I just ordered the 4-book Nijishima/Cross translation from ZMM...and I was talking about it with Steph tonight....
Maybe we should have a Shobogenzo study group?
I just ordered the 4-book Nijishima/Cross translation from ZMM...and I was talking about it with Steph tonight....
Maybe we should have a Shobogenzo study group?
Yeah, I told Chet last night that Treeleaf not having a Shobogenzo study group would be sorta like a Protestant church not having a Bible study group. The Shobogenzo is so central in our lineage, and it's the most important "practice text" (one that actually informs practice and lends itself to a deepening of practice-based understanding) I've encountered.
I think it would be cool if we had a Shobogenzo forum with a thread/topic dedicated to each of the fascicles (I forget how many there are--90?). That way it wouldn't be time-based and people could comment and discuss each fascicle as it was encountered, and re-encountered (the Shobogenzo requires many return visits).
I've been wanting to read the entire Shobogenzo for a while, and this would be a great resource to have!
Hi Chet and Steph,Originally Posted by disastermouse
I think that is wonderful.
I do usually recommend a couple of things for folks who want to dive headlong into the thick and thorny maze which is Shobogenzo (not to be confused with Dogen's Shobogenzo-Zuimonki, which we are currently reading in the bookclub viewforum.php?f=2 )
Before reading and really digging Dogen, the best intro is to read the two Dr. Kim books (He wrote them a few years apart, and changed interpretation slightly over the years just a drop ) ... Each can be rather heavy going at points, but worth it.
http://www.amazon.com/Eihei-Dogen-Mysti ... 011&sr=8-3
http://www.amazon.com/Dogen-Meditation- ... gy_b_img_b
Also, after reading those ... I strongly recommend... Visions of Awakening Space and Time: Dogen and the Lotus Sutra (Paperback) by Taigen Dan Leighton (Author) ... about how Dogen wild-ed and bent the already wild and bent Lotus Sutra into something even more bent and wild ...
http://www.amazon.com/Lotus-Sutra-Conte ... gy_b_img_b
You probably want to read a good translation of the Lotus Sutra first, to see the "tune" that Dogen was working with. This by Reeves is very readable and a fantastic tale, right up there with "Alice in Wonderland" and such ...
http://www.amazon.com/Lotus-Sutra-Conte ... 0861715713
In fact, you might start with Taigen and the Lotus Sutra --before-- reading Dr. Kim, as Taigen is short and easier going to read. ).
Nishijima Roshi also has a helpful short booklet on "Understanding the Shobogenzo", although in his later years he has been too too enthusiastic (in my view) about trying to place each sentence of Shobogenzo, in a nearly one to one correspondence, into each of the four categories of view that Nishijima Roshi suggests.
In my own "in a nutshell" description of how to approach Shobogenzo, which you may have heard me say before ... I often describe Dogen as a Jazzman, bending and re-livening the "standard tunes" of Zen Buddhist philosophy. He is the Coltrane or Miles Davis of the Dharma ... Sometimes, with Dogen, it is not the "point" he is trying to make through reasoned words, but "the sound, man, the feeling of the music" ...
But there are a couple of other things to keep in mind about Dogen too. One is from that last point: Like any Jazz musician lost in following just riffing, I think there are many passage where even Dogen did not know where the "sound" had carried him, what it "meant". For some reason, we assume that every word has to "mean" something, as opposed to merely expressing a feeling of Truth. I think Dogen really lost himself in a musical corner from time to time.I often describe Dogen as a rule bending, transgressing Jazz musician, a Dharmic Miles Davis who was working with the basic "standard" tunes of Hongzhi, the Five Ranks and the rest of the Soto tradition of his day. Miles (like Dogen) syncopates time, merges and splits notes, bends phrasing, makes harmonious what was disharmony and disharmonious where there was harmony (and that's the Miles' Harmony!). But the thing about appreciating Miles is that (1) by doing so, Miles makes his own musical expression the same but different from the standards it is based upon (he captures truths in ways that nobody could before ... and makes new "truths" in the process ... but you also should not forget that that "standard" tune is in there too, and keeps popping up as the theme); (2) you can't analyze it too much in words, and just need to listen or play along.
Hongzhi was like a "square" Irving Berlin who wrote a lovely standard melody like "Blue Skies", and Mile Davis the mad genius who bent that into something the same but all new ...
The Shobogenzo, for example, is a rather thick and thorny maze. But once Dogen's basic ways of expression and thinking (and "non-thinking") are understood, one can read the entirety with a bit more ease (though never easy ... between you and me, as Dogen, the wild Jazz musician, may even have sometimes let the notes and feeling lead him where they would, and may not have been always quite sure where the music was taking him -- or what he himself "meant" -- each and every moment in his writing/playing! 8) But, like Miles or Coltrane ... all great stuff, man. ).
So, for that reason, it is important to approach Dogen, sometimes, as one would approach T.S. Eliot's The Waste land or James Joyce's Ulysses . Here is what some professor wrote of understanding The Waste Land ...
That does not mean that diving into Shobogenzo ... like developing an ear for John Coltrane or Eliot ... ain't worth every minute! I am rereading Shobogenzo cover to cover right now (my third time, not including bits and pieces readings). 8)We cannot understand the poem without knowing what it meant to its author, but we must also assume that what the poem meant to its author will not be its meaning. The notes to The Waste Land are, by the logic of Eliot's philosophical critique of interpretation, simply another riddle--and not a separate one to be solved. They are, we might say, the poem's way of treating itself as a reflex, a "something not intended as a sign," a gesture whose full significance it is impossible, by virtue of the nature of gestures, for the gesturer to explain."... The Waste Land appears to be a poem designed to make trouble for the conceptual mechanics not just of ordinary reading (for what poem does not try to disrupt those mechanics?) but of literary reading. For insofar as reading a piece of writing as literature is understood to mean reading it for its style, Eliot's poem eludes a literary grasp.
From Discovering Modernism: T.S. Eliot and His Context. Oxford University Press, 1987
Count me in too please!
I've heard about Shobogenzo and read a little about in some other books. Where is the best place to go to get, if not all four, at least the first two? I've been able to find what I believe to be Shobogenzo at Borders.com and at Barnes and Nobles, but not sure if these are the best ones.
I would also like to chime in saying I like this idea!
If for whatever reason you cannot get your hands on a physical copy of the Nishijima/Cross translation, it is available online via the Numata Center:
There is also the Shasta Abbey version online:
I do not know the relative differences between the two, just providing links for those who may need them
I am hip to this.
Originally Posted by Jen
Thanks for the links, Jen. Now that I have the free copies (I'm such a tight wad :P ), you can count me in as well. 8)
I like the comparison of Dogen to a jazz musician a lot (though I'm not a jazz fan :wink: ). That is exactly why I have found reading from the Shobogenzo to be helpful: it seems to speak more directly to the "right brain" just as music, visual art, or good poetry does.
I think why the Shobogenzo seems so difficult at first is not that it is intellectually complex, but the opposite. It resists intellectual analysis at every turn. Which is why I'm not really a fan of Nishijima's attempt to utilize an intellectual system to interpret Dogen. It makes me think of William Blake and his drawings and poetry depicting Urizen, the dictatorial force of the intellect that circumscribes everything within the measurements of its compass. And thus misunderstands or misses everything that doesn't fit within the measurements.
When I first read Dogen, it was like reading gibberish. It made no sense to me at all, and I just assumed it was because it was too "philosophical," too complex. But what I've found over the years as I've gone back to some of these texts that I could not make heads nor tails of at first is that, as I've continued to sit, the texts have opened to me like flowers. Now things I once read that made no sense make perfect sense. And not because I've read some other analysis that made sense of it. But because over the years, practice has 'opened the doors of perception' such that I can understand things I encounter that cannot be understood through reason.
Dogen makes so much sense I can't think of any way to put it other than how he put it. (Though some of his writings still defy my ability to understand them; I look forward to experiencing more of the Shobogenzo opening itself up to me.) He uses imagery and metaphor that convey how it feels to experience the world through the "eyes of zazen." Intellectual analysis misses the point by a thousand miles! I'm not saying that there's no place for it, just that it's extra--not necessary. Dogen wrote poetry--"played jazz"--not calculus.
