bigger, and it will usually grow so big that it will usually become very difficult for us to solve the problem at all. With a sharp mind and an excellent intuitive ability, we seem to acquire great understanding of our particular problems. This apparant understanding of the problem gives rise to a very strong confidence in our mental ability. This confidence is so strong that it becomes impossible for us to enter into the area of real act, the area that is beyond our mental function.

(3) Real Excellency of the Ancient Masters

Looking at the excellent Masters of the ancient past, we find that Gautama Buddha practiced Zazen at Jetanava Anathapindikarama for 6 years, and the Great Master Bodhi Dharma in Shorin Temple, practiced Zazen for 9 years. Those excellent Masters have practiced Zazen enormously, and so it is inevitable for us to practice Zazen as well.

(4) Real Contents of Zazen

The real contents of practicing Zazen is never the same as researching words, or pursuing the meaning of sentences. It is to turn the direction of the light inside to illuminate ourselves for reflection. Then our consciousness of our body and mind vanishes naturally, and our original eyes and faces manifest themselves actually. Therefore, if we want to experience such a kind of reality, which cannot be described with words, it is necessary for us to realize it by the act of Zazen.

(5) Circumstances of Zazen

Originally, it is better for us to utilize a quiet room, and drinking and eating should be moderate. Throwing away all circumstances, and stopping all of our jobs for a little while, we should never have any consideration of good and bad, and we should never have any interest in the true or the false. Stopping the functions of mind, will, and consciousness, and stopping the consideration of images, verbal and other types of consideration, intuition, and so forth, we should never even intend to become Buddhas. The situation of Zazen is completely different from the usual types of sitting and lying down in our daily lives.

(6) The Concrete Methods of Zazen

We usually spread a thick mat at the place of sitting. At the time when Master Dogen lived, even in Japanese houses, mats were not used so much. So when they practiced Zazen, they needed to use a mat on the wooden floors. And on the mat they used a special round cushion called Zafu.

In Zazen, sometimes we use the full-lotus posture, and sometime we use the half-lotus posture. In the case of the full-lotus posture, first we place the right foot on the left thigh, and then we place the left foot on the left thigh. In the case of the half-lotus posture, we push the right thigh with the left foot. In the case of the half-lotus posture the description Master Dogen used the phrase "to push." Such a description might suggest a little looser folding of the legs.

There is a problem concerning whether it is permissible for us to change the legs right and left. Master Kodo Sawaki clearly explained that, "Master Dogen has given only one example." So we can interpret that it is permissible for us to change the legs right and left during Zazen, if it is necessary.

The clothes should be placed over the legs and the feet softly and neatly. Then the right hand should be placed over the left leg, and the left hand should be placed on the right hand. When the positions of feet are opposite, the position of hands also should be opposite. The two tops of thumbs should be put together, and they should be placed in front of the navel.

Then just sit in the regular posture, without leaning to the left, without inclining to the right, without slouching forward, and without leaning backward. The horizontal line of the shoulders and the horizontal line of the ears should be parallel and the nose and the navel should be constrasted vertically.

Hold the tongue against the palate, and the lips and teeth should be closed. The eyes should always be kept open. Breathe softly through the nose, and after having regulated the posture truly, take a deep breath once, and swing the trunk right and left. Then sit stably without motion, similar to a mountain, and think the state without thinking. How can we think the state without thinking? It is decisively different from thinking. This is just the summarized method of Zazen. Therefore we should never think that "to think about not thinking" is a kind of thinking at all.

(7) The real substance of Zazen

The practice of Zazen is never an effort to become balanced, but it is just the state, which has realized the balanced state of body and mind in the universe already. It is just the perfectly realized truth, and the fusion between practice and experience. The rule of the universe has been realized already, and any hindrance, or any restriction, hasn't appeared at all. If we have begun to recognize such a situation, we are like Dragons, which have become very vigorous getting water, and we are like tigers, which were guarding themselves in front of a big mountain. First of all, the rule of the universe has been realized in front of us, and both the gloomy darkness, which comes from the stronger sympathetic nervous system, and the flimsy easiness, which comes from the stronger parasympathetic nervous system, have vanished already, and we should experience such real situations directly and exactly.

(8) Finishing Zazen

After finishing Zazen, when we stand up from the sitting, we should stand up slowly, keeping our stable condition peacefully. We should never be hasty or violent.

(9) Effects of Zazen

When we look at the real effects of Zazen, the state, which has transcended both ordinary people and the saints, has appeared from the practicing of Zazen, and an example of death during Zazen, or an example of death standing still, comes from the effect of practicing Zazen. Furthermore, Master Gutei in China, always held up his forefinger to answer all questions of Buddhist philosophy. In the case of Master Ananda, he realized the truth, when he was putting flagpoles down in order. Master Nagarjuna threw a steel needle into water to simbolize a becoming monk. Bhodhisattva Manjusri utilized a hard wooden clapper. These examples have always come from practicing Zazen. And when Buddhist Masters teach their students, they use a whisk, a fist, a staff, or a shout. Such explanations can never be understood by the mental ability of thinking, or distinction. It might be perhaps a dignifided form, which transcends verbal expressions and external form. How is it possible for us to deny that they belong to the criteria, which are beyond intellectual consideration, or sense perception. Of course, when Master Dogen lived, human beings had no knowledge of the autonomic nervous system. But we can think that Master Dogen clearly noticed that the effects of Zazen could never be related with intellectual consideration or sense perception at all.

(10) No Relation with Cleverness or Foolishness

Therefore it is not necessary for us to discuss whether people are clever or foolish, or whether they are preferable, or not. If someone practices Zazen sincerely, it might be just the pursuit of the truth. The practice and experience are originally the perfect fusion of the two, and so they are never separated from each other. The direction of going is always identified into one, and they are always balanced and eternal.

(11) Universality of Buddhism

Generally speaking, in the area where we are living, and in the different areas, where others are living, or in India, or in the West, or in China, or Japan in the East, Buddhism has common characteristics, which Gautama Buddha has taught us. It has occupied the fundamental attitudes exclusively, and because we practice Zazen so sincerely, we are just self-regulated in the perfectly stable situation. Therefore even though there are so many differences among us, relying upon the balanced state of Zazen, we should make our efforts to pursue the truth. How could there be any kind of necessity for us to have to throw away the place, where we should keep for our practicing Zazen, in order to run about in confusion? If we make even one mistake at the present moment, we have to commit the mistake just at the moment. Fortunately we have got the valuable life as a human being, and have been given the important ability to practice Zazen. So we should never spend our valuable time doing useless hobbies in vain. We have already kept the valuable practice, which Gautama Buddha has presented us. How is it possible for us to spend such valuable time for any kind of useless pleasure at all?

(12) Entreaties to All Buddhists Through the World

Furthermore, our physical substance is so transitory like a dewdrop on a leaf, and the changeable condition of our human life is very similar to a momentary flash of lightning. They vanish suddenly, and they are lost in a moment. Therefore Master Dogen entreated to all Buddhists through the world whole-heartedly that, "Because of having been accustomed to the artificial images of dragons for a long time, you do not doubt the truly real dragon, that is, Zazen." I would like to ask you to make your efforts to do Zazen, which is just the truth, that can be shown by itself as it is. Please revere the person, who has transcended scientific knowledge and forgotten intentional efforts. Please identify your truth with the truth, which many traditional Masters have kept, and please succeed the balanced state of the authonomic nervous system, which many traditional Buddhist patriarchs have succeeded authentically. If those kinds of efforts are practiced for a long time, those efforts might be something which can never be described with words. The door of the gorgeous jewelry warehouse will be opened, and it will be possible for you to utilize the jewels of the warehouse well in your perfect freedom.

 

Fukan-Zazen-Gi (4) Real Situation of Zazen
http://gudoblog-e.blogspot.hu/2006/07/fukan-zazen-gi-4-real-situation-of.html

After explaining Fukan-Zazen-Gi, I would like to add some concrete knowledge on Zazen.

(1) Without practicing Zazen everyday, it is useless for us to practice Zazen

Zazen is a practice to realize the balanced state of the autonomic nervous system. Because the balanced state of the autonomic nervous system is a momentary state, if we have lost the balance for some reason in our daily life, it is necessary for us to practice Zazen as soon as possible to recover the balanced state at once. Therefore Master Dogen also recommended us to practice Zazen four times a day regularly.

However, there are many differences in human societies since the time when Master Dogen lived, and so we should select the lifestyle, which is convenient for our daily practice of Zazen. Nowadays most of us live in modern capitalistic societies, and so we usually need to get monetary income regularly. Therefore, if we want to continue our practice of Zazen everyday, we need to find an adequate time to practice Zazen, which is suitable to our daily life and also allows us time to get some monetary income regularly. In my case, I practice Zazen in the morning for 30 minutes, and in the evening also 30 minutes after retiring from Dogen Sangha in Ichikawa City. Therefore I would like to recommend all people in the world to practice Zazen everyday following their own adequate schedule.

