ZEN MESTEREK ZEN MASTERS
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横井覚道 Yokoi Kakudō
1) Katagiri's friend and third teacher, cf. 片桐 (慈海) 大忍 Katagiri (Jikai) Dainin (1928-1990)
2) Friend of 野圦 (白山) 孝純 Noiri (Hakusan) Kōjun (1914-2007); Noiri Roshi and Yokoi Roshi had the same master: 岸澤 (眠芳) 惟安 Kishizawa (Minpō) Ian (1865-1955)
3) He was the master of Brian Daizen Victoria (1939-)
Zen at War
by Brian (Daizen) A. Victoria.
New York & Tokyo: Weatherhill, 1997.
"In the spring of 1970 I was called into the room of Zen Master Niwa Rempō [丹羽 (瑞岳) 廉芳 Niwa (Zuigaku) Rempō] (1905-1993), then the chief abbot of Eiheiji Betsuin temple in Tokyo. He informed me that since I was a Sōtō Zen priest and a graduate student in Buddhist Studies at Sōtō Zen sect-affiliated Komazawa University, it was not appropriate for me to be active in the anti-Vietnam war movement in Japan. While he acknowledged that my protests were both nonviolent and legal, he stated that "Zen priests don't get involved in politics?' And then he added, "If you fail to heed my words, you will be deprived of your priestly status?'
Although I did not stop my antiwar activities, I was not ousted from this sect. In fact, I went on to become a fully ordained priest, which I remain to this day. This was very much due to the understanding and protection extended to me by my late master, the Venerable Yokoi Kakudō, a professor of Buddhist Studies at Komazawa as well as a Sōtō Zen master. Niwa Rempō went on to become the seventy-seventh chief abbot of Eiheiji, one of the Sōtō Zen sect's two head monasteries. We never met again." (Foreword, p. ix.)
【一顆明珠】 Ikka myōju “One Bright Pearl ”
Calligraphy by 横井覚道 Yokoi Kakudō (written for Gabor Terebess)
An Introduction to Buddhism and Zen
by Yokoi Kakudō
Translated by Ryugen Ogasawara, Ryojun Victoria
Tokyo, Zen Institute, Komazawa University, 1972. 48 p. [with the original Japanese text, pp. 29-48.]
Recently I was requested by Komazawa University to make a
study tour abroad. As I planned to visit the United States
during my travels, I notified a priest friend living there of my
plans. He wrote back asking me to give lectures on Buddhism
and guidance in Zen at his temple because of the great interest
in these subjects on the part of Americans. He particularly
requested that I center my lectures on the So to school of Zen
Buddhism which is not, as yet, as well known in the West a
The following booklet is an attempt to answer his request. I
have included sections not only on Buddhism in general and
Soto Zen in particular, including its founder in Japan, Dogen,
and his chief work the Shobogenzo; but I have also attempted
to give a short explanation of the relationship of Zen
Buddhism to Japanese culture in general. The material
included in this booklet is based on previously published texts
in Japanese which are re-published here in their original form
as well as in English translation.
Due to lack of preparatory time there are undoubtedly many
mistakes in this text. I would be deeply appreciative if my
readers would point them out to me so that they can be
corrected in future editions. Finally, I would like to express
my appreciation to Ryugen Ogasawara and Ryojun Victoria,
who helped in the English translation, as well as Shoryu
Ishizuki and Tokiko Tanaka, who also rendered generous
assistance. It is my sincerest hope that this booklet may be r
some small assistance to English-speaking peoples in their
understanding of Buddhism and Zen, and enable them,
however slightly, to near the final emancipation of Nirvana.
The Origin of Zen and its Development
Zen is one of the important aspects of Buddhism. It is also the
method for realizing that perfect state known as enlightenment.
The word "Zen" itself is the Japanese pronounciation
of a Chinese character which itself was the
phonetic equivalent in Chinese of the original Sanscrit word
dhyana, or jhana as it is pronounced in Pali. When translating
the meaning, instead of simply the sound, of these Indian
expressions the Chinese used Chinese characters meaning
"quiet thinking", "deepen one's thinking" and "forsaking
evil". Even in ancient Indian religious classics, such as the
Upanisadas, mention can be found of the practice of Zen.
This accounts for the fact that losing oneself in meditation
while seated under a tree is a practice carried on not only by
Buddhists but by Hindus and Jains as welL
It was the historical Buddha, Gautama Siddhartha, however,
who used Zen meditation as the way to awaken to the unity of
his mind and body, free himself from desire, and realize
enlightenment. Gautama taught that right meditation was the
most important aspect of the eight-fold noble path leading to
enlightenment. Misunderstanding this teaching, however, there
gradually developed among the community of monks, or
Samgha, a tendency to practice zazen for the realization of
one's own personal enlightenment.