Which is why I think a group discussion would be great--no "learning of authoritative interpretations," but a sharing of experience, a "riffing" off the topic, "noodling," seeing what Dogen's living language brings to life inside of us.
P. S. from William Blake's Book of Urizen:
Lo, a shadow of horror is risen
In Eternity! Unknown, unprolific,
Self-clos'd, all-repelling: what demon
Hath form'd this abominable void,
This soul-shudd'ring vacuum? Some said
"It is Urizen." But unknown, abstracted,
Brooding, secret, the dark power hid.
Times on times he divided and measur'd
Space by space in his ninefold darkness,
Unseen, unknown; changes appear'd
Like desolate mountains, rifted furious
By the black winds of perturbation.
For he strove in battles dire,
In unseen conflictions with shapes
Bred from his forsaken wilderness
Of beast, bird, fish, serpent and element,
Combustion, blast, vapour and cloud.
Dark, revolving in silent activity:
Unseen in tormenting passions:
An activity unknown and horrible,
A self-contemplating shadow,
In enormous labours occupied.
But Eternals beheld his vast forests;
Ages on ages he lay, clos'd, unknown,
Brooding shut in the deep; all avoid
The petrific, abominable chaos.
And Urizen (so his eternal name)
His prolific delight obscur'd more & more
In dark secresy, hiding in surgeing
Sulphureous fluid his phantasies.
The Eternal Prophet heav'd the dark bellows,
And turn'd restless the tongs; and the hammer
Incessant beat; forging chains new & new,
Numb'ring with links hours, days & years,
The Eternal mind bounded began to roll
Eddies of wrath ceaseless round & round,
And the sulphureous foam surgeing thick
Settled, a lake, bright, & shining clear:
White as the snow on the mountains cold.
Forgetfulness, dumbness, necessity!
In chains of the mind locked up,
Like fetters of ice shrinking together,
Disorganiz'd, rent from Eternity,
Los beat on his fetters of iron;
And heated his furnaces, & pour'd
Iron sodor and sodor of brass.
Restless turn'd the Immortal inchain'd
Heaving dolorous! Anguish'd unbearable;
Till a roof, shaggy wild, inclos'd
In an orb, his fountain of thought.
In a horrible, dreamful slumber,
Like the linked infernal chain;
A vast Spine writh'd in torment
Upon the winds; shooting pain'd
Ribs, like a bending cavern,
And bones of solidness, froze
Over all his nerves of joy.
And a first Age passed over,
And a state of dismal woe.
Hi Chet and Stephanie
A truly great suggestion. I have my copies and look forward to the study. Gassho Shogen
Originally Posted by Stephanie
Yes, that is so ... but not yes too. (Which is a kind of example of Dogenesque "Zen logic" right there!)
Even the great Jazz musicians I mentioned, like Miles and Coltrane, were usually following pretty "logical" forms and patterns of "getting where they were going", which most other good musicians can follow and which stayed within certain musical rules. Musicologists can follow it all with almost mathematical precision. (Only the radical "Free Jazz" guys like Ornette Coleman, who would stand on stage blowing wildly into the wrong end of the trumpet, really smashed the rules ... to the point of cacophony) ... Even Coltrane, when he went "free", usually was grounded in good musicianship and "chord progressions" and was working from that (sometimes by resisting the standard progressions).
There really are a lot of parallels to different "players" in the Zen world ... including the old "Free Jazz" Zen teachers who would just bang on the table or draw circles in the air (although even those guy tended to follow some fairly rigid rules for that ... a subject for another day).
MY POINT (BEFORE I LOSE MY MUSICAL TRAIN OF THOUGHT MYSELF) IS THAT Dogen was a very highly educated, intellectual, "head like a library of old Zen/Buddhist books", surprisingly conservative (as were most Zen teachers, in fact) guy who was highly trained and conversant in the "classics" and was working from them (the Shobogenzo is wall to wall references and quotes from Sutras, old Koans, obscure but important bits of Tendai Buddhist teachings, old poems, Confucian classics, and the like).
There --IS-- a logic to Dogen most of the time, although a Zenny "Anti-logic logic" ... Dogen-Think-Not Thinking, a kind of "Alice in Wonderland" logic sometimes. It is more than simple "sound for sound's sake" expression or trying to abandon "intellectual analysis" at every turn. Dogen wanted to be understood on all levels. Thus (as in listening to Jazz), it is --both-- a matter of letting the sound and feeling wash over one, --and-- having some musical understanding of where the musician was "coming from" what he was "trying to do" and how he "got there". (In a sense, Jazz was always music by musicians playing for other musicians who were familiar with the chords).
Here are just a few examples of "Dogen-logic", very different from ordinary logic while yet faithful to classic Mahayana perspectives ...
For that reason, the truth is that Dogen was not trying to defy "intellectual analysis" or "classical Buddhist/Zen philosophy", so much as find his own language and way to express it (in later years, represented by his Eihei Koroku, he actually seems to have abandoned much of the "musical experiment" that was the Shobogenzo, and gone back to being a pretty classical musician playing the "old Zen standards" in the usual way ... though never without his special touch). So, the book I recommended by Taigen Dan Leighton (coupled with a reading of the Lotus Sutra) ... and the Dr. Kim books (though themselves hard going in parts) should not be overlooked by someone really hoping to "Grok" where that Dogen cat was coming from. 8)A = Buddha Enlightenment B = Flowers in the sky (a classic Zen reference to delusion)
A is A, B is B ... and A is not B. (Enlightenment is not delusion, an ancient Buddhist idea)
But A is B. A is also C. ... (a variation on the original theme, much as stodgy ol' Nagarjuna might play)
And, in fact, A is so much A that A is not A, and was merely B all along.
We might say that A is just ?. B is merely
And that just makes A into Super-Aness at each turn, B into Be Bee BB "To be or not to be" "Be my love" "B is for Buddha" ... etc. etc.
Smell them luscious Flowers in the Sky! That's purely A through and through, though not.
Thanks for your valuable input and suggested readings.
Just to clarify my position--as I respect your take on this, Jundo, and also respect that this is not a subject in which I can claim expertise--I'm not trying to say I think Dogen was being 'illogical.' Just that I'm not sure he was being 'logical' either. No doubt he was very highly educated and makes many wonderful allusions. I enjoyed reading an article I found once online (may have been linked to here) that talked about Dogen's use of puns and wordplay, which is often not understood as the references are so ancient most modern readers miss them. I appreciate that these are works produced by an enormous intellect, and that the works reflect that intellect. I don't believe Dogen was randomly throwing words around; I certainly believe that they were carefully chosen. I think it took a brilliant and logical mind to create a work that so deftly defies logic and resists being measured and locked into logical Tupperware.
It's just that I don't find the words to be the expression of a formula, but poetry that conveys the 'felt sense' of being in awareness. I think Nishijima's theory is brilliant, and useful to an extent, but I also think it's too easy for someone to read that and think they 'got it,' and nurture the distorted view that these amazing works, full of vivid imagery and wondrous emotion, can be plugged into a formula, the end result of which will be some sort of "correct interpretation." I think that approach kills the Shobogenzo dead. Just like we normally kill things with our brilliant intellectual analyses. I'm grateful that the Shobogenzo defied my attempts to 'conquer' it with some shiny intellectual interpretation. And I think the legions of scholars who have executed convoluted intellectual analyses of it have missed the point.
Hi Steph,Originally Posted by Stephanie
We are really pretty much on the same page with this. One must not fall into the trap of intellectual understanding. One must also not think that there is not some solid Buddhist philosophy behind Dogen, or no method to the madness.