(2) Misunderstanding of "Satori," or "Enlightenment"

It is true that there is a fact, which is called "Satori," or "enlightenment" in Buddhism, but in fact there are so many misunderstandings of enlightenment in Buddhism.

For example, some insist that if we are practicing Zazen diligently, our mental and physical conditions change suddenly, and a miraculously splendid situation manifests itself at once. But it is very important for us to notice that those kinds of miraculously splendid facts do never manifests on the earth at all. Such stories come from an exaggarated apparition, or a fantastic pretention. Because we are just living in the real world, and in the real world it is impossible for us to meet such miraculous facts at all. If we are affirmative to idealistic philosophy, we can imagine the possibility of such a fantastic story. But we, Buddhists, who are just realists, should never believe in such an idealistic story.

At the same time there is another story, which is also related to so-called enlightenment. Some Buddhist practioners insist that if we practice Zazen intensively and enormously, we can meet very strange physical situations, in which we can experience unusual and fantastic situations. If we follow an unhealthy schedule and practice Zazn in unhealthy conditions, it is true that we have to meet many kinds of physical disorders, or confusion, and we will lose our healthy and stable condition at once. Therefore it is necessary for us to think in accord with what is true, and that is that we always need to be healthy.

So there is much confusion in Buddhism, which has come from the misunderstanding of enlightenment. In the case of Master Dogen, when he was in Japan before visiting China, he had also the same misunderstanding of enlightenment. At that time he was also very dilligent in practicing Zazen in order to get enlightenment. But while visiting China, he met Master Tendo Nyojo. And Master Tendo Nyojo proclaimed that "To practice Zazen is just throwing away both consciousnesses of body and mind. If we just practice Zazen, we can get the state (of enlightenment) just from the beginning at once." Hearing this from Master Tendo Nyojo, Master Dogen realized what enlightenment was. And he noticed that the first enlightenment is just to practice Zazen itself.

(3) The True Enlightenment

The true enlightenment in Buddhism is just to practice Zazen itslf. In the Euro-American Civilization, from which we have received so many benefits, there are two kinds of value. One is the very sharp and exact intellectual consideration, which has been produced by so many excellent philosophical thinkers, and the other is the direct and clear sensuous beauty, which also has been produced by so many excellent fine artists.

However, in Buddhism we are making our efforts to transcend both intellectual consideration and sense perception to find the real world itself.

Therefore, relying upon the practice of Zazen when we make our autonomic nervous system balanced, the sympathetic nervous system, which is the cause of intellectual thoughts, and the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the cause of sense perception, become plus/minus/zero, and we, human beings, can live in the real world, or the world of the truth directly. This is just the first enlightenment. In another words, when we practice Zazen every day, and when we are keeping our autonomic nervous system balanced, it is just the time when we are enlightened.

And if we continue our practice of Zazen every day, we can keep our balanced autonomic nervous system every day, and so we can think about all kinds of philosophical problems on the basis of realism, leaving from idealism and materialism. I think that this experience includes the very valuable and very strong power to erase our former idealistic or materialistic life habits, and we can just live in reality completely.

Relying upon such a habit we can think about all philosophical problems on the basis of realism every day. When we have solved all philosophical problems on the basis of Buddhist realism, then the perfect understanding of all philosophical problems on the basis of Buddhist realism will come. This is called the second enlightenment.

Reading the examples of Chinese Buddhist Masters, for example, Master Joshu Jushin, and Master Reiun Shigon, they both needed more than 30 years to get the second enlightenment. It takes rather a long time. But it is not necessary for us to worry about the fact that it takes too much time to get the second enlightenment. Because if we practice Zazen every day, we can enter into enlightenment itself at once. In other words we can get the enlightenment every day, so there is no problem for us to worry about it.

(4) Concepts of Emptiness (Ku), or Nothingness (Mu), are Completely Wrong

In the Buddhist societies today, many people insist that the fundamental Buddhist philosophy is a kind of nihilism, and many Buddhist thinkers insist that the fundamental Buddhist theory is that this world is not the real world, and that such nihilistic thought is Buddhism.

But I think that this interpretation of Buddhism is completely wrong. This wrong understanding Buddhism as nihilism comes from the very seriously incorrect translation of Master Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamaka-karika by Kumarajiva, an ancient Indian scholar of the Chinese language. Mulamadhyamaka-karika was written around the 3rd Century by Nagarjuna, and in 4th Century Kumarajiva translated Mulamadhyamaka-karika into Chinese. But when I read Mulamadyamaka-karika in Sanskrit directly, it is very clear that Kumarajiva didn't understand the true meaning of Mulamadhymaka-karika at all. Therefore the translation of Mulamadyamaka-karika in Chinese by Kumarajiva does not express any true meaning of MMK (from here I would like to use the abbreviation of MMK) at all. But Kumarajiva's translation was done as a part of the Chinese governmental translating project, and so his translation was authorized in China, and the influence of it was enormous in the Oriental societies. Therefore, in Mahayana Buddhism in the Oriental societies, the orthodox Buddhist thinkers usually insist that Buddhism is a kind of nihilism, which insists that the world is not real, but that it is an abstract image of emptiness.
However when we read MMK in Sanskrit carefully from the original text, MMK is just an example of the fundamental Buddhist thought, which explains that Buddhism is just Realism, which clearly believes that this world really exists.

(5) Realism in MMK

When we read the original text of MMK in Sanskrit, it is very clear that MMK is a book which insists that Buddhism is just a realistic philosophy. This is without doubt. MMK is divided into 27 Chapters, but even reading only the 1st chapter, it is very clear that Buddhism is just a realistic philosophy without fail.

The 1st chapter of MMK is entitled "pratyaya" in Sanskrit, which means belief, or faith. So we can interpret that Nagarjuna proclaims the fundamental Buddhist thoughts, which pervade throughout the total MMK. In this chapter Nagarjna desribes that this world is the real world, where everything exists really as it is. Therefore I selcted the title of "Reliable Facts" as the title of the 1st chapter in my English translation.

The 1st chapter includes 14 verses,. In the 1st verse, Nagarjuna insists that "subjectivity" is not real, and also "objectivity" is not real. "Subjectivity" is a tanslation of Sanskrit word "svata", and "objectivity" is a translation of Sanskrit word "parata". I interpret that the word subjectivity means our thoughts, which we produce in our brain, and the word objectivity means our sense perception, which stimulate our sense organs. Therefore I understand that Nagarjuna proclaimed that ideas, which are produced in our brains, are not real, and sense perception, which is excitement in our sense organs, is also not real. And so I interpret that Nagarjuna denies both the real existence of ideas and of sense stimuli. This suggests that Nagarjuna fundamentally denies both idealistic philosophies and materialistic philophies exactly.

I think that the Buddhist idea, which denies both idealism and materialism, is a very important point, when we want to understand Buddhist philosophy, because the absolute denial of idealism and materialism in Buddhism suggests that Buddhism has a rather strong criticism of intellectual consideration. However, where can we find any kind of philosophy, which is different from intellectual philosophy? Related to this question, Buddhism proclaims fundamentally the existence of practical philosophy, which is dimensionally different from intellectual philosophy. Therefore, even though this absolutely strong denial of idealism and materialism seems to be some kind of affirmation of nihilistic Buddhist thoughts, which was Kumarajiva's wrong interpretation, the fact is never like that at all.

We can know this because in the 2nd verse of the 1st Chapter, Nagarjuna indicates four entities as real exsistence. The first one is the reason, or the rule of the universe, which pervades throughout the universe. The second one is the external world, where we are just living now. The third one is the present moment, when our act is done. The fourth is Reality itself, which can be identified with God. And Nagarjuna bravely asserts absolutely that there is no fifth, and so relying upon his decisive attitude, we can suppose he had very strong confidence in his own Realism.

In the 4th verse in the 1st chapter, he says that those four factors of Reality are identified with our human act at the present moment.

In the 9th verse he insists that our real act at the present moment in our daily life is just the same as the whole universe. In other words our real act at the present moment in our daily life is just the same as the whole universe itself.

And I think that this kind of Realism of Nagarjuna's must be the same as Gautama Buddha's Realism, Master Boddhi Dharma's Realism, and Master Dogen's Realism.

(6) A Place for Zazen

A place for Zazen is not always necessary to be wide, but Master Dogen says "It is sufficient enough for us to have a space, where we can keep our body to enter."

