ZEN 禅 Puerto Rico: Los Canticos Parte 2
GENJO KOAN: Actualizing the Fundamental Point
By Eihei Dogen (1200-1253)
As all things are buddha-dharma, there is delusion and realization, practice, birth and death, and there are buddhas and sentient beings. As the myriad things are without an abiding self, there is no delusion, no realization, no buddha, no sentient being, no birth and death. The buddha way is, basically, leaping clear of the many and the one; thus there are birth and death, delusion and realization, sentient beings and buddhas.
Yet, in attachment blossoms fall, and in aversion weeds spread.
To carry yourself forward and experience myriad things is delusion. That myriad things come forth and experience themselves is awakening. Those who have great realization of delusion are Buddhas; those who are greatly deluded about realization are sentient beings. Further, there are those who continue realizing beyond realization, who are in delusion throughout delusion. When buddhas are truly buddhas they do not necessarily notice that they are buddhas.
However, they are actualized buddhas, who go on actualizing buddhas. When you see forms or hear sounds fully engaging body-and-mind, you grasp things directly. Unlike things and their reﬂections in the mirror and unlike the moon and its reﬂection in the water, when one side is illuminated the other side is dark.
To study the Buddha Way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be actualized by myriad things. When actualized by myriad things, your body and mind as well as the bodies and minds of others drop away. No trace of realization remains, and this no trace continues endlessly.
When you ﬁrst seek dharma, you imagine you are far away from its environs.
But dharma is already correctly transmitted; you are immediately your original self.
When you ride in a boat and watch the shore, you might assume that the shore is moving. But when you keep your eyes closely on the boat, you can see that the boat moves. Similarly, if you examine myriad things with a confused body and mind you might suppose that your mind and nature are permanent. When you practice intimately and return to where you are, it will be clear that nothing at all has unchanging self.
Firewood becomes ash, and it does not become ﬁrewood again. Yet, do not suppose that the ash is future and the ﬁrewood past. You should understand that ﬁrewood abides in the phenomenal expression of ﬁrewood which fully includes past and future, and is independent of past and future. Ash abides in the phenomenal expression of ash which fully includes future and past.
Just as ﬁrewood does not become ﬁrewood again after it is ash, you do not return to birth after death. This being so, it is an established way in buddhadharma to deny that birth turns into death. Accordingly, birth is understood as no-birth. It is an unshakable teaching in Buddhaʼs discourse that death does not turn into birth.
Accordingly, death is understood as no-death. Birth is an expression complete this moment. Death is an expression complete this moment. They are like winter and spring. You do not call winter the beginning of spring, nor summer the end of spring.
Enlightenment is like the moon reﬂected in the water. The moon does not get wet, nor is the water broken. Although its light is wide and great, the moon is reﬂected even in a puddle an inch wide. The whole moon and the entire sky are reﬂected in dewdrops on the grass, or even in one drop of water. Enlightenment does not divide you, just as the moon does not break the water.
You cannot hinder enlightenment, just as a drop of water does not hinder the moon in the sky. The depth of the drop is the height of the moon. Each reﬂection, however long or short its duration, manifests the vastness of the dewdrop, and realizes the limitlessness of the moonlight in the sky.
When dharma does not ﬁll your whole body and mind, you think it is already sufﬁcient. When dharma ﬁlls your body and mind, you understand that something is missing. For example, when you sail out in a boat to the midst of an ocean where no land is in sight, and view the four directions, the ocean looks circular, and does not look any other way. But the ocean is neither round nor square; its features are inﬁnite in variety. It is like a palace. It is like a jewel. It only looks circular as far as you can see at that time.
All things are like this.
Though there are many features in the dusty world and the world beyond conditions, you see and understand only what your eye of practice can reach. In order to learn the nature of the myriad things, you must know that although they may look round or square, the other features of oceans and mountains are inﬁnite in variety; whole worlds are there. It is so not only around you, but also directly beneath your feet, or in a drop of water.
A ﬁsh swims in the ocean, and no matter how far it swims there is no end to the water. A bird ﬂies in the sky, and no matter how far it ﬂies, there is no end to the air. However, the ﬁsh and the bird have never left their elements. When their activity is large their ﬁeld is large. When their need is small their ﬁeld is small.
Thus, each of them totally covers its full range, and each of them totally experiences its realm. If the bird leaves the air it will die at once. If the ﬁsh leaves the water it will die at once. Know that water is life and air is life. The bird is life and the ﬁsh is life. Life must be the bird and life must be the ﬁsh. It is possible to illustrate this with more analogies. Practice, enlightenment, and people are like this.
