Okamura, Shohaku on Shobogenzo home back to Zen Teachings: Dogen Teachings

Lecture 7: Dogen Zenji's Genjo-koan

Rev. Director, original source


Shohaku Zen


Okumura Center

(Text: section 8) Firewood becomes ash. Ash cannot turn back into firewood again. However, we should not view ash as after and firewood as before. We should know that firewood dwells in the dharma position of firewood and it has its own before and after. Although there is before and after, past and future are cut off. Ash stays at the position of ash and it has its own before and after. As firewood never becomes firewood again after it is burned and becomes ash, after person dies, there is no return to living. However, in buddha dharma, it is a never-changing tradition not to say that life becomes death. Therefore we call it no-arising. It is the laid-down way of buddha's turning the dharma wheel not to say that death becomes life. Therefore, we call it no-perishing. Life is a position at one time; death is also a position at one time. For instance, this is like winter and spring. We don't think that winter becomes spring, and we don't say that spring becomes summer. Life-and-death and 'Self' Genjo-koan is the first chapter of the 75-volume version of Dogen Zenji's Shobogenzo. This is one of Dogen's most popular written works. But to understand this short article is very difficult. Dogen Zenji does not explain himself, he simply expresses the buddha dharma using a very poetic and precise language that was the outcome of his profound insight and experience. In Japan, we study the Shobogenzo along with its commentaries. But, often, the commentaries made by Soto Zen masters are just as difficult as Dogen's writings. In order to understand Dogen we need to read the text and the commentaries many times and reflect on our own experience of zazen and day-to-day practice. So today, I will present my own understanding based on my own study and practice. Don't believe my words, but please learn through your own study and practice. This is the way the buddha dharma has been transmitted generation to generation. From section 4 to 7 of Genjo-koan, Dogen Zenji discusses delusion and

enlightenment, and buddhas and living beings based on the relationship between the self and all myriad things. In the end of section 7, Dogen Zenji says, "When we conceive our body and mind in a confused way and grasp all things with discriminating mind, we mistakenly think that the self nature of our own mind is permanent. When we intimately practice and return right here, it is clear that all things have no [fixed] self." In section 8, Dogen Zenji discusses life and death, or arising and perishing as the reality of our life that is impermanent and egoless (no-fixed self). In order to discuss arising and perishing, we need to think of change of "things" within "time". We usually think we are born, live and die within the stream of time flowing from the past to the future through the present. But Dogen says it is not the only way to see the "time". Life-and-death is an English translation of Japanese expression shoji. The Japanese word sho as a verb means "to live (ikiru)", and also "to be born (umareru)". This expression can be translated into English as birth-and-death. Shoji is the process of our life in which we are born, live and die. As a Buddhist term, shoji (life or birth and death) is used as equivalent of two Sanskrit words. One is jatimarana that means the process of birth and death. This is also used as an abbreviation of "birth, aging, sickness and death" that is; the four kinds of suffering or duhkha. In Buddhist philosophy, there are two kinds of life (birth) and death. One is life and death of an ordinary living being who is transmigrating within the six realms in the three worlds (the worlds of desire, form and formlessness) and being pulled by karma. This life-and-death is called bundans-hoji, separating life-and-death). Another is the birth (life)-and-death of bodhisattvas who practice within the three worlds to save all beings, although they are free from transmigrating based on three poisonous minds. They continue this practice life after life toward accomplishment of buddhahood all the way through the fifty two steps of bodhisattva practice. This kind of life-and-death based on the bodhisattva vow is called henyaku-shoji, transforming life-and-death). There are also two other kinds of life and death. One is called ichigo-shoji, life-anddeath as one period) that is the life span between birth and death as we usually understand it. Another is called setsuna-shoji, moment by moment life-and-death). Setsuna (Skt. Ksana) means the slightest moment, much shorter than a second. Our body and mind are born (arising) and dying (perishing) moment by moment. Dogen discusses this in Shobogenzo Hotsu-bodaishin (Arising Awakening Mind). The second Sanskrit word as the origin of the expression life-and-death is samsara. Life-and-death is another name of samsara in which living beings transmigrate within the six realms (hell, the realms of the hungry ghosts, animals, the asuras. human beings, and heavenly beings). It is important to remember that life-and-death

in common Buddhist usage is samsara, that is the opposite of nirvana. When Dogen Zenji says in Shobogenzo Shoji (Life-and-Death), "Life-and-death is Buddha's Life," he means our life in samsara is nothing other than Buddha's Life, that is, nirvana. Unless we understand this point, we cannot really appreciate the power of Dogen's words. Life-and-death has two meanings: one is the process of being born, living and dying; another is transmigration within the six realms of samsara. And often these two are used alternatively because the usual process of an ordinary being's life is birth, living and dying, and is a part of transmigration in samsara. But here in Genjo-koan, Dogen Zenji uses this expression as the process of being born, living and dying in the case of living beings, or arising, staying for a while, and perishing in the case of things other than living beings before separation between samsara and nirvana. We were born at a certain time in the past. In my case, I was born on June 22nd, 1948, fifty-two years ago. When I was born my body was tiny. Since then, my body and also my mind have been constantly changing. The baby became a boy. The boy became a teenager. The teenager became a young adult. The young adult became a middle-aged person as I am now. If I am lucky, the middle-aged person is going to become an old person. And eventually the old person is going to die and disappear. Between our birth and death, we are constantly changing, experiencing various conditions. But somehow, we commonly think that fifty years ago, the baby was Shohaku and fifty years later this middle aged person is the same Shohaku. Thirty years ago, I was a newly ordained young monk with lots of energy and problems. Now, thirty years later, I don't have so much energy and I have totally different kinds of problems. My way of thinking was very different when I was twenty. I never thought I would live in the United States and speak English. My way of thinking has been strongly influenced by American ways of thinking since I came to this country. And yet we usually understand that I am the same person I was when I was a baby, as I was when I was a teenager, and when I was in my twenties, and then thirties, forties and fifties. This is our common understanding. We almost always believe it to be so. But, is it really true? Buddha's teaching of no-self If, it is true, then we have to agree with a theory that there is something that does not change within ourselves. And this unchanging entity stays intact right through the very process of changing. This one thing, which is not a baby, a teenager, a young man, a middle-aged man, or an aged man, changes it's appearance through the flowing of time. It is like one person who changes clothes one outfit after another depending upon the occasion. My body and mind, which are constantly changing, are like various pieces of clothing that I put on and take off. This one entity which does not change goes through the process of changing only in appearance. This is an idea Indian people believed at the time of the Buddha. This one thing called atman transmigrates through many different conditions being pulled by good and bad

impulse and consciousness) which are not substantial. the owner of this body and mind (five aggregates) and the operator of the body and mind. Then what is transmigrating? This is a very natural question. no self). the atman transmigrates from a hell to a heaven within the six realms. When we do bad actions and accumulate bad karma. the owner leaves the body and mind and it will be born with the new body and mind. are like a car. If we do good actions and accumulate good karma. The Atman (soul or ego) is like an owner of this body and mind. as far as I know. perception. ego) transmigrates and is born again and again life after life. The Buddha put emphasis on cause and result. This is the basic idea of how the atman (soul. we will be born with an inferior body and mind in a difficult environment. we will be born with a good body and mind in a good circumstance. And according to the Indian belief. depending upon our good and bad deeds. Without offering any perfect explanation. The definition of atman (ego or fixed-self) in Buddhist philosophy according to the Abidharma-kosa. Buddha taught that only the five aggregates exist and nothing else. written by the famous Indian Buddhist philosopher Vasubandhu. that is. there is no perfect answer so far. If so. only one. The Atman is like the owner and driver of a car and the body and mind. This is the theory of karma that was widely believed in Indian society at the time of the Buddha. When the Buddha taught anatman. If we do bad things we have to receive a painful effect. And yet. The owner owns the car and drives the car as far as the car runs. no-atman (no soul. What is this self. When this body and mind dies. who does the action and who receives the result? Buddha said that the self has to receive the result of one's own karmic actions. no-ego. In the case of human beings the five aggregates refer to body and mind. as the five aggregates that are always changing. And the Heart Sutra says that those five aggregates are in their self-nature empty. if it is not atman? This is a question often asked regarding the Buddha's teachings. is that the atman is something which is permanent. If we do good things we will receive a pleasurable effect.karma. if there is no atman. When the car becomes old and not possible to fix anymore. Dogen and no-self . then the owner gives up that car and buys a new one. And many Buddhist philosophers in various schools tried to logically explain this problem. The Buddha negated the theory of atman but did not negate the belief of transmigration because that was the basis of social morality in India. Buddha taught that there are only five aggregates (form or material. The atman (soul) is pure but it is imprisoned in the body that is source of delusive desires. sensation. both the theory of no self (anatman) and the belief of transmigration within six realms are maintained within almost all Buddhist traditions. He was against this basic idea of atman that is a permanent entity transmigrating in samsara. This is the principle of causality.

32-33. Dogen puts emphasis on faith in the principle of cause and result beyond this present lifetime. (transforming life and death) that is. but the fallacious view of Senika". question 10. Dogen said: "The idea you have just mentioned is not buddha-dharma at all. This is the reason Dogen negates the idea of kensho (seeing the nature). Tuttle. when this body perishes. in the Bendowa (Talk on the Wholehearted practice of the Way) and a few other chapters of Shobogenzo such as Sokusinzebutsu (Mind is itself Buddha). Buddha. On the other hand. Nothing can compare to the shamefulness of this idiocy. and Bussho (Buddha-nature). Such is this fallacious doctrine. now isn't it ridiculous to consider that the erroneous view of mind as permanent and material form as impermanent is the same as the wondrous dharma of the buddhas. However. You should give no ear to it. Therefore. Okumura and Leighton. and to think that you become free from life and death when actually you are arousing the fundamental cause of life and death? This indeed is most pitiful. that is. And this mind-nature was often used as a synonym of buddha-nature. 1997) Some people think mind to be permanent and body to be impermanent. And gives advice that one should ceaselessly chant "I take refuge in Buddha. And the body was considered to be the source of delusive desire and impermanent. National Teacher Echu of Tang China strictly admonished [against this mistake]." (The Wholehearted Way.In the case of Dogen. although it seems to expire here. and has the capacity to distinguish all such things as pain and itching or suffering and pleasure. Dharma and Sangha. mind was considered to be atman. pure and permanent. Dharma and Sangha" during the period of chuu (antara-bhava) between death in this life and the next birth. or Jinshininga (Deeply Believing in Cause and Result). Also in Shobogenzo Doshin (Way Mind) Dogen encourages people to deeply take refuge in the Three Treasures. we should chant "I take refuge in the Buddha. to learn this theory and suppose it is buddha-dharma is more stupid than grasping a tile or a pebble and thinking it is a golden treasure. In this case. never perishing. it is said to be permanent. I am pretty sure Dogen himself believes in the bodhisattvas' henyaku-shoji. since [the spirit-nature] is born somewhere. that is usually considered to be 49 days. he clearly negates the atman. Just realize that this is a mistaken view. In this case." life after life until we reach buddhahood. He said. as the Buddha did. This fallacy says that there is a spiritual intelligence in one's body which discriminates love and hatred or right and wrong as soon as it encounters phenomena. In Bendowa. Furthermore. bodhisattvas practice life after life because of their vows to save all beings and . in Shobogenzo Sanjigo (Karma in the Three Times). the spirit nature escapes and is born elsewhere. So. mind was called shinsho (mind nature) and body was called shinso (bodily form). P.