(7) The Posture

In Zazen, the true posture of Zazen is very important, and Master Dogen describes the concrete and exact postures so precisely, therefore we have to follow his instructions sincerely. For example, even in Buddhist sects in Japan, there is an example of using a chair for Zazen, but I think that such a kind of compromising attitudes should be avoided.

The most important posture in Zazen is to keep the spine from the lower part, the backbones, the neckbones, and the top of the head a little backward, into a straight and vertical line as much as possible. Therefore, to do so, it is necessary for us to pull the chin backward and downward as far as possible for fixing the total spine. Without this posture, it is difficult for us to avoid intellectual considerations during Zazen. Without the fixed posture, a relaxed posture in Zazen sometimes becomes a cause of irritation because of the difficulty to stop thinking.

(8) Method of Breathing

Even though there are so many methods of breathing in Zazen, which have been transmitted traditionally or through legends in Buddhist societies, I think that for such a problem it is very adequate for us to follow Master Dogen's teachings, which he has shown in chapter 5 of Eihei-koroku (the consecutive number in the total paragraphs is 390) as a record of his formal lecture, which has been done in the Lecture Hall. About Eihei-koroku, there is a very reliable eddition, which has been founded by Master Kishizawa I-an in the warehouse of Eihei-ji temple some decades ago. The Abbot of Eihei-ji temple, Master Niwa Rempo has reprinted this version (Kanazawa Bunko in Tokyo publishes it), So I think it might be much reliable for us to utilize this edition.

In Eihei-koroku even when Master Dogen describes the method of breathing in Zazen, he insists first on the importance of keeping the regular postue exactly, and then he describes the method of breathing. Therefore we can notice how much Master Dogen reveres the regulated posture of Zazen.

First, Master Dogen denies the regulation of breath, and the practice of keeping the mind at the highest grade, which are much revered in Hinayana Buddhism. We can interpret that Master Dogen clearly recognizes that Buddhism is never idealistic philosophy, and so he clearly notices that the idealistic efforts in Hinayana Buddhism can never be Buddhism. Therefore, even though there is the method of counting the number of breaths during Zazen in Hinayana Buddhism, Master Dogen clearly refuses such an incorrect method.

In relation to Mahayana Buddhism, even though Mahayana Buddhists sometimes insist that when the breath is long, we should recognize that it is long, and when it is short, we should recognize that it is short. In short, we should accept the real fact as it is, and we should not do any kind of intentional efforts. Therefore, in Mahayana Buddhism there is the habit to do a special breathing method, one which is done by inhaling the air by utilizing the abdomen, and exhaling the air by utilizing the abdomen. But Master Dogen also denies such a special method.

And at the end of his lecture he describes his own opinion of breathing situations, then he says that "When we are vigorous, then we practice Zazen. When we feel hungry, we eat meals, and then we feel satisfaction sufficiently." These words suggest that the practicing of Zazen is also our vigorous activity in our daily life, and so it is not necessary for us to have any kind of intellectual criteria, or strange habits. Master Dogen encourages us just to enjoy the practice of Zazen, without worrying about the intellectual interpretation.

 

 

Fukanzazengi or Zazen for Anyone Anywhere
Translated by Hakuun Barnhard (with her commentary)
http://www.unsui.eu/?page_id=429
http://www.unsui.eu/?page_id=50
http://journal.obcon.org/files/2012/08/R-M-Hakuun-Fukanzazengi.pdf

From the beginning the Way is universal and complete, so why do we distinguish between practice and enlightenment? The Dharma-vehicle is naturally present of itself, freely already here. So why do we need to make an effort to realize it? As the whole body of reality is beyond the dust of illusion, who is the one that believes we need to sweep this dust away? Never separate, it is always right where you are, so what is the use of practising this and that?

If there is a hair's breadth discrepancy, the Way is as distant as heaven is from earth. If the slightest like or dislike arises, the Buddha mind slips out of sight through confusion. For example, when you are proud of your understanding, or think you are greatly enlightened, or have acquired wisdom and abilities, or mastered the Way and clarified what you are, or have grasped the will to storm heaven – you have made a head -start but the vital way of freeing the body is almost lost.

Shakyamuni had great wisdom at birth and we still see clearly the imprint of his sitting upright for six years. Bodhidharma transmitted the Buddha mind- seal and his nine years sitting facing a wall still echoes today. As the sages of ancient times were so dedicated, how can trainees of the present day possibly dispense with such effort?

Therefore, rest from following words and narratives, and learn the backward step of turning the light within, illuminating the Mind. When you do so, body and mind will drop away naturally and your original countenance will manifest. If you want to realize the matter of this , devote attention to the matter of this at once. Explore zazen in a quiet room and eat and drink moderately. Let all involvements and all activity come to rest. Do not think in terms of good or bad, or judge in terms of right or wrong. Cease the grinding of volition, intellect and discrimination. Stop the gauging of thoughts and views. Do not try to become Buddha. This inquiry does not depend whatsoever on sitting or lying down.

Place a thick mat at your usual sitting place with a round sitting-cushion on top of it. Sit in either the full lotus position or in the half lotus position. For the full lotus position, place first your right foot on your left thigh and then your left foot on your right thigh. For the half lotus position, just rest the left foot on top of the right thigh. Wear your clothing loose around the waist and arrange it neatly. Then rest the right hand on the left foot and the left hand on the right palm, the tips of the thumbs supporting each other.

Sit upright, without leaning to the left or right, backward or forward. Let the ears be in line with the shoulders and the nose in line with the navel. Let lips and teeth close, with the tongue held against the palate behind the top teeth. Keep the eyes open and breathe gently through the nose. When the body is settled, breathe in and exhale fully and sway the body left and right. Then sit immovably in original stillness. Think the fundamental ‘thought', which is not thinking. How? When thought arises, do not get involved with it; let the mind dwell in the depth beyond thought. This is the very basis of zazen. This zazen is not learning concentrated meditation. It is simply the Dharma-gate of peace and joy, the realisation in practice of enlightened wisdom. The universal is revealed through the particular without means. Once you grasp this, you are like a dragon disporting in water or like a tiger reposing on a mountain. You naturally know that the true Dharma manifests of itself and that darkness and confusion have already been cut down.

When you arise from meditation, move slowly and get up calmly; don't move abruptly. It is clear that the ability to transcend the profane as well as the sacred, or to cast off body and mind while sitting or standing, is entirely due to the efficacy of zazen. Also, the discriminating mind cannot understand how a shift in perspective can come with a gesture or an occurrence; or how an unexpected sight or sound can catalyze realization. With accomplished supernatural powers one cannot grasp this either. Such noble presence is not bound to form or colour, how could its pathway possibly not precede perception and conception. It therefore does not matter whether you are intelligent or not; it does not work differently for the sharp- or for the dull-witted. Making a wholehearted effort is in itself practising the Way. Practice has naturally the purity of enlightenment and enlightenment will increasingly penetrate your everyday life.

The fundamental Buddha mind universally pervades both this and other worlds, India and China, East and West. Everywhere the way of practice of this school is equally available to everyone, as it is simply sitting immovably in original stillness with one's whole being. Although there are many different ways to approach the Truth, to verify it you cannot dispense with the earnest inquiry of zazen. Why roam through dusty realms of other lands, forsaking your own sitting place? One wrong step and you are immediately off track. You already have the crucial opportunity a human body brings. Do not use your time in vain but guard the essence of the Buddha way. Who could be satisfied with fleeting pleasures? This human form is as short-lived as dew on the grass. Like a flash of lightning this life comes and goes in a moment, gone as if it had never been.

Dedicated practitioners, do not get so used to partial reality and to seeming appearances, that reality ends up scaring you. Devote yourself to the upright, direct way. Respect those who have severed the ties of knowledge and live free of goals and intent. Harmonize with the Buddha's enlightened wisdom; receive the ancestors' transmission of samadhi. When you practise this continually, you are surely becoming this; the store of treasure will then open naturally and you will be able to receive and use it, according with and fulfilling the true wish.

*

Zazen is the central pillar of Soto-Zen practice and is more than that. Literally Zazen means seated meditation. It can also mean meditation on sitting. Who or what is sitting? Zazen can be practiced by anyone who feels called to do so, wherever they may be. It is sitting aware, still and upright. It is not still and aware by pushing away the world but it is still and aware querying the world as it arises. This means to meet existence with a question. What is it?

From the beginning the Way is universal and complete, so why do we distinguish between practice and enlightenment?

The beginning of what? The only real beginning is the first awareness. In terms of our personal history, it started in the womb and is still present at death. In terms of general history, when was there ever no awareness? In reality it is always now.

