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西嶋愚道和夫 Nishijima Gudō Wafu (1919-2014)
Nishijima, Gudo Wafu:
Gudó Vafu Nisidzsima - Jeffrey Bailey:
Zazen - The Practical Side
PDF: To Meet The Real Dragon
Three Philosophies and One Reality
PDF: How to Practice Zazen
PDF: Introduction to Buddhism and the Practice of Zazen
PDF: The Relation Between the Autonomic Nervous System and Buddhism
The poem "21" from book 10 in Eihei Koroku by Master Dogen
PDF: Japanese Buddhism and the Meiji Restoration,
PDF: Understanding the Shobogenzo (1992)
Translations of Master Dogen's Works
普勧坐禅儀 Fukan zazengi Translation & Commentary
Master Gudo Nishijima has been practicing Buddhism for more than sixty years. He was a student of Master Kodo Sawaki, an itinerant priest famous for his efforts to restore Zazen to its rightful place at the center of Buddhism. Master Nishijima was ordained as a priest by the late Master Rempo Niwa, formerly head of the Soto Sect, and has written many books on Buddhism in both Japanese and in English. For over twenty years, he has been giving instructions on Zazen and lectures in English.
A Brief Personal History
Gudo Wafu Nishijima
PDF: How to Practice Zazen
(1976), with Joe Langdon
This 33-page book gives an introduction to Buddhist philosophy and explains how to practice Zazen. It also includes instructions on how to make your own zafu.
Nishijima rōshi's Zen Ancestors Chart:
Busso shōden bosatsu daikai kechimyaku
The Bloodline of the Buddha’s and Ancestors’ Transmission of the Great Bodhisattva Precepts
1. Eihei Dōgen
(永平 道元 1200-1253)
2. Koun Ejō
(孤雲 懐奘 1198-1280)
3. Tettsū Gikai
(徹通 義介 1219-1309)
4. Keizan Jōkin
(螢山 紹瑾 1268-1325)
5. Gasan Jōseki
(峨山 韶碩 1275-1366)
6. Taigen Sōshin
(太源 宗真 ?-1371)
7. Baizan Monpon
(梅山 聞本 ?-1417)
8. Jochū Tengin
(恕仲 天誾 1365-1437)
9. Sekisō Enchū
(石叟 圓柱 ?-1455)
10. Taigan Sōbai
(太巌 宗梅 ?-1502)
11. Kensō Jōshun
(賢窓 常俊 ?-1507)
12. Jisan Eikun
13. Daichū Reijō
14. Nan'ō Ryōkun
15. Daijū Ryūzon
16. Hōgan Zensatsu
17. Ryōzan Chōzen
18. Kisshū Genshō
19. Kigai Mon'ō
20. Kanshū Taisatsu
21. Tensō Juntetsu
22. Kenkoku Keisatsu
23. Raiten Gensatsu
24. Kengan Zesatsu
25. Hōkoku Satsuyū
26. Rotei Shōshuku
27. Fuhō Tatsuden
28. Kachū Jakuchū
29. Bunzan Kōrin
30. Daichū Bunki
31. Chōko Bungei
32. Roshū Ezen
33. Reisai Emon
34. Tokuzui Tenrin
35. Shōgaku Rinzui
36. Butsuzan Zuimyō
(佛山 瑞明; Masuda 増田)
37. Bukkan Myōkoku
(佛鑑 明國 1862-1904; Niwa 丹羽)
38. Butsuan Emyō
(佛庵 慧明 1880-1955; Niwa 丹羽)
39. Zuigaku Rempō
(瑞岳 廉芳 1905-1993; Niwa 丹羽)
40. Gudō Wafu
(愚道 和夫 1919-2014; Nishijima 西嶋)
Some western disciples of Nishijima rōshi:
Mike Chōdō Cross (1959-)
James "Chigen Jundo" Cohen (1960-)
Éric "慈雲 Jiun" Rommeluère (1960-)
Brad Warner (1964-)
赤心片々 Seki shin hen-hen
Signed by 愚道和夫 Gudō Wafu
Calligraphy by Nishijima rōshi (circa 1980)
Translated literally, it means red mind moment by moment.
Red mind refers to unconditioned consciousness when we are in the preconceptual state in the present moment.
Not cluttered by thoughts or images of reality. Undivided wholeness at every moment. Pure consciousness at every moment.
This suggests the state of balanced action.
Translations of Master Dōgen's Works
by Gudō Wafu Nishijimaa
真字正法眼蔵 [Mana/Shinji] Shōbōgenzō
Master Dogen's Shinji Shobogenzo, 301 koan stories,
translated by Gudo Nishijima, edited by Michael Leutchford and Jeremy Pearson
Windbell Pubns Ltd., 2003, 386 pages
PDF: Introduction to the Shinji Shobogenzo by Gudo Wafu Nishijima
仮字正法眼蔵 [Kana/Kaji] Shōbōgenzō
Shōbōgenzō: The True Dharma-Eye Treasury, Volume I-IV.
Translated from the Japanese by Gudo Wafu Nishijima and Chodo Cross
Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research, 2007
PDF: Volume I. Chapters 1 to 21
PDF: Volume II. Chapters 22-41
PDF: Volume III. Chapters 42-72
PDF: Volume IV. Chapters 73-96
普勧坐禅儀 Fukan zazengi
Translation & Commentary by Gudo Nishijima
PDF: Gaku Do Yo Jin Shu
Practical Advice on Pursuing the Buddhist Truth
from Master Dogen
Translated by Master Gudo Nishijima
Gakudo-yojin-shu [with Gudo Wafu Nishijima's Commentary]
(1) The outline of Gakudo-yojin-shu
As the introductory books of Buddhism by Master Dogen, there is Gakudo-yojin-shu other than Fuka-zazen-gi. In the case of Fukan-zazen-gi, because it was written by Master Dogen for the first time, it seems to be very popular, and it was read by so many people actually. But in the case of Gakudo-yojin-shu, I am afraid that it was not so much read by many people. However, when we want to study Master Dogen's Buddhist thoughts, I think that Gakudo-yojin-shu is very important for us to read it too. Because I think that Gakudo-yojin-shu includes so many important instructions, which we need to read for studying Master Dogen's Buddhist thoughts. Therefore I would like to show the fundamental teachings of Gukudo-yojin-shu in Dogen Sangha Blog too.
By the way, when I had a lecture of Gakudo-yojin-shu at Yanagibashi Hall in 1988, the record of my lecture was published by Kanazawa-bunko, and so if you read it, it might be usueful for you to understand Gakudo-yojin-shu in detail, but unfortunately it was published only in Japanese.
Gakudo-yojin-shu includes the following 10 chapters. And the original texts are written in Chinese, but recently even we, Japaneses also read it in sentenses, which are arranged into the same order as Japanese, and so I would like to introduce it in such a special style.
We can suppose that the ten chapter were not written together at once, but they were written separately one by one, and then they are edited into one book later. Because only the chapter 3 and the chapter 6 have the dates, when they were written, but the other chapters do not have any dates, when they were written, and so we can suppose that each chapter has written one by one, and later the ten chapters were edited together into one.
No. 1. Establish the will to the truth.
Master Dogen says, when we begin to study Buddhism, the most important matter is to establish the will to the truth. When we think, at what time, such a kind of will to pursue the truth, will occur, Maser Dogen quoted Master Nagarjuna's words, that when we concentrate our efforts to do
something sincerely at the present moment, we can notice that the passing time is so short and fast, and we recognize how fast the time passing through in our daily life. And just at the moment we can have the will to the truth.
No. 2. Buddhism should be studied without fail, if we had the chance to meet with it.
Master Dogen strongly insisted that if someone met Buddhism, he should study it without fail, because he clearly noticed that Buddhism, which Gautama Buddha taught us, was the only one truth, which pervaded throughout the universe, therefore without pursuing it we, human beings, could never enjoy our human life.
No. 3. Buddhism should always be experienced and entered by act itself.
In the third viewpoint, Master Dogen thought that the teachings, which Gautama Buddha taught us, are different from teachings, which we can get them relying upon our intellectual consideration, or sensuous perception, but they are just the teachings, which can be got relying just upon our acts in our daily life. Therefore if we want to get such a kind of practical experience, which can be got by our act, it is necessary for us to study it relying upon our practice of Zazen, in which we can really experience act itself.