I don't negate the principle of cause and result. "I take refuge in Buddha. and all beings are time. I have been working on the translation of Zen Buddhist texts from Japanese to English. if this is a contradiction. "Time is just being. Dogen's philosophy of the unity of "time" and "being" is very famous among philosophers not only in Japan but also in the West. Even if I don't believe rebirth as a person." "All beings in the whole Universe are stretching in a row and at the same time. This is the teaching of the seven Buddhas. This is how I answered the question about rebirth until recently. "I don't know. I need much more time to translate all the texts I want to introduce. I don't negate it. What I can say for sure is. Anyway. For example. I have discussed about atman and anatman too long. I am not going to try to create a new theory to explain this contradiction. But after I became fifty. Probably the belief in the Bodhisattva's henyaku-shoji (transforming life-and-death). Also my life seems too short a span to fully understand the true meaning of Buddha's. ceaseless practice life after life because of their vows was originated in this awakening to the limitations of our personal lives. and there is too much work for me to do in this lifetime.accomplish the buddhahood. it is all right. Martin Heidegger (1889-1976). My practice is a result of my teacher's practice. it is my being-time. Dogen's and other teachers' words. these two sides seem to contradict each other. At least. I don't understand that if there is no atman (permanent self) beside this impermanent body and mind. There is no basis to believe or negate it. Later. "To refrain from anything bad and practice everything good. I don't need to do anything after my death. What I am doing now will have result even after my death. this section of Genjo-koan is one of the sources of Dogen's idea of identity of "time" and "being". I don't believe in rebirth and yet." If there is rebirth. So I don't need to think about it in that case. simply because this lifetime seems too short to practice the buddha way." . Many Buddhist philosophers have tried to clarify this point and no one has been completely successful. I think this is because I am aging and have found my limitations. Purify your mind. Because being and time are one. what is chanting. For me. it is 'me(self)-being-time'. Since I don't know much about Western philosophy. Buddhism itself has had this contradiction from the very beginning until today. I need to talk about "time" and life-and-death. Life-and-death and "Time" Well. I will try to practice in the same manner. I wish to be reborn as a Buddhist again and continue to work on it. It sometimes compared with the thought of modern Western philosopher. I found that I have a wish to live the next life. he wrote Shobogenzo Uji (Being Time) and clearly said." The important thing for me is to practice in this lifetime as the Buddha instructed in the Dammapada. If there is no-rebirth." after the death of this body and mind? Anyway. I cannot tell whether Dogen and Heidegger thought the same thing or not.

When we use the analogy of tree. the firewood becomes ash. I grow up for about twenty years. We should know that firewood dwells in the dharma position of firewood and it has its own before and after. and of ash are independent of each other. ash. According to Dogen. and at each dharma-position. it has it own past as a seed and its own future as firewood. then I start to get older and older and finally die. Still. The present moment is just a "line" without any width as its definition in geometry. Here Dogen compares life and death to firewood and ash. we cut the tree. becomes a big tree. firewood has it own time. 'time' is 'being' and 'being' is 'time'. the present moment does not have any length. This is our thought about time. When we need firewood. or each stage of our own life and death. it has its own past as a tree and its own future as something else. pile them and dry them to make them into firewood. Ash stays at the position of ash and it has its own before and after. As ash. As firewood. When ash stays as its dharma-position as ash. The present moment has no length. Finally. the past is already gone and the future has not yet come. And this present . split it into small pieces. So. But the stream continues to flow before my birth and after my death. And the dharma-positions of a tree. a tree has it own time. When we think of a certain period of 'time' including the present moment. time does not really exist. If there is length. all which exists is only past and present. As a tree. it might be not wrong. Isn't it strange? The present moment is the only reality. But. we can cut it into half and one half is already in the past and another half is still in the future. at the present moment which is zero and does not exist. Although there is before and after. ash has also it own time. we should not view ash as after and firewood as before. when I pronounce "n". But this is not exactly how we live and die. We think there is a stream of time. "ow" is still in the future. When firewood is at the dharmaposition of firewood. This is the same as we think our own life and death. I then stop growing and live as a grown-up for certain period of time. It is zero. the entire past and the entire future are reflected. If ash is scattered on the mountain it will be part of the mountain and help other beings to grow. I will be burned and become ash. as a reality. I was a baby. Still there is nothing that can be grasped as the present moment. We commonly think that a seed sprouts and grows gradually and after long period of time. However. each position seems to have length of time. each being has its own past and future. When I say "now". firewood. Each being is at its own dharma-position (hoi). And as a thought. The present moment does not exist. no matter how short it is.(Text) Firewood becomes ash. history and our own lives. When I pronounce "w". of firewood. And when we burn the firewood. When I was born I appear in the stream and when I die I disappear from the stream. When a tree is at the dharma-position of a tree. "no" is already in the past. past and future are cut off. it has its own past as a tree and its own future as ash. like a river that is flowing from the beginningless past to the endless future. Ash cannot turn back into firewood again.

If we put too much emphasis on the future. Is there something which does not change within this constant change? According to the Buddha's teachings there is nothing. When a baby fully lives as a baby. a dog or other human beings beside Shohaku. sun light and so on. That was how he could accept the reality of his life at this moment. A baby is a baby because a baby negates its babyhood. memory. Since a seed has life. This is why. After Uchiyama Roshi retired from Antaiji in 1975 and lived in Ogaki. The Buddha is Buddha because the Buddha is not Buddha. After the War. When a seed fully functions as a seed according to its own life force. temperature. without legs. There is a continuation. everything continuously arises and perishes. A seed is not stuck in a stage of being a seed. wishes. because he had no legs. we call the reality 'wondrous dharma' (myoho ) as in the title of the Lotus Sutra ( the Sutra of Wondrous Dharma Like a Lotus Flower). That is the function of the lifeforce of a baby. he met Rev. within it's life force. But there is no Shohaku as a fixed self. There was a Japanese Soto Zen priest whose name was Rev. Isn't this strange? Yes it is strange. This reality is very difficult for us to grasp. This present moment is the only reality. we are afraid to change. he lost both of his legs. and the boy Shohaku negated itself and became the teenage Shohaku. habit. it has a power that negates babyhood and becomes a boy or a girl. This means that even though we are a continuation from our babyhood as we have karma (influences from the previous experiences) from the past. The teenage Shohaku negated itself and became the grown-up Shohaku. Ozawa and encouraged him to write about his experiences. he had to go through many difficulties. but the past has already gone. It sprouts and becomes something that is not a seed. he was always smiling. There is continuation but the baby Shohaku was not a boy Shohaku and the boy Shohaku was not the teenage Shohaku. Everything has this life force which negates itself and changes into something else. therefore the baby Shohaku did not become a bird. he made up his mind to believe that he was born just now. A baby Shohaku negated itself and became a boy Shohaku. vows. Rev. or goals. and experiences. and ambitions. and could live positively without his legs. After all the struggling. it negates itself and becomes something else. A seed stays at the dharma-position of a seed and it has it own past and future. Ozawa's book became one of the bestsellers of the year. this moment . When he was a young soldier in the World War Two. this is what "everything is empty in it self-nature" means. All existences are just correction of five aggregates of each time. but the future has not yet come. And after that. And at each moment. A baby is the same. We all have the future as our hopes. Doyu Ozawa. We all have the past as karma. it has a power to negate it's own position when it has appropriate conditions such as moisture. our life is always new and fresh.moment (zero) is the only real reality. Each moment everything is new and fresh. That is the reality and function of a seed. How can we live fully at this moment? If we are firmly caught up in the past experiences.

our life becomes meaningless. It is the laid-down way of buddha's turning the dharma wheel not to say that death becomes life. (Text) However. it is said that death is itself no-perishing. In Shobogenzo Shoji. Life is a position at one time with its own before and after. Therefore. there is life and there is death. he discusses how we should practice with life and death. Neither avoid them nor desire them. in the buddha dharma. enlightenment. it is a never-changing tradition not to say that life becomes death. In death. life is not appearing. this is like winter and spring. Dogen says. and we don't say that spring becomes summer. "there is both life and death. buddha and escape from something we don't like such as death. For instance. enlightenment and delusion. but the before and after are cut off. he published a collection of several poems on life-and-death. He said that after retirement. life is a manifestation of total dynamic function. Therefore we call it no-arising. we call it noperishing. delusion and enlightenment. and right here. "It is a mistake to think that life turns into death. When he was around seventy. The following are his poems where I think Uchiyama Roshi expresses the reality and . You should know that among the countless dharmas within the self. it is. if we die before reaching our goal. Rather. Death is a position at one time with its own before and after. In life there is nothing other than life. in this given condition and change this condition as a practice of this moment." Is this difficult to do? Yes. like and dislike. "Life in the present moment lies in this functioning mechanism.becomes merely a step to the future. delusion or living beings. This is samsara in our present life-time. and death is manifestation of total dynamic function. And when death comes." In 1975. Consequently. living beings and buddhas. In Shobogenzo Zenki (Total Dynamic Function). Uchiyama Roshi retired from Antaiji when he was sixty-three years old. We want to chase after something like such as life. just die. it is said that life is itself no-arising. This is what he meant when he says that "there is before and after. life is not leaving. Life is not coming. death is also a position at one time. his practice was facing his own life-and-death. And again. and life is not becoming. when life comes. He retired while he was so young because he was physically a very weak person. When we live in such a way. Dogen's teaching of time allows us to live fully right now. Sometimes we are successful and feel like a heavenly being sometimes we fail and feel as miserable as a hell dweller. Dogen says exactly the same thing. Therefore. Consequently. just live. and this functioning mechanism lies in life in the present moment. Life is a position at one time. in buddha dharma. there is nothing other than death. buddhas and living beings" and at the same time there is no such thing. Our main mortive in our lives is greed and hatred." As he wrote in the first three sentences of Genjo-koan. We don't think that winter becomes spring.