The Way is the way to walk, the way to practise, the way to be. The way from A to B, from samsara to nirvana, is the way of practice, which acknowledges enlightenment as a goal. We, who practise, have a sense of direction. Here we assume that enlightenment and practice are not identical. However, the way of being is not just ahead of us, it is present now, and it is complete, allowing anything to be as it is. Present everywhere, with infinite potential, it is never lacking.

So, why do we distinguish between practice and enlightenment? If practice and enlightenment are really different, when does my practice ever become enlightenment? If they were the same, why would we look for something called enlightenment? What need would there be to practise in order to live with wisdom and compassion? It is important to keep these questions in mind, as they are pointing to the answer.

The Dharma-vehicle is naturally present of itself, freely already here. So why do we need to make an effort to realize it?

What is the Dharma? We know the Dharma as one of the three refuges: I take refuge in the Dharma, in the Teaching; also: I take refuge in the Truth. Dharma without the capital simply means: thing, phenomena. Anything that appears in our mind is a dharma, and as such it manifests the Dharma, the Truth. “All things teach” really means that everything does – it is not just a moral platitude that makes us put up with difficulties.

A vehicle is a means of communication and a means of transport. A self-powered means of transport. A Dharma-vehicle is a truth-communicator, a truth-transport; anything in life is a truth-transport. This vehicle exists everywhere, it is naturally present of itself. It is here. Where? Here. Freely already here. Now, why do we need to make an effort to realize it if it is freely already here? What happens if we don't make an effort? Can we see it? So what is the effort that we need to make? Look. Listen. Be present, be awake.

As the whole body of reality is beyond the dust of illusion, who is the one that believes we need to sweep this dust away?

The whole body of reality is faultless, just as it is. Nothing that appears in this universe is dust. I may not see it that way and think that all kind of things exist that should not be. Reality however allows them space. Who is the one that does not? Who is the one that believes there is dust and that wants to sweep dust away?

Never separate, it is always right where you are, so what is the use of practising this and that?

The Truth is never elsewhere. The Way is always here. It is you. Why practise things with body and mind to find it? Do we need to walk or stand in a special way, read or study or do certain things with our mind in order to find it? No. But can we do without practice? No.

With this first paragraph Dogen carries you into the depth of his questions. Hold them in your body-and-mind.

If there is a hair's breadth discrepancy, the Way is as distant as heaven is from earth. If the slightest like or dislike arises, the Buddha mind slips out of sight through confusion.

The Way is right where I am. If I accept this fully, this being where I am as I am, the Way is manifest, but if I am not right where I am, if my mind is elsewhere, if I am fighting conditions, if I have strong ideas or opinions about persons or circumstances, or simply don't see clearly how things are because I hope that things will be as I like them to be, then there is a “hair's breadth discrepancy”, then like and dislike are present and in control. The Way, the Buddha mind then “slips out of sight” and awareness of things as they are is obscured. When you notice you are holding on to things or push them away, you may also sense a contraction of the muscles and twitching of the nerves of your brain and body. Then return to this moment and ground yourself where you are, and let resistance go. Do not get involved, do not resist. Dogen then goes on, addressing students who have already done some practice and think they have accomplished something:

For example, when you are proud of your understanding, or think you are greatly enlightened, or have acquired wisdom and abilities, or mastered the Way and clarified what you are, or have grasped the will to storm heaven – you have made a head -start but the vital way of freeing the body is almost lost.

You made a “ head -start”, roaming in the realm of the head, of thought and intent. We can let body and mind function without adding anything to the condition of the moment; we do not need to take anything away either. We can let the body function without the contractions of muscles and twitching of nerves, that happens when we hold on or defend. Then our energy flows freely. It takes time to unlock our energy at the level of the body.

Shakyamuni had great wisdom at birth and we still see clearly the imprint of his sitting upright for six years. Bodhidharma transmitted the Buddha mind- seal and his nine years sitting facing a wall still echoes today. As the sages of ancient times were so dedicated, how can trainees of the present day possibly dispense with such effort?

We can see this imprint just where we are sitting, just where our eyes rest. We can hear the echo of Bodhidharma's transmission and his nine years of sitting – just by listening deeply to life. Dogen does not speak of their fame, of their influence – probably things he also meant – but he speaks of it very directly, because we can hear the call very directly and see the Buddha here and now directly. These sages were very dedicated. Dedication with patience, devotion, is required. No enlightenment in twenty-one days, as advertised in some magazines! The Dharma-vehicle is freely present and we cannot dispense with great effort – so what effort?

Therefore, rest from following words and narratives, and learn the backward step of turning the light within, illuminating the Mind. When you do so, body and mind will drop away naturally and your original countenance will manifest.

This is the basic instruction for zazen. Don't get entangled in the stories, the movies, the theories; don't follow threads into thinking – into thinking – into thinking. Notice that you are thinking, do not get involved in the thoughts' contents, do not get carried away in explanation, justification, analysis; just return to being here, now. That is taking a backwards step, turning the light within; you illuminate what mind is. When we illuminate the mind, we see all kind of elements come and go and we also see mind itself. Body and mind will drop away – all what we think we are, all our ideas about existence, ourselves and the world around us, drop, if you let them. And together with those thoughts, the contractions of our organs, of our body, will get released. This is a natural process. I cannot accelerate it by my will. I can by my acceptance and non-interference, by letting be. Then what you originally are, your naked self, will show itself.

If you want to realize the matter of this, devote attention to the matter of this at once.

The matter of this? The matter of what? Dogen conveys his meaning here very skillfully. The word ‘ this' means being this way , and also what way ? To find the this , we need to hold the what . We need to keep the question alive. Sometimes it is clearly this, our original countenance; it is this, as it is. throughout our life of training this clarifies through what ? No this is recognized without a what.

Explore zazen in a quiet room and eat and drink moderately. Let all involvements and all activity come to rest.

This is what you are doing during this week of sesshin. No involvement with your job circumstances, no involvement with your personal relationships. They may be the background of your life but not currently in your mind. You can take refuge in this rest every day, even if only for one brief period of sitting .

Do not think in terms of good or bad, or judge in terms of right or wrong.

This we can do continuously. See the inclination to think in terms of good and bad and judge people, events and so on. This judging seems to be something we hold on to, a means of determining where the world is at, where we as individual stand. Let it go, you can stand all right and upright without ‘true' or ‘not true', ‘yes' or ‘no'. These confirmations and denials make our mind swing from this to that. Better take refuge in the what, the what ensures of a centering position.

Cease the grinding of volition, intellect and discrimination. Stop the gauging of thoughts and views. Do not try to become Buddha. This inquiry does not depend whatsoever on sitting or lying down .

You can see it happen, the evaluation, the analysing of a situation, the judging of a moment – just see it happen and do not involve yourself with it. And do not try to interfere or control. Do not try to become Buddha. What is Buddha? What am I? What could I become that I not already am? It is like trying to go for a swim while you are already in the water. Am I in the water? What I, what water? Better not make assumptions. Better look and listen deeply and gently. This inquiry into what you are can take place anywhere, whatever posture your body may be in and no special circumstances are needed.

Place a thick mat at your usual sitting place with a round sitting-cushion on top of it. Sit in either the full lotus position or in the half lotus position. For the full lotus position, place first your right foot on your left thigh and then your left foot on your right thigh. For the half lotus position, just rest the left foot on top of the right thigh. Wear your clothing loose around the waist and arrange it neatly. Then rest the right hand on the left foot and the left hand on the right palm, the tips of the thumbs supporting each other.

The lotus position where the left hand and the left foot are above the right, is called the goma posture. It is widely used in Japan and China. The position where the right hand and the right foot are above the left, is called the kichijo posture and is widely used in India. The Birmese meditation posture is one leg in front of the other. We are now widely using low benches and sit in seiza , the knees bent next to each other on the mat. One can also use a chair. Then be sure to have the feet firmly planted on the floor. The important feature is sitting grounded, stable and upright.

Sit upright, without leaning to the left or right, backward or forward. Let the ears be in line with the shoulders and the nose in line with the navel. Let lips and teeth close, with the tongue held against the palate behind the top teeth. Keep the eyes open and breathe gently through the nose. When the body is settled, breathe in and exhale fully and sway the body left and right.

Be sure to not let your thumbs separate and to not let them press too firmly. The same counts for the tongue against the roof of the mouth. Also, be aware of how the jaws close, let them close with jaw-muscles relaxed. Take one to three full breathes, exhale all the way to the lower abdomen. Swaying left and right we find the right and stable position of our spine.

Then sit immovably in original stillness. Think the fundamental ‘thought', which is not thinking. How? When thought arises, do not get involved with it; let the mind dwell in the depth beyond thought. This is the very basis of zazen.