I too think that Nishijima Roshi went overboard with his very helpful, very insightful perspective on 3 Philosophies and 1 Reality, by his trying to stuff Dogen into that almost line by line and overlooking anything that does not fit. It is much like trying to stuff all of Coltrane into 4 chords. Taigen (a Soto priest and Shikantaza freak, like me, as well as being one of the great Dogen-ologists out there) and Dr. Kim (not a scholar, but a true "music fan") really do manage to capture what Dogen was on about (although they can't follow lots of it ... parts where Dogen's reference is lost, really ambiguous, maybe even Dogen could not understand where Dogen was going). Heine's work, like "Dogen and the Koan Tradition" ( http://www.amazon.com/Dogen-Koan-Tradit ... 0791417735 ) and others like Carl Bielefeldt's "Dogen's Manuals of Zen Meditation" ( http://www.amazon.com/Dogens-Manuals-Me ... 859&sr=1-1 ) can't be overlooked either.
Good luck getting through Shobogenzo without some grounding in that.
Here is an essay available online, a part of Taigen's book. It will give you a taste ...
Without that kind of well rounded appreciation of where old Eihei D-man was coming from ... well, GOOD LUCK and GOOD SAILING on your trip through Shobogenzo land. 8)
Yes, I think so, as I agree fully with the following statement:Originally Posted by Jundo
Also agree with this:Originally Posted by Jundo
In conclusion,Originally Posted by Jundo
I love a challenge. I only have Vol. 1 on my shelf right now, but once I get the other 3 and am ready to start, I'll try doing it without doing any preliminary research. If I get stuck, perhaps I will look to Messrs. Kim and Leighton for assistanceOriginally Posted by Jundo
TELL YA WHAT I'm GONNA DO ( and non-do) ....
... and this does not necessarily have to be connected to any Shobogenzo Study Group that folks want to start, please do so ...
I will take up one of the shorter, more readable, yet most profound sections of the Shobogenzo on the 'sit-a-long' in the coming weeks (as soon as I get a bit more through the Eightfold Path). Probably Shoji (Birth and Death) or Zenki (the Whole Works, the Total Functioning) ... and riff on that for a bit. Maybe folks would help me by using those as a subject for reflection or discussion. It would help me if people would grab an instrument and jump on the stage we me for a jam session.
Let me start that next week, and bring your horn.
I've never read something of this magnitude (and I've read some big books) or anything by Dogen just yet (newbie lol), but I too always love a challenge. I have to say I'm getting soooo freaking excited about this! It's going to be an experience.
(I'll have to make sure to look into getting a couple of those books you suggested as well, Jundo.)
Originally Posted by Jundo
OK. You are on!
I am bringing my electric huiro
Oxherding pictures vids are over... Maybe I could also do a bit of Shobogenzo...I could for instance get a famous quote and play along. Of course, you would be my guests to join the band to. What do you think?
Any help in grasping the remarkable Shobogenzo would be greatly appreciated. Gassho
Hi.Originally Posted by Jen
In short you could say that the shasta abbey is more or less put together for easy reading, and sometimes missing some words/wording to make it more readable.
Nishijimas version is more dense and tries to be more litteral in its translation, also including a lot of anotations.
I like to read them side by side, as together they give a more "full" translation of the shobogenzo...
There are also some other partial translations of Shobogenzo available, most by the Soto Zen Text Project (a scholarly project sponsored by Soto-shu in Japan), Robert Aitken and some others ... Here is a list ...
http://www.thezensite.com/ZenTeachings/ ... plete.html
also more here
Thank you for the information on those two versions. When I am looking at translated texts, I also prefer more than one version to look at to get a more complete picture, if you will.
Thank you for the additional links!
It is a very nice idea to do the study class! Thanks to Chet and Stephanie for the idea!
And it would be great to have some talks of Jundo in addition to guide us into this massive writing!
You plan to do it just like a kind of "book club"? A bit like what we did with the Shobogenzo zuimonki ?
Anyway, I hope to be part of it soon!
I'll also be a bit more active on the forum next week (I'll have a bit less work ... and Internet at home!)
Gassho to you all,
I enjoy reading the Nishijima/Cross version but only in small doses like once a week 15-30 minutes. At first I tried to 'understand it' but now its just an inspiring enjoyable thing to do (sometimes). While I am a fan of Nishijima's four philosophies, I haven't seen them yet in Shobogenzo. It's certainly worthy of discussion as Dogen has so pointedly demonstrated.
I would definitely be interested in this for the future, but couldn't afford the books right now and I'm behind in the current book club! But it is a good idea.
As promised, I've laid down a little Shobogenzo Zenki over at the Sit-a-Long, and I would appreciate folks to jump on stage and join in the musical madness. I think I will continue fooling with Zenki a couple of days, then transition into some Shoji. Taigu also said he would come in with some hot low down 'Genzo on Monday.
http://www.shambhalasun.com/sunspace/?p ... more-16176
This time, I hope we can have the discussion and comments mostly over there, at Shambhala-Sun, instead of here at the Forum. It will make the editors there happy, which means they may keep Taigu and me around for awhile. That would be nice, and sorry if it is a little more inconvenient for ya a little. Let's get it going ... over there.
Zenki ... The Whole Works, this Total Functioning, the Fully Enlivening All-Encompassing Complete Pivot Point Right Here of our life.
:lol:Originally Posted by Jundo
At work and can't watch the video yet, but I look forward to doing so.Originally Posted by Jundo
No sweat.Originally Posted by Jundo
Link to digital text for those who don't yet have a hard copy of the correct volume of the Shobogenzo:Originally Posted by Jundo
http://www.numatacenter.com/digital/dBE ... 2_2008.pdf
It's Chapter 41, pages 355-359 in the PDF.
Gassho, and thanks!
But couldn't you tell them that there is here and there is NO here & there at the same time? So. If we post here, it's like there? :wink:Originally Posted by Jundo
The books have arrived and I'm starting with the Bendowa, apparently.
It sort of blows my mind that Soto or Soto/Rinzai Buddhism seems to be the predominant form of Zen in America, and yet there is so little access to English translations of our founder's arguably greatest written work. It would have been great if this was available when I was starting my engagement with Buddhism.
Isn't it amazing how strong will always seems to overcome obstacles and find the way. I think Dogen had something to say about it.
I found a great, short example of this, of Dogen at his wildest and best. Thought to post it for folks who might not get what the fuss is about.Originally Posted by Jundo
The great 'Dogenologist' translator and historian, Prof. Carl Bielefeldt, has just released his brand new translation of Shobogenzo Bussho (Buddha-Nature) for the Soto Zen Text Project.
http://hcbss.stanford.edu/research/proj ... intro.html
I have been slowly reading it to compare with the Nishijima-Cross version (which, so far, seems to come out very well. The two versions are incredibly close, and I find Nishijima-Cross often captures the "feel of the music" a bit better).
Anyway ... here are a couple of paragraphs that are playing with the famous phrase "all living beings in their entirety have Buddha Nature". Dogen first plays with an ambiguity in the grammar to change that to "all living beings in their entirety are Buddha Nature". But he does not stop there ...
If you can hear the perspective that "Buddha Nature" is not a "thing" that we become or have or develop ... but is radical, existential being that leaves nothing out, whole beyond whole, the reality of reality (something like that ) ... you might get a feel for what Dogen is going for here ... It is everything leaving nothing out, yet beyond categories (something like that ) ...
The Professor's footnotes clear things up a bit ... (emphasis on 'a bit' :shock: )What is the essential point of the World Honored Ones saying, All living beings in their entirety have the buddha nature? It is turning the dharma wheel of the saying, what is it that comes like this? One speaks of living beings, or sentient beings, or the multitude of beings, or the multitude of types. The term entirety of being refers to living beings, the multitude of beings. That is, the entirety of being is the buddha nature; one entirety of the entirety of being is called living beings. At this very moment, the interior and exterior of living beings is the entirety of being of the buddha nature. This is not only the skin, flesh, bones, and marrow singly transmitted; for you have got my skin, flesh, bones, and marrow.