With the emergence of Mahayana Buddhism around the l st
century A.D. this tendency was severely criticized, and the
practice of Zen became understood as a practice which was
undertaken for the benefit of others. In this way Zen became
established as one of the six paramitas, i.e. methods for
crossing over from this shore of birth and death to the other
shore of enlightenment. Thus Zen changed from a selfcentered,
self-righteous practice to one undertaken from
altruistic motives as an active religious expression. This type of
Zen was carried to China where, combining with traditional
Chinese thought, if formed the unique Zen Sect as it is known
Something of Zen thought had already been introduced to
China as early as the Eastern Han Dynasty (A.D. 25 to 220);
however, it was not until the famous Indian Zen priest
Bodhidharma began preaching in China in the beginning of the
Northern Wei Dynasty (A.D. 386-533) that Zen became a
distinct entity in that country. Zen as taught by Bodhidharma
is said to be expressed in the words Gvoju-hekikan] i.e.
meditation. Such meditation is said to benefit oneself and
others; and beginning with Bodhidharma passing on his'
teaching to his foremost Chinese disciple Hui-k'o (487-593) it
was passed on for six generations from master to disciple, the
sixth master, or Patriarch, being Hui-neng (638- 713).
Four of Bodhidharma's most famous expressions are: (1) no
dependence upon the words and letters of the scriptures (2)
transmission of the doctrines without dependence upon
scriptures or other writings (3) direct pointing to one's mind
and seeing into one's own nature and (4) the realization that
one is no different from a Buddha. These most clearly
express the unique character of Zen. Another Chinese priest,
Tsung-mi (780-840) divided Zen into five types: (1) heretical
Zen (2) laymen's Zen (3) Hinayana Zen (4) Mahayana Zen and
(5) the Buddha's Zen. He stated that the Zen of Bodhidharma
and his successors was that of the fifth type, i.e. the Buddha's
Zen, and that this Zen differed from that taught by either the
Tendai Sect or other Buddhist masters.
In Japan the Rinzai Zen Sect was first introduced by the
Japanese priest Eisai at the beginning of the 12th century.
Following him, Dogen (1200-1253), founder of the Soto Zen
Sect, completed the systematic exposition of Zen thought.
Both in China and Japan Zen has exerted a great influence on
the arts, on philosophy, and on thought in general. In China
this influence was particularly strong on the paintings of the
Sung (960-1279) and Yuan (1280-1368) Dynasties, as well as
on New Confucianist philosophy. In Japan the tea-ceremony,
the architecture of the homes. of feudal warriors, and Noh
dramas also bear witness to the influence of Zen thought.
The Meaning of Zazen
Zazen begins with assuming the correct posture and regulating
one's breathing. Since our human mind can not be easily
controlled, we sit in meditation in order to control it. When
we sit in meditation correctly under the guidance of a Zen
master, our delusions cease and we can enter into a calm state
of mind without clinging to anything. This state of mind is
equal to that of a Buddha. It can and indeed must be
manifested in our human body and mind while we are leading
our ordinary daily life.
One usually sits in either a full or half-lotus position, with eyes
half open so as to prevent sleepiness and irrelevant thoughts.
Zazen is understood as being the concrete actualization of
meditation; and, as such, it has been practiced by various
Indian religions since ancient times.
This form of Zen became prevalent after Bodhidharma arrived
in China. It became more and more predominant in the later
Northern and Southern Sung Dynasties. One school of meditation,
Soto-Zen, gradually came to be known as Mokusho-
Zen, i.e. silent meditation without any thinking. In Rinzai-Zen,
on the other hand, students are given an object of meditation,
known as koan, by their Zen masters. Thus the method of
meditation in Rinzai-Zen is known as Kanna-Zen, i.e. seeking
enlightenment through the use of koan?
The Japanese Zen master Dogen tried to revive the original
zazen as practiced by the Buddha and Bodhidharma. He
advocated the need of true zazen known as shikan-taza" and
wrote the Fukan-zazen-gi (A Recommendation for the practice
of Zazen). The Rinzai Zen master in Japan, Hakuin, developed
Rinzai-zen and added some new interpretations. He also wrote
a short verse called Zazen-wasan (A Hymn in Praise of Zazen).