No. 4. We should never practice Buddhism having the mind to get something.
Buddhist practice should always be done for pursuing the truth, and so it should never be done to get something other than the truth itself. Therefore if the Buddhist practice was done for getting fame or profit, it has been done just to get fame or profit, and then we should think that those practice were done for getting fame or profit, and it does never have any relation with getting the truth.
No. 5. In practicing Zazen for getting the truth, it is so important for us to get the true Master.
In the fifth criterion, Master Dogen insisted strongly the very important necessity of getting a true Master in pursuing the truth. And he said that if it was impossible for us to get the true Master in studying Buddhism, it might be much better for us not to study Buddhism. Because if we studied Buddhism under a wrong Buddhist Master, we have to spent the very valuable time of our life for studying wrong theory, and it might be so sad situations for everyone to lose so important time of his or her life for getting so unhappy and serious life.
No. 6. What we should know when we practice Zazen.
In the 6th chapter Master Dogen indicated several points, which we should know cearfully, and he enumarated them as follows. (1) It is the most valuable and important efforts for human beings to practice Zazen for studying Buddhism. (2) We should never like to practice an easy practice. Because easy practices usually do not arrive at the aim. (3) We should know that Gautama Buddha's teachings are so profound and so big. (4) We should know that it is the most important and difficult job for us to keep the balance of mind and to get the harmony of mind and physical behavior. (5) In Buddhist practice it is not so important to get sensitivity, intellect, mental contents, or mental functions, but it is important for us to keep the harmony of body and mind for entering into the world of the truth, which Gautama Buddha preached. (6) It is not so important whether we are older or younger. (7) The greatness of Gautama Buddha's teachings will be decided by whether we continue it, or not, and whether we actually practice it, or not. (8) We should never keep our own opinion subornly, and we should never change our teacher's opinion by identifing it with our own opinion. (9) Gautama Buddha's teachings are completely different from ideas, decision, supposition, intuition, perception, and understanding.
No. 7. A person, who practices Buddhism and want to transcend the secular societies, should inevitably practice Zazen
Master Dogen preached that if we want to follow Gautama Buddha's behavior to transcend vulgar secular rules, it is the best way for us to practice Zazen. Master Dogen strongly insisted that if we want to enjoy the true teachings of Gautama Buddha directly, it is necessary for us to practice Zazen, and so forth directly, to experience the balance of the autonomic nervous system actually, because Gautama Buddha's teachings are not the understandings, which can get by reading books and consideration.
No. 8. Acts, which are really done by Buddhist practitioers in their daily life.
In the Chapter 8. the acts of Buddhist practitioners in their daily life are described in their meanings. Generally speaking, in a intellectual philosophy it is almost impossible for philosophers to notice the existence of the real world, which manifests itself only relying upon the real act of us in our actual daily life. But in the case of Master Dogen, who has clearly grasped the Buddhist philosophy, which is based on the real philosophy of act, actually noticed that the real life of Buddhist practitioners are just the persuing act itself at the present moment of daily life.
No. 9. We should practice Zazen for pursuing the truth.
The Buddhist practice is just the pursuit of Gautama Buddha's teachings, which are pervading throughout the universe, therefore it must be completely impossible for Gautama Buddha's teachings to exist without the truth. And Master Dogen clearly noticed such a fact, which he proclaimed that Buddhist practice must be just the efforts to pursue the truth in their daily life.
No. 10. The direct experience just at the present moment.
The Japanese word "Jikige" means just at the present moment, and the Japanese word "Joto" means to experience, that is just the direct experience of the balanced state in the autonomic nervous system at the present moment. It is not necessary to say that there was no knowledge of the autonomic nervous system in the 13th Century, when Master Dogen lived, but it was very clear that Master Doge actually experience the balanced state of the autonomic nervous system, and so he described the state with the Japanese words "Jikige Joto."
No. 1. Establishment of the Will to the Truth
This original text of Gakudo-yojin-shu in the computer was presented by Mr. Mitsuo Ebisawa, who is a member of Dogen Sangha Kyoto. The sentences are separated into each paragraphs, making them very easy to read, and so I also follow such a method. The parts that are different from the old original text I have corrected following my book "Gakudo-yojin-shu-kowa, or A Lecture of Gakudo-yoji-shu."
No. 1. To Establish the Will to the Truth
The word of Bodaishin, or the Will to the Truth, has many other titles, but they can be identified totally into one word, Bodaishin.
Master Nagarjuna says. "We can also call the mind, which can grasp that the situations of secular societies are so flexible and instant, as the Will to the Truth." And such a kind of intuitive mind is also called Bodaishin, or the Will to the Truth.
Therefore I think that it might be possible for us to call those many kinds of expressions of the mind totally with the title of Bodaishin, or the Will to the Truth.
Truly speaking, when we reflect the instantaneousness of the present moment, our selfish mind does not occur, and consciousness of fame and profit does not appear, therefore we sincerely worry about the fact that time and light run away much too fast. Then our practicing the truth can be so sincere as if we were putting out burning hair.
We have to reflect that our physical strength is not so strong, therefore our sincere efforts intend to follow the efforts of Gautama Buddha, who always walked with his steps utilizing only his tiptoes.
Even though the very beautiful and admirable cries of kimnara or garuda(both are the names of birds in ancient India, which are famous for their beautiful cries,) exist in the morning, the blown wind of our death in the evening will erase the beautiful cries completely. And even though Mosho, or Seishi (both are famous beautiful ladies, who are favored by Chinese Emperors), have very beautiful faces and figures, if we die in the morning, our sight will be shut like a drop on the leaf in the morning.
However, if we left bondage and restriction of what we listen to, or what we look at, it might be possible for us to fit with the order and situation following the will to the truth. From the ancient time to the present, when we listen to the situation of people, who are scarce in their knowledge, or when we look at people, who are narrow-minded, in almost all cases they have fallen down into pitfalls of fame and profit losing the life of Buddhist Truth forever.
It is so sorrowful and it is so regretable. We should know such kinds of sad situations without fail.
Even though they have read so many excellent Buddhist Sutras of both the figurative and the real, or even though they have received so many excellent books of the concrete and the secret, if they haven't thrown away fame and profit wholly, it is competely impossible for them to be esteemed for their having started to have the will to the truth already.
Some say that the will to the truth is the mind of the supreme and truly balanced consciousness, therefore it does not relate with famous rumors, or sufficient foods and clothes. Some say that it is intuitive understanding that one moment at the present includes three thousand things and phenomena in it. And some say that it is the Buddhist teachings that anything does not appear at the present moment at all, or some say it is the mind, which is going to enter into the world of Buddhism.
Such poeple as these have never known the will to the truth, but they are blaming the will to the truth at random because of having their wrong explanations. Therefore we can say that they are people who are far more distant than anyone who is studying Buddhist teachings.
For trial, reflect on your own mind, which has fallen down into the selfish mind or the greedy mind to get some profits. Are they harmonized into substance and form of oneness between a mind and the three thousands of miscellaneous things and phenomena? Do they experience the gate of the truth where any consciousness is not born?
Oppositely, even though there are so much deluded mind of craving fame and loving profit, it is very surprising that there is almost nothing that can be called the will to the truth at all.
Since the ancient times, there have been the cases of the saints who have got the truth and the rule of the universe. Even though they have pretended to be the same as ordinary secular people, there is no saint who has had any kind of evil thought for getting fame or profit at all. They did not have even any kind of attachment to the rule of the universe at all. Therefore it is not necessary further for us to say anything about the case of secular attachments.
What is called the will to the truth is just the mind, which has been described in the paragraphs before, as the mind of reflecting the instantaneousness of the world, is also one example of it. It is completely different from what mad people are prone to indicate at all.
The consciousness, in which any kind of idea does not occur at the present moment, or the consciousness, in which the three thousands of miscellaneous things and phenomena appear really, is just the splendid act, which manifests itself after establishing the will to the truth. Therefore we should never mingle the difference of the two cases at all.
When we practice Zazen privately for a while forgetting ourselves, then the will to the truth will become very familiar to us.
Therefore we can say that the 62 wrong viewpoints other than Buddhism come inevitably from the viewpoints of self.
When the viewpoint of self occurs inevitably, please practice Zazen quietly to reflect on the self, whether or not it really exists.
What is the real substance of what we have inside and outside our body and mind?