The whole moon and even the whole sky reflects on even a drop of dew on a blade of grass.practice of life-and-death within no-life-and-death. the water is never destroyed. Realization does not destroy the person. as a drop of dew does not obstruct the moon in the sky. [In order to . never aging Though dying. delusion-enlightenment Self-others. Life-and-Death Water isn't formed by being ladled into a bucket Simply the water of the whole Universe has been ladled into a bucket The water does not disappear because it has been scattered over the ground It is only that the water of the whole Universe has been emptied into the whole Universe Life is not born because a person is born The life of the whole Universe has been ladled into the hardened "idea" called "I" Life does not disappear because a person dies Simply. life-death Truth-falsehood. it reflects itself on a small amount of water. The person does not obstruct realization. as the moon does not make a hole in the water. Shohaku Okumur Director. never sick. or a single tiny drop of water. Although it is a vast and great light. or not thinking it to be so Believing it to be so. happiness-unhappiness We live and die within the profundity of Reality Whatever we encounter is buddha-life This present Reality is buddha-life Just living. The moon never becomes wet. never dying Reality prior to division--Herein lies unlimited depth Dogen Zenji's Genjo-koan Lecture (8) Rev. the life of the whole Universe has been poured out of this hardened "idea" of "I" back into the universe Just Live. Though aging. it is like the moon reflecting on the water. or not believing it to be so Existence-nonexistence. The depth is the same as the height. just dying---within no life or death Samadhi of the Treasury of the Radiant Light Though poor. Soto Zen Education Center (Text: section 9) When a person attains realization. Just Die The Reality prior to the division into two Thinking it to be so. never poor Though sick.

sitting and laying down. all dharmas (things) and the self (our body) are both like "the moon in water. All beings have no fixed self-nature. not remaining even for an instant. The image of "the moon reflecting in water" has been used as an analogy for emptiness throughout the history of Buddhism. hallucinations. and understand the size of the moon in the sky. In this saying. they are born of mental construction. the moon in water is used as an analogy of the emptiness of our own body. The Pennsylvania State University Press. It occurs in scriptures dating all the way back to India. p. The Record of Teachers and Disciples of the Ryoga Tradition. Days and nights. all things are like dreams. therefore they are ungraspable. as an analogy of prajna and emptiness. the other being katakana). all things are like the reflection of the moon in water and like a mirror-image. we should consider whether the water is great or small. and lightning. destruction. after giving instruction for zazen practice. the echo in the empty valley. in walking. (The Holly Teaching of Vimalakirti. You cannot say it is non-being (mu) either because it is clearly in front of your eyes. All things are like "the moon reflecting in water". . You cannot say it is a being (u) because even if you try to catch it you cannot see its substance. all things are without production. All beings neither arise nor perish. 580-651). all things are evanescent. the heat waves in a hot day. Here is an example that comes from the Vimalakirti Sutra. the lay person Vimalakirti says. the reflection in a mirror. and duration. translated by Robert Thurman. which is neither being nor non-being.investigate the significance of] the length and shortness of time. like magical illusions. "realization" is the translation of a Japanese word "satori." Dogen does not use the Chinese characters here but rather he wrote this in hiragana (one of two systems of the Japanese phonetic alphabet. the Forth Ancestor of Chinese Zen. clouds. Speaking to Upali. Here. if you always contemplate in this way. Doshin (Daoxin. you will know that your own body is like the moon in water. Our body is like "the moon in water" In the Ryoga-sijiki (Lengga-shizi-ji). Realization and the moon In this section Dogen Zenji discusses the experience of a person who has attained realization." It is clear that Dogen Zenji uses this analogy from the same source in the same context.31) "The moon in water" is used as an analogy of the emptiness of all beings. one of the Buddha's disciples. and unreal vision. says. Reverend Upali. and transitory. standing still. (a history of the Northern School of Chinese Zen written in the early 8th Century). In Mahayana Buddhism and the Chinese Zen tradition.

It is water-thus (sui-nyo). But he uses the analogy not simply as an example of the emptiness of all things. it manifests its form." And this "middle" is important in Nagarjuna's philosophy and also in the Tendai teachings that Dogen studied while he . The Chinese characters for moon that Dogen used here are." This is a very accurate translation."The moon in water" is buddha's dharma body. although these Chinese characters are used phonetically." or simply "true reality". moon-thus (getsu-nyo). "Thus" ( nyo) does not mean 'to be like. were invented. as in the Vimalakirti Sutra or in the saying of the Fourth Ancestor. Also. The true dharma-body of the Buddha Is like empty space. the oldest collection of Japanese poems collected in the Nara period (710-794). Shinnyo is a Chinese translation of a Sanskrit word "tathata" that is translated into English as "thus-ness". Manyo-gana was the method used before the previously mentioned hiragana and katakana. Dogen Zenji wrote a chapter of the Shobogenzo entitled "Tsuki (the Moon)". Responding to things. thus-within (nyo-chu)." or "to be equal to. It is like the moon in water." "as if. Dogen is obviously playing with words here. "such as. Here." "as-it-is-ness. within-thus ( chu-nyo). definite each and every thing). Shakyamuni Buddha says. he quotes from the Konkomyokyo (Sutra of Golden Radiance). In the very beginning of the chapter. Instead of using the usual Chinese character he uses manyo-gana. the Chinese word chu that is translated in the sentence as "within" can also mean "middle" as in the "middle way. The thus-ness ( nyo-nyo) of 'like the moon in water( nyo-sui-chu-getsu)' is watermoon (sui-getsu).' Thusness (nyo) is this-ness (ze. he uses it as an expression of "total-function" . The common meaning of the Chinese word nyo is "be like". Dogen Zenji quotes several expressions that include "the moon in water" from Buddhist sutras and sayings of the Chinese ancestors. "such-ness. Anyway. concrete." The Chinese sentence means "It is like the moon in water. It was named "Manyo-gana" because it was the system used when the Japanese people compiled the Manyoshu. they mean "total-function" this is the same as the expression "zenki". But Dogen reads this nyo as the nyo in shinnyo.the dynamic movement of the network of interdependent origination that includes the self and all dharmas. Manyo-gana is a way to indicate the sounds of Japanese words by using the Chinese characters phonetically. Dogen's comment on this saying is as follows. or of our own body. Dogen Zenji took this well-known analogy of "the moon in water" from the Buddhist scriptures.

538-597). 10) We declare that whatever is relational origination is sunyata.148) "Relational origination" is another translation of "interdependent origination" that is the reality of our life. or categorization and is the absolute truth. Tendai Chigi (Tiantai Zhiyi. But Shohaku is here as an empty collection of body and mind. the relative (worldly) truth and the absolute (supreme) truth. Hiei in Japan before he started to study Zen. The teaching of the Dharma by the various Buddhas is based on the two truths. Seeing the reality from both sides without clinging to either side is the middle path.. a Buddhist.146. in addition to his body and mind. He is talking about the Buddhist teachings as part of his responsibilities as a Buddhist priest. The "Three Truths" refers to the Truth of Emptiness. Without approaching the absolute truth. Those who do not know the distinction between the two truths cannot understand the profound nature of the Buddha's teaching. Shohaku's mind is also simply a collection of the results of his experiences since his birth. "A provisional name" is what we use to grasp things using words. (24/ 18) (Nagarjuna: A translation of his Mulamadhyamakakarika with an Introductory Essay.e. the one thing has to change. indeed. The Truth of Emptiness refers to the way of seeing the reality of interdependent origination as no-substance or egoless-ness (anatman). it is the middle path. Nagarjuna-said. It is a provisional name (i." (24/ 8. This is the Truth of the Expedient.e. and a priest. The point here is there are things that are a collection of causes and conditions and that exist as temporal and expedient beings such as Shohaku. the great master of the Chinese Tendai School. 1970. Those three truths are again based on Buddha's teachings of interdependent origination.was in the Tendai monastery on Mt. The Hokuseido Press. 9. each and everything exists as an expedient and temporal collection of infinite different causes and conditions. The Truth of the Expedient refers to the way of seeing the reality of inter-dependent origination as follows. Tokyo. used the same principles to make up the "Three Truths". This is one of the essential teachings in the Tendai School. by Kenneth Inada. Without relying on everyday common practices (i. namely. the Truth of the Expedient and the Truth of the Middle. Nothing exists without a relationship to something else. relative truths). The absolute truth and the conventional (relative) truth. p. So when other things change. nirvana cannot be attained. the absolute truth cannot be expressed. He is here but he does not really exist as fixed . Sunyata (emptiness) is beyond any wording. Shohaku has no substance. He is Japanese. he is just a collection of body parts that are always changing depending on the conditions inside and outside. conceptualization. In his Madhyamaka-karika. p. concepts and categories and is the conventional truth. Also. thought construction) for the mutuality (of being) and. Nagarjuna discussed the Two Truths as the basis of his philosophy. there is no Shohaku who owns and operates his body and mind.

but those are things he has studied from many Buddhist texts in the past. it important to have an association of the meaning of the chu in Mahayana philosophy and not cling to it as a logical or philosophical concept. but it is the reality as chu (middle). neither his body nor his mind is Shohaku. I think the first two truths are the equal to the first two sentences in Genjokoan. But the formless dharmabody manifests itself within the phenomenal world as each and every phenomenal thing. In this verse from Konkomyokyo. This transcends both "abundance (expedient being)" and "deficiency (emptiness)". I believe it is important for us modern people who are so highly trained to think using our intellect to understand what Dogen is saying on a philosophical basis in order to be free from our intellectual understanding. In this part of the Shobogenzo "Tsuki (The Moon)" he is saying that "the moon in water" is not just simply the symbol of emptiness of all beings or of our own body. or merely the reflection of the buddha's dharma body. Dogen would laugh at me if he heard me talk in this way just as the Zen master Dogo (Daowu) laughed at a lecture by Kassan (Jiashan). . a disciple of Baso Doitsu (Mazu Daoi. Dogen is not a philosopher but a Zen master. practice and do things using our transitory body and mind based on the first two truths. 709788). His knowledge and his words are a gift from the society in which he grew up and was educated in. simply his karma. What he is talking about is just a collection of the results of what he did in the past. Dogen. as our day-today activities using our own body and mind. the moon in water is a manifestation of the formless dharma-body of the buddha. And chu is what Dogen said in the third sentence of Genjo-koan. The moon is the self The second quote in the Shobogenzo "Tsuki" is a poem by a Chinese Zen Master Banzan Hoshaku (Panshan Baoji. He is showing the actual reality of our life explained with the theory of Mahayana Buddhism. This is the truth of the Middle. that is. But still. When we find chu. The Truth of Middle means to see the reality of each and every being from both sides. that is.entity. ?-?). We need to accept those teachings as the reality of our own lives right "within (chu)" our own ordinary day-to-day lives. He is talking about. The Buddha's dharma-body has no form like empty-space. In other words we need to live. The perfect circle of the mind-moon is alone. the emptiness (there is not) of everything and the existence as a temporal being (there is). I think what Dogen wants to show us in this writing is that our practice of the buddha way is based on the two truths but it transcends the two truths in the living reality of our life. He is not giving us a lecture on the basic philosophy of Mahayana Buddhism. just as the moon reflects in the water. Formless thus-ness should be expressed as concrete this-ness. in Dogen's writings.