Sit immovably in original stillness. This conveys much. Sit steady as a mountain in the pristine silence you can find on high mountain peaks, not affected by the bustling life beneath. Thinking does not need to follow the arising of thought and does not need to lead into narration. Thought arises – no need to get involved. We can take note: this thought, this feeling. When we notice we get lost in thinking, we can return to just being present in this body sitting here and now. This is not repression; it is a gentle and aware repositioning. And it may be good to take the subject of your thinking after meditation to a suitable place to think.

Dogen also says implicitly: think the fundamental ‘thought' which is not intentionally ‘not thinking'. We sit, neither getting involved with thought, nor with no thought, so we do not resist thought. The same counts for feeling: feeling and thought are not such separate phenomena as you might think; they are entangled. They naturally arise because we are alive. One translator of Zen master Dogen's work, Gudo Nishijima, translates the depth beyond thought where the mind rests, as a ‘concrete state'. I prefer: a concrete transparency. The above concise instruction is the very basis of zazen.

This zazen is not learning concentrated meditation. It is simply the Dharma-gate of peace and joy, the realization in practice of enlightened wisdom.

Concentration seems to still have an object, a purpose, an aim. We are not learning concentration, we are not learning to focus on something, we are not learning first this and then that, we are not after specific results. When we sit this way, we emulate and join the enlightened wisdom, which is already there. We realize what is already happening through the practice of not doing anything else .

The universal is revealed through the particular without means.

The particular is you as you are, things, as they are. This particular thing or you right here right now. Each moment of particularity, the universal is revealed without means. No need to try, to grasp for methods and means. Let go. This sentence is a crucial one; it is an explanation of the word koan. The particular problem of now ( = koan) reveals universal truth. When we look with care, we see that this seemingly limited, particular instance opens as a window into universal being. Without means. It simply happens. This simply is so. Dogen uses the words ‘nets and baskets' for means. Nets and baskets are used to catch beings. Being cannot be caught. We do not need any nets, hooks or baskets to catch the universal. It is already freely present each instance of being, precisely as it is.

Once you grasp this, you are like a dragon disporting in water or like a tiger reposing on a mountain. You naturally know that the true Dharma manifests of itself and that darkness and confusion have already been cut down.

We can rest, knowing our true element is all around us. This is freedom and a great joy. We can entrust ourselves to life, whatever it's koan brings. We naturally know – this knowing is inherent in our being – we already know the Truth and that it manifests of itself. So we realize there never was any darkness or confusion to begin with.

When you arise from meditation, move slowly and get up calmly; don't move abruptly. It is clear that the ability to transcend the profane as well as the sacred, or to cast off body and mind while sitting or standing, is entirely due to the efficacy of zazen.

Both the profane and the sacred can be transcended in zazen. We can let go fully of any identification with mind or body while we sit or stand. We have heard even of some ancestors who left this life sitting in zazen or standing up.

Also, the discriminating mind cannot understand how a shift in perspective can come with a gesture or an occurrence; or how an unexpected sight or sound can catalyze realization. With accomplished supernatural powers one cannot grasp this either.

This paragraph I have shortened into its essential message. Dogen enumerates some eight examples in shorthand, which refer to the stories of the awakening of various masters. One ancestor had a change of perspective on existence when this (…) happened. Another practitioner realized his original state when that (…) happened. What the details are does not matter. Sometimes a master helped a disciple turn her mind around. Sometimes this happened due to an occurrence in nature. These occurrences are potentially present all the time, but they can only bring about a change in our perspective when we are ready.

Our discriminating mind can neither understand zazen nor the change of perspective it brings about. It cannot explain it. We cannot even perceive it with the ordinary mind. Even with supernatural powers it escapes us. Because:

Such noble presence is not bound to form or colour, how could its pathway possibly not precede perception and conception.

Dogen expresses himself strongly with a double negation, i.e. it is preceding perception and conception – It is freely already present, before we even see or think or feel or conceptualize. This noble presence cannot be defined. It is not describable or conceivable and it is vibrantly present.

It therefore does not matter whether you are intelligent or not; it does not work differently for the sharp- or for the dull-witted.

This is good news for all, both for persons who rely on their faculties and for those who are not inclined or capable of conceptualization. The Buddha Nature is present in all, whatever their abilities. Let this encourage those who are always trying to work things out, who hold on to the cerebral, to put that down. Let this encourage those of us, who are not into reading, to trust ourselves – we have what we need already!

Making a wholehearted effort is in itself practising the Way. Practice has naturally the purity of enlightenment and enlightenment will increasingly penetrate your everyday life.

The Way lacks nothing. It simply needs wholehearted expression, which comes in practice. In practice the enlightened mind, which is the foundation of our being, is naturally present. The more we ‘practice' this non-practice, the less the Way is obscured, and the more its presence can be known.

The fundamental Buddha mind universally pervades both this and other worlds, India and China, East and West. Everywhere the way of practice of this school is equally available to everyone, as it is simply sitting immovably in original stillness with one's whole being. Although there are many different ways to approach the Truth, to verify it you cannot dispense with the earnest inquiry of zazen.

Any world, geographical or spiritual world, the world of beings, the world of objects, is pervaded by the Buddha mind. In all parts of the globe, spirituality has sprung from and has mixed with some form of sitting still. Human beings and also animals intuitively know that. The Sufi's, Christian contemplatives, Vedanta- and Advaita-practitioners, American Indians – all practice some form of meditation on their path to Truth. Whatever time or culture we are in, we cannot dispense with the earnest exploration of zazen. Zazen naturally unifies form and formlessness, appearance and timelessness. It brings insight in and acceptance of life and death. Formless and loving it flows with any form.

Why roam through dusty realms of other lands, forsaking your own sitting place?

Other countries may look interesting, smell different, feel nice and we may think that the grass is greener there. But all we need is ‘here'. Lost in characteristics, in this or that, in distraction, we roam in the land of ‘other', ignoring the home of the true self, our home where self and other are one life.

One wrong step and you are immediately off track.

Breaking the Precepts because of ‘want' or ‘don't want', or simply wandering after pleasures, I loose track of my direction. As Dogen says in the beginning: the Buddha mind then slips out of sight through confusion.

You already have the crucial opportunity a human body brings. Do not use your time in vain but guard the essence of the Buddha way. Who could be satisfied with fleeting pleasures? This human form is as short-lived as dew on the grass. Like a flash of lightning this life comes and goes in a moment, gone as if it had never been.

Some participants of this retreat are keenly aware of the preciousness of this life. What is it good to do with my life? Do I marry? Do I become a doctor? What about monastic life? How can I best live according to my true wish? How can I keep up the commitment to my practice?

Dedicated practitioners, do not get so used to partial reality and to seeming appearances, that reality ends up scaring you.

It is easy to get trapped into thinking that we know what something is, that we know what the case at hand is about. Dogen plays here with a reference to an old story from the Buddha's time about some blind people who were grouped around an elephant and, touching just a part of it, asked to describe what it might be. They all came out with something different: a tree (foot), a rope (tail), a snake (trunk), – all partial reality. It takes some letting go to see the whole picture, to not take what seems to be for what is. If we are stuck with our way of looking at the world, reality (literally: the dragon of reality – i.e. great awesome being) scares us.

Devote yourself to the upright, direct way.

Upright of body, upright of mind. It is direct, im-mediate.

Respect those who have severed the ties of knowledge and live free of goals and intent.

Dogen was very knowledgeable. He studied Chinese and Japanese classics from a young age. His explanation of the Dharma is not simple and easy. But he knew not to depend on this erudition, he severed the ties to it. Also, we can live free of doing ‘in order to', to live in the present and trust what you are, trusting the fundamental being of things. Trusting this, I can, like Kanzeon, be anything: even what I am – which I often do not want to be – myself.

Harmonize with the Buddha's enlightened wisdom; receive the ancestors' transmission of samadhi. When you practise this continually, you are surely becoming this; the store of treasure will then open naturally and you will be able to receive and use it, according with and fulfilling the true wish.

We saw that we harmonize naturally with bodhi in zazen (4). Samadhi means: being absorbed in ‘not two', aware and one as this . You receive this from the always present, the ‘ancestors', and from those who realized this before.

Practicing this continually, the store of treasure of compassion, love and wisdom will be ours to use so that all beings will find this also. Our being may help others; we cannot hold on to a way to help others. We cannot hold on to an ideology, however beautiful. Compassion, love and wisdom flow free of fixed forms.

*

Footnotes

1. The Japanese version I translated can be found in the Soto Shu Sutra book, published by the Soto Headquarters in Tokyo 1984.

2. A fuller version of this paragraph is: “Also, the discriminating mind cannot understand how a shift in perspective can happen when a finger is pointed, a flagpole is cut down, a needle is immersed in water or when a mallet strikes a wooden block; or how a flicking hossu, raised fist, thumping staff or loud shouts can bring about realization.”