The body, the hair, the skin, are received from father and mother. Both the red drop of ovum and the white drop of semen do not belong to us completely, and so they can never be ourselves.
Mind, will, consciousness, and wisdom make our life continuous, but it is not clear what is called the breath of exhalation and inhalation in conclusion. Therefore the breath is not ourselves. And so the mental function of mind, and so forth, and the physical function of breath, both are not so preferable as ourselves.
The people, who are deluded, prefer one of them, but the people, who are clear in understanding, leave the problem.
People usually, however, consider the self of no-self, or attach to the life of not being born. They do not practice the Buddhist practice, which they should do, and they do not cut the emotional conditions of secular societies. They usually hate the real rule of the universe, and they usually want to get the wrong rule of the world.
Aren't they making very serious mistakes in such ways?
No. 2 To study the True Dharma without fail when we meet the chance to study it.
The following suggests that, if a very sincere and reliable person presents his whole-hearted words to the ruler, the sincere words sometimes have a strong power to turn over the whole world actually.
And it is said that if Gautama Buddha has given his short words to someone, there is no one, who does not change his or her mind into Buddhism, at all.
But, in the case that the ruler does not have excellent wisdom, he does not have the ability to accept the advisor's kind opinion, and if the person, who listens to Gautama Buddha's teachings, does not have enormously excellent ability, it must be impossible for him to accept Gautama Buddha's advice at all.
The fact that there are people who do not change their fundamental viewpoint from their own former one to Buddhism, might come from the fact that it is completely impossible for them to cut their habitual attitudes to follow the common daily life and death.
Therefore in the case that the whole-heartedly sincere advice of the person hasn't been accepted, the facts suggest that it has been impossible for the country to realize an adequate goverment and good policy yet.
Master Dogen says that if we meet Gautama Buddha's teachings, it is necessary for us to study them without fail. And I think that the reason why he says so might be that Gautama Buddha met with the enormously confused ancient Indian society, where Danken-gedo, or Materialism, which was insisted upon by the six non-Buddhist thinkers, and Joken-gedo, or Idealism, which was insisted by Brahmanists, were the guiding viewpoints. Gautama Buddha sacrificed his total life to solve the contradictory conditions of the two absolutely reasonable philosophies, that is, the one is the usually intellectual philosophy, and the other is the unique Buddhist philosophy, which is based upon a practical, actual, or real basis. Gautama Buddha was been utimately successful in finding the logical method of the four philosophies. I guess that Master Dogen also recognizes that Buddhism is the ultimate truth through the world, and so he expects everyone to study Buddhism without fail.
Therefore Master Dogen explains that even in secular societies, there are many examples that the words of the truth have enormously strong power, which can turn the whole social situations over completely. So similarly in philosophical societies, Master Dogen insists that relying upon Gautama Buddha's teachings we can change the human societies completely, if Gautama Buddha's philosophy will be understood eaxactly and actually, and then there can be an absolute change of all human societies relying upon Gautama Buddha's philosophical system at last.
No. 3. It absolutely necessary for Buddhism to be experienced and entered by action.
The meaning of the title is as follows. It is said in secular societies that when we study something, the reward of our study exists just in the study itself. And Gautama Buddha says that if we practice Zazen, the effect of Zazen exists just in the practice itself.
There is no one, who receives the rewards without study, and I haven't heard of any case that without practicing Zazen someone has got the truth.
Even though there are so many differences of practice — based on belief, doctrine, the necessity of a short or a long time to get the truth — it is inevitably necessary for everyone to rely upon the practice of Zazen for getting the truth.
Even though there are so many differences of shallowness, profoundity, intelligence, or foolishness in miscellaneous study, it is inevitable for everyone to get the reward after having accumulated so much study.
This might suggest that it is not always decided that everything will be preferable, or not, relying upon whether the ruler is excellent, or not, and that it is not always decided that everyone will be happy, or not, relying upon whether the motion of the Universe is adequate, or not.
If it is possible for anyone to get the rewards without study, (because they do not like to study,) how is it possible for anyone to get the teachings of the ancient Emperors' methods for regulating human societies?
If it is possible for anyone to get the truth without practicing Zazen, (because they do not like to practice Zazen,) how is it possible for anyone to understand Gautama Buddha's teachings, which can distiguish truth, or falsehood?
You should know that first we should establish our own practice of Zazen even in our deluded condition, and then we can grasp the truth before getting enlightenment.
Just at that time we can notice that the ships and rafts, which we expect to utilize to arrive at the distant shores of the truth, were just a dream yesterday, and we can clearly decide that the old views of wisteria vines as snakes were wrong.
These situations never come from Gautama Buddha's intentional enforcement, but it has been managed just by the present function.
Furthermore, what action introduces, is the truth. The miscellaneous treasures in our own warehouse do never come from outside of ourselves.
What the truth utilizes is our action. How is it possible for us to actually turn around the traces of our mental functions in the past?
However, if we turn around our eyes of the truth to look at our own situations of action really, there is no spot, which disturbs our eyes, and if we dare to look at something, only white clouds pervade throughout the sky limitlessly.
If we want to grasp our own grade of experiencing the truth utilizing our real foot of action, there is nothing, even a piece of dust, which supports our foot at all, and if we dare step our foot, we have to notice that the distance between our foot and the ground seems to be like the distance between the heavens and the earth.
Just at that time if we reflect to step back a little, we can trascend even Gautama Buddha's state.
Written on 9th, March, 1234.
No. 4. We should never practice Buddhism having a mind of getting something
In the practice of Buddhism, which Gautama Buddha taught us, it seems that we should inevitably receive the true teaching of excellent Masters of the past, and we should never utilize our own private criteria.
Furthermore Buddhism can neither be grasped by intentional mind, nor without mind.
If it is impossible for us to identify our mind to regulate our action and the truth, it is absolutely impossible for us to maintain our mind and body as peaceful and stable.
If it is impossible for us to maintain our body and mind as peaceful and stable, it is impossible for us to maintain our body and mind as peaceful and comfortable.
And if our body and mind are not peaceful and comfortable, in what time is it possible for us to experiece the truth? Then the severely painful obstacles will occur.
As it is usually said, how is it possible for our regulating ability of act and the truth to be fused into one, and how shall we behave in our daily life? In short, it is necessary for our mind not to have any kind of like and dislike, and it is necessary for us not to have an intention of getting fame and profit.
The practice of Buddhism is never to be done for getting others' admiration at all.
When we think about people that are Buddhist practitioners in the modern age, the distance between their mind and the truth is as limitlessly distant as possible.
If people admire and love something, even though a leader really knows that it is different from the truth, he usually practices it.
At the same time, if people do not respect and praise it, even though the leader knows that it is just the true way, he intentionally throws away the practice of it without any hesitation. How are the situations like those pitiful and miserable?
It is necessary for you to reflect and suppose whether such a mind and act are Buddhism, or not.
It is seriously shameful, seriously shameful. The facts are perfectly clear, when the eyes of saints look at them.
Generally speaking, Buddhist practitioners do not practice Buddhism even for themselves, therefore how is it permissible for them to practice Buddhism for fame or profit?
Buddhism should always be done just for Buddhism itself.
The reason for the benevolence of the Buddhas' compassion and love to all living beings is never for Buddhas themselves, or never for others, but the reason for the benevolence of Buddhas comes solely from the common behavior of Buddhas in Buddhism.
Don't look at the facts that even small worms, or animals, when they feed and bring up their children, even though the parents meet so painful and difficult experiences, and they manage so
severe and painful situations, and they ultimately accomplish their long bringing up at last, but they do not like to receive any kinds of rewards because of their efforts.
Nevertheless, however, they supply also their benevolence and compassion to their children.
Even those small kinds of creatures still have such benevolence and compassion, and they are very naturally similar to many Buddhas, which love all living beings so much.
The fine and powerful teachings of many Buddhas are not limited to only one factor of benevolence, or compassion, but they manifest themselves in almost all divisions of the world. The fundamental basis of all kinds of things and phenomena are like that.
We, Buddhist students, are just Gautama Buddha's students already, and so how is it possible for us not to follow Gautama Buddha's elegant behavior in his daily life?
Buddhist practitioners should never think to practice Buddhism for themselves, and they should never practice Buddhism for their own fame and profit.
They should never practice Buddhism for them to get direct or indirect effects, and they should never practice Buddhism to get miraculous virtue.