'One mind is all dharmas and all dharmas are one-mind. the left and right of the moon. that are our body. Neither do objects exist. We are connected with everything. The light and objects both cease to exist. Because all things that are the mind. are without exception the moon. Or. We separate our self from others by discriminative thinking. This analogy does not only refer to vast. This is what Dogen Zenji means when he says. Coming and going within [the cycle of] birth and death are both within the moon. My teacher Kosho Uchiyama Roshi called this mind "the reality of our life. all things disappear and become part (or the contents) of the self." The rabbit in the moon There is another meaning of the analogy of "the moon in water" to me. Our ordinary daily activities become the moon. live and die within the moon. We are born. The whole body is the whole moon. When I read this part of Genjo-koan. All things are one mind. mind and environs are all within the moon. There are no objects to illuminate. "when a person attains realization. The present activities in our daily lives are the bright hundred grasses within the moon and the bright ancestralteacher's mind within the moon. boundless light and the tiny self. the entire universe is the entire moon. The ten-direction world is the up and down. Therefore. In "Tsuki" Dogen Zenji calls the same reality "moon. What is this? In his comment on this poem. Dogen says: The ancient Buddha said. we are connected with all beings. The mind in "one mind is all dharmas" is not our psychological mind. Within the "before and after three and three" in the ten-thousand years of a moment. I am reminded of a story that I was familiar with in my childhood. I think this part of Shobogenzo "Tsuki (The Moon)" is an explanation of what Dogen says in section 9 of Genjo-koan. we are right in the network of interdependent origination. All things are the entire moon. the moon is the moon. But I think the topic is the same: the interconnected-ness and the total function of the self and the myriad things. This story originally . In the case of this poem. The light does not illuminate objects. which one is not the moon? Sun-face Buddha and moon-face Buddha. The entire body of the self is the entire moon. The entire universe becomes the moonlight." The moonlight swallows all things. the moon is the self and it illuminates all phenomenal beings." As the reality of our life. the reality of our life is before the separation of self (subject) and others (objects)." Our zazen practice manifests this reality before separation between self and all beings. In Japan. Uchiyama Roshi called this oneness of self and all things "original self" or "universal self. Because the mind is the moon. the mind is all things. when we "open the hand of thought"(or release our discriminating views).It's light swallow's ten-thousand things. all children know the story about the rabbit in the moon.

a collection of various stories from India. If what I've heard/ is true. / said / to the others. When the old man saw this / his heart withered." / he said. go cut me / firewood! Fox. / cried aloud. / and made his way to where they were. In Japanese literature. China and Japan. / hearing of this. The modern Japanese translation of this collection was one of my favorite books when I was a child. / pray save an old man / who's hungry!" Then he set his staff aside.1838) also loved the story and wrote a poem about the rabbit in the moon. / yet I'm told play together / with a single heart. / clamped in his jaws / a fish he'd caught. the Indian collection of stories about the Buddha's previous lives. this story was introduced in the Konjakumonogatari-shu (Stories from the Ancient to the Present). / he flung himself / into the midst of the flames. when Indra. / then sank to the ground. beating his breast. "You three. The Rabbit in the Moon It took place in a world/ long long ago they say: A monkey.came from the Jataka Tales. / living thus / while the years went by. / and made himself an offering for an unknown old man. It was compiled in the eleventh century. they said. / "Each of / you three friends has done his best. / though he hopped and hopped / everywhere / couldn't find anything at all. I would like to introduce the story with Ryokan's poem. / "are of separate species. / tottering along. Simple enough. This poem is written in beautiful Japanese. "Monkey. a rabbit. / and a fox / struck up a friendship. / but what the rabbit did / touches me most!" . and the fox returned from the rivulet in front of him. A Japanese Soto Zen Monk and poet Ryokan (1758. / turned himself into an old man. He looked up to the sky. / evenings / coming home to the forest. / sovereign of the skies. But the rabbit. build me / a fire with it!" and when they'd done / what he asked. / and in a while. / and presently / the monkey appeared / from the grove behind him / bearing nuts / he'd gathered there. / mornings / frolicking in field and hill. / and the others / cursed him because / his heart was not like theirs. / curious to know / if it was true. / and sat down to rest. Miserable me! / he thought and then he said.

Enlightenment does not destroy the person as the moon does not make a hole in the water. But I think the quality of my life has also been very rich with wonderful teachers and my many dharma friends. But still sometimes." A problem for me was that I did not have anything to lose. When Dogen Zenji says that the vast moonlight reflects on a tiny drop of water. / he took it and laid it to rest / in the palace of the moon. I think I could not continue to practice. Although it is a vast and great light. The whole moon and even the whole sky reflects on even a drop of dew on a blade of grass or a single tiny drop of water. I felt that I used my zazen practice as an excuse not to help others who were in need. Often I felt I was like the rabbit and had nothing to offer except my body and mind. but when I read Dogen's writing about the moonlight. New York. practice and psychological conditions are so fragile. Our vow. impermanent body and. I felt that even though I have to practice using this tiny. for me. losing is enlightenment. I have been pretty poor. Since then. the Buddha's boundless compassion is reflected in my practice if I can let go of my ego-centered thought. But. One of the most important teachings of Kodo Sawaki Roshi was "Gaining is delusion. it is the symbol of the bodhisattva vow to save all beings as an expression of Buddha's compassion. this tale of how the rabbit / came to be / in the moon. From that time till now / the story's been told. I felt I only received offerings from many people without offering anything back to them. the water is never destroyed.Then he made the rabbit / whole again/ and gathering the dead body / up in his arms. / and even I / when I hear it / find the tears / soaking the sleeve of my robe.46-49) It is clear that Dogen does not refer to this story in Genjo-koan. but I tried to practice zazen as my offering of body and mind to the buddhas and all beings. So. I have been practicing zazen and as a result I have not developed any skills to have a regular job. I was ordained when I was twenty-two years old while a student at Komazawa University. Particularly when I lived on takuhatsu (begging). I did not burn my body. The person does not obstruct realization as a drop of dew does not obstruct the moon in the sky. the story of the rabbit has a very significant meaning for me. Without being illuminated by the moonlight of the Buddha's vow and compassion. p. I naturally think of this story. It is important to me. it reflects itself on a small amount of water. I am very grateful to live such a life. Columbia University Press. I felt guilty about it. (Ryokan: Zen Monk-Poet of Japan. The moonlight is not just something simply vast and boundless but also. (text) The moon never becomes wet. translated by Burton Watson. it's true I don't have much money or possessions. . weak. deluded self-centered mind.

awakening). impermanent and self-centered and the network of interdependent origination in which we are living is vast. Our life is like the moonlight on a drop of dew. As Zen Master Banzan Hoshaku said. Actually the relationship itself is the self. On each drop of dew. The vastness of the moon does not destroy the dewdrop. We are not the subjects of a practice that is trying to attain some desirable thing called "enlightenment". the self swallows the myriad things and the myriad things swallow the self. individuality and universality. (text) The depth is the same as the height. Even though the vast moonlight is reflected. the essential point of Mahayana Buddhist teachings is vividly expressed. verification. the reality awakens to the reality and the reality actualizes the reality. and discover the vastness and eternity of the moonlight (of Buddha's wisdom and compassion) reflecting on our lives is Dogen's message in section (4). What is this thing swallowed by both the self and myriad things? The moon is reflected each and every drop of water no matter how small it is. We need to keep in mind that the self is a knot in the network of interdependent origination of the myriad things. there is no self. Tiny drops of water scatter in the air and return to the surface of the pond. the moon is reflected. Without a relationship with the myriad things. the drop of water is the self and the moon is the ten-thousand dharmas. I think within this short poem." In our practice. we are still tiny drops of dew as individual persons. On each and every drop of the water that exists for only less than a second. boundless and eternal moonlight reflects on each and every drop of dew. What is this world like? As a waterfowl shakes its bill. "Conveying oneself toward all things to carryout practice/verification is delusion and all things coming and carrying out practice/verification through the self is realization.In this section. like a dewdrop. This is really a beautiful expression of a life that is the intersection of impermanence and eternity. But the vast. weak and transitory. Dogen wrote a waka poem entitled "Impermanence". To awaken to the tininess and shortness of our lives. And the small size of our lives does not prevent the moonlight from reflecting. The moon is reflected A waterfowl dives into the water and comes out of a pond and shakes its bill. boundless and beyond discrimination. [In order to investigate the significance of] the length and shortness of time. . We are so tiny. we should consider whether the water is great or small. this is not a concrete one time psychological experience. When Dogen talks about satori (realization. It is rather an awakening to the very ordinary reality that we are tiny.