Now if a bird or a ﬁsh tries to reach the end of its element before moving in it, this bird or this ﬁsh will not ﬁnd its way or its place. When you ﬁnd your place where you are, practice occurs, actualizing the fundamental point. When you ﬁnd your way at this moment, practice occurs, actualizing the fundamental point; for the place, the way, is neither large nor small, neither yours nor othersʼ. The place, the way, has not carried over from the past, and it is not merely arising now. Accordingly, in the practice-enlightenment of the buddha way, meeting one thing is mastering it, doing one practice is practicing completely.
Here is the place; here the way unfolds. The boundary of realization is not distinct, for the realization comes forth simultaneously with the mastery of buddha-dharma. Do not suppose that what you realize becomes your knowledge and is grasped by your consciousness. Although actualized immediately, the inconceivable may not be distinctly apparent. Its appearance is beyond your knowledge.
Zen Master Baoche of Mount Mayu was fanning himself. A monk approached and said, “Master, the nature of wind is permanent and there is no place it does not reach. Why, then do you fan yourself?”
“Although you understand that the nature of the wind is permanent,” Baoche replied, “you do not understand the meaning of its reaching everywhere.”
“What is the meaning of its reaching everywhere?” asked the monk again.
The master just kept fanning himself. The monk bowed deeply.
The actualization of the buddha dharma, the vital path of its correct transmission, is like this. If you say that you do not need to fan yourself because the nature of wind is permanent and you can have wind without fanning, you will understand neither permanence nor the nature of wind. The nature of wind is permanent; because of that, the wind of the Buddhaʼs house brings forth the gold of the earth and makes fragrant the cream of the long river.
EIHEI KOSO HOTSUGANMON
Great Ancestor Dogen’s Verse for Arousing the Vow
We vow together with all beings, from this life on throughout numerous lifetimes, not to fail to hear the true dharma. Hearing this we will not be skeptical and will not be without faith. Directly upon encountering the true dharma, we will abandon mundane affairs and uphold and maintain the buddha-dharma; and ﬁnally together with the great earth and all animate beings we will accomplish the Way.
Although our previous evil karma has greatly accumulated, producing causes and conditions that obstruct the Way, may the buddhas and ancestors who have attained the buddha way be compassionate to us and liberate us from our karmic entanglements, allowing us to practice the Way without hindrance.
May the merit and virtue of their dharma gate ﬁll and refresh the inexhaustible dharma realm, so that they share with us their compassion. Ancient buddhas and ancestors were as we; we shall come to be buddhas and ancestors. Venerating buddhas and ancestors, we are one with buddhas and ancestors; contemplating awakening mind, we are one with awakened mind. Compassionately admitting seven and accomplishing eight obtains advantage and lets go of advantage.
Accordingly, Longya said: “What in past lives was not yet complete, now must be complete. In this life save the body coming from accumulated lives. Before enlightenment ancient buddhas were the same as we. After enlightenment we will be exactly as those ancient ones.
Quietly studying and mastering these causes and conditions, one is fully informed by the veriﬁed buddhas. With this kind of repentance certainly will come the inconceivable guidance of buddha ancestors. Confessing to buddha with mindful heart and digniﬁed body, the strength of this confession will eradicate the roots of wrongdoing. This is the one color of true practice, of the true mind of faith, of the true body of faith.
Universally Recommended Instructions for Zazen
By Eihei Dogen (1200-1253)
The Way is originally perfect and all-pervading. How could it be contingent
on practice and realization? The true vehicle is self-sufﬁcient. What need is there
for special effort? Indeed, the whole body is free from dust. Who could believe
in a means to brush it clean? It is never apart from this very place; what is the
use of traveling around to practice?
And yet, if there is a hairsbreadth deviation, it is like the gap between heaven and earth. If the least like or dislike arises, the mind is lost in confusion. Suppose you are conﬁdent in your understanding and rich in enlightenment, gaining the wisdom that knows at a glance, attaining the Way and clarifying the mind, arousing an aspiration to reach for the heavens.
You are playing in the entranceway, but you still are short of the vital path of
Consider the Buddha: although he was wise at birth, the traces of his six years
of upright sitting can yet be seen. As for Bodhidharma, although he had received
the mind-seal, his nine years of facing a wall is celebrated still. If even the ancient
sages were like this, how can we today dispense with wholehearted practice?