As may be seen from Dogen's exhortation for shikan-taza,
the practice of zazen forms the core of Zen training. This is in
sharp contrast to other Japanese priests such as Honen
(1133-1212), founder of the Jodo Sect, who advocated
complete dedication to the practice of nembutsu, i.e. invoking
the name of Amida-Buddha in order to be reborn in his Pure
Land. It should be remembered, however, that zazen is not
just simply a way to realize enlightenment or become a
Buddha. Rather it is a method wherein one completely denies
discriminative thinking, finding fulfillment in one's unity with
The Zazen Posture
In the practice of zazen one should first of all have a desire to
follow the way of the Buddha and aspire to save all sentient
beings. Next one should have sufficient rest and food and be
dressed comfortably, taking care that one's clothing is neat
and clean. As for a place, a quiet spot is desirable.
Before assuming the sitting position one should bow with
hands pressed palm to palm in the gassho position. Then,
laying out a fairly soft mat or pad some three feet square,
place a small circular cushion measuring abou t one foot in
diameter on it to sit on. You may either sit in the full-lotus
posture, placing the foot of the right leg on the thigh of the
left and the foot of the left leg on the thigh of the right (or the
reverse) or you may use the half-lotus posture which is done
by putting the foot of the left leg on the thigh of the right.
The next step is to rest the right hand in the lap, palm upward,
and place the left hand, palm upward, on top of the right
palm. The tips of the thumbs should lightly touch each other.
After straightening the spinal column, control your breathing
while keeping your eyes half opened, looking at a
spot approximately three feet in front of you. After having
completed your sitting you once more bow with hands in the
gassho position and leave your place of meditation with hands
placed firmly on your chest, the left fist covered with the right
Gyoju-hekikan: Buddha attained his enlightenment while sitting in
meditation under a bodhi tree, marking the beginning of Buddhism.
Later on, the method of practicing meditation changed gradually,
particularly that of Mahayana Buddhism. In this school meditation was
practiced with using various spiritual words as objects of meditation.
These words were thought to express the Buddha or the Truth.
Bodhidharma, however, sat in meditation facing the wall; an act which
seems to be on its face quite unimportant and useless. Yet, by emphasizing
"realizing one's True Self", as did Bodhidharma, his meditative
practice could be said to be a revival of the original Buddha's meditation.
Thus Dogen's meditation, as expressed in his words of shikan-taza, may
also be said to be the same as that of the original Buddha; for it, too,
finds its basis in Bodhidharma's meditation.
Koan: the word koan has two meanings. In a broad sense it means
the ultimate truth of the Dharma, Buddhist teachings. In a narrow sense,
it means the principles, attitudes and deeds of Zen masters. In Rinzai
Zen, these anecdotes concerning past Zen masters are used as objects of
meditation. For example, "What is the sound of one hand clapping?"
In Soto Zen, however, koan are not used as objects of meditation,
although their use as reference sources by Zen trainees is allowed.
Dogen himself taught that koan were not simply limited to anecdotes of
past Zen masters; but, in fact, all phenomena in the universe including
our very existence itself may be considered as koan.
Shikan-taza: literally "just sitting in meditation without thinking
of any particular subject". This form of zazen as practiced
in Soto-Zen is different from that practiced in Rinzai-Zen in which one
u.ses a koan (see Note"), consciously wishing to attain enlightenment
In Soto-Zen, then, it is believed that zazen itself is the object and
enlightenment is in the very midst of zazen. There is no distinction
between zazen and enlightenment, satori. Thus, in the practice of
zazen, the true dharma and its embodiment are expressed.
ZEN MASTER DOGEN
Dogen (1200-1253) was the founder of the Soto Zen sect in
Japan. He was born in Kyoto to noble parents, his father being
Koga Michichika, Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal, and his
mother the daughter of Fujiwara Motofusa, the Prime Minister.
He lost both of his parents at an early age, however, and
began his formal study of Buddhism at the age of thirteen.
After receiving the precepts and shaving his head in the
initiation ceremony for a Buddhist monk the following spring,
he became a disciple of Koen, chief abbot of the Tendai Sect.
During his subsequent training he experienced the following
doubt: "Why, if all sentient beings innately possess
the Buddha-nature, is it necessary for the Buddhas of the past,
present and future to undergo such long and rigorous
training?" Searching for an answer, Dogen visited Koin of
Onjoji temple who, in turn, advised him to visit Eisai of
Kenninji temple. His doubt being partially cleared up by Eisai
he continued to train under him and, upon his death, his
foremost disciple Myozen.