The first and the second sentence are apparently contradicted each other." And in the second sentence he says. it looks like a circle. it looks like a palace. The depth of our life is the same as the height of the moon. practice. For example. however. no buddhas and no living beings. And the theme of the entire Genjo-koan is how to live and practice based on the clear insight of both sides. he speaks about (3)life and death. when we sail a boat into the ocean beyond sight of land and when our eyes scan [the horizon in] the four directions. buddhas and living beings. In the first sen-tence. Dogen Zenji discusses our concrete way of practice as the buddha way based on the clear understanding of the dharma that he developed in . life and death.and understand the size of the moon in the sky. we only see or grasp as far as the power of our eye of study and practice can see. living beings and buddhas. our life is immeasurably deep and boundless. he discusses (1)delusion and realization. Although we are so tiny. Dogen says. Dogen Zenji brings up three pairs of the most important points in Buddhist teachings: (1) delusion-enlightenment. We need to go higher and higher. This great ocean. one thinks that something is [still] lacking. he talks about our practice as the manifestation of the buddha way and said.deluded living beings. No other shape appears. When we listen to the reality of myriad things. [to a heavenly beings] a jeweled necklace. there are innumerable aspects and characteristics. we must know that there are inexhaustible characteristics in either an ocean or mountains and there are many other worlds in the four directions. [To a fish]. perishing). It has inexhaustible characteristics. is neither round nor square. In section 8. As our practice." Then from section 4 to section 7. When the dharma fills the body and mind. "There is arising and perishing. and (2)buddhas and living beings. and ego-centered as individual persons. (Text: section 10) When the Dharma has not yet fully penetrated into body and mind." In the third sentence. "There is no delusion and no realization. one thinks that one is already filled with the dharma. these are two sides of Buddhist teachings. we need to investigate how high and vast the moon is and how deep and subtle the reality of our life is. This is true not only in the external world. [To us] as far as our eyes can see. (2) enlightened buddhas . " there is delusion and realization. All the myriad things are like this. But as I explained in my commentary in that section. impermanent. it simply looks like a circle. Within the dusty world and beyond. but it is the same right under our feet or within a single drop of water. and (3) life (or birth.death (or dying. Two sides of the buddha dharma In the beginning of Genjo-koan. delusion and realization. no birth and no perishing. arousing) . Practice based on the two sides Then from section 9. deeper and deeper endlessly trying to understand and express the height and depth within our activities.

After having a meeting with his dharma brothers and disciples to discuss this matter. (text) When the Dharma has not yet fully penetrated into body and mind. In this section I am most impressed with Dogen's saying "When a person attains realization. after we clearly see that all things have no [fixed] self. the moon has infinite height and water has infinite depth and we need to investigate how high it is and how deep our life can be. one thinks that one is already filled with the dharma. it is like the moon reflecting on the water. This process of inquiry is the process of our practice. our self is something fixed as a subject and things are moving and changing around us. Butsuju Myozen (1183-1225). Myozen's original teacher was a Tendai monk named Myoyu. Dogen's voyage to China My guess is that. one thinks that something is [still] lacking. he discusses that. And when the dharma is correctly transmitted to us. it simply looks like a circle.origination. That is what Dogen Zenji is pointing out when he says that the moon reflects itself on each and every drop of water. In that section he uses the analogy of sailing a boat where the coast is still in our view and we mistakenly think the coast is moving and boat is not moving. when we sail a boat into the ocean beyond sight of land and when our eyes scan [the horizon in] the four directions. Dogen was 23 years old. The voyage was a sincere journey to discover the genuine buddha dharma for Dogen and his teacher. Our practice is not the way to "become" an original person sometime in the future. But still. No other shape appears. we become far from the boundary of the dharma. Everything exists only within the relationship it has with all other things and by support from them. that is. When the dharma fills the body and mind. What Dogen is pointing out here is the reality of all beings as indepen-dent. Seeing the ocean as one circle In section 7. For example. these two analogies were taken from Dogen's experience when he went to China in 1223. Dogen Zenji says when we first seek after the dharma. we are immediately original persons. We only see a circle of horizon. . he says. we should inquire how we should live as an original person based on such an insight." Here according to Dogen it is not because of our individual effort that the moon reflects itself on the water. When Myoyu was in his deathbed he asked Myozen to postpone the trip to China for a while in order to take care of him and conduct his funeral service. Here he uses an analogy that we are sailing on a boat in the midst of ocean where we don't see the coast anymore. Everything is connected with everything. Our practice is the way of living as an original person. In Shobogenzo Zuimonki. Dogen talked to his own students about Myozen's resolution to go to China.sections 1 through 8. In this section.

was in 1233. My remaining here won't help to prolong his life. It is entirely useless for gaining emancipation and attaining the Way. I forgot about the sickness and it went away. Dogen and Myozen left Kenninji in Kyoto in February 1223 to Hakata. it is not a big deal to postpone a trip for a while." This voyage must have been a very impressive and important experience for Dogen. Many people who sailed to China did not come back to Japan. it would become a cause for attaining the Way for many people. Also. one who is certain to die will die. it will help return the debt of gratitude to my teacher. Since there are many flights by different airline companies everyday. to sail to China was very dangerous. yet when a storm came up and people on the ship made a great fuss. for the sake of one person would not be in accordance with the Buddha's will. if I carry out my aspiration to go to China to seek the dharma. Even if I put off my trip for the time being. Kyushu probably by a boat and then they changed boats to sail to China. to go to China from Japan takes only a few hours by airplane. they could always see the coast of Honshu. On the Inland Sea between Osaka and Kyushu. That was 10 years after their departure. Myozen's resolution was not simply an exaggeration. With two other attendant monks. if they missed a chance they could not know when the next chance to take a voyage would be. Shikoku or many other smaller islands. I have firmly resolved to go to China now. To mistakenly allow him to hinder my aspiration to seek the dharma would be a cause of evil deeds. The next trip to China by Japanese Buddhist monks after Dogen and Myozen in the history. But after they departed from Hakata in the end of March. . Therefore. Since this merit is greater. I suffered from diarrhea on the ship. "On my way to China. Also.Myozen said. Even if I were to die while crossing the ocean and failed to accomplish my aspiration. in the 13th century. they saw nothing but the circle of the horizon until they arrived in the port of Ninbo. I think the process of this voyage and the process of his search for the true dharma and a true teacher were overlapped in Dogen's mind. although it goes against one person's deluded feelings. in April. We should ponder Genjo Sanzo (Tripitaka Master Xuanzang) 's journey to India. But. These days. It would just be following his request and comforting his feeling for a while. since I would have died with the aspiration to seek the dharma. However. it would not be possible to escape from life-and-death because I took care of him before his death. and gain a bit of enlightenment. his pain will not cease. Dogen said in the Zuimonki. About the voyage. Actually Myozen died at Tientong monastery in China when he was 42 years old and Dogen returned to Japan with his ashes. Vainly spending time which is easily lost. my vow would not cease in any future life. Even if I stay to nurse him.

When we see forward. Our eyesight is smaller than 180 degrees. is the beginning of seeing the reality. live and die within the reality. We see the oneness (or not-two-ness) of all things. Our eyes cannot see themselves. When we turn our head to see backward. trees and many other things on the coast. We can't know the actual world." This means that when the dharma fills us. we see that something is still lacking. The moon has infinite height and our life as an individual self also has infinite depth. we have an ability to remember things we saw in the past and to integrate them with what we are seeing right now and create a picture as if we are seeing 360 degrees or the total reality. We are all different because we see things through our own individual discriminating consciousness. We need to take a position in the reality. its horizon like a circle and the vast sky. But is it enlightenment? Or is it the goal of our practice? Dogen says. Seeing how deluded we are is the wisdom to see the actual reality of our life. then. villages. we each behave differently. That means we cannot see the parts of reality hidden by our own existence.Is seeing one-circle enlightenment? When we sail the Inland Sea. After we sail out to the vast ocean. We can not see our back. He continues and says. that is. One person reads the stock market page first. we only see the ocean. Grasping things with human thought. But what we see with our eyesight is limited. Even the circle of the horizon on the ocean is a mind construction. Seeing that not only our discriminating views but also our view of oneness or beyond discrimination is a mind-construction. if you feel such a condition is enlightenment. It is a surprising experience to us. We can only see the reality from inside. we see mountains. high or broad we try to see. the world common to everyone. we cannot see in front of us. No matter how deep. we will see the incompleteness of our practice and the various characteristics of all beings. Some times we feel the coast is moving and sometimes we see that the boat (our self) is moving. Therefore it is still a limited view of a conditioned self. we cannot see the entire reality as it is. " No!" He says. Kodo Sawaki Roshi said. until we stop discriminating. Sometimes we feel both are moving together. people. the Dharma has not yet fully penetrated into body and mind. another turns first to the sports page." . a serial novel. "Everyone reads the sections of the newspaper in a different order. "when dharma has fully penetrated the self. To see this limit is wisdom. What we need to understand is that this way of seeing is simply a picture of the world we create in our mind. We are born. or the political columns. But somehow. a mindconstruction. and we will understand that we need in inquire endlessly about these characteristics and how we can sincerely practice with them as bodhisattvas. As a finite human being. we cannot see backward. our sight is limited.

But rather we should try to see the actual reality more and more clearly. (text) This great ocean. And in our actual lives. or as the dharma nature of immaculate liberation. [to a heavenly beings] a jeweled necklace. it looks like a palace. Dogen Zenji writes about the difference of viewing water depending upon the karmic conditions of each being in Shobogenzo Sansuikyo (Mountains and Waters Sutra) as follows. deeply and from a broader perspective. This analogy is used in Yogacara philosophy. fish see water as a palace. Human beings view it as water. Hungry ghosts view water as raging fire or as pus and blood. [Others] see it as a forest or walls. Dragons and fish view it as a palace or a lofty building. . But once we take it as a kind of concept or description. [To a fish]. Things that used to be attractive in my twenties are not at all attractive to me in my fifties. we also should see that we are also moving and changing so that the things around us seem different not only because they are changing but also because we are changing. we are already out of the reality. does not mean we stop thinking. It has inexhaustible characteristics. ‘my opinion' is no good –so keep your mouth shut!" Keeping our mouth shut. Sawaki Roshi also said. or as body as the form and mind as the nature. or as the true human body. Here it is said that human beings see water as water. heavenly beings see water as a jewel. [Some beings] see it as the seven treasures or the mani jewel. this does not mean that they view a jewel [for human beings] as water. This analogy explains how each one of us sees things in different ways and has different concepts and pictures depending upon our karma. A Palace for fish is water for human beings The analogy of how four different kinds of beings see water in four different ways appears in a commentary to Asangha's Shodaijoron (Mahayanasamgraha). And these [different ways of viewing] are the conditions under which [water] is killed or given life. which insists that only consciousness exists and no objects exist outside our consciousness. it looks like a circle. However. [To us] as far as our eyes can see.The view without discriminating is sometimes expressed as one round circle like the horizon in the ocean. There are some beings that view water as a jewel. The ways of viewing mountains and waters are different depending upon what kind of beings we are. "To stop discriminating" occurs only in letting go of thought in our actual sitting practice of zazen. and hungry ghosts see water as pus and blood. But they do not use flowers [for human beings] as water. Some beings see water as wondrous flowers. How do we see what they view as water? What they see as a jewel is what we see as water. ‘in my opinion… ' Anyhow. is neither round nor square. "People often say. however.