To practice Buddhism just for the sake of Buddhism itself is just the Truth itself.
In Buddhist teachings, all actions should be done for the actions themselves, and Buddhist action should never be done for another purpose other than the action itself. This is just the general principle of Buddhist act, which is always based on the philosophy of act, and so we should think that Buddhist act itself is always the aim of the act itself.
No. 5 It is very important for us to select the true Master
(The translation of the original text)
The meaning of the title above is that reading words of Masters in the past, they say that if the first attitudes of pursuing the truth are not ture, even though we might make our efforts of practice so hard, eventually we have to supply our enormous efforts for doing useless effects at last.
It is necessary for us to say that this teachings are eaxactly ture. It might be true that effects of Buddhist practice must be decided by the difference whether the leading Masters are true, or not.
It seems that the difficulty of educating Buddhist students can compare to an example that whether the materials of fine arts are good or bad, and in such a situation we can think that the standpoint of the teachers are similar to the position of fine artists, who utilize the stuff.
Even if the materials were so excellent, when it is difficult for materials to get excellent artists, it is completely impossible for those materials to get good works of art.
Even if we have to use some strangely-winded materials, when we can meet an artist, who is so excellent in his ability, then we can get so excellent works of art from the strange materials finally.
In the case of pursuing the Buddhist truth, there are serious differences, whether their conclusions are true, or false, relying upon whether their teachers are true, or not.
However, in our country, in Japan, it seems that the true Buddhist Master hasn't manifested himself yet.
With what reason, can we grasp such unfathomable facts?
We can suppose such kinds of unfathomable facts by reading the descriptions, which Buddhist teachers wrote in the past.
The situations of our supposition are similar to the facts that we can research the situations of water at the upper part of a river by investigation of scooping water at the lower part of the river.
Even in our country, since the ancient time until now many numbers of Buddhist teachers have edited Buddhist books, teached students, and guided people and gods on the earth and the heaven, but the words, which they expressed, seems to be too young, and their expressions are very immature, and so they have not arrived at even the top of the intellectual research, and so how is it possible for them to arrive even at the vicinity of practical experience at all?
They pass on only words of sentences to their students, or have their students recite only titles of Buddhas', or sutras, without getting any merit so much as a penny, as if they were calculating property of others.
The responsibility of Masters in the former ages were like that.
In some cases they teach others that a right conclusion exists at the place, where there is no mind, and in some cases they teach others that we should reborn in the different world other than this.
From those situations of their teachings, which we can perceive clearly, miscellaneous kinds of perplexities and confusion occur, and many kinds of wrong ideas are also related with those facts closely.
For example when a doctor gave very excellent medicine to a patient, if the docter does not know the method to restrain the side effects of the medicine, the excellent medicine might become serious cause of another sickness, and so it would be much more worse for us than to drink some kind of poison itself actually.
Generally speaking in Japan it seems that there were no doctor, who has been able to give good effective medicin to a patieht from the ancient time at all, and an able Master, who could give his students excellent teachings to cure the poisonus wrong teachings, hasn't appeared at all yet.
From those situations, it was so difficult for Japanese teachers to throw away the diseases, which occured from the causes, which I described above, and so it seems that how is it possible for them to avoid suffering from aging and dying?
Those inability of Buddhist teachers in Japan, all belong to their own inferiority, and it does never come from inferiority of students for their own worse nature at all.
The reason, why I insist such a kind of opinion, comes from that people, who have ability to become Masters of others, have tendency to recommend their students throwing away the fundamentally important problems, and having their students pursue the trivial problems, and so such a kind of unhappy effects have occured.
Those teachers have their common tendency that, before they have grasped the fundamental Truth by themselves exactly, utilizing their own immature ideas one-sidedly, and they have others fall down and enter into the wrong states without any reason at all.
It is actually very pitiful situation, but even the teachers, who have been talented becoming teachers for others, recommend their students to pursue getting the enlightenment, which does not have any relation with mental function, or recommend their students to make their efforts to become reborn into the world, which is different from this world. In such a situation, how is it possible for their students to recognize whether it is completely wrong, or not, for them to pursue the true enlightenment at the place, which is perfectly irrelevant to mind, or whether it is completely wrong, or not, for them to be reborn into the perfectly different world from this world?
It is very sad facts that in Japan, even though it is a very small country far remote from the civilized countries, Gautama Buddha's teachings are not so much purvaded throughout the country yet, and the true Masters haven't appeared in it.
If we would like to study the teachings of Gautama Buddha, which are the highest teachings of the world, it might be very nice method for us to visit excellent priests in the Sun Dynasty of China.
It is very nice method for us to reflect the world of action, which is far distant from mental functions. In the case, when it is impossible for us to get the true Buddhist Master, it might be much better for us not to study Buddhism at all.
Generally speaking, a person, who is called the true Master, is not related whether he is old, or not, or whether his career in Buddhism is long, or not. The true Buddhist Master is called a person, who has become perfectly clear in understanding the true contents of Gautama Buddha's teachings, and who has received the distinct certificate from an authentic Master.
Knowledge of letters is not so important, and the theoretical understandings are not so important. But the true Buddhist Master has excellent power, which is much superior to ordinary people, having unusual determination, without being restricted by his own opinion, without hesitation in his own emotional viewpoint, but whose action in his daily life is perfectly identified with his own understanding Gautama Buddha's teachings, is just the real situations of a person, who is called exactly the true Buddhist Master.
In the nearest part of the end in this chapter, Master Dogen says that "In the case, when it is impossible for us to get the true Buddhist Master, it might be much better for us not to study Buddhism at all." The meaning of the sentence is that if it were impossible for us to get a true Buddhist Master, it is much better for us not to study Buddhism at all. And this idea is very important. To study Buddhism is just our own efforts to pursue the Truth by sacrificing our own life totally, and so if it is just the Truth, which we are pursuing, then we are very happy, but if it is not the Truth, which we are pursuing, it might be very serious, because we have to pursue the wrong teachings throughout our whole life believing as if it were the Truth. In the latter case we have to lose our long whole life for pursuing the wrong theory, and so we have to sacrifice our whole life, which is just only one life for us, to pursue something completely wrong.
Therefore Master Dogen proclaimed that we should never study Buddhism under a Master, who does not understand Buddhism truly and exactly, because by doing so we have to lose our total life by making our efforts for completely wrong or useless aim.
Thinking about such concrete and real examples, we should think about the problems sincerely, and we should never study Buddhism under a wrong Buddhist teacher.
No. 6 What we should know in practicing Zazen
The title above means that it is very important process for us to practice Zazen for studying the Truth, and so we should never despise it.
How is it permissible for us to practice it carelessly?
In the cases of ancient Masters, Master Taiso Eka cut off his arm, and Master Gutei cut off his student's finger. Those are very excellent cases in China.
In the ancient time, Gautama Buddha left his family and his state, and this was a very excellent trace in practicing the Truth.
Modern people usually say that it is better for us to practice the easiest one, which is as far as possible.
These words are exceedingly wrong, and so they do never fit the Buddhist principle absolutely.
When we make our efforts to do something as an only one practice solely, even just to lie down on the floor without doing nothing, it might be also too much painful for being boring.
And if we were boring in one factor, it is necessary for us to be boring in everything.
It is very clear that a person, who likes to be easy, might be inevitable for him not to be a
person, who has the nature to fit pursuing the Truth. Furthermore, Gautama Buddha's teachings, which are pervading throughout human societies today, have been got by the Great Master Gautama Buddha relying upon miscellaneous difficult practices and painful practices since the limitlessly long past actually.
The origine of the source was inevitably like that.
How is it possible for us, who just belong to his lineage, not to be difficult?
A person, who likes to meet the Truth, should never look for an easy practice.
If he look for an easy practice, it might be clear that he will not arrive at the true Reality without fail, and it must be provably impossible for him to arrive at the place of jewels.
The ancient Masters, who had their excellently great ability, still said that it was very difficult for them to practice the Buddhist practice.
We should notice that the Gautama Buddha's Truth are so profound and so great.
If the Buddhist teachings are easy to practice originally, how is it possible for many Buddhist practitioners, who have had so excellent ability, to say that it was very difficult for them to practice it and to understand it.
When we compare modern people with the ancient people, the difference of those kinds of people's ability, must be much more eormously many than comparing total number of each hair on fur of nine bulls with a piece of hair.