We should realize that the being that is here made the entirety of being by the buddha nature is not the being of being and non-being. The entirety of being is the word of the buddha, the tongue of the buddha, the eyes of the buddhas and ancestors, the nose of the patch-robed monk. Furthermore, the term entirety of being is not initial being, not original being, not marvelous being; how much less is it conditioned being or deluded being. It has nothing to do with the likes of mind and object, nature and attribute. Therefore, the circumstantial and primary [recompense] of the entirety of being of living beings is not by any means the generative power of karma, not deluded conditioned origination, not of its own accord, not the practice and verification of spiritual powers. Were the entirety of being of living beings generated by karma, or conditioned origination, or of its own accord, then the verification of the way of the nobles as well as the bodhi of the buddhas and the eyes of the buddhas and ancestors would also be the generative power of karma, conditioned origination, and of its own accord. And this is not the case
Essential point (sh?shi ??): A common expression for the purport, or message of a statement.
Turning the dharma wheel of the saying what is it that comes like this? (ze j?mo butsu inmo rai no d? ten b?rin ????????????): I.e., presumably, a Buddhist teaching equivalent to the famous question put to the Chan master Nanyue Huairang ???? by the Sixth Ancestor, Huineng ??. The question is likely a play on the term Thus Come One (nyorai ??; tath?gata), an epithet of the buddhas.
The Chan Master Dahui of Mt. Nanyue (descendant of Caoxi, named Huairang) visited the Sixth Ancestor. The Ancestor asked him, Where do you come from?
The Master said, I come from the National Teacher An on Mt. Song.
The Ancestor said, What is it that comes like this?
The Master was without means [to answer]. After attending [the Ancestor] for eight years, he finally understood the previous conversation. Thereupon, he announced to the Ancestor, I've understood what the reverend put to me when I first came: What is it that comes like this?
The Ancestor asked, How do you understand it?
The Master replied, To say it's like anything wouldn't hit it.
The Ancestor said, Then is it contingent on practice and verification?
The Master answered, Practice and verification are not nonexistent; they cannot be defiled.
The Ancestor said, Just this not defiled is what the buddhas bear in mind. You're also like this, I'm also like this, and all the ancestors of the Western Heavens [i. e., India] are also like this.
Sentient beings (uj? ??); the multitude of beings (gunj? ??); multitude of types (gunrui ??): Terms regularly used as synonyms for living beings. The point here would seem to be that all these terms (as well as the synonymous multitude of beings [gunu ??] in the following sentence) may be referred to as the entirety of being.
The term entirety of being (shitsuu no gon ????): D?gen here creates a neologism from the adverb shitsu and the verb u in the phrase shitsu u bussh? ????, translated in the quotation as in their entirety have the buddha nature. The word play relies on the fact that the term u ? means both to have and to exist and is regularly used in philosophical discourse as a noun for being. The resultant expression might also be rendered all existents or, more simply, everything.
One entirety of the entirety of being (shitsuu no isshitsu ?????): Presumably the point is that living beings represent but one type within the entirety of being with, perhaps, the added suggestion that any one type is in some sense one with the entire set.
Skin, flesh, bones, and marrow (hi niku kotsu zui ????): An expression, very common in D?gens writings for the essence or truth or entirety of something or someone, as handed down in the Chan tradition; from the famous story of Bodhidharmas testing of four disciples, to whom he said of each in turn that he (or, in one case, she) had got his skin, flesh, bones, and marrow. For the story, see Supplemental Note 2.
Singly transmitted (tanden ??): A term commonly used in Chan to describe the passing down of the dharma from master to disciple; here, no doubt a reference to the transmission from Bodhidharma to Huike. Though the term suggests (and in some cases is used to indicate) a lineage in which there is only one representative in each generation (e.g., see below, Note 48. Single transmission), it regularly appears in contexts where the graph tan is better understand as unique, pure, or simple (e.g., see below, Note 29. Singly transmit it); closely related to the notion of direct transmission from mind to mind (ishin denshin ????).
For you have got my skin, flesh, bones, and marrow (nyo toku go hi niku kotsu zui naru ga yue ni ?????????????): Quoting Bodhidharmas statement, you have got to each of his four disciples (see above, Supplemental Note 2). Presumably, the implication here is that the statement concerns not just Bodhidharmas single transmission to Huike but the affirmation of the buddha nature in all beings (as proposed, e.g., in Sh?b?genz? keiteki ?????? 2:185).
The being that is here made the entirety of being by the buddha nature (ima bussh? ni shitsuu seraruru u ????????????): An odd locution, presumably meaning something like, the term being in the expression entirety of being that is here being identified with the buddha nature.
The tongue of the buddha (butsuzetsu ??): No doubt here used as a figure of speech for the speech of the buddha.
The nose of the patch-robed monk (n?s? bik? ????): The term patch-robed monk (n?s? ??) is a playful self-reference used by Chan monks. The nose (or nostril; bik? ??) is often used in Chan texts to indicate (a) the person, especially (b) that which is essential to the person, or (c) the very essence or identity of someone or something; a term occuring frequently in the Sh?b?genz?.
Initial being (shiu ??); original being (honu ??); marvelous being (my?u ??); conditioned being (enu ??); deluded being (m?u ??): A series of terms expressing modes of existence discussed in Buddhist thought. The first, initial being, while not itself particularly common, is here contrasted with the familiar original being, a term used to express the fundamental reality from which the phenomenal world emerges. The expression marvelous being is probably best known in the phrase true emptiness and marvelous being (shink? my?u ????), where it expresses the ultimate emptiness of phenomena. The term conditioned being suggests that which exists as a result of conditions i.e., the conditioned dharmas of dependent origination (engi ??; prat?ya-samutp?da); deluded being suggests that which exists as a result of deluded thoughts i.e., the false objects of our misguided discrimination (funbetsu ??; vikalpa).
Mind and object, nature and attribute (shin ky? sh? s? ????): Two standard pairs in Buddhist thought: the mind, or thought (citta), and the objects of thought or of the senses (vi?aya, ?lambana); and the nature, or essence (svabh?va), of a thing, and its attributes, or characteristics (lak?ana).
Circumstantial and primary recompense (esh? ??): A standard Buddhist term for the results of past karma reflected respectively in the circumstances into which one is born and the mental and physical makeup of the person; an abbreviation of eh? sh?b? ????. Here, perhaps to be understood as the quality of the experience of living beings as the entirety of being.
The generative power of karma (g? z?j? riki ????): I.e., the power of karma to produce phenomena; adhipati.
Deluded conditioned origination (m? engi ???): An unusual expression, probably indicating phenomena that arise as a result of deluded thoughts. Given the apparent distinction, above, between conditioned being and deluded being, one is tempted to parse the expression deluded or conditioned origination.
Of its own accord (h?ni ??): A loose translation of a term indicating what is true of itself or by necessity, what is naturally or inevitably so; used to translate Sanskrit niyati (destiny).
Practice and verification of spiritual powers (jints? shush? ????): I.e., mastery of the supernormal knowledges (jints? ??; abhijñ?); here, presumably, the ability in particular to manifest oneself in diverse bodies and circumstances one of the powers known as the bases of spiritual power (jinsoku ??; ?ddhi-p?da).
Verification of the way of the nobles (shosh? no sh?d? ?????): I.e., the spiritual attainments of advanced adepts on the Buddhist path. The phrase verification of the way is a somewhat forced translation of sh?d? ??, a common expression for Buddhist spiritual awakening; here, as in many other contexts, the term d? ? could be taken as a rendering of bodhi. The translation nobles takes shosh? ?? in its Buddhist sense of ?rya, those who have transcended the state of the commoner (bonbu ??; p?thagjana); the term could also be rendered in a more Chinese idiom as the sages or holy ones.
thank you for posting Mr. Bielefeldt's intriguing comments.
Btw, Steven Heine's/Dale Wright's new book ZEN MASTERS arrived in the post a few days ago. Though I only just started reading it, I feel like recommending it already. There's a whole chapter on Dogen in it as well.
Here is another section of Bussho that really shows that wonder of word-play and grammar bending in Dogen-jazz ...
Going back and forth with the footnotes will give a taste for that. As an entrance way into this portion, it might help to know that Dogen often used question words like "What" to refer to the ineffable, the wordless, the beyond expression whatever (i.e., the indescribable ultimateness that is 'emptiness' or 'buddha nature') ... and words such as "name" to refer to the true and ultimate identity of concrete things of this relative world ... and words such as 'this' to refer to what is right here before one's eyes and one's eyes too.