This is true not only in the external world. Dogen says that it is not certain if there is water as a fixed object objectively outside of the relationship between each being and something tentatively called water. weeds grow even though we dislike them. our practice/realization as engaging the Way should not be only one way or two ways. or practice within our relationship with the myriad dharmas. Within the dusty world and beyond. The common interpretation of this analogy is that there is one reality of water and four different kinds of views. We rather enjoy the scenery. We dislike weeds growing only if the weeds are growing in our garden where we have to pull them up. We don't care how many weeds grow on a mountain or a grassy plain where we don't need to weed. The important point in Dogen Zenji's comment on this analogy is that he questions even the fixed existence (self-nature) of the water that is seen by those four different beings. while he was still a student. Dogen Zenji introduces a story of a Chinese Zen master. "Therefore. Should we think that each being views one and same object in different ways? Or do all kind of beings make a mistake when we see that various different forms we see as one and same objects? We should inquire further on the top of our efforts of inquiry. (text) All the myriad things are like this. flowers fall down even though we love them. Gensha Shibi (Xuansha Shibei. regarding the myriad dharmas and us. He questions all the possible ways of thinking and de-constructs whatever concepts we have and cling to. One day Gensha. which is beyond the standards of the ordinary world. His concern is not whether the self. What is the difference between Dogen and Yogacara philosophy? Yogacara teachers say that only consciousness exists and nothing else exists outside of our consciousness. Endless inquiry The dusty world refers to the secular world and the world beyond refers to the world of dharma.Thus the views of different beings are diverse depending upon their karmic conditions. 835-908). but it is the same right under our feet or within a single drop of water. we must know that there are inexhaustible characteristics in either an ocean or mountains and there are many other worlds in the four directions. In Shobogenzo Ikka-no-myoju (One Bright Pearl). For him the important point is how we act. was leaving his teacher's monastery to visit other . there are innumerable aspects and characteristics.origination. We should question this for now. The world and everything in the world appears within this relationship between our self and all myriad dharmas. What Dogen says is that our self and the world are working together within a relationship of inter-dependent. The ultimate realm has onethousand or ten thousand of ways. This is what Dogen meant when he said. Therefore. we only see or grasp as far as the power of our eye of study and practice can see." We feel sad when we see a flower that we love is fading. or the myriad dharmas exist or not. When we listen to the reality of myriad things.

within one circle of the ocean.) But within the one bright pearl. fresh and immediate that we need to take care of it somehow. and the situations I am involved in. the power of my eye of study and practice has been changing so that the scope I can see and grasp has been changing. In each stage of my life. Most often we make a story in which we are the main subjects. " This body is not existent. Still. Both are true . and ourselves very closely in order to study the reality of interdependent origination. is exactly the same as seeing the ocean as just the one circle. fixed entity is there. I don't think it is appropriate to say I am improving and growing or I am losing energy and backsliding. forties. through my twenties. Dogen suffered from diarrhea on the ship. No individual. but a realization of reality. he stubbed his toe on a stone. Each pain comes from emptiness but each pain has its own causes and conditions. he also had stormy days.masters. As it bled with terrible pain. or the five skandhas as our body and mind. I feel the longer I practice and study. But such a thing does not always occur. he suddenly had a deep insight and said. when we injure even a tiny part of it like our toe. I feel that I am losing the energy to change myself. Just seeing the emptiness or oneness of all beings does not work. Each of us may have had this kind of experience. On the other hand. yet when a storm came up and people on the ship made a great fuss. he did not have only beautiful. We need to study each pain one by one. where does the pain come from? This is not a "question" for Gensha. my fifties. Still we have pain and the pain is so real. peaceful days. Shortly after he left the temple. Even though it's true that seeing the ocean as one circle is to see that the entire ten-direction world is one bright pearl (as Gensha said after he became a Zen master. he forgot about the sickness and it went away. the more I can see myself and things around me deeply. and now. We only see or grasp as far as the power of our eye of study and practice can see. Each pain has different cause and needs a different cure. We need to figure out what is the cause of each particular pain and how to take care of it. we sometimes forget our smaller problems and somehow they go away. It is right here in the middle of our story where we need to keep our eyes open and try to examine the myriad beings. If the body is empty. from the time I was nineteen years old. On one hand. To see the emptiness of all beings. we experience many different kinds of situations and depending upon our karmic conditions we interpret each experience and condition in many different ways. I have been practicing zazen and studying Dogen Zenji's teachings more than thirty years. We should try to see reality with fresh eyes. When we have a larger and more serious problem. As Dogen Zenji experienced on his voyage to China. In our actual lives. we have terrible pain. there are many different kinds of pain that people suffer. Where does this pain come from?" When we study Mahayana Buddhism we learn that our body is just a collection of five skandhas and that it is empty and does not really exist. thirties. without grasping our fixed ideas or a system of values that we have created from our previous experiences. independent.

it cannot reach the end of the sky. and trying to express his dharma in even a little bit better than the day before. it doesn't reach the end of the water. in order to discuss the meaning of our practice. we find the one-circle as well. I am getting older and older. there was one Zen master who did not like the one-circle. There is practice/enlightenment-. On a wall of a walkway. Only. On the day. Dogen Zenji’s Genjo-koan Lecture (10) Rev. The one-circle as the Logo of Zen We often see calligraphy of one-circle. until the day he died when he was 86 years old. they should just paint Nagarjuna's sitting as we usually do. Director. when their need is great. my teacher Uchiyama Roshi died. life is a fish. his physical form disappeared and people only saw the form of a round-moon. When I am in my fifties. their range is large. There is no time I graduate from this practice. And we should go beyond this. if they wanted to paint Nagarjuna's form of a round-moon. he found the painting of a onecircle. In this way. In Shobogenzo Bussho (Buddha-Nature) Dogen wrote about his experience at a Chinese Zen Monastery. When a bird flies. or a fish leaves the water. We should know that. Actually. When I was young. no matter how far it goes. I think I was much more sincere in my practice. I will try to be honest and keep practicing and studying endlessly. On the poster for the exhibition is calligraphy of the one-circle.and both are not true. on the cover of this newsletter. they have an exhibit of Zen art at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum. Though I did not have deep understanding when I was 19. he wrote a poem on his diary and said that it finally fully expressed what he wanted to say. Dogen Zenji uses . I am just in my fifties. Right now. if a bird departs from the sky. A bird is life. they immediately die. each fish and each bird uses the whole space and vigorously acts in every place. He asked what did the circle mean? The guiding monk said that it was a painting of Nagarjuna manifesting the form of a round moon. Dogen discussed about the story of Nagarjuna in the same chapter.this is the way of living beings. When Nagarjuna sat in zazen. Later on. (Edited by Koshin Steve Kelly) Soto Shohaku Zen Education Okumura Center (text: section 11) When a fish swims. But at least. That was Dogen. [for a fish] water is life. However. practicing. This one-circle is widely thought of as almost the "logo" of Zen. I think the story of Nagarjuna was the origin of the one-circle. When their need is small. I was young. Dogen criticized the painting on the walkway and said. Life is a bird. a fish is life. [for a bird] sky is life. no matter how high it flies. He kept studying. and my condition inside and outside my self will always be ceaselessly changing. their range is small. Fish and Bird in Zazen In Genjo-koan. At any stage. Dogen was a very unique Zen Master and probably did not care about being a "Zen Master" anyway.

1091-1157) was a famous Chinese Soto (Tsaodong) Zen Master. that never has discriminative thoughts. It is said that during his abbacy. the moon and water. Zazen-shin The essential-function of each buddha and the functioning. Illuminating without facing objects. He was the abbot of Tiantong monastery for almost thirty years from 1129 to his death in 1157. In this example. lluminating without facing objects. has no attachment. The wisdom. Even though Dogen does not use the word "zazen" at all in Genjo-koan. This verse on the Zazen-shin by Wanshi is obviously the source of Dogen’s analogy of the fish and birds found in Genjo-koan. Knowing without touching things." Wanshi Shogaku (Hongzhi Zhengjue. the fish and birds activity is more direct and immediate than a person sailing on the ocean. far away. The sky is infinitely vast. a mirror and it’s reflection. Later. Later Bansho Gyoshu (Wansong Xingxiu. written in 1243) Dogen Zenji once again will use the analogy of a person in a boat. Tiantong was also the monastery where Dogen practiced several decades later with his teacher Nyojo (Rujing). In Shobogenzo Zazen-shin (The Acupuncture Needle of Zazen) written in 1242 (9 years after Genjo-koan).various examples such as flowers and weeds. My translation of Wanshi’s verse is as follows. Knowing without touching things. a fish is swimming slowly. never has the slightest separation. it is clear to me that this analogy is about our zazen practice not excluding our day-to-day activities and the entire universe as our environment. In the previous section he used the example of a person in a boat sailing on the midst of the ocean. never has discriminative thoughts. Dogen respected Wanshi and called him Wanshi Kobutsu (Ancient Buddha) and quoted many of Wanshi’s verses and formal discourses in his own discourses recorded in the Eihei-koroku (The Extensive Record of Eihei Dogen). The water or the sky does not simply refer to an environment that is outside of . 1166-1246) wrote commentaries on his verses and created the Shoyoroku (Book of Serenity) which is still studied by Zen students today. the illumination is by nature subtle. that is by nature subtle. that is by nature inconspicuous. Wanshi was well known for his excellent poetry and composed verses on 100 koans. The illumination. has no dichotomy but sees oneness. a bird is flying far. and firewood and ash. Dogen discusses Wanshi Shogaku’s verse entitled "Zazenshin. The wisdom. however in Shobogenzo Zenki (Total Function.essence of each ancestor. that never has the slightest separation. Such examples make his writing poetic and attractive. the wisdom is by nature inconspicuous.The water is clear to the bottom. but is evident. In this section Dogen Zenji will once again introduce an analogy from the natural world in order to make his discussion more concrete. He discusses the nature of our zazen practice and how it forms the foundation of our attitude toward our entire lives. the temple buildings were completed and accommodated twelve hundred monks. slowly. The illumination.