Therefore even though we would try to make our efforts comparing our small natural ability and
scarce knowledge with the ancient people's easy practice or easy understanding, it might be impossible for our efforts to arrive at their easy practice or easy understanding at all.
What the teachings of easy understanding and easy practice, which the modern people are enormously favorite, are?
They are even different from the secular principles, or Buddhist principles, inferior to the practice of idealistic demons or concrete demons, or inferior to non-Buddhists or two kinds of Hinayana Buddhists. Shall we call them as people, who are much more losing their way and are deluded than common people?
Even though they want to leave the secular societies, their life might be much more disturbed by the endless series of cause and effect.
When we observe the cases of breaking the bones, or crushing the marrow, those conducts might be never easy, but the most difficult act, which we do, is just to regulate our mental balance.
It is never easy for us to keep our pure conduct, or Buddhist action for a long time, but it is the most difficult efforts for us is to regulate our physical conduct.
If it were valuable for us to break our bones into pieces, there have been many people, who have been able to endure such a kind of pain from the ancient time, but actually it has been very rare for people, who realized the Truth.
If it were valuable for us to keep our daily life pure for a long time, there might be many people, who maintained their daily life pure, but it has been very rare for people, who crarified the Truth actually.
The reason, why such facts occur easily, comes just from that it is very hard for us to make our mind balanced.
Excellent ears or clear eyes are not so important, studying or understanding is not so important, mind, will, or consciousness, is not so important, image, thoughts, or intuition, is not so important, but we will enter into the Buddhist world directly utilizing the balance of the autonomic nervous system without relying upon miscellaneous abilities, which I quoted above.
The Great Master Gautama Buddha says that "Avalokitesvara has entered the stream, and has transcended the whole intellectual ability," and Gautama Buddha's intention must be this meaning.
In those situations, the two kinds of states, the two forms of motion and stillness do not appear at all, and that is just this harmony.
If it is possible for anyone, who has excellent ears and clear eyes, or pervasive understanding, to be able to enter into Buddhism, and then the highest student called Jinshu must be the person, who should succeed Master Daikan Eno.
If it is true for a common physical condition, or being humble and lowly, to be hatred in Buddhism, how is it possible for the Ancestral Master Daikan Enou to dare succeed Master Daiman Konin's position?
Because of such examples, it is very clear for the teachings, which can transmit Buddhism, to exisist outside excellent ears, or clear eyes, or wide understandings, absolutely.
The facts can be found relying upon research, and it is possible for us to experience the facts relying upon our reflections.
At the same time Buddhism does not hate old age, or aged situations, but a the same time, it does not hate infant, or adult.
Master Joshuu Jushin has begun to experience Buddhism when he was more than 60 years old, but it was possible for him to become a excellent and great Master in the Bhodhi Dharma's lineage.
The daughter of the Tei Family, when she was 12 years old, had studied Buddhism for a long time, and she could also be an excellent leader in the Buddhist temple.
The dignity in Buddhism manifest itself relying upon whether he or she has participated with Buddhist organization, or not, and the facts are separated by experiencing Buddhist practice, or not.
In the case of experienced teachers in the theoretical Buddhism, or expert genious in secular classics should visit Buddhist temples, where the practice of Zazen is familiar.
Such kinds of examples have existed so many.
For example, Teacher Nangaku Eshi was a genious of wide knowledge, but he studied still Buddhism under Master Bodhi Dharma.
Master Yoka Genkaku was a very excellent person in Buddhist philosophy, but he still also studied Buddhism under Master Daikan Eno.
It might be necessary for us to rely upon studying Buddhism under Buddhist Master for clarifying the Rule of the Universe, and for getting the Truth.
When we ask a question to our Buddhist Master, after listening to the Master's opinion, we should never identify the Master's opinion to our own opinion.
If we identify the Master's opinion to our own opinion, we can never get the Master's opinion itself.
When we visit a Master to ask the Rule of the Universe, we should make our body and mind clean, and have our eyes and ears serene, for just listening to the Master's opinion without mixing any other's opinion at all.
In such situations the Master's body and mind have fused with the diciple's body and mind, and the Master's teachings are poured into the disciple's body and mind as if a cup of water has been poured from the Master's cup into the diciple's cup without fail.
If the situations are just like this, the diciple can get the Master's Dharma exactly.
Nowadays, however, stupid and dull people, sometimes remember what they read in a book, or sometimes they maintain what they listened to in the past, and they identify those ideas with their Master's words.
In that siuations, even though there are only their own ideas, or the old expressions of words, but they haven't understood their own Master's words at all yet.
And in another case, there are some kinds of another group, where they revere their own ideas first, and then they open some Buddhist Sutras, and they remember one or two words from the Stras, and utilizing those words they insist that what they have slightly memorized is just the Buddhist teachings.
And later, when they have chance to listen to lectures of excellent Masters, or our lineal Masters, if those lectures sound well to the audience of own opinion, they affirm the lectures of those Masters, and if those lectures do not sound well to the existing old opinion of them, they refuse the lecturers' insistence.
They do not know the method of throwing away wrong opinions, and so how is it possible for them to climb up for arriving at the Truth itself?
Even though they have passed limitlessly many Ages, they might be still travellers, who have lost their own way completely. They might be endless travellers, who are absolutely pitiable. How will it be possible for anyone not to worry about such a pitiful condition?
All Buddhist practitioners should notice that the Buddhist Truth just exists outside consideration, distinction, supposition, intuition, perception, or intellect.
If the Buddhist Truth actually exists inside those intellectual areas, we, human beings, are always existing inside those areas, and so we are always playing with those intellectual matter, but why is it impossible for us to realize the Buddhist Truth even today?
In pursuing the Truth, we should never utilize consideration, or distiction.
If we, who are almost always keeping considerations, would check ourselves in detail, it might be very clear as if we were looking at a very bright mirror directly.
The gate, through which we should enter, has been indicated so clearly by Masters of our own lineage already.
It can never be known by Buddhist teachers, who only rely upon the method of literal characters solely, at all.
This was written on the day after 15 days later than the vernal equinox.
In this chapter, Master Doge insists that it is the most important task for us to practice Zazen and to study Buddhism in our human life. However, in this world, how many people do they have the same ideas like that?
Some people are working so hard for getting a little bit higher social position, and some people are very diligent to get a bit of money so cinserely. In such situations of human societies, is it possible for us to be sure in the existence of the real Truth? Is it possible for us to believe in the only one possibility of the Truth in the human societies like this? Frankly speaking, it might be impossible for us to say that in the human societies, where our human beliefs are divided into the two powerful philosophies of idealism and materialism, it might be perfectly impossible for us to believe in the only one existence of the Truth actually. But if we stand upon the Buddhist Realism, there will be possibility to have a chance to expect the only one possibility of existing Truth. Therefore if we, human beings, want to believe in the existence of the only one Truth, and continue pursuing the Truth, first it is necessary for us to dispell the illusions of both idealism and materialism perfectly.
At the next point in this chapter, Master Dogen strongly refuses the common attitudes of human beings to like to follow an easier way. Of course, Buddhism can never be an ascetic philosophy at all, and so we should never pursue any kind of painful condition in Buddhist practice at all. But at the same time it is necessary for us not to select easier one because of only to be easy. The Buddhist Truth is just only one Truth, which transcends both being easy and being difficult. Therefore Mastr Dogen insist that if we discuss whether it is difficult, or not, when we are beginning to pursue the Truth, such attitudes might be completely opposite to pursue the Truth.
And furthermore in this chapter, Master Dogen insists that the grasping the Buddhist Truth is irrelevant to cosideration, decision, supposition, intuition, perception, and even understanding.
And when we consider this insistence from the viepoint of intellectual philosophies, it might seem to be so much ridiculous idea. But when we noticed that the Buddhist Truth does not related with our intellectual ability, but it is just ralated with the distinction whether the autonomic nervous system is balanced, or not, we can clearly understand the fundamental basis of Gautama Buddha's teachings. Therefore it is necessary for us to recognize the fact that the Buddhist Realism is always related with the human conditions, whether our autonomic nervous system is balanced, or not, just at the present moment. The simple fact like that has been existing since the first birth of human beings, but it has been necessary for us to find it for waiting the 19th or 20th century. Therefore I feel sometimes so happy that I am just living in the 21st century.