However, Dogen's way of expression, by twisting up all of it to capture various Truths, goes far beyond the simplistic formulaic description of the relationship of "what" "name" "this" etc. that I just wrote! His music expresses that what-name-thisness.
Dogen bases his word-play on this famous Koan ... For easier reading, Bussho sections are in BLUE, and footnotes in normal type ... After after getting a bit of what Dogen was doing with the puns and word twists and syncopated grammar ... forget all that, and just let the whole thing wash through you like listening to good music ...
As a boy of seven, [Chan Master Zhao Daman] met the Fourth Ancestor, the Chan Master Dayi, on the road in Huangmei. The ancestor saw that, although a child, the masterâ??s build was remarkably fine, different from that of an ordinary child. Seeing this, the ancestor asked, â??Whatâ??s your name?â?
The master answered, â??I have a name, but itâ??s not an ordinary name.â?
The ancestor said, â??What is this name?â?
The master answered, â??Itâ??s the buddha nature.â?
The ancestor said, â??You have no buddha nature.â?
The master replied, â??Itâ??s because the buddha nature is empty that you say I have none.â?
The ancestor, recognizing that he was a vessel of the dharma, made him his attendant. Later, he transmitted the treasury of the eye of the true dharma. [The master] resided on Dongshan at Huangmei, where he greatly wielded the â??dark style.â?18
â??You have no buddha natureâ? (nyo mu busshÅ æ±ç?¡ä½?æ?§): Or, more collquially, â??you donâ??t have a buddha natureâ?; a fairly common retort in Chan texts. In scholastic Buddhism, the lack of buddha nature makes one an icchantika (yichanti ä¸?é?¡æ, someone without the potential to achieve the perfect awakening of a buddha.
â??Dark styleâ? (genpÅ« ç??é¢¨): Or â??mysterious styleâ?; a common expression for deep teachings.
ã?ã?ã?ã??ã¯ã°ã?ãªã¯ã¡ã?ç¥?å¸«ã®é?å?ã? 'å?ç©¶ã?ã??ã«ã?å??ç¥?ã?ã¯ãæ±ä½?å§?ã¯ã?ã ã®å®?æ?¨ã?ã??ã??ã??ã?ã?ã¯ä½?å??äººã®äººã? ã??ã?ä½?å§?ã®å§?ã?ã??ã??ãªã??ã¢ã¯ä½?å§?ã¨ç? ²èª¬ã?ã??ãªã??ã??ã?ã¨ã¸ã°å¾äº¦å¦?æ?¯ã?æ±ä º¦å¦?æ?¯ã¨é?å?ã?ã??ã?ã?ã¨ã?ã??
Therefore, when investigating these sayings of the ancestral masters, there is an essential point to the Fourth Ancestorâ??s saying, â??Whatâ??s your name?â? In ancient times, there was a person from the country of He [â??whatâ?], who had the He family name. He is saying to him, â??You are of the â??whatâ? family.â? It is like saying, â??Iâ??m also like this, youâ??re also like this.â?19
â??Whatâ??s your name?â? (nyo ka shÅ æ±ä½?å§?): DÅgen begins here a play with the terms in the quotation. First up is a Chinese version of the old Abbott and Costello joke, â??Whoâ??s on first?â? The game puns on the Chinese interrogative he ä½? (â??whatâ?), also used as a family name.
For those who don't know the Abbot and Costello routine ...
â??From the country of Whatâ? (gakokunin ä½?å??äºº): Or â??a citizen of the land of What.â? Reference to a dialogue found in the Jingde chuandeng lu æ?¯å¾³å?³ç??é?² (T.51:433a9-10) and elsewhere; the version in the Liandeng huiyao è¯ç??æ??è¦ (ZZ.79:257a21-22):
Dasheng of Sizhou would be asked, â??Master, what is your name?â?
The master would answer, â??My name is He [â??whatâ??].â?
Or he would be asked, â??What country are you from?â?
The master answered, â??Iâ??m from the country of He [â??whatâ??].â?
â??Iâ??m also like this, youâ??re also like thisâ? (go nyaku nyo ze nyo nyaku nyo ze å¾äº¦å¦?æ?¯æ±äº¦å¦?æ?¯): From the words of the Sixth Ancestor, Huineng, in the dialogue with Nanyue Huairang::
The Chan Master Dahui of Mt. Nanyue (descendant of Caoxi, named Huairang) visited the Sixth Ancestor. The Ancestor asked him, â??Where do you come from?â?
The Master said, â??I come from the National Teacher An on Mt. Song.â?
The Ancestor said, â??What is it that comes like this?â?
The Master was without means [to answer]. After attending [the Ancestor] for eight years, he finally understood the previous conversation. Thereupon, he announced to the Ancestor, â??I've understood what the reverend put to me when I first came: â??What is it that comes like this?â??â?
The Ancestor asked, â??How do you understand it?â?
The Master replied, â??To say it's like anything wouldn't hit it.â?
The Ancestor said, â??Then is it contingent on practice and verification?â?
The Master answered, â??Practice and verification are not nonexistent; they cannot be defiled.â?
The Ancestor said, â??Just this â??not defiledâ?? is what the buddhas bear in mind. You're also like this, I'm also like this, and all the ancestors of the Western Heavens [i. e., India] are also like this.â?äº?ç¥?ã?ã¯ãã?å§?å³æ??ã?ä¸æ?¯å¸¸å§?ã??ã?ã ¯ã??ã??ã¯ã?æ??å³å§?ã¯å¸¸å§?ã«ã?ã??ã?ã?å¸¸å §?ã¯å³æ??ã«ä¸æ?¯ãªã??ã??
The Fifth Ancestor said, â??I have a name, but itâ??s not an ordinary name.â? That is, â??being as itself a nameâ? is not an ordinary name; an ordinary name â??is not rightâ? for â??being as itself.â?20
å??ç¥?ã?ã¯ãæ?¯ä½?å§?ã¯ã?ä½?ã¯æ?¯ãªã??ã?æ? ¯ã?'ä½?ã?ãã?ã??ã??ã?ã?ã??å§?ãªã??ã??ä½?ãªã ??ã?ã??ã??ã¯æ?¯ã®ã??ã?ãªã??ã?æ?¯ãªã??ã?ã??ã ??ã¯ä½?ã®è?½ãªã??ã??å§?ã¯æ?¯ä¹?ä½?ä¹?ãªã??ã?? ã?ã??ã?'è'¿æ¹¯ã«ã??é»?ã?ã?è?¶æ¹¯ã«ã??é»?ã?ã? å®¶å¸¸ã®è?¶é£¯ã¨ã??ã?ã??ãªã??ã??
The Fourth Ancestorâ??s saying, â??What is this name?â? means â??whatâ? is â??thisâ?; he has â??what-edâ? â??thisâ? â?? this is his â??name.â? For what makes it â??whatâ? is â??thisâ?; making it â??thisâ? is the function of â??what.â? His â??nameâ? is both â??thisâ? and â??what.â? We fix it as artemisia tea; we fix it as green tea; we make it our â??everyday tea and rice.â?21
â??Being as itself a nameâ? (u soku shÅ æ??å³å§?): The translation struggles in vain to capture this play with words. DÅgen has here reversed the order of the three graphs shÅ soku u å§?å³æ??, translated as â??I have a name,â? in the process, once again shifting the meaning of u æ?? from â??haveâ? to â??beâ? (see above, Note 4. â??The term entirety of beingâ?) and redoing the function of soku å³ from the concessive (â??as for a name, I may have one, but . . .â?) to an emphatic copula (â??is preciselyâ?).
â??An ordinary name is not right for being as itselfâ? (jÅshÅ wa sokuu ni fuze nari å¸¸å§?ã¯å³æ??ã«ä¸æ?¯ãªã??): Another rearrangement of the Chinese terms in the quotation. Here, DÅgen has taken the graphs soku u å³æ?? (â??haveâ?) as a binomial with a sense, presumably, of something like â??precisely being,â? â??being itself,â? etc.; and treated the negative copula fuze ä¸æ?¯ (â??itâ??s notâ?) as the adjectival â??not correct,â? â??not appropriate,â? etc.