3. Dogen's use of the word koan has been debated by Japanese academics recently. See Okumara, Shohaku. Realizing Genjokoan , (Boson, Wisdom 2010) p.14 – 18. According to a commentary by a direct disciple of Dogen, Senne, Dogen's use of the word Koan “refers both to the equality of all things ( ko -) and to the uniqueness or particularity of each and every being ( – an ).”

4. Bodhi in Sanskrit and Pali literally means: “awakening”, “enlightenment”. InMahayana Buddhism it came to be seen as identical with Reality or “Tathagata” i.e. literally: “come this way”.

 

 

How Everyone Can Sit
Translated by Yasuda Joshu roshi and Anzan Hoshin sensei

Primordial Awareness is in essence perfect and pervades everywhere. How could it be dependent upon what anyone does to practice or realize it? The movement of Reality does not need us to give it a push. Do I need to say that it is free from delusion? The vast expanse of Reality can never be darkened by the dust of presumptions. Who then could believe that it needs to cleaned of such dust to be what it is? It is never separate from where you are, so why scramble around in search of it?

The thing is, if there is the slightest gap, sky and earth are ripped apart. If you give rise to even a flicker of like and dislike, you lose your mind in delusion. Just suppose you become puffed up about your understanding and inflate your little experiences: You think you have seen the truth, attained the Way, recognized the luminosity of mind and can grasp at heaven. You might think that these initial jaunts about the borders are entering the realm of enlightenment but you've lost the Way of complete liberation.

May I point out the one from Jetavana, the Buddha, who was himself Primordial Awareness and still sat for six years? And how about Bodhidharma transmitting the seal of Awareness through doing wall-gazing at Shaolin temple for nine years? The echo of those are heard even now. If this is how it was with the great ones and their diligence, then how about you in your own practice? You should stop chasing understanding through juggling words, allow the external seeking of your mind to collapse upon itself and light up your own nature. Doing this, the bodymind will drop through itself spontaneously revealing your Original Nature. If you wish to be realized in Suchness, immediately practice Suchness.

A quiet room is good for zazen. Eat and drink moderately, don't entangle yourself in delusive relationships. Just leave such things to themselves. Don't think about good or bad, right or wrong. Don't give rise to the mind's common concepts, the judging of thoughts and observations. Don't sit to become an Awakened One because you can't fabricate a Buddha out of sitting or lying down.

In the place where you practice spread out some thick matting and place a round cushion on top of them. Sit on the cushion with your legs crossed in either the full lotus posture or the half-lotus. This means place your right foot on your left thigh and your left foot on your right thigh, loosen your clothes and belt keeping them neat. Then put your right hand palm up on your left foot and put your left hand in the palm of your right, the tips of the thumbs touching lightly. Find your posture, leaning neither to right nor left, forward or back. Your ears should be aligned with your shoulders, and from the front, your nose in a direct line with your navel. Place your tongue against the roof of your mouth keeping mouth and lips closed. Your eyes should be open and you should breathe gently through your nose.

Once you have found your posture, breathe in and out deeply, sway left and right and then settle firmly and steadily. Think of not-thinking. How do you think of not-thinking? Be Before Thinking. These are the basics of zazen.

What I call zazen is not developing concentration by stages and so on. It is simply the Awakened One's own easy and joyful practice, it is realized-practice within already manifest enlightenment. It is the display of complete reality. Traps and cages spring open. Grasping the heart of this, you are the dragon who has reached his waters, the tiger resting in her mountains. Understand that right here is the display of Vast Reality and then dullness and mental wandering have no place to arise.

Getting up from zazen move slowly and quietly. Don't just jump up. Looking at the past, we see that transcending common and sacred, or being able to die while in zazen or standing are all rooted in the power of this practice. It is impossible for words or thinking to grasp how the old masters could seize the moment for disciples with a finger, pole, needle or mallet, display Actuality with a whisk, a fist, a staff or a shout. Practising mystical powers or thinking dualistically about practice and realization don't help in this either. Practice and realization are the deportment of this very bodymind, beyond sight and sound, before thinking and analyzing.

Since this is as it is, it doesn't matter if you're clever or stupid; the distinctions distinguish nothing. Whole-hearted practice is the Way. Since realized-practice cannot be stained, progress into the ordinary.

In this and all other worlds, in India or in China, every place is marked by the seal of Awake Awareness. Upholding the essence of this Way, devote yourself to zazen, completely do zazen. You might hear about ten thousand ways to practice but just be complete and sit. What's the point of giving up your seat to go wandering around in dusty lands and countries? Take a wrong step and you'll miss what's there.

You've got what you need, the treasure of this body and birth, so don't waste your time. Keep to this as the basis of the Way of Awake Awareness. Don't be attracted by just a spark from the flint. Anyway, your body is like dew on the grass, your life a flash of lightning; vain for a moment and then vanished in an instant.

You who are in this excellent lineage of Zen, don't blindly grope only a part of the elephant or fear the true dragon. Put all of yourself into this Way which directly presents your own nature. Be grateful to those who have come before and have done what was to be done. Align yourself with the enlightenment of the Awakened Ones and take your place in this samadhi-lineage. Practice in this way and you'll be what they are. The doors of the treasure house will fall open for you to do with as you will.

(1227 C.E.)

 


Rules for Zazen
Translated by Reiho Masunaga
in Soto Approach to Zen by Prof. Masunaga Reiho, Chapter 7, Layman Buddhist Society Press, 1958.

Introduction

Dogen wrote this essay in the latter half of 1227 (between October 5 and December 10). He was then 28 years old and had just returned from China. His object was to popularize the Buddhism of zazen, to teach the right method of zazen, to transmit the Zen style of Bodhidharma, and to make known the true spirit of Pai-ch'ang.

Dogen has described the motive for this work in zazengi Senjitsuyuraisho (Reason for writing the Rules of Zazen). Dogen modified the rules of zazen in the eighth volumes of Zennenshingi (Ch'an-yuan-ch'ing-kuei) written by Tsung-che (Shusaku) in 1102. Dogen' work, therefore, contains the characteristic method of truly transmitted zazen, and it is supplemented with complete notes. This work remains in two forms: a "popular" edition and one written in Dogen own hand. The "popular" edition appears in the Eiheigenzenjigoroku (published in 1358) and the eighth volumes of Eiheikoroku (published in 1472). But they differ considerably from the edition in Dogen own handwriting. Kept in the Eiheiji repository. This edition reproduces in that the Zazengi written in 1227. Dogen, however, polished the "popular" edition, in the final 20 some years of his life, and he arranged it in the Chinese style that we now see. This translation is based on the "popular" edition.


Text (Fukanzazengi)

The true way is universal so why is training and enlightenment differentiated? The supreme teaching is free so why study the means to it? Even truth as a whole is clearly apart from to dust. Why adhere to the means of "wiping away"? The truth is not apart from here, so the means of training are useless. But if there is even the slightest gap between, the separation is as heaven and earth. If the opposites arise, you lose the Buddha Mind. Even though you are proud of your understanding and have enough enlightenment, even though you gain some wisdom and supernatural power and find the way all illuminate your mind, even though you have power to touch the heavens, and even though you enter into the area of enlightenment - you have almost lost the living way to salvation. Look at the Buddha: though born with great wisdom, he had to sit for six years. Look at Bodhidharma, who transmitted the Buddha Mind: we can still hear the echoes of his nine-year wall gazing. The old sages were very diligent. There is no reason why modern man cannot understand. Just quit following words and letters. Just withdraw and reflect on yourself. If you can cast off body and mind naturally, the Buddha Mind emerges. If you wish to gain quickly, you must start quickly.

In meditating you should have a quiet room. Eat and drink in moderation. Forsake myriad relations-abstain from everything. Do not think of good and evil. Do not think of right and wrong. Stop the function of mind, of will, of conscious ness. Keep from meaning memory, perception, and insight. Do not strive to become the Buddha. Do not cling to sitting or lying down.

In the sitting place, spread a thick square cushion and on top of it put a round cushion. Some meditate in Paryanka (full cross-legged sitting) and others in half Paryanka. Prepare by wearing your robe and belt loosely. Then rest your right hand on your left foot, your left hand in your right palm. Press your thumbs together.

Sit upright. Do not lean to the left or right, forward or backward. Place your ears in the same plane as your shoulders, your nose in line with your navel. Keep your tongue against the palate and close your lips and teeth firmly. Keep your eyes open. Inhale quietly. Settle your body comfortably. Exhale sharply. Move your body to the left and right. Then sit cross-legged steadily.

Think the unthinkable. How do you think the unthinkable? Think beyond thinking and unthinking. This is the important aspect of sitting.