Therefore we should think that it is impossible for us to realize the Buddhist Truth relying upon only verbal letters, or words, but it is necessary for us to practice Zazen everyday to keep our autonomic nervous system balanced. And without such efforts to make our autonomic nervous system balanced, it is impossible for us to touch the Reality directly. Therefore we can say that it is just the human duty for us to keep the autonomic nervous system balanced. Recently in our human societies, we can notice the historical facts, that the training in sports, performaces in music or drama, the very big scale of scientific experiments, or fieldworks, and I think that such kinds of historical tendencies suggest that the human civilization has become entered into the very gorgeous and sunny age of Realism already. Therefore I think that it might be human duty for us to destroy the old and wrong two strong philosophical systems of idealism and materialism, which have finished their own so remarkably and valuably excellent Ages already.
A person, who yearns to practice Buddhism and to get rid of social restriction, has to practice Zazen
The title suggests that Buddhism is perfectly superior to all miscellaneous teachings. Therefore everyone wants to get it. When Gautama Buddha lived, there was no teaching other than his, and there was no teacher other than him. Only the Great Master Gautama Buddha introduced and led all living beings only relying upon the supreme Truth.
Since Mahakasyapa has transmitted Shobogenzo, or "The Right-Dharma-Eye Treasury," to his disciple,
the 28 generations in India, the 6 generations in China, and the many Patriarchs of the 5 Sects, have received and transmitted Dharma from the authentic successors to the authentic successors without any extinction.
Therefore, since the middle era of Futsu in Ryan Dynasty, Buddhist Monks as well as the King and the public officers, who were excellent, inevitably belonged to the Buddhist organization.
Because it might be the general principle that what is excellent should be revered as what is excellent.
It should not be similar to the Chinese man called Shoko, who loved only imitations other than the real dragon.
Even in many countries, which are eastern than China, the verbal nets of Buddhist teachings have spread over the sea and on mountains pervasively. However, even though the verbal teachings are pervasive throughout the mountains, they do not have any truly realistic contents as in the real clouds, and even though they have spread over the sea, they have been dried up losing the real contents of the natural waves.
However, the stupid people love those unrealistic dried contents.
For example, even though they have got only an eye of fish, they want to attach that the eye must be a piece of pearl.
And the person, who was deluded, wants to enjoy such a delusion endlessly.
In another example, having kept a piece of stone, which has been got from a nest of swallows, a person, who reveres it as a jewel.
And the most of them, falling down into the caves of demons, have to have themselves hurt in many cases.
It is very regretable that we, the people in uncivilizd area, are prone to admire the wrong habits there, and it is very difficult for us to perceive the true Universal Rule.
However, the only one country, China, has been soaked by the Buddhist Truth already.
But in spite of such a situation, the true theachings of Buddhism have not pervaded in our country, Japan, Korea, and so forth, yet.
What is the reason why? What is the reason why?
In the case of Korea, even though they have listened to the title of the True Buddhism, it is impossible for us to listen to even the name of the True Buddhism at all.
Because many Budhist Masters of our country, who have entered into China before, all have been bothered and caught by the theoretical Buddhist teachings solely.
Even though they have introduced Buddhist books into our country, it seems that they have forgot to introduce the real Buddhist teachings completely.
What were their real effects of those monks, who have visited China at that time. It seems that the effects of their efforts were totally nothing at all.
This is just the reason, why they haven't known the real facts of studying the Buddhist Truth at all.
They are very pitiful that even though they have made a lot of efforts, they have passed through their own human life without doing any thing.
Generally speaking, when we enter into the studying Buddhism, first we listen to the leaders' teachings, and practice the Buddhist tasks at the beginning.
Just at that time there is something, which we should know exactly.
That is, the Rule of the Universe drives ourselves, and we ourselves drive the Rule of the Universe.
When it is possible for us to drive the Rule of the Universe, we ourselves are stronger, and the Rule of the Universe is weaker than ourselves.
And when the Rule of the Universe drive ourselves oppositely, the Rule of the Universe is stronger, and we ourselves are weaker than the Rule of the Universe.
From the beginning, Buddhism has kept those two kinds of situations, but in the case that we are not the authentic successors, it is impossible for us to know the such a kind of secret at all.
In the case, which is different from the case of the truly authentic Buddhist monks, who are wearing the humble clothes, it is impossible for them even to listen to the expression of such a fact at all.
If someone has not known such a secret fact in the past, it is impossible for them to distinguish the real situations of studying Buddhism, and so how is it possible for them to discriminate between the Truth and wrongness.
Nowadays, in the case of people, who are practicing Zazen for studying Buddhism, they have transmitted and received the real facts in the past naturally.
Therefore they do not have any possibility for then to make their mistakes on such a matter. But such a fact can never exist in another lineage.
It is just impossible for a person, who yearn to practice Buddhism, to understand and experience the True Buddhism at all without practicing Zazen.
In this Chapter it is insisted that, if we want to overcome the miscellaneous burdens of fame and profit in secular societies for living in the world of the Truth, it is necessary for us to practice Zazen inevitably.
Because, nowadays, usual people, who are living in the common secular societies, do not recognize the necessity of practicing Zazen, some people, who have usually a little stronger sympathetic nervous system, will finish their life keeping their rather stronger greed for getting fame.
But in the case of people, who have rather stronger parasympathetic nervous systm, they are impossible for them to get rid of their greedy tendency for material value, and so they have to finish their whole life being caught by a slavery of getting material profit.
Because of such a situation, actually in our human societies we are usually prone to be competive against with each other between the two groups of people, who so diligent to get fame, or who are so diligent to get profit.
But looking at those situations from Buddhist viewpoint, we usually have our own natural reflection, whether it is comfortable and happy for us to struggle for getting fame or profit in our daily life, or not.
And in the Buddhist viewpoint, we, Buddhists, usually notice the existence of much more higher value of the Truth, and we can have the will to the Truth, which is the highest value in the Universe. But it is necessary for us to keep our autonomic norvous system balanced for maintaining the will to the Truth. Because of such a situation Gautama Buddha recommended us to practice Zazen, and so it is inevitable for us to practice Zazn everyday.
The practice of Buddhist monks, who practice Zazen
The meaning of the title above, is that since the Age of Gautama Buddha the direct indication of practicing Zazen, which has been transmitted in one lineage through the 28 generations in India, and the 6 generations in China, hasn't been added even with a bit of more, and hasn't been decrease with a bit of fewer.
The ritual robes of Buddhist Kashayas have arrived at Master Daikan Eno on the Sokei Mountain, and they have spreaded throughout the world.
At that time Gautama Buddha's Shobogenzo, or Zazen, has become popular in the Great Tan Dynasty. But the real situations of the contents are very difficult to cope with, and very difficult to look for.
It is said that it transcends consciousness in looking something, and it transcends mind in grasping something.
Master Daikan Eno has changed his total figures under Master Daiman Konin in Obai Mountain, and Master Taiso Eka cut his arm when he visited Master Bodhi Dharma at the peak of Shoshitsu.
After getting the marrow of Buddhism, they have changes their mind to have begun their elegant lives, sometimes they prostrate themselves in front of their Master, and sometimes they show their passive attitudes to get the best situation at the present moment.
However, in their mind and body they do not hesitate even at one moment, and they do not attach to anything even in one moment.
A Buddhist monk asked Master Joshu Jushin. "Whether a dog has Buddha-nature, or not?"
Master Joshu replyed. "Never anything."
Can we be permitted to hesitate to answer because of consideration? Can we be permitted to become
stagnant? Because we are perfectly free without any hindrance like a bridle for us.
Please make your hands free. Please make your hands free for a while. How about your body and mind? How about your behavior? How about your life and death? How about Gautama Buddha's teachings? How about mountains, rivers, and the Earth? How about Human Beings. animals, and
houses, in their coclusion?
Even though we are diligent in coming back to see them and leaving back to forget them again and again, the two different forms of the stable and the unstable do completely never manifest themselves naturally.
And even though there is the present moment, when there is no birth, it is never the moment, when all things and phenomena are caught totally into one stubbornly fixed World. However, people usually do not experience such a kind of the present moment, and so there are so many people, who are deluded by such a kind of misunderstood scenery.