â??What is thisâ? (ga wa ze nari ä½?ã¯æ?¯ãªã??): Or â??what is right.â? Continuing his play with the interrogative â??what,â? DÅgen here reads the question, â??what is this [name]?â? as a declarative sentence. The translation obscures the pun on the graph, ze æ?¯, rendered here as â??thisâ? (from the Fourth Ancestorâ??s question, â??What is this name?â?) and as â??rightâ? in the preceding remark by DÅgen, â??An ordinary name â??is not rightâ?? for â??being as itself.â??â?
â??He has what-ed thisâ? (ze wo ga shikitareri æ?¯ã?'ä½?ã?ãã?ã??ã??): Here, the interrogative â??whatâ? is treated as a transitive verb; presumably the meaning is â??to make â??whatâ?? of â??this,â? â??to take â??thisâ?? as â??what.â??â? Most interpretation takes â??whatâ? to represent the ultimate mystery of things, and â??thisâ? to stand for the immediate presence of things; hence, to â??whatâ? â??thisâ? is to see the mystery in the presence.
â??This is the nameâ? (kore shÅ nari ã?ã??å§?ãªã??): The antecedent of â??thisâ? here is unclear; possibly the act of â??what-ingâ? â??this.â?
â??For what makes it what is this; making it this is the function of whatâ? (ga narashimuru wa ze no yue nari ze narashimuru wa ga no nÅ nari ä½?ãªã??ã?ã??ã??ã¯æ?¯ã®ã??ã?ãªã??æ?¯ãªã??ã? ã??ã??ã¯ä½?ã®è?½ãªã??): If we follow the common interpretation, the causatives here would convey the reciprocal relationship between the â??whatâ? of the ultimate mystery and the â??thisâ? of the immediate presence: it is the immediate realm of things that reveals the ultimate; it is the ultimate realm that expresses itself as things.
â??We fix it as artemisia teaâ? (kore o kÅtÅ ni mo tenzu ã?ã??ã?'è'¿æ¹¯ã«ã??é»?ã?): Likely a suffusion of mugwort (or wormwood) taken for medicinal purposes. The antecedent of â??itâ? (kore ã?ã??) is unclear; presumably, his â??name.â?
â??Everyday tea and riceâ? (kajÅ no sahan å®¶å¸¸ã®è?¶é£¯): A fairly common expression, in both Chan texts and DÅgenâ??s writings, for the â??daily fareâ? of the home, what we might call â??homestyleâ? cooking; well known in the saying, often cited by DÅgen, of Fuyung Daokai è??è??é?æ¥· (1043-1118): â??The words of the buddhas and ancestors are like everyday tea and riceâ? (fozu yenju ru jiachang chafan ä½?ç¥?è¨?å¥å¦?å®¶å¸¸è?¶é£¯) (or, in some versions, â??the intentions and words of the buddhas and ancestorsâ? (fozu yiju ä½?ç¥?æ?å¥). See, e.g., DÅgenâ??s shingji ShÅbÅgenzÅ, case 143 (DZZ.5:202).
äº?ç¥?ã?ã¯ãæ?¯ä½?æ?§ã??ã?ã¯ãã®å®?æ?¨ã¯ã? æ?¯ã¯ä½?æ?§ãªã??ã¨ãªã??ã??ä½?ã®ã??ã?ã«ä½?ã ªã??ãªã??ã??æ?¯ã¯ä½?å§?ã®ã¿ã«ç©¶å?ã?ãã?ã ??ã??ã??ã?æ?¯ã?ã§ã«ä¸æ?¯ã®ã¨ãä½?æ?§ãªã?? ã??ã?ã?ã?ã??ã°ã?ãªã¯ã¡ã?æ?¯ã¯ä½?ãªã??ã? ä½?ãªã??ã¨ã?ã¸ã©ã??ã?è?±è½ã?ãã?ã??ã?é ?è?±ã?ãã?ã??ã«ã?ã?ãªã??ã?å§?ãªã??ã??ã ã®å§?ã?ãªã¯ã¡å¨ãªã??ã??ã?ã?ã?ã??ã©ã??ã? ç?¶ã«ã?ãã?ã?ç¥?ã«ã?ãã?ã?æ¯æ°ã«ç?¸ä¼¼ã ªã??ã?ã?å?è§?ã«é½?è?©ãªã??ã??ã??ã??
The Fifth Ancestor said, â??Itâ??s the buddha nature.â? The essential point of what he says is that â??itâ??sâ? is â??the buddha nature.â? Because of â??what,â? it is the buddha. Has â??itâ??sâ? been exhaustively investigated only in the name â??whatâ?? When â??itâ??sâ? was [said to be] â??itâ??s not,â? it was â??the buddha nature.â? Therefore, while â??itâ??sâ? is â??what,â? is the buddha, when they have been sloughed off, when they have been liberated, it is necessarily his â??name.â? That name is Zhou. Nevertheless, he does not get it from his father; he does not get it from his ancestors; it does not resemble his motherâ??s family name; how could it be of equal stature with onlookers?22
â??Itâ??s is the buddha natureâ? (ze wa busshÅ nari æ?¯ã¯ä½?æ?§ãªã??): Continuing the play with the graph ze, here translated as â??itâ??sâ? in Hongrenâ??s remark, â??Itâ??s the buddha nature.â?
â??Has itâ??s been exhaustively investigated only in the name what?â? (ze wa nan shÅ nomi ni kyÅ«shÅ« shikitaranya æ?¯ã¯ä½?å§?ã®ã¿ã«ç©¶å?ã?ãã?ã??ã??ã??): I.e., is the term ze (â??it isâ?) being treated in this conversation only as the name â??whatâ??
When itâ??s was said to be itâ??s not, it was the buddha natureâ? (ze sude ni fuze no toki busshÅ nari æ?¯ã?ã§ã«ä¸æ?¯ã®ã¨ãä½?æ?§ãªã??): I.e., when Hongren said, â??itâ??s not [an ordinary name],â? the negation of â??it isâ? (ze æ?¯), â??itâ??s notâ? (fu ze ä¸æ?¯), also indicated the buddha nature.
â??When they have been sloughed off, when they have been liberated, it is necessarily his nameâ? (datsuraku shikitari tÅdatsu shikitaru ni kanarazu shÅ nari è?±è½ã?ãã?ã??é?è?±ã?ãã?ã??ã«ã?ãªã??ã ?å§?ãªã??): Usually taken to mean that, although â??itâ??sâ? can be identified with â??whatâ? or â??buddha,â? when it is freed from these â??higherâ? abstractions, it is Hongrenâ??s actual name.
â??That name is Zhouâ? (sono shÅ sunawachi shÅ« nari ãã®å§?ã?ãªã¯ã¡å¨ãªã??): According to his biography (e.g., Jingde chuan deng lu æ?¯å¾³å?³ç??é?², T.51:222c6), Hongrenâ??s family name was Zhou å¨ (a common surname, with the meaning â??all-embracingâ?).