Therefore, put aside the intellectual practice of investigating words and chasing
phrases, and learn to take the backward step that turns the light and shines it
inward. Body and mind of themselves will drop away, and your original face will
manifest. If you want to attain suchness, practice suchness immediately.
For practicing Zen, a quiet room is suitable. Eat and drink moderately. Put aside
all involvements and suspend all affairs. Do not think “good” or “bad.” Do not
judge true or false. Give up the operations of mind, intellect, and consciousness;
stop measuring with thoughts, ideas, and views. Have no designs on becoming a
Buddha. How could that be limited to sitting or lying down?
At your sitting place, spread out a thick mat and put a cushion on it. Sit either
in the full-lotus or half-lotus position. In the full-lotus position, ﬁrst place your
right foot on your left thigh, then your left foot on your right thigh. In the halflotus,
simply place your left foot on your right thigh.
Tie your robes loosely and arrange them neatly. Then place your right hand on your left leg and your lefthand on your right palm, thumb-tips lightly touching. Straighten your body and sit upright, leaning neither left nor right, neither forward nor backward. Align
your ears with your shoulders and your nose with your navel. Rest the tip of your
tongue against the front of the roof of your mouth, with teeth and lips together
Always keep your eyes open, and breathe softly through your nose.
Once you have adjusted your posture, take a breath and exhale fully, rock
your body right and left, and settle into steady, immovable sitting. Think of not
Not thinking – what kind of thinking is that? Beyond-thinking. This is the
essential art of zazen.
The zazen I speak of is not meditation practice. It is simply the Dharma gate of
joyful ease, the practice-realization of totally culminated enlightenment. It is the
koan realized, traps and snares can never reach it. If you grasp the point, you
are like a dragon gaining the water, like a tiger taking to the mountains. For you
must know that the true Dharma appears of itself, so that from the start dullness
and distraction are struck aside.
When you arise from sitting, move slowly and quietly, calmly and deliberately. Do not rise suddenly or abruptly. In surveying the past, we ﬁnd that transcendence of both mundane and sacred, and dying while either sitting or standing, have all depended entirely on the power of zazen. In addition, triggering awakening with a ﬁnger, a banner, a needle, or a mallet, and effecting realization with a whisk, a ﬁst, a staff, or a shout – these cannot be understood by discriminative thinking, much less can they be known through the practice of supernatural power. They must represent conduct beyond seeing and hearing.
Are they not a standard prior to knowledge and views?
This being the case, intelligence or lack of it is not an issue; make no distinction
between the dull and the sharp-witted. If you concentrate your effort singlemindedly,
that in itself is wholeheartedly engaging the way. Practice-realization is
naturally undeﬁled. Going forward is, after all, an everyday affair.
In general, in our world and others, in both India and China, all equally
hold the buddha-seal.
While each lineage expresses its own style, they are all
simply devoted to sitting, totally blocked in resolute stability. Although they
say that there are ten thousand distinctions and a thousand variations, they just
wholeheartedly engage the way in zazen. Why leave behind the seat in your
own home to wander in vain through the dusty realms of other lands? If you
make one misstep you stumble past what is directly in front of you.
You have gained the pivotal opportunity of human form. Do not pass your
days and nights in vain. You are taking care of the essential activity of the
buddha way. Who would take wasteful delight in the spark from a ﬂintstone?
Besides, form and substance are like the dew on the grass, the fortunes of life like
a dart of lightning – emptied in an instant, vanished in a ﬂash.
Please, honored followers of Zen, long accustomed to groping for the
elephant, do not doubt the true dragon. Devote your energies to the way that
points directly to the real thing. Revere the one who has gone beyond learning
and is free from effort.
Accord with the enlightenment of all the buddhas;
succeed to the samadhi of all the ancestors. Continue to live in such a way, and
you will be such a person. The treasure store will open of itself, and you may
enjoy it freely.
JIJUYU ZAMMAI The Self-fulﬁllment Samadhi
By Eihei Dogen (1200-1253)
For all ancestors and buddhas who have been dwelling in and maintaining buddha-dharma, practicing upright sitting in jijuyu samadhi is the true path for opening up enlightenment. Both in India and in China, those who attained enlightenment have followed this way. This is because each teacher and each disciple has been intimately and correctly transmitting this subtle method and receiving and maintaining its true spirit.