who can estimate it? The process of going that thoroughly penetrates to the bottom is that the whole body is ‘not flying the way of the birds’." In the Bendowa (Wholehearted Practice of the Way) Dogen also said. is thoroughly clear to the bottom. All things coming and carrying out practice/enlightenment through the self is realization. Dogen Zenji says in Shobogenzo Zazen-shin. Therefore. of course. This is another description of what Dogen has said earlier in Genjo-koan. and there is no bottom to which it might sink.ourselves. there is no one who can measure it. According to Dogen. Although [the fish] migrates more than ten thousand miles. [their movement] cannot be measured and is unlimited. The water has no boundaries such as a bank or a shore. What is the Sky? About the sky in which a bird is flying. it performs everlasting buddha guidance within the inexhaustible dharma world in the past." It is obvious that the key is our practice of zazen. The virtue of zazen is like the fish swimming. Dogen comments. If we want to discuss its measurements. [The water] that has no boundary. the earth or the air. [This water in Wanshi’s verse] is not the clean water that is deep and clear in the external world. the water of emptiness. What is the water In his comments on the "water" in which a fish is swimming in Wanshi’s verse. and the water. the water Wanshi is talking about is not simply the water in the ocean. . in our sitting. but on the reality that is manifested when we practice with the attitude of "all things carry out practice through the self. It is not the water in the "external" world separate from us. "Conveying oneself toward all things to carry out practice/enlightenment is delusion. present. no bank or shore. and future. there is no air to which [the fish] might break the surface. we progress] a thousand or ten thousand miles. [Although. the water in Wanshi’s verse is boundless water without the limitations of a shore or a bank by which we can objectively measure how vast or how small it is. When a fish goes through this water. because this zazen is one with all existence and completely permeates all time. According to Dogen. As to the meaning of the water is clear. No separation between the fish. or a river that forms the environment in which a fish is swimming. the water suspended in space is not thoroughly clear to the bottom." Dogens emphasis here is not on the objective facts. [we say] only that the water is thoroughly clear to the bottom. This is. we cannot say that there is no movement. "Even if only one person sits for a short time. There is no bank from which to survey it.

The bird is a part of the sky and the sky is the part of the bird. far away. naturally we make choices and take action. the moon and the stars were moving around the earth. thinking is just thinking." When the sky is flying away. In reality. This is not true only in zazen. The sky and the bird are one without separation. the space that perme-ates here and there is not the infinitely vast sky. and when the birds are flying away. we are completely one with the universe. The air I breathe is not "me". sometimes we think we are moving. Its activity of flying in the sky cannot be measured. sometimes we think all things in the world are totally separate individual entities. But our unity with all beings remains because whatever we think about. The sky suspended in the firmament is not the infinitely vast sky. We are products of the co-evolution of Life and the Earth." "Go straightforwardly. flying in the sky is the undivided dharma. the whole water is swimming. Flying in the sky is the entire universe. because the entire universe is flying in the sky. When we sit in zazen and let go of our discriminative thoughts. but rather the sun. and judgements."The infinitely vast sky" is not what is suspended in the firmament. When a bird is flying. the sky is also flying. When a fish is swim-ming. until the time of Galileo Galilei (1564. Based on such thinking. air and water that are not "me". people in Europe thought that the earth was not moving. this sky is not the space outside us. We are com-pletely part of the sky.6 billion years ago. In travelling ten thousands miles by "simply being here. the entire universe is living with us. Each one of us is a collection of causes and conditions. [The sky] that is never concealed or revealed and that has nei-ther outside nor inside is the infinitely vast sky. evaluations. sometimes we think both are moving. Again. the birds also are flying away. make distinctions. The sky is inside us too. our life itself is a gift from the . When we stand up from our cushion. Moreover." we express it (zazen) in this way. bird and sky. Although we do not know the distance of this flying. I am made of things that are not "me"." This is the acupuncture needle for the immovable sitting. Fish and water.1642). regardless of both common people’s and Galileo’s ideas. sometimes we think the shore is moving. we say "Simply being here. The water I drink is not "me". the earth had been moving around the sun since its birth 4. "I" don’t exist. however. Not only water. In studying and pene-trating the "flying away". For example. the entire sky is flying. But without. the sky also is flying away. When a bird is flying. The entire sky is the wings of the bird. there should be no string under the feet. Thinking cannot change reality. in expressing it with words beyond distinction. foods. When a bird flies through this sky. we say "far. all living beings and the universe are completely one. Our thought cannot change the reality. The foods I eat are not "me". air and foods. As Dogen says. In reality we are all tiny parts of the universe. When we live. and go out of the zendo we again start to think.

Being actualized within not-thinking. Being manifested within non-interacting. present and future are all connected. but still there is something like a fish or a bird. This is his . the manifestation is itself verification. Zazen-shin The essential-function of each buddha and the function-ing. We cannot even stand up until we are over a year old. which can only be seen in a certain mental condition such as a trance or by using some special spiritual intuition. Because I was born and grew up in Japan. The water is clear to the earth. which is swimming or flying. The Japanese language is the result of a culture created by all the Japanese people who have lived in the land of Japan. Still. at least until we become teenagers. never has distinction between Absolute and Relative.universe. The intimacy without defilement is dropping off without relying on anything. The sky is vast. Being manifested within non-interacting. Until then we are basically supported and taken care of by our society.essence of each ancestor. we cannot live without support from others for a long time. Our self and all beings in the entire universe. that is by nature verification. Dogen Zenji says that there are no independent entities separate from the water or the sky called a fish or a bird. As Human beings. The verification beyond distinction between Absolute and Relative is making efforts without aiming at it. The manifestation. a bird is flying like a bird. In order to become really independent members of our society. In the end of Shobogenzo Zazen-shin. Dogen writes his own poem with the same title as Wanshi’s. that is by nature intimate. So I won’t discuss it now. the actualization is by nature intimate. Does Dogen’s understanding in his verse exactly match Wanshi’s? This is an important point in understanding Dogen’s teaching on zazen. past. we are almost always losing sight of this plain reality due to the separation and discrimination created by our thinking using words and concepts. a fish is swimming like a fish. Being actualized within not-thinking. We need to be fed without working for a long time. never has defilement. This is not a mysterious truth. plain reality we can understand using our reason. The actualization. Even the language we use to think is gift from our society. But that is not the point of Genjo-koan. we have to study for about 20 years or more. extending to the heavens. We are taught how to think and behave through the process of education. This is a very simple. I think using the Japanese language and act mostly according to my Japanese system of values. we are born in human society and because we are born in a very immature stage.

But in either case. no matter how small our range may be. Since I had neither a TV nor a radio and I did not read newspapers. each fish and each bird uses the whole space and vigorously acts in every place. Range of life [text] When a fish swims. This integrity of totality and individuality is the way we actually live. my range was very small. And our life has a much more intimate connection with all things than we can imagine. In whatever condition. I just practiced zazen with two other Japanese priests and a few American practitioners. No matter how large our range may be. My range looks much bigger than while I was at Valley Zendo. I do get the news of the world through the Internet. In comparison. what I have been doing is just sitting facing the wall with my body and mind and talking about my understanding of zazen. no matter how far it goes. present and future. I did not go out of the zendo very much. it doesn't reach the end of the water. we cannot reach the end of the universe. We cut the trees and dug out the stumps in about one-acre and built the zendo and made a garden. their range is large. we are living being connected with the entire universe. The Zendo’s property was about 5 acres but most of the land was covered with trees. That’s all.expression of the reality of our lives that function together with all beings in the world in the past. I have traveled extensively from California to New England and from Alaska to Florida. However we must not forget that within this reality. it cannot reach the end of the sky. That one-acre of land was the entire range of my life for five years. when their need is great. I knew nothing about the world and almost no one knew me. I did not get out of Western Massachusetts so often. I have met and practiced with so many people. For example Shohaku is not a fixed entity but still Shohaku is living like Shohaku. I also give many lectures. And Shohaku needs to take responsibility for what Shohaku does. This total reality in which each and every thing exists within the network of all beings is what Dogen wants to show us. I knew almost nothing about what was going on in the world. I am on an airplane almost every month. no matter how high it flies. their range is small. Our body and mind are much larger than we usually think. we are living as an individual person. In this way. Although I still don’t have a TV or a radio. We . I am simply living my own life that is connected with all things in the universe. since I began to work for the Soto Zen Education Center in 1997. When their need is small. The range of my life was really very tiny. Dogen Zenji’s teaching in Genjo-koan shows how we can recognize real-ity and live according to it. During the time I was living at Valley Zendo from 1976 to 1981. And yet. When a bird flies. Only.

In the northern darkness there is a fish and his name is K’un. the great earth. moon and stars are the mind. we are like those small living beings." Dogen says that even a small bird like a quail flies the entire sky." It is certain that the source of Dogen’s image of fish and birds in Genjo-koan is Wanshi’s verse of Zazen-shin. Chuang Tzu said. a dove or a quail laugh at the large bird. Dogen Zenji says about the mind. Even a cicada that lives only for several days in the summer is one with entire past. which is the Lake of Heaven. it is important to aware of how small we are. I think this is one of the differences . In Chuang Tzu. Using this body. He changes and becomes a bird whose name is P’eng. In Shobogenzo Shinjin-gakudo (Studying the Way with Body and Mind). however. a dove and a quail. present and future. The K’un is so huge I don’t know how many thousand li he measures. "Such is the difference between big and little. Where does he think he’s going? I give a great leap and fly up. his wings are like clouds all over the sky. take refuge in the Three Treasures and leave home to become a monk. we refrain from the ten unwholesome deeds. an important difference between Chuang Tsu and Dogen. And that’s the best kind of flying anyway! Where does he think he’s going? Then Chuanng Tzu said. sun. "Therefore I say. His conclusion is that people in the mundane world caught up in the conven-tional concepts and systems of value are like those small living beings and his ideal person is like the large bird. rivers. it is said that there was a huge fish and the fish transformed into a huge bird and flew to heaven. "The entire ten-direction world is the true human body. The back of the P’eng measures I don’t know how many thousand li across and. And yet. one li is about 405 meters (1336 feet). this birds sets off for the southern darkness. Chuang Tzu looked down and laughed at those small creatures.share the same DNA structure with all living beings on the earth. but I never get more than ten or twelve yards before I come down fluttering among the weeds and brambles. The size of the fish/bird is out of our imagination. small creatures such as a cicada. the Perfect Man has no self. the Sage has no fame. when he rises up and flies off. but I guess that the source of Wanshi’s image of fish and birds might be Chuang Tzu. the Holy Man has no merit. In the very beginning of the first chapter of Chuang Tzu entitled. For Dogen. There is. no matter how tiny we are. we are flying the entire sky and the entire sky is flying with us. (Translated by Burton Watson) According to a Japanese commentary. I am not one hundred percent sure. keep the eight precepts. This is the true study of the Way. "Mountains. As a bodhisattva." And he says about the body. When the sea begins to move. "Free and Easy Wandering"." By comparing the big bird with a cicada.