â??How could it be of equal stature with onlookers?â? (bÅkan ni seiken naranya å?è§?ã«é½?è?©ãªã??ã??ã??): I.e., how could the Fifth Ancestorâ??s name be compared with the names of others?å??ç¥?ã?ã¯ãæ±ç?¡ä½?æ?§ã??ã?ã¯ã??ã??é?å?ã ¯ã?æ±ã¯ã?ã??ã«ã?ã??ã?ã?æ±ã«ä¸?ä»»ã?ã??ã ©ã??ã?ç?¡ä½?æ?§ãªã??ã¨é??æ¼?ã?ã??ãªã??ã??ã? ã??ã¹ã?ã?å*¸ã?ã¹ã?ã?ã?ã¾ã¯ã?ã?ãªã??æ? ?ç¯?ã«ã?ã¦ç?¡ä½?æ?§ãªã??ã?ã??ä½?é**ã«ã?ã¦ç ?¡ä½?æ?§ãªã??ã?ã?ä½?åä¸?ã«ã?ã¦ç?¡ä½?æ?§ãªã ??ã?ã??ä¸?é??ã?'é?¼å¡?ã?ã??ã?ã¨ãªã?ã??ã?å?« é?ã?'æ¸ç´¢ã?ã??ã?ã¨ãªã?ã??ã??ç?¡ä½?æ?§ã¯ä¸? æ??ã®ä¸?æ?§ãªã??ã¨ä¿®ç¿'ã?ã??ã?ã¨ã??ã?ã??ã? ?ä½?æ?§æ?ä½?ã®ã¨ãã?ç?¡ä½?æ?§ãªã??ã?ã?ä½?æ ?§ç?¼å¿?ã®ã¨ãã?ç?¡ä½?æ?§ãªã??ã?ã¨å?å?ã? ã¹ã?ã?é?å?ã?ã¹ã?ã??é?²æ?±ã?'ã?ã¦ã??å?å ?ã?ã?ã??ã¹ã?ã?é?²æ?±ã«ã??å?å?ã?ã¹ã?ã?ä ½?æ?§ã?'ã?ã¦ã??å?å?ã?ã?ã??ã¹ã?ã??
The Fourth Ancestor said, â??You have no buddha nature.â? This saying proclaims, â??Although I allow that â??youâ?? are â??youâ?? and not another, you are â??no buddha nature.â??â? We should know, we should study, at what time now is it that he is â??no buddha natureâ?? Is it at the head of the buddha that he is â??no buddha natureâ?? Is it â??beyond the buddhaâ? that he is â??no buddha natureâ?? Do not block up â??the seven penetrationsâ?; do not grope for â??the eight masteries.â? There are instances when â??no buddha natureâ? is also studied as a momentary samÄdhi. When the buddha nature becomes a buddha, is this â??no buddha natureâ?? When the buddha nature arouses the aspiration [to become a buddha], is this â??no buddha natureâ?? We should ask this; we should say it. We should make the columns ask it; we should ask the columns. We should make the buddha nature ask it.23
â??Although I allow that you are you and not anotherâ? (nyo wa tare ni arazu nyo ni ichinin suredomo æ±ã¯ã?ã??ã«ã?ã??ã?æ±ã«ä¸?ä»»ã?ã??ã©ã??): A tentative translation of an odd locution, literally something like, â??you are not someone; although entrusting [this] to you . . . â?); taken here to mean, â??acknowledging your identity as â??you,â??â? The verb ichinin su ä¸?ä»» (translated here â??allowingâ?) occurs often in DÅgenâ??s writings in the sense, common in Chan texts, â??to leave entirely to . . . .â?
â??You are no buddha natureâ? (mu busshÅ nari ç?¡ä½?æ?§ãªã??): Or â??you lack a buddha nature.â? Here and in the remainder of his discussion of this topic, DÅgen treats the phrase mu busshÅ ç?¡ä½?æ?§ (â??having no buddha nature,â? â??lacking buddha natureâ?) as a single semantic unit.
â??At what time now is itâ? (ima wa ikanaru jisetsu ni shite ã?ã¾ã¯ã?ã?ãªã??æ??ç¯?ã«ã?ã¦): Perhaps recalling the earlier discussion of the phrase â??if the time arrives.â?
â??The head of the buddhaâ? (buttÅ ä½?é**): An unusual expression, not occurring elsewhere in DÅgenâ??s writings; possibly a variant of the more common bucchÅ ä½?é*? (â??buddhaâ??s â??crown,â?? or â??topknotâ??â?; buddhÅá¹£á¹?Ä«á¹£a), often used metaphorically as the very pinnacle of awakening; generally taken here to indicate the attainment of buddhahood.
â??Beyond the buddhaâ? (butsu kÅjÅ ä½?åä¸?): A common expression in Chan texts and DÅgenâ??s writings, as in the sayings â??a person beyond the buddhaâ? (butsu kÅjÅ nin ä½?åä¸?äºº) or â??what lies beyond the buddhaâ? (butsu kÅjÅ ji ä½?åä¸?äº?).
â??Block up the seven penetrationsâ? (shittsÅ« o hissaku su ä¸?é??ã?'é?¼å¡?ã?); â??grope for the eight masteriesâ? (hattatsu o mosaku su å?«é?ã?'æ¸ç´¢ã?): The â??seven penetrations and eight masteriesâ? (shittsÅ« hattatsu ä¸?é??å?«é?), or â??seven passes and eight arrivals,â? is a common expression in DÅgenâ??s writings and earlier Chan texts for â??thorough understanding,â? or â??complete mastery.â?
â??Studied as a momentary samÄdhiâ? (ichiji no zanmai nari to shushÅ« su ä¸?æ??ã®ä¸?æ?§ãªã??ã¨ä¿®ç¿'ã?): The term samÄdhi here should probably be understood in its common usage in reference to any spiritual practice or experience, rather than to a psychological state of extreme concentration. Some interpreters take ichiji no zanmai ä¸?æ??ã®ä¸?æ?§ as indicating â??samÄdhi in each momentâ?; the translation takes it simply as a temporary state, or experience (in contrast to a general conditionâ?) of which the following two questions here would be examples.
â??The buddha nature becomes a buddhaâ? (busshÅ jÅbutsu ä½?æ?§æ?ä½?); â??the buddha nature arouses the aspirationâ? (busshÅ hosshin ä½?æ?§ç?¼å¿?): I.e. at the end and at the beginning respectively of the bodhisattva path. The questions may presuppose the common notion that the â??buddha natureâ? refers to the potential to undertake and complete quest for buddhahood.
â??We should make the columns ask it; we should ask the columnsâ? (rochÅ« o shitemo monshu seshimubeshi rochÅ« ni mo monshu subeshi é?²æ?±ã?'ã?ã¦ã??å?å?ã?ã?ã??ã¹ã?é?²æ?±ã«ã? ?å?å?ã?ã¹ã?): The term rochÅ« é?²æ?± (â??exposed columnâ?) refers to the free-standing pillars of monastic buildings, appearing often in Chan conversations as symbols of the objective world. DÅgen here reflects a saying attributed to Shitou Xiqian; Allusion to a well-known saying of the famous Tang-dynasty Chan master Shitou Xiqian ç?³é**å¸?é· (700-790), found, e.g., in the Liandeng huiyao è¯ç??æ??è¦ (ZZ.136:738a3-4) and recorded in DÅgenâ??s shinji ShÅbÅgenzÅ (DZZ.5:148, case 41):
ç?³é**ç?¡é??å¤§å¸«ã??å?£é'å??è«±å¸?é·ã??å?*å?§å? ã?å¦?ä½?æ?¯ç¥?å¸«è¥¿ä¾?æ?ã??å¸«æ?°ã?å?å?é?²æ ?±ã??å?§æ?°ã?æ?ç?²ä¸æ??ã??å¸«æ?°ã?æ?æ?´ä¸æ??ä ¹?ã??
The Great Master Wuji of Shitou (succeeded Qingyuan, called Xiqian) was once asked by a monk, â??What is the intention of the ancestral masterâ??s coming from the west?â?
The master said, â??Ask the columns.â?
The monk said, â??I donâ??t understand.â?
The master said, â??I donâ??t understand either.â?ã?ã?ã?ã??ã°ã?ãªã¯ã¡ã?ç?¡ä½?æ?§ã®é?ã?ã ¯ã??ã?ã«å??ç¥?ã®ç¥?å®¤ã??ã??ãã?ã??ã??ã??ã®ã ªã??ã??é»?æ¢?ã«è¦?è?ã?ã?è¶?å·?ã«æµé??ã?ã? å¤§æ½?ã«æ?§æ?ã?ã??ç?¡ä½?æ?§ã®é?ã?ã?ãªã??ã ?ç²¾é?²ã?ã¹ã?ã?è¶è¶?ã?ã??ã?ã¨ãªã?ã??ã??ç? ¡ä½?æ?§ã?ã©ã??ã¬ã¹ã?ã¨ã?ã¸ã©ã??ã?ä½?ãªã ??æ¨?æº?ã?ã??ã?æ±ãªã??æ??ç¯?ã?ã??ã?æ?¯ãªã?? æ??æ©?ã?ã??ã?å¨ãªã??å?å§?ã?ã??ã?ç?´è¶£ãªã?? ã??