People, who have been practicing Zazen! You have met such a kind of important experience just on the half way for the first time, and so I would like to ask that you do not retire from the whole process at all. I would like to express my sincere pray for you again and again.
In this Chapter, Master Dogen explains Zazen, which has been maintained by many individual Masters without having any change of the contents since the Gautama Buddha's Age, and the characteristics of Zazen are not our efforts to get something theoretically, or to perceive some kinds of special stimuli.
And such the contents of Zazen haven't been recognized theoretically until the 20th, or 21st Centuries.
But, nowadays, it is very happy for us to be able to know the real contents of Zazen so clearly because of so developed scientific research. When we practice Zazen and regulate our posture into the traditional form, the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system will become balanced, and the function of the autonomic nervous system will become like plus/minus/zero. Therefore in such a situation, the function of the sympathetic nervous system to worry about miscellaneous problems, and the function of the parasympathetic nervous system to lose tention, will become hermonized, and our body and mind can realize the realistic viewpoint, where there is no stagnation, or no attachment. So we can enter into the state of action automatically, where we are just sitting in Reality.
This is the fundametal basis of Buddhist philosophy, and so without the experience of this state, it is completely impossible for us to recognize the Buddhist facts. Therefore Master Dogen sincerely recommend us to practice Zazen again and again.
The practice should be done for pursuing the Truth
The meaning of the title is that we sould know first whether the direction of our way to pursue the Truth is true, or false.
The great personality, Gautama Buddha, when he looked at the bright star of the Venus sitting in Zazen under the Bodhi Tree, he suddenly realized the supreme Truth at once.
What he realized at that time, can never be supposed by Buddhist monks, who have only interest in listening to theorectical Buddhist teachings, or who like only to live in quiet and natural circumstances.
Gautama Buddha has realized the Truth by himself, and the truth has never been broken off until today.
How is it possible for anyone, who has realized the Truth, not to be Buddha himself?
The meaning of the words "whether the direction of our way to pursue the Truth is true, or false," mean to clarify totally the whole Truth of Gautama Buddha's teachings. It is just to clarify the total structure of Gautama Buddha's teachings.
The Buddhist Truth exists always under our feet, and that suggests that the Truth exists always on the earth, or in this world.
Being restricted by the Truth itself, the Truth is always realized just at this place clearly, and being restricted by the experience of the Truth, the person, who has experienced the Truth, accomplishes himself perfectly.
Relying upon such situations, it seems that even though the person has realized the Truth perfectly, but he pretends as if he hasn't realized the Truth perfectly yet.
This is just the elegant way to face the Truth.
However, nowadays, people, who are pursuing the Truth, before they haven't clarified whether they have realized the Truth, they violently like to have the clarifying examples of getting the Truth.
Who is it possible for them not to make their mistakes like that?
They throw away their own father Gautama Buddha, and run away from their own country, throwing their jewels, and wadering in others' countries.
Even though they are each an important son of a rich family, they have become a humble person in a freign country, and there is a conspicuous reason exactly.
Generally speaking, a person, who likes to pursue the Truth, wants to be regulated by the Truth itself.
The meaning of the words, "to be regulated by the Truth," is to forget the past facts having realized the Truth before.
A person, who practices the Buddhist Truth, should believe in Buddhism first.
A person, who believe in Buddhism, should believe that he, himself, originally exists in the center of the Truth itself by himself, never to be deluded, never to be put upside down, never to be suffered from increase or decrease, and never to have any mistake.
To promote such a kind of belief, to clarify such a kind of the Truth, and to practice it, are just the fundamental criteria of studying the Truth.
The habitual criteria of it, is first to cut the root of idealistic efforts in practicing Zazen, and we do not make ourselves intend to follow the way of sensitive perception or intellectual consideration.
This is just the traditional method to recommend and introduce beginners into Buddhism.
And after then, it is the second situation that we throw away consciousness of body and mind by making our autonomic nervous system balanced with Zazen, and we perfectly become free from delusion and enlightenment.
Generally speaking, it is the most difficult for us to get the person, who thinks by himself, or herself, that he, or she, is just in the Buddhist Truth itself already.
If they believe that they are just in the Truth, they can understand the real situations of the realization and delusion, and will know the cause of delusion and enlightenment.
Please tentatively try to cut the cause of intention by practicing Zazen, and eight people or nine people among ten people will realize the Truth at once.
In this Chapter Master Dogen instructs us that the most important point for studying Buddhism for us is to know whether our direction of Buddhist practice is going to the true direction, or to the wrong direction.
Originally, Buddhism is the fundamentally reasonable philosopy perfectly without having any point, which is doubtful, at all. Such a kind of Truth has been found by the great genius Gautama Buddha, and such a kind of Truth has been transmitted from Patriarchs to Patriarchs until today. Therefore it is necessary for us to carry on Buddhism as the absolute truth, and so Master Dogen describes first how it is mostly important for us to know whether our efforts is going to only one true direction, or not.
And when we think about where the Gautama Buddha's teachings really exist, Master Dogen proclaims that the Gautama Buddha's teachings really exist under our feet. And the expression of "under our feet" means just on the ground, or in the world. The Gautama Buddha's teachings can never be a fantastic dreamy story, which has been produced in the human brain. But at the same time it is never the simply materialistic world, which has been caught by our sense organs. The Gautama Buddha's teachings are just the real world, in which we are living now, and it is just the stage, on which we are playing our own drama called our life. Therefore we Buddhists have grasped this world as only one world, where we live, and Gautama Buddha have taught us the teachings of Realism as the only one Truth keeping the basis of practicing Zazen.
However we, human beings, because of being deluded by idealism, which was thought only in our brain, or being misled by materialism, which is based on our sensitive perception, have forgot the real world, which we should rely upon first, and so forgetting the real world, where we are just living. We have been prone to spent thousands years at least misunderstanding that we were just living in the curious or strange fantastic worlds of idealism, or materialism, without noticing the real facts at all.
Therefore it is necessary for us to practice Zazen for finding the simple facts that we are just living in this world really by making our autonomic nervous system balanced and waking up in the simple fact that we are just living in this real world here and now.
To hit the target just at the present moment
The title above, suggests the meaning that when we want to make our body and mind decisive and preferable, there are naturally two kinds of way. The one is, becoming a disciple of a Master, to study Buddhist teachings, and the other is to make our efforts for getting the Truth by practicing Zazen.
To sudy Buddhist teachings makes our mind and consciousness free, and the practice of Zazen makes our action and exprience as very flexible as we want.
Therefore, when we want to enter into Buddhist teachings, if we threw away even the one of the two, it is absolutely impossible for us to realize the Truth just at the present moment.
In general, every human being has inevitably body and mind, and all actions have inevitably strength or weakness. The those two are, the one is dauntlessness and the other is blind weakness.
Sometimes it is vigorous, and sometimes it is serene, but utilizing such kinds of body and mind, to experience the state of Buddha directly is just the hitting target.
In other words, without turning body and mind arround, to follow only objective experience is just called the present moment, and so it is also called hitting the target.
It is just to follow the objective experience, and so it is not former interpretation.
It is just to hit the target, and so it is nevr a new trial.
The words that "to meet the Truth directly" suggest that "to get the enlightenment." And when we want to get the enlightenment, Master Dogen insists that the two kinds of efforts are necessary. The one is to study the Buddhist philosophy under a Buddhist Master, and the second is to practice Zazen. And he says that if even only one between the two lacks, it is completely impossibe for anyone to get the enlightenment.
And he says that all human beings have inevitably their body and mind, and their body and mind have their fifference of strengh and weakness without fail. However, transcending their personal difference, to hit the target by making their autonomic nervous system balanced is just the enlightenment, and such a situation is called "SATORI."
In oher words, "SATORI" is never to change our body and mind specially, but it is the state that we just follow the experience of the external world perfectly, and to meet Reality itself directly.
Therefore the enlightenment is different from to attach the old former circumstances, but at the time it is different from to live in the new circumstances. The enlightenment is just to act the most adequate realistic behavior at the present moment.
The poem "21" from book 10 in Eihei Koroku by Master Dogen
Commentary by 西嶋愚道和夫 Nishijima Gudō Wafu (1919-2014)
The poem "21" from book 10 in Eihei Koroku was first written by Master Dogen directly in Chinese kanji.