This cross-legged sitting is not step by step meditation. It is merely comfortable teaching. It is the training and enlightenment of thorough wisdom. The Koan will appear in daily life. You are completely free - like the dragon that has water or the tiger that depends on the mountain. You must realize that the Right Law naturally appears, and your mind will be free from sinking and distraction. When you stand from zazen, shake your body and arise calmly. Do not move violently. That which transcends the commoner and the sage - dying while sitting and standing is obtained through the help of this power: this I have seen. Also the supreme function (lifting the finger, using the needle, hitting the wooden gong) and enlightenment signs (raising the hossu, striking with the fist; hitting with the staff; shouting): are not understood- by discrimination. You cannot understand training and enlightenment well by supernatural p6wer. It is a condition (sitting, standing, sleeping) beyond voice and visible things. It is the true beyond discriminatory views. So don't argue about the wise and foolish. If you can only train hard, this is true enlightenment. Training and enlightenment are by nature undefiled. Living by Zen is not separated from daily life.

Buddhas in this world and in that, and the patriarchs in India and China equally preserved the Buddha seal and spread the true style of Zen. All actions and things are penetrated with pure zazen. The means of training are various, but do pure zazen. Don't travel futilely to other dusty lands, forsaking your own sitting place. If you mistake the first step, you will stumble immediately. You have already obtained the vital functions of man's body. Don't waste time in vain. You can hold the essence of Buddhism. Is it good to enjoy the fleeting world? The body is transient like dew on the grass-life is swift like a flash of lightning. The body passes quickly, and life is gone in a moment.

Earnest trainees, do not be amazed by the true dragon. And do not spend so much time rubbing only a part of the elephant. Press on in the way that points directly to the Mind. Respect those who have reached the ultimate point. Join your-self to the wisdom of the Buddhas and transmit the meditation of the patriarchs. If you do this for some time, you will be thus. Then the, treasure house will open naturally, and you will enjoy it to the full.

 

 

A Generally Recomended Mode of Sitting Meditation
Translated by Thomas Cleary
Minding Mind: A Course in Basic Meditation. Boston, Mass. : Shambhala, 1995. 2nd Revised edition, 2009

The Way is fundamentally complete and perfect, all-pervasive, how could it depend upon cultivation and realization?

The vehicle of the source is free; why expend effort? The whole being is utterly beyond defiling dust; who would believe in a method of wiping it clean? The great whole is not apart from here; why go someplace to practice? Nevertheless, the slightest discrepancy is as the distance between sky and earth: as soon as aversion and attraction arise, you lose your mind in confusion. Even though you may boast of comprehension and wallow in
understanding, having gotten a glimpse of insight, and though you find the Way and understand the mind, though you may roam freely within the bounds of initial entry, you are still somewhat lacking in a living road of emancipation.

Even Gautama Buddha, who had innate knowledge, at upright for six years; this is a noteworthy example. When referring to the transmission of the mind seal at Shaolin, the fame of nine years facing a wall is still mentioned. Since the ancients did so, why should people today not do so? Therefore you should stop the intellectual activity of pursuing words and chasing sayings, and should learn the stepping back of turning the light around
and looking back. Body and mind will naturally be shed, and the original countenance will become manifest.

If you want to attain something, you should set right about working on it. For intensive Zen meditation, a quirt room is appropriate. Food and drink
are to be moderate. Letting go of all mental objects, taking a respite from all concerns, not thinking of good or evil, not being concerned with right or wrong, halt the operations of mind, intellect, and consciousness, stop assessment by thought, imagination, and view. Do not aim to become a Buddha; and how could it be limited to sitting or reclining?

Spread a thick sitting mat where you usually sit, and use a cushion on top of this. You may sit in the full-lotus posture, or in the half-lotus posture. For the full-lotus posture, first place the right foot on the left thigh, then the left foot on the right thigh. For the halflotus posture, just place the left foot on the right thigh. Wear loose clothing, and keep it orderly.

Next place the right hand on the left leg, and the left hand on the right hand, with palms facing upward. The two thumbs face each other and hold each other up.

Now sit upright, with your body straight. Do not lean to the left or tilt to the right, bend forward or lean backward. Align the ears with the shoulders, and the nose with the navel. The tongue should rest on the upper palate, the teeth and lips should be closed. The eyes should always be open. The breathing passes subtly through the nose.

Once the physical form is in order, exhale fully through the mouth once, sway left and right, then settle into sitting perfectly still.

Think of what does not think. How do you think of what does not think? It is not thinking.

This is the essential art of sitting Zen meditation.

What I call sitting Zen meditation is not practice of dhyana. It is just a method of comfort, a practical way of experiencing thoroughgoing investigation of enlightenment: objective reality becomes manifest, beyond any trap.

If you can get the meaning of this, you will be like dragons taking to the water, like tigers in the mountains. You will know that the truth has spontaneously become evident, while oblivion and distraction will already have been overcome.

When you are going to rise from sitting, move your body gradually, getting up gently. Do not be hasty or careless.

We have seen stories of transcending the ordinary and going beyond the holy, shedding the mortal coil while sitting or passing away while standing upright: all of these depend on the power in this.

-----

And how about the transformations of state upon the lifting of a finger, a pole, a needle, a hammer? How about the realizations of accord on the raising of a whisk, a fist, a cane, a shout? They have never been susceptible to understanding but thought and conceptualizations; how could they be known by cultivated realization of supernatural powers?

It could be called dignified behavior beyond sound and form; is it not a guiding example prior to knowledge and views? Being such, it is not an issue whether one has more or less intelligence, making no distinction between the quick and the slow. Focused, unified concentration is what constitutes work on the Way.

The practice and realizations are spontaneously undefiled; the process of heading for the aim, furthermore, is being normal.

Whatever they are, one's own world and the realms of others; West and East, they equally hold the seal of Buddha, based as one on the way of the source.

Just work on sitting, remaining in an immobile state. Even though it seems there are myriad differences and a thousand distinctions, just attend to intensive meditation to master the Way.

Why abandon a seat in your own house to idly roam in the dusty realms of alien countries? Take a single misstep, and you blunder past what's right in front of you.

Having gotten the key to the human body, do not pass time uselessly: preserve and uphold the essential potential of the Buddha Way.

Who has the folly to look forward to what lasts but a moment? Add to this consideration the fact that the physical body is like a dewdrop on the grass, a lifetime is like a lightning flash: all of a sudden they are void, in an instant they are gone.

May those high-minded people who participate in this study and have long learned to feel an elephant by hand not be suspicious of a real dragon.
Proceed energetically on the straightforward path of direct pointing, and honor people who have transcended learning and gone beyond effort. Join in the enlightenment of the Buddhas, inherit the state of mind of the Zen founders.

Having long been thus, we should be thus. The treasury opens of itself, to be used at will.

 

 

Recommending Zazen to All People
Translated by Kazuaki Tanahashi
- taken from Enlightenment Unfolds: The Essential Teachings of Zen Master Dogen, Kazuaki Tanahashi (1999)

The real way circulates everywhere; how could it require practice or enlightenment? The essential teaching is fully available; how could effort be necessary? Furthermore, the entire mirror is free of dust; why take steps to polish it? Nothing is separate from this very place; why journey away?

And yet, if you miss the mark even by a strand of hair, you are as distant as heaven from earth. If the slightest discrimination occurs, you will be lost in confusion. You could be proud of your understanding and have abundant realization, or acquire outstanding wisdom and attain the way by clarifying the mind. Still, if you are wandering about in your head, you may miss the vital path of letting your body leap.

You should observe the example of Buddha Shakyamuni of the Jeta Grove, who practiced sitting up straight for six years even though he was gifted with intrinsic wisdom. Still celebrated is Master Bodhidarma of the Shaolin Temple, who sat facing the wall for nine years although he had already received the mind seal. Ancient sages were like this; who nowadays does not need to practice as they did?

Hence, you should stop searching for phrases and chasing after words. Take the backward step and turn the light inward. Your body-mind of itself will drop off and your original face will appear. If you want to attain just this, immediately practice just this.

For zazen, a quiet room is appropriate. Drink and eat in moderation. Let go of all involvements and let myriad things rest. Do not think good or bad. Do not judge right or wrong. Stop conscious endeavor and analytic introspection. Do not try to become a buddha. How could being a buddha be limited to sitting or not sitting?

In an appropriate place for sitting, set out a thick mat and put a round cushion on top of it. Sit either in the full or half-lotus posture. Loosen the robes and arrange them in an orderly way. Then place the right hand palm up on the left foot, and the left hand on the right hand, lightly touching the ends of the thumbs together.