According to the unmistakenly handed down tradition, the straightforward buddha-dharma that has been simply transmitted is supreme among the supreme. From the time you begin practicing with a teacher, the practices of incense burning, bowing, nenbutsu, repentance, and reading sutras are not at all essential; just sit, dropping off body and mind.
When one displays the buddha mudra with oneʼs whole body and mind, sitting upright in this samadhi even for a short time, everything in the entire dharma world becomes buddha mudra, and all space in the universe completely becomes enlightenment.
Therefore, it enables buddha-tathagatas to increase the dharma joy of their own original grounds and renew the adornment of the way of awakening. Simultaneously, all living beings of the dharma world in the ten directions and six realms become clear and pure in body and mind, realize great emancipation, and their own original face appears. At that time, all things together awaken to supreme enlightenment and utilize buddha-body, immediately go beyond the culmination of awakening, and sit upright under the regal Bodhi tree. At the same time, they turn the incomparable, great dharma wheel, and begin expressing ultimate and unfabricated profound prajna.
There is a path through which the unsurpassed complete enlightenment of all things returns to the person in zazen, and that person and the enlightenment of all things intimately and imperceptibly assist each other. Therefore this zazen person without fail drops off body and mind, cuts away previous tainted views and thoughts, awakens genuine buddha-dharma, universally helps the Buddha work in each place, as numerous as atoms, where buddha-tathagatas teach and practice, and widely inﬂuences practitioners who are going beyond buddha, thereby vigorously exalting the dharma that goes beyond buddha.
At this time, because earth, grasses and trees, fences and walls, tiles and pebbles, and all things in every direction in the universe carry out buddha work, so everyone receives the beneﬁt of wind and water movement caused by this functioning, and all are imperceptibly helped by the wondrous and incomprehensible inﬂuence of buddha to actualize the enlightenment at hand.
Since those who receive and use this water and ﬁre extend the buddha inﬂuence of original enlightenment, all who live and talk with these people also share and universally unfold the boundless buddha virtue, and they circulate the inexhaustible, ceaseless, incomprehensible, and immeasurable buddha dharma within and without the whole dharma world.
However, these various mutual inﬂuences do not mix into the perceptions of this person sitting, because they take place within stillness without any fabrication, and they are enlightenment itself. If practice and enlightenment were separate as people commonly believe, it would be possible for them to perceive each other. But that which is associated with perceptions cannot be the standard of enlightenment because deluded human sentiment cannot reach the standard of enlightenment.
Moreover, although both mind and object appear and disappear within stillness, because this takes place in the realm of jijuyu, self-receiving and selfemploying, without moving a speck of dust or destroying a single form, extensive buddha work and profound, subtle buddha inﬂuence are carried out. The grass, trees, and earth affected by this functioning together radiate great brilliance and endlessly expound the deep, wondrous dharma.
Grasses and trees, fences and walls demonstrate and exalt it for the sake of living beings, both ordinary and sage; in turn, living beings, both ordinary and sage, express and unfold it for the sake of grasses and trees, fences and walls. The realm of self-awakening and awakening others is fundamentally endowed with the quality of enlightenment with nothing lacking, and allows the standard of enlightenment to be actualized ceaselessly.
Therefore, even if only one person sits for a short time, because this zazen is one with all existence and completely permeates all time, it performs everlasting buddha guidance within the inexhaustible dharma world in the past, present, and future. Zazen is equally the same practice and the same enlightenment for both the person sitting and for all dharmas.
The melodious sound continues to resonate as it echoes, not only during sitting practice, but before and after striking shunyata, which continues endlessly before and after a hammer hits it. Not only that, but all things are endowed with original practice within the original face, which is impossible to measure.
You should know that even if all the buddhas in the ten directions, as numerous as the sands of the Ganges River, together engage the full power of their Buddha wisdom, they could never reach the limit, or measure or comprehend the virtue, of one person’s zazen.
Zazenshin: The Point of Zazen
By Eihei Dogen
The essential function of every Buddha,
the functioning essence of every ancestor,
it moves along with your non-thinking
and is completed in the realm of non-merging.
As it moves along with your non-thinking,
its appearance is immediate,
as it is completed in the realm of non-merging.
Completeness itself is realization.
If its appearance is immediate,
you have no defilement;
when completeness is realization,
you stay in neither the general nor the particular
if you have immediacy without defilement.
Immediacy is “dropping away” with no obstacles
Realization—neither general nor particular—
is effort without desire:
clear water all the way to the bottom,
a fish swims like a fish;
vast sky transparent throughout,
a bird flies like birds.