Therefore, the words â??no buddha natureâ? are something heard far beyond the ancestral rooms of the Fourth Ancestor. They are seen in Huangmei; they circulate to Zhaozhou; they are raised by Dayi. The words â??no buddha nature,â? we should pursue with vigour; do not falter or hesitate. Though we may well have lost our bearings in â??no buddha nature,â? we have â??whatâ? as the standard, â??youâ? as the time, â??thisâ? as the accord, Zhou as the same name; and we advance directly.24
â??Ancestral roomsâ? (soshitsu ç¥?å®¤): A common expression in Chan for the â??inner recessesâ? of the tradition handed down from master to disciple.
â??Huangmeiâ? (Åbai é»?æ¢?); â??Zhaozhouâ? (jÅshÅ« è¶?å·?); â??Dayiâ? (daii å¤§æ½?): Reference to famous Chan masters who use the expression â??no buddha nature.â? â??Huangmeiâ? indicates the Fourth Ancestor, Daoxin himself; â??Zhaozhouâ? and â??Dayiâ? refer to Zhaozhou Congshen è¶?å·?å¾?è«? (778-897) and Guishan Lingyou æ½?å±±é?ç¥ (771-853) respectively, both of whom will be quoted below.
â??Pursue with vigourâ? (shÅjin subeshi ç²¾é?²ã?ã¹ã?): I.e., make effort to understand. The term shÅjin ç²¾é?², commonly used for the virtue of â??zeal,â? or â??exertion,â? does not typically occur as a transitive verb.
â??Though we may well have lost our bearings in no buddha natureâ? (mu busshÅ tadorinubeshi to iedomo ç?¡ä½?æ?§ã?ã©ã??ã¬ã¹ã?ã¨ã?ã¸ã©ã??): Most readers take the verb tadoru here in the sense tomadoi æ?¸æ? (â??lose oneâ??s way,â? â??grope about,â? etc.).
â??We have what as the standardâ? (ga naru hyÅjun ari ä½?ãªã??æ¨?æº?ã?ã??): The first in a list of four terms in DÅgenâ??s preceding discussion of the dialogue. The term hyÅjun æ¨?æº? occurs fairly often in DÅgenâ??s writings in the sense of a â??markerâ? or â??normâ?; akin to hyÅkaku æ¨?æ*¼.
â??You as the timeâ? (nyo naru jisetsu æ±ãªã??æ??ç¯?): It is unclear what â??timeâ? is referred to here: the most likely candidate is the â??timeâ? in the question of the preceding section: â??at what time now is it that he is â??no buddha natureâ???â?
â??This as the accordâ? (ze naru tÅki æ?¯ãªã??æ??æ©?): The term ze æ?¯ (â??thisâ?) has also appeared above as â??itâ??sâ? in Hongrenâ??s statement, â??itâ??s the buddha nature.â? The word â??accordâ? here translates tÅki æ??æ©?, a term often indicating a perfect â??fit,â? or â??match,â? perhaps especially between master and disciple; here, perhaps the accord between â??whatâ? and â??this.â?
â??Zhou as the same nameâ? (shÅ« naru dÅshÅ å¨ãªã??å?å§?): Some manuscripts give the more familiar expression dÅshÅ å?ç?? (â??the same birth,â? â??born togetherâ?). â??Zhouâ? (â??all-embracingâ?) is Hongrenâ??s family name (see, above, Note 22: â??That name is Zhouâ?). It is not clear who (or what) here shares the name Zhou.
â??We advance directlyâ? (jikishu ç?´è¶£): The implication seems to be that, though â??no buddha natureâ? may be confusing, given the guidance of the terms in the dialogue listed, we can immediately understand it. The expression, â??advance directlyâ? here may reflect the words, quoted elsewhere in DÅgenâ??s writings, â??advance directly to supreme bodhiâ? (jikishu mujÅ bodai ç?´è¶£ç?¡ä¸?è©æ).
For folks craving a bit more 'Genzo ... Tonight's Zen Talk for our May Monthly 4-Hour "Real Time" Zazenkai ...
... will be on a short section of Shobogenzo called "Shoji" (Life and Death). Here is the text in full ...
Birth and Death
by Eihei Dogen
Translated by Arnold Kotler and Kazuaki Tanahashi.
"Because a buddha is in birth and death, there is no birth and death." (2)
It is also said, "Because a buddha is not in birth and death, a buddha is not deluded by birth and death." (3)
These statements are the essence of the words of the two Zen masters Jiashan and Dingshan. You should certainly not neglect them, because they are the words of those who attained the way.
Those who want to be free from birth and death should understand the meaning of these words. If you search for a buddha outside birth and death, it will be like trying to go to the southern country of Yue with our spear heading towards the north, or like trying to see the Big Dipper while you are facing south; you will cause yourself to remain all the more in birth and death and lose the way of emancipation.
Just understand that birth-and-death is itself nirvana. There is nothing such as birth and death to be avoided; there is nothing such as nirvana to be sought. Only when you realize this are you free from birth and death.
It is a mistake to suppose that birth turns into death. Birth is a phase that is an entire period of itself, with its own past and future.
For this reason, in buddha-dharma birth is understood as no-birth.*
Death is a phase that is an entire period of itself, with its own past
and future. For this reason, death is understood as no-death.*
In birth there is nothing but birth and in death there is nothing but death. Accordinly, when birth comes, face and actualize birth, and when death comes, face and actualize death. Do not avoid them or desire them.
Birth and death as the experience of nirvana.
This birth and death is the life of buddha. If you try to exclude it you will lose the life of buddha. If you cling to it, trying to remain in it, you will also lose the life of buddha, and what remains will be the mere form of buddha. Only when you dont dislike birth and death or long for them, do you enter buddhas mind.
However, do not analyze or speak about it. Just set aside your body and mind, forget about them, and throw them into the house of buddha; then all is done by buddha. When you follow this, you are free from birth and death and become a buddha without effort or calculation. Who then continues to think?
There is a simple way to become buddha: When you refrain from unwholesome actions, are not attached to birth and death, and are compassionate toward all sentient beings, respectful to seniors and kind to juniors, not excluding or desiring anything, with no designing thoughts or worries, you will be called a buddha. Do not seek anything else.
*gassho*There is a simple way to become buddha: When you refrain from unwholesome actions, are not attached to birth and death, and are compassionate toward all sentient beings, respectful to seniors and kind to juniors, not excluding or desiring anything, with no designing thoughts or worries, you will be called a buddha. Do not seek anything else.
I wanna join in....!!!!
I am a little lost as to where we are and what I will need to read, can anyone bring me up to speed?
Well, I believe this thread has been the "Shobogenzo Study Group" so far.Originally Posted by ezzirah
I can't seem to get down with the Lotus sutra like that at all. I read a page, and feel the need for a nap. Of course I have not made it far at all but can anyone offer some encouraging words on getting through it?Originally Posted by Jundo
Yours in practice,
I can't seem to get down with the Lotus sutra like that at all. I read a page, and feel the need for a nap. Of course I have not made it far at all but can anyone offer some encouraging words on getting through it?Originally Posted by Jundo
Yours in practice,
Hey Jordan,Originally Posted by Fuken
You just had some postings on your blog about how you read and liked the Surangama Sutra. Why that one, but not the lotus?
Well, I don't have any suggestions on how to best read the Lotus, but have you tried Avata?saka? That is one boring piece of s?tra right there. Tremendously interesting, a very good read (if you get through the first couple of chapters), but for the most part mind-numbingly boring. After that one, every other s?tra is a walk in the park.Originally Posted by Fuken
That's my general advice .
Start with the hardest and the rest seems like cake? Heh. I always eat the twinkies before the vegetables. :twisted:Originally Posted by anista
I haven't tried the Avata?saka Sutra yet, but it is on my list. The lotus has started opening up for me now after reading chapter three, it was familiar to me as I had heard that part of the sutra in a Dharma talk some time ago.