Sit straight up without leaning to the right or left and without bending forward or backward. The ears should be in line with the shoulders and the nose in line with the navel. Rest the tongue against the roof of the mouth, with lips and teeth closed. Keep the eyes open and breathe gently through the nose.

Having adjusted your body in this manner, take a breath and exhale fully, then sway your body to left and right. Now sit steadfastly and think not-thinking. How do you think not-thinking? Beyond thinking. This is the essential art of zazen.

The zazen I speak of is not learning meditation. It is simply the dharma gate of enjoyment and ease. It is the practice-realization of complete enlightenment. Realize the fundamental point free from the binding of nets and baskets. Once you experience it, you are like a dragon swimming in the water or a tiger reposing in the mountains. Know that the true dharma emerges of itself, clearing away hindrances and distractions.

When you stand up from sitting, move your body slowly and rise calmly, without haste. We understand from past precedents that going beyond ordinary and sacred, where sitting and standing are effortless and boundless, depends solely on the power of zazen.

Furthermore, bringing forth the turning point by using a finger, a pole, a needle, or a mallet, or leading people to enlightenment with a whisk, a fist, a stick, or a shout cannot be understood by discriminatory thinking. How can it be understood by the use of supernatural powers? Zazen is an awesome presence outside form and color. How is it not the path preceding concept?

Thus, do not be concerned with who is wise and who is stupid. Do not discriminate the sharp from the dull. To practice whole-heartedly is the true endeavor of the way. Practice-realization is not defiled with specialness; it is a matter for every day.

Now, in this world and in other worlds, in India and China, buddha ancestors equally carry the buddha seal and teach the practice of sitting immersed in steadfastness. Although circumstances may vary in a thousand ways, whole-heartedly practice Zen, giving yourself fully to the way. Why give up the sitting platform of your own house and wander uselessly in the dust of a remote land? Once a wrong step is taken, you depart from the way.

Having received a human life, do not waste the passing moments. Already upholding the buddha way, why would you indulge in the sparks from a flint? After all, form is like a dewdrop on the grass. Human life is like a flash of lightning, transient and illusory, gone in a moment.

Honored practitioners of Zen, please do not grope for the elephant or try to grasp the true dragon. Strive to hit the mark by directly pointing. Revere the mind that goes beyond study and surpasses all doings. Experience the enlightenment of the buddhas, correctly inheriting the samadhi of the ancestors. Practice thusness continuously, and you will be thus. The treasury will open of itself for you to use as you wish.

 

Recommending Zazen to All People
Translated by Ed Brown & Kazuaki Tanahashi
in Kazuaki Tanahashi, edit., Moon in a Dewdrop: Writings of Zen Master Dogen,
(N.Y.: North Point Press; Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1985), pp. 29-30.

The essential way flows everywhere; how could it require practise or enlightenment? The essential teaching is fully available; how could effort be necessary? Furthermore, the entire mirror is free of dust; why take steps to polish it? Nothing is separate from this very place; why journey away?

And yet, if you miss the mark even by a strand of hair, you are as far apart from it as heaven from earth. If the slightest discrimination occurs, you will be lost in confusion. You may be proud of your understanding and have abundant realization, or you may have acquired outstanding wisdom and attained the way by clarifying the mind. However, even with high aspirations, if you wander about and get an initial glimpse of understanding, you may still lack the vital path that allows you to leap free of the body.

Observe the example of Shakyamuni Buddha at the Jeta Grove, who practised upright sitting for six years even though he was gifted with intrinsic wisdom. Still celebrated is the Master Bodhidharma of Shaolin Temple, who sat facing the wall for nine years, although he had already received the mind seal. Ancient sages were like this; who nowadays does not need to practise as they did?

Stop searching for phrases and chasing after words. Take the backward step and turn the light inward. Your body-mind of itself will drop away and your original face will appear. If you want to attain just this, immediately practise just this.

For zazen a quiet room is appropriate. Drink and eat in moderation. Let go of all involvement and let myriad things rest. Do not think good or bad. Do not judge right or wrong. Stop conscious endeavour and analytic introspection. Do not try to become a buddha. How could being a buddha be limited to sitting or not sitting?

In an appropriate place for sitting, set out a thick mat and put a round cushion on top of it. Sit either in the full- or half-lotus posture. For the full-lotus posture, first place the right foot on the left thigh, then the left foot on the right thigh. For the half-lotus posture, place the left foot on the right thigh. Loosen the robes and belts and arrange them in an orderly way. Then place the right hand palm up on the left foot, and the left hand on the right hand, with the ends of the thumbs lightly touching each other.

Sit straight up without leaning to the right or left and without bending forward or backward. The ears should be in line with the shoulders and the nose in line with the navel. Rest the tongue against the roof of the mouth, with lips and teeth closed. Keep the eyes open and breathe gently through the nose.

Having adjusted your body in this manner, take a breath and exhale fully, then sway your body to left and right. Now sit steadfastly and think not thinking. How do you think not thinking? Beyond thinking. This is the essential art of zazen.

The zazen I speak of is not learning meditation. It is simply the dharma gate of enjoyment and ease. It is the practise-realization of complete enlightenment. Realize the fundamental point free from the binding of nets and baskets. Once you experience it, you are like a dragon swimming in the water or a tiger reposing in the mountains. Know that the true dharma emerges of itself, clearing away hindrances and distractions.

When you stand up from sitting, move your body slowly and rise calmly, without haste. We understand from the past that going beyond the ordinary and sacred, where sitting and standing are effortless and boundless, depends solely on the power of zazen.

Furthermore, to bring forth the fundamental turning point by raising a finger, a pole, a needle, or a mallet, or to precipitate realization with a whisk, a fist, a stick, or a shout cannot be understood by discriminatory thinking. How can it be understood by the use of supernatural powers? Zazen is an awesome presence beyond form and description. How is it not the path prior to conception?

Thus do not be concerned with who is wise and who is foolish. Do not discriminate the sharp from the dull. To practise wholeheartedly is the true endeavour of the way. Practise-realization is not defiled, not special. It is a matter for every day.

Now in this human world and in other realms, in India and China, buddha ancestors invariably have maintained the buddha seal and upheld the teaching of zazen practise immersed in steadfastness. Although circumstances may vary in a thousand ways, just practise zazen, giving yourself fully to the realization of the way. Why give up the sitting platform of your own house and wander uselessly in the dust of a remote land? Once a wrong step is taken, you depart from the way.

Having received a human life, do not waste the passing moments,. Already upholding the buddha way, why indulge in the sparks from a flint? After all, form is like a dewdrop on the grass, life is like a flash of lightning – transient and illusory, gone in a moment.

Honoured practitioners of the way, do not grope for the elephant or doubt the true dragon. Endeavour on the immediate and straightforward way. Revere the mind that goes beyond study with effortless effort and surpasses all doing. Experience the enlightenment of the buddhas and correctly inherit the samadhi of the ancestors. Practise thusness continuously, and you will be thus. The treasury will open of itself for you to use as you wish.

 

 

Links

 

PDF: A Universal Recommendation for True Zazen
Translated by Osamu Yoshida
In: BDK Tripitaka Translation Series: Zen Texts, 2005, p
p. 239ff.

 

PDF: Fukanzazengi: Universal Promotion of the Priciples of Zazen
Translated by Norman Waddell and Masao Abe
In: The Heart of Dogen's Shobogenzo, State University of New York Press, 2002, pp. 1-6.
http://www.sunypress.edu/pdf/60478.pdf
http://www.scribd.com/doc/171130935/The-Heart-of-Dogens-Shobogenzo

 

PDF: SIX TRANSLATIONS COMPARISON

1. Yokoi & Victoria
2. Nishijima & Cross
3. Waddell & Abe
4. Popular Version, translated by Shohaku Okumura
5. Tenpuku Version, translated by Shohaku Okumura
6. Form of Zazen, translated by Shohaku Okumura

The first 5 are translations of Master Dogen's Fukanzazengi. The last one is part of a Chinese document called Zenen Shingi (Chanyuan Qingi in Chinese) written by Master Choro Sosaku (Changlu Zongze in Chinese) existing in China before Master Dogen went there.

Compiled by Frederic Lecut - 2009

 

PDF: "Principles of Seated Meditation":
A Comparative Translation of Dogen's Meditation Manuals, pp. 174-187.
In: Dogen's Manuals of Zen Meditation by Carl Bielefeldt, University of California Press, 1988, pp. 174-187.
This translation has previously appeared in Zen Quarterly 11:2-3 (1999), pp. 5-8.

A. Ch'an-yüan ch'ing-kuei Tso-ch'an i
B. Tenpuku Fukan zazen gi
C. Koroku Fukan zazen gi
D. Shobo genzo zazen gi
E. Bendo ho ["zazen ho"]

Cf. http://hycadventures.com/page72.php