Life is a bird. The Necessity of finding our own place and path (text: section 12) Therefore. others and the world? Life needs to be a bird or fish or something else to manifest itself in a concrete way. this world is our life. weak.between Taoism and Buddhism. they immediately die. Life is a bird. there is no way for life to live life. The boundary of the known is not clear. One of the problems for us human beings is that we usually don’t think that the world in which we are living is our life. or a fish leaves the water. And we should go beyond this. We should know that. as the person realizes one dharma. [for a fish] water is life. We should not think that what we have attained is conceived by ourselves and known by our discriminating mind. the reality of all beings (the Dharma) is the way we should study and the way we should live. We cannot live separated from the world. its intimacy is such that it does not necessarily form as a . In the same way. happy and satisfied. For us. if a bird departs from the sky. Since we are one with the world and supported by all things as a part of the net of interdependent origination. life is a fish. they will find neither path nor place. Although complete enlightenment is immediately actualized. if there are fish who want to swim or birds who want to fly only after they investigate the entire sky or all the water. This path or this place is neither big nor small. Otherwise. [the reality of all things] is thus. [For this] there is a place and a path. a fish is life. We think that all other people and things are the materials we can use to make us meaningful. When we make this path our own. There is practice/enlightenment-. Life is a fish (text) However. life is just an abstract concept. How can we live our lives with such a magnanimous view of the self. the person [fully] practices that practice. neither self nor others. the person permeates that dharma. Therefore. no matter how tiny. A bird is life. Without a particular body and mind of living beings. We think our life is only this body and mind asindividual and it continues only between the date of our birth and the date of our death.this is the way of living beings. this is because the known [which appears limited] is born and practiced simultaneously with the complete penetration of the buddha dharma. When we make this very place our own. our practice becomes manifestation of reality (genjo-koan). when a person does practice/enlightenment in the buddha way. [for a bird] sky is life. we have to take care of the world and the self and others. deluded or selfcentered it is. It has not existed before this moment nor has it come into existence now. as the person encounters one practice. In Buddhism. our activity naturally becomes actualized reality (genjo-koan).

But if our life has no meaning. Uchiyama Roshi was the first actual person who I met who lived in such a way. such a condition would have lasted much longer. he had the same question as I did and he had spent his life searching for the answer to it. I thought if life is meaningless. That was the one of the main reasons I started to study Buddhism and Zen and became Uchiyama Roshi’s disciple. philosophy and science. if there are fish who want to swim or birds who want to fly only after they investigate the entire sky or all the water. Uchiyama Roshi wrote about his own search for the meaning of life. I cannot judge the meaning of just myself. But according to the books I read. to kill myself is also meaningless. I discovered that there was no meaning that supports our life. I was very childish but extremely serious. Human beings cannot measure the value of human beings. [In fact] viewing is not something fixed.view. we need something like an Absolute Other. Before I started to do anything. This is Dogen Zenji’s conclusion of how we should live based on the buddha dharma he discussed in the very beginning of Genjo-koan. As it was. Although I had read about many spiritual teachers who taught the truth. I tried to find the answer in books. I should not continue to live. Since I knew nothing about Buddhism or Zen. they will find neither path nor place. but I knew I wanted to live like him. Anyone in the universe cannot evaluate the universe. My friend allowed me to read the book after he returned from Antaiji. he practiced it and taught it. I became nihilistic and I was completely lost. (text) Therefore. But I could not believe that God existed outside the universe. I found that "meaning" or "value" can have "meaning" and "value" only within a relationship with other things. I wanted to find the purpose and meaning of life. When I was a high school student. I could not do anything. I had a friend who has the same kind of question. I was exactly like the fish and birds that hesitate to swim or fly until they completely investigate the entire water or sky. I read many books on religion. I think that if I did not have the chance to read my teacher Uchiyama Roshi’s book. As you can imagine. Somehow I wanted to become his disciple. After he found the answer. like God. for me. I faced a dead end.I needed to find a reason or a meaning to do so. even commit suicide. I could not live and I could not die. In the book. In order to do so. I did not understand Uchiyama Roshi’s answer. To commit suicide. I read that when Uchiyama Roshi was a teenager. he visited Antaiji and stayed there during a summer vacation. . That was around the same time Uchiyama Roshi published his first book entitled "Jiko" (Self). my high school life was not a joyful one. Because he knew someone who went to Antaiji monastery to practice zazen with Sawaki Kodo Roshi.

our practice becomes manifestation of reality (genjo-koan). In the Tenzo-kyokun (Instructions for Tenzo). using the example of . and the source of their teachings. One thing at a time (text) In the same way. [For this] there is a place and a path. When I choose one thing and actually did it. our activity naturally becomes actualized reality (genjo-koan). When I found my place as a student of Uchiyama Roshi and a practitioner in the lineage of his teacher Sawaki Roshi. things. I try to do my best with a sincere attitude. This path or this place is neither big nor small. Dogen Zenji and Shakyamuni Buddha. I was saved by Uchiyama Roshi and Dogen Zenji. When I first read Genjo-koan. It has not existed before this moment nor has it come into existence now. Whatever I encounter. I found my place as a zazen practitioner under the guidance of Uchiyama Roshi. Since then. the person permeates that dharma. I found the path to proceed. I finally found my own place and path. When I made up my mind to become Uchiyama Roshi’s disciple and actually started to practiced zazen. (text) When we make this very place our own. And yet. The Manifestation of reality (genjokoan) is not a concept or philosophical idea. as the person encounters one practice. it is only this moment right now and right here. neither self nor others. and committed to it. each day. Therefore. but rather it is actual practice using our body and mind that is connected with the entire world. This path of zazen practice has led me to a won-drous and unbelievable way of life. I am still a beginner in this path. and situ-ations I have encountered as my own life and practice. Until that moment there is no ready-made meaning or purpose to our lives. To continue my teacher’s vow to transmit the tradition to the next generation became my path and many different kinds of support to my practice became available. When we make this path our own.After practicing with my teacher for some time. Dogen Zenji teaches how we should work together with each and every thing with our sincere heart. I have tried to see the many people. flexible and endless. this point on how we create meaning really struck me and based on that I decided to follow Dogen Zenji’s teaching even though I didn’t understand anything else. I have been walking the path for thirty years. the person [fully] practices that practice. The path is so broad. [the reality of all things] is thus. and in each moment. as the person realizes one dharma. and through each stage of my life. I found that meaning is created when we find our own place and path and we begin to do something. life became mean-ingful and precious to me. The path has no beginning and no end but permeates all time and space. when a person does practice/enlighten-ment in the buddha way.

The way is endless (text) The boundary of the known is not clear. Actually this place and path is not something outside us. we penetrate that thing. And yet. which means almost forever. One thing at a time. You should not attend to some things and neglect or be slack with others for even one moment. But these stages are all a kind of expedient means. it is nonsense to measure how much we have achieved. (Dogen’s Pure Standards for the Zen Community. The place and path are nothing other than ourselves. to become a Buddha is not the end of the story but rather it is simply the starting point of life as a Buddha. there are many sets of stages of spiritual achievement. this is because the known [which appears limited] is born and practiced simultaneously with the complete penetration of the buddha dharma. This is how we study the characteristics of all things. Select the rice and prepare the vegetables by yourself with your own hands. It also takes almost forever. A Buddha practices Buddha’s practice. When we practice that role sincerely. Dogen Zenji does not use such expedients. get ready the following morning’s breakfast. do some experiments with it. a bodhisattva must practice through the fifty-two stages to reach Buddhahood and it takes three great kalpas. watching closely with sincere diligence. we penetrate that mistake and learn from the mistake. to become a Buddha. Next. you must not fail to add a single speck on top of the mountain of good deeds. No matter how long and how hard . Even though we walk on the path. We should not think that what we have attained is conceived by ourselves and known by our discriminating mind. One by one. which stage we are at now and what we need to do to go further. According to Mahayana Buddhist teachings. we study it. we cannot measure how far we have come and how much farther we will have to go to reach the goal. take care of it and penetrate it. [In fact] viewing is not something fixed. P. that is.cooking. Although complete enlighten-ment is immediately actualized. When we make a mistake. In Buddhist teachings of many different traditions. each time. As Buddhist practitioners.34) When we work on one thing. and the fifty-two stages of the bodhisattva. Then a mistake is a great teacher for us. Nothing is meaningless when we have our own place and path to walk. That is helping all living beings to become bud-dhas and to make entire world into buddha land. He simply says the buddha way is endless and there is no way to measure where we are now. Within such an endless process of the Buddha way. such as the four stages toward arhathood. its intimacy is such that it does not necessarily form as a view. we commonly think our goal is very clear. Do not give a single drop from within the ocean of virtues.

and practice one thing wholeheartedly in the way that we can penetrate that one thing. That is all. Our practice is just to practice one thing at a time wholeheartedly and manifest our own lives moment by moment without evaluation. When faced with this truth. According to Dogen Zenji. and they continue actualizing buddha. "When Buddhas are truly Buddhas. For example. if peace is the condition in which there is no war among countries. within the infinite length of the buddha way. or struggle in our minds." This is a lesson we can apply to many parts of our lives. Then is "peace" a meaningless dream? Not at all. This is also what Dogen means when he says that practice and realization are one. Nirvana or buddhahood is the same thing. home . no fighting or conflict among people. This is what shikan (just) in Dogen’s expression shikan-taza (just sit-ting) means. our peaceful efforts themselves are the source of peace in each moment and each step we take.we have been practicing. However. This is what Dogen Zenji means when he says. anxiety. they don't need to perceive that they are themselves Buddhas. probably there is never a time that such a condition can be completely achieved. the distance we have walked is the same as zero. and no pain. they are enlightened buddhas. what we can do is try to be mindful in each moment.