At the age of twenty-four Dogen accompanied Myozen on a
pilgrimage to China where they visited numerous Buddhist
monasteries and temples. He was particularly impressed by
Chief Abbot Ju-ching of the T'ien-t'ung-ssu monastery. After
having trained under him for a total period of four years,
during which time he realized full enlightenment, Dogen
returned to Japan in 1227. Following his return Dogen began
propagating Buddhism as well as writing various treatises
concerning it in the vicinity of Kyoto, Japan's capital then.
A few years later he had a temple named Koshoji constructed,
and he became its first chief priest.
In 1243, after moving to a more mountainous area near the Sea
of Japan, Dogen had the monastery of Eiheiji constructed in
what is now Fukui Prefecture. Four years later he was
requested to come to the new capital city of Kamakura by
Hojo Tokiyori, then the military ruler of all Japan. In
Kamakura he continued to propagate Buddhism and conferred
the bodhisattva precepts on Tokiyori. In 1250, after having
returned to Eiheiji, he was presented with a purple robe by
Emperor Go-saga; however, Dogen refused to wear it or be in
any way associated with the power system of his day.
Dogen is well-known for having written the Shobogenzo (see
under Shobogenzo), a religious philosophical work unexcelled
in Japan. He also wrote other treatises on Buddhism including
one on the practice of zazen, the Fukanzazengi, and one on
the regulations to be followed in a Zen monastery, the
Eihei-shingi. A collection of Dogen's sayings and lectures in ten
chapters, the Eihei-koroku, is also well-known in Japan.
ZEN MASTER KEIZAN
Born in the latter part of the Kamakura period Zen Master
Keizan (1267 - 1325) was destined to become the founder of
Sojiji, one of the two head temples of the Soto Zen denomination,
Soto-shu. He was born in Fukui Prefecture on Japan's
western coast. At the age of thirteen he entered the Buddhist
priesthood as a disciple of Koun Ejo, Dogen's successor and
second chief priest of Eiheiji. Upon Ejo's death Keizan studied
under Tettsu Gikai, the third chief priest of the temple, subsequently
devoting himself to establishing numerous temples,
such as Jomanji in Tokushima Prefecture, and Eikoji, Kokoji,
and Jojuji in Ishikawa Prefecture. Eventually he became the
chief priest of Daijoji in Ishikawa Prefecture, where he devoted
himself to teaching for ten years. In 1321 he was requested by
Joken-risshi to become the chief priest of Shogakuji in
Ishikawa Prefecture. Keizan renamed the temple Shogaku-zan
Sojiji. Later Emperor Go-daigo made the temple an Imperial
prayer temple. Since then Sojiji, together with Eiheiji, has
been regarded as a head temple of the Soto-shu.
Keizan's writings include the Denko-roku, Keizan-shingi,
Zazen-yoj in-k i, Sankon-zazen-setsu, etc.
The Shobogenzo (A Treasury of the Eye, i.e. of the opened
Mind's Eye, of the True Dharma) was written by the founder
of the Soto Zen Sect in Japan, Dogen. Within it are contained
ninety-five different discourses on Buddhism which were
written in the twenty-three year period between 1231-1253.
The discourses were originally presented as sermons to
Dogen's disciples while he was in residence at either the
Anyoin, Koshoji, or Eiheiji temples. In written form the
discourses are recorded either in pure Japanese or in a
combination of Japanese and Chinese.
The Shobogenzo represents Dogen's attempt to transmit the
essence of Buddhism as it is understood in the Zen Sect. This
essence finds its basis in such practices as "learning the true
meaning of human life through study under a Zen master" and
"deepening one's true humanity through the practice of zazen".
The discourses encompass not only the fundamental teachings
of Buddhism but they also deal with uniting these teachings
with one's daily actions as well. Furthermore, the discourses
are not written from a narrow sectarian point of view but
rather from a perspective which transcends sectarianism and
makes a unique contribution to our understanding of life.
In the chapter entitled, Genjo-Koan (The Manifestation of
the Koan) Dogen wrote, "To study Buddhism is to study
one's Self. To study one's Self is to forget one's Self'. These
two sentences may be said to most directly express the essence
of this work. There have been many commentaries written on
the Shobogenzo, the most important of which have been put
together in the ten volume Shobogenzo Chukaizensho (A
Collection of Commentaries on the Shobogenzo). Another
work by the same name but written by a different author, the
Chinese priest Ta-hui (1089-1163) of the Rinzai Zen Sect, is
also in existence. It consists of six chapters.