This is because all Japanese intellectual people at that time used to read Chinese, so he preferred to expressed his ideas directly in Chinese. Master Dogen was already familiar with Chinese before going in China. Some reading Japanese pronunciation has been done after, and so the Japanese pronunciation is different from the original Chinese version, and some typical Japanese grammatical added terms are needed to read this pronunciation.
The Japanese pronunciation from the Chinese version is:
Sekishin hempen to shite manten u nari
Jikini semmu ichikaku o e kitaru
Kotai imada akiramezu san hachi kyu
Hitotabi gisai shi owatte hitotabi gisai su.
Verse 1: Sekishin hempen to shite manten u nari
Seki means red, naked, no decoration. For example, the skin is red when the body has no clothes. So red suggests that nothing covers the skin. It is like a baby mind. No education on it, no training, nothing. It is our simple state, a baby state, a naked mind, like a red skin which is covered by nothing.
Shin means mind. But we have to understand that for Japanese people, mind has a more general meaning than for westerner. For Japanese for example, there is not such a clear separation between the spirit (mind) and the physical emotions (heart), between the spirit and the emotion. So this notion of mind in Japan has an aspect closer to the heart, than we have in west. For westerner, mind means something logical, spiritual, and heart means emotion, love ... These 2 notions are for westerners very separated. But for Japanese, there is not a clear distinction between these 2 notions. For example from the dictionary (A guide to remembering Japanese characters, Henshall, Tuttle Language Library, 1988) the kanji Shin means "heart" but it can be used figuratively as "feeling" or "mind". Suggest a heart whose strokes have been 'damaged' by stylisation. Shin in Japanese pronunciation is kokoro as in magokoro (sincerity). So shin is "heart-mind", because it is kind of combination between something emotional (heart) and something spiritual (mind). So if we only understand shin as "mind" in English or "esprit" in French, we forget one notion. So in that sense, it is better to understand shin as "consciousness" better than mind. But in the poem we will translate it by "mind" because "consciousness" has a too scientific connotation. So the mind in Japanese concept is the every day common mind, nothing completely spiritual (mind) nothing completely physical (heart).
So Sekishin means naked mind like a baby mind that means sincere mind, honest mind, original mind, or more precisely sincere consciousness, honest consciousness like a baby mind who doesn't think so much as an adult (who has a lot of "knowledge", society clothes...) but just act at each moment without thinking about this action itself. Sincere and honest suggest moral value, but at the same time, suggest just a baby mind, a simple mind, without intention.
Hempen is a same kanji repeated 2 times. Hen means piece, so hempen means "piece-piece"; the words don't suggest duality like "2 pieces" in opposition to ippen (unified). They just suggest the present moment, now, every instant, each instant, and in the context of the poem to act sincerely at the present moment (hempen). Master Dogen used a repetitive way as a method to stress on something. So if we repeat a word 2 times, it has more weight than if we say it only one time. According to Nishijima Sensei, Master Dogen didn't want to suggest dislocation but stress on the word "piece", that means in the context of Master Dogen's poem, "each piece of moment", "every piece of moment". What is important is not the repetition itself, but the notion of "now". The repetitive way is just to show the importance of that "Now", or each present moment.
So again, careful because "now-now" can also be interpreted as 2 "now" repeated at different times, so dislocated, but Master Dogen speaks about 2 "now" occurring at every time, at this time, at this moment, so the difference of time is not important, the dislocation is not important.
So it is very important not to interpret hempen intellectually, logically, but to get the idea, the meaning which is the description of acts at the present moment. "piece, piece", "A piece of moment, a piece of moment", "now, now", "here, here", ...
So Sekishin hempen means naked mind at the present moment, sincere mind at the present moment.
To shite is the Japanese words added to the original Chinese version, which are compulsory in Japanese in order to read the sentence. To shite means with or as. Man means whole. Ten means sky.
So manten means the whole sky, which suggests the whole universe. Manten has a bigger meaning than only sky, or sky with clouds, or even stormy sky. It is the whole sky, more general. Like Heavens in English, or "les Cieux" in French but without religious connotation.
So to answer to your question of the metaphor between the spirit compared not as a blue sky but as a stormy sky, Nishijima Sensei doesn't make this kind of metaphor, because his translation of Manten is the whole sky, which suggests the whole universe, and not a stormy sky which suggest a mind with a lot of thoughts.
U means exist, or is. Nari is an old Japanese word which means "is", like desu in modern Japanese. So u nari means is existing, there is.
So Sekishin hempen to shite manten u nari means "with sincere mind at every moment, the whole Heavens exist", or "With original mind (attitude) at every moment, the Whole Universe exists", If we really act at every moment, the whole Universe is not separates from us".
Verse 2: Jikini semmu ichikaku o e kitaru
Jikini means directly. Sen means thousands. Mu means dreams. Ichi means one. One here suggests the One,total, whole. Kaku means awakening, realization.
So ichi kaku means totally awakening, whole awakening. But it is not satori, something special, it is just to be at the present moment, which is a normal awakening, an instantaneous awakening, an awakening of each moment, an awakening at every moment.
O is Japanese word for object. E means to get. Kitaru means has come, suggest present perfect.
Jikini semmu ichikaku o e kitaru means "Directly, I have got thousand of dreams and one reality", which suggests something as "Relying on practice, we can get miscellaneous kinds of dreams and one truth". That suggests that in zazen, even thought we have many thoughts or dreams, we still are sitting in the truth, in reality.
Verse 3: Kotai imada akiramezu san hachi kyu
Ko means whole. Tai means body (old fashion kanji). Imada not yet. Akiramezu means not made clear, not clarified. San means three, 3 treasures that means Buddha, Dharma, Sangha. Hachi means eight, eight fold path (right view, right thoughts, right speech, ...). Kyu means nine. Nishijima Sensei suggests the interpretation that (find in the chapter "Bukkyo" of Shobogenzo), Master Dogen says: "sometimes mention is made of the "nine parts and kinds of buddhist sutras" which might be called "the nine divisions of buddhist sutras".
The nine parts:
1- Sutra 2- Gaathaa, 3- Past episodes, 4- Past lives, 5- The unprecedented, 6- [accounts of] causes and circumstances, 7- Parables, 8- Geya, 9- Upadesa.
More information is given in this chapter.
By the way there is a comment that might also come from Chinese and Japanese game called "Chohan" which is played with 2 dices. We throw them, and if the sum of the numbers equal 9, that is the strongest score. 0 is the weakest score. In this game, 9+1=0 (and not 10), and 3+8+9=0 (and not 20). In parallel of what we will explain latter (that the Buddhist abstract theory has no value by itself without practice, that means Buddhist abstract theory without practice is sometimes misleading, therefore even if 3, 8 and 9 has a lot of value themselves, the sum of all of them has no value.
So 3-8-9 suggests Buddhist theoretical teaching.
So Kotai imada akiramezu san hachi kyu means "The whole body hasn't clarified 3-8-9". This verse suggests that when we sit zazen, or when we sincerely act during the day, we don't understand the Buddhist teaching intellectually, but we just act (in the sense of Nishijima Sensei, that is practice zazen, as well as any action of daily life).
Verse 4: Hitotabi gisai shi owatte hitotabi gisai su
This verse is translated by Nishijima Sensei in Japanese quiet differently from your version. His version is: Hitotabi gisai shi owatte hito tabi gisai su. Ichi means one, but in Japanese when we count one time, in Japanese we use hitotabi.
Hito means one. Tabi is a Japanese extra word, and is a counter mark for time. So hitotabi means one time. Gisai means doubt. Doubt means questions or problems. Owatte means finish. So gisai shi owatte means finish to have doubt. Gisai su means to have doubt.
So Hitotabi gisai shi owatte hitotabi gisai su means: "After finishing one doubt, occurs another doubt". Master Dogen described transcendent Buddhas, that means Buddhas who are becoming better, even after realization, different from the idea that after realization, there are no problems. There is ordinary life in which even Buddhas are becoming better. So even if a Buddha has realized the truth, he should continue to practice zazen.
This poem says that if we are sincere at every moment, therefore the Heavens can exists. Even though we have the experience of the realization, there are a lot of doubts and after one doubt another doubt occurs. Always in progress. Always something to do...
So the English translation is:
With sincere mind at every moment, the whole Heavens exist;
Directly, I have got thousand of dreams and one reality;
The whole body hasn't clarified 3-8-9;
After finishing one doubt, occurs another doubt.