Dogen Sangha Blog

  by Gudo NISHIJIMA

Japanese / German

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Kai kyoo Ge, or the Poem of opening Sutra

Kai Kyoo Ge

Kai means to open, and Kyoo means Sutra, and Ge means a poem. Therefore Kai Kyoo Ge means the Poem of opening Sutra. And when we want to begin the Buddhist lecture, we usually recite the Poem of opening Sutra loudly by both the lecturer and the audience together with joining hands.

So we would like to maintain the same traditional habit in Dogen Sangha too.

(pronunciation)

mujoo jinshin mimyoohoo hyaku, sen, man goo nansoguu

ga kon kenmon toku juuji gan ge nyorai shinjitsu gi

(meaning)

mujoo means the highest, and jinshin means very profound. mimyoo means delicate and fine.
And hoo means originally Dharma, and so Gautama Buddha's teachings, or the Rule of the Universe.

hyaku means hundreds, sen means thousnds, man means tens of thousands, and goo means Kalpa, or a limitlessly long age, therefore hyaku, sen, man goo means hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of limitlessly long age. And nan means very difficult, and sooguu means to meet. Therefore the meaning of the whole line is it is very difficult for us to meet Buddhism even though we pass hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of limitlessly long time.

ga means we, and kon means now. kenmon means to look at and heard, and toku means have been able, and juuji means to have received and maintain. So the line means that now we have been able to meet them fortunately.

And gan means sincerely to hope, and ge means to understand. And nyorai means a person, to whom Reality has come, that is, Gautama Buddha, and shinjitsugi means the true meaning.

Therefore the meaning of the four lines are Gautama Buddha's teachings are the highest, profound, delicate and fine criterion, which is very difficult for us to meet. But we have met and listened to it fortunately, and so we sincerely beg to understand the Gautama Buddha's teachings wholeheartedly.

8 Comments:

Blogger Zushi said...

Dear Roshi,
Thank you for the explanation of "Ten Patsu no Ge". May I ask you for a translation of the following as well:
Shin jin ba shin biru sha no fu .....until......mo ko ho ja ho ro mi.

4:14 PM, December 19, 2006  
Blogger JundoCohen said...

Hello Roshi,

I wonder your opinion about use of the "Chant to Close the Teachings," which I do not recall you used in your lectures (although I think it is used quite often in Sotoshu). It is the one which is ...

Ji ho san shi i shi fu
Shi son bu sa mo ko sa
Mo ko ho ja ho ro mi

Which, I believe, is sometimes translated:

May the merit of this practice penetrate
Into each thing in all places.
So that we and every sentient being
Together can realize the Buddha Way.

Also, you often teach that all we need practice is our Zazen, and you disapprove of other schools which emphasize chanting such as Nembutsu. You also do not emphasize many traditional chanting ceremonies of the Sotoshu, such as Fusatsu, Enmei Jukku Kannon Gyo, Sho Sai Myo Kichijo Dharani and others. Why do you approve of the Verse of the Kesa, Meal Chants, Kai Kyoo Ge, but not those?

Thank you, Roshi.

Jundo

Gassho, Judno

5:25 PM, December 20, 2006  
Blogger GUDO NISHIJIMA said...

For Zushi San

What you have asked me is called [The Ten Buddhas Names.]

shin jin pashin birushaanoofu

The very pure universal body of Vairocana

enmon hooshin rushanofu

Concretely manifested body of Vairocana

senpai kashin shikya muni fu

Thousands, or tens of billion individual bodies of Shakyamuni Buddha

toorai asan mirusonfu

Maitreya Buddha, who will come down in future

jihoo sanshi iishifu

The whole miscelaneous Buddhas in ten directions at past, present, and future

daijin myoohoo haringakin

Lotus Sutras in Mahaya Buddhism

daishin bunjusuri busa

The great Bodhisattva Manjusri

daijin fuen busa

Bodhisattva Samantabhadra in Mahayana

daihi kanshi-in busa

Greatly benevolent Bodhisttva Avalokitesvara

shison busa mokosa

Miscellneously reverent Bodhisattva, and Mahasattva

moko hoja horomi

With Maha Prajna-paramita


For jundocohen San

At the end of my Buddhist lectutres I usually recited Fuekoo, or the general presence of benevolence to all living beings, and I will explain it in the next blog.

I noticed that what you indicated in your question manifests the short words, which are recited for example at the end of Avalokitesvara Sutra, and the translation, which you showed after the short words meight be the translation of Fuekoo, or the general presence of benevolence to all living beings.

Generally speaking, I do not like to criticize other Buddhist schools openly, but at the same time I would like to simplify many kinds of traditional chantings into what Master Dogen permitted us to do.

The reason, why I recommend the four kinds of chantings in Dogen Sangha, comes from that eating meals, wearing Kashaya, having Buddhist lectures, and presenting benevolence to others, are very important in our daily life.

3:55 PM, December 25, 2006  
Blogger Zushi said...

Dear Roshi,

Thank you for the translation during the most bussiest time for japanese people.

When I started participating in sesshin in Kamakura I was deeply touched by the sound of a recitation. It sounded so sacred and the intonation was full of reverence and devotion, seeming to be spoken of only one voice. Fortunately I noticed on the following sesshin that I can find it in the recitation-book. It took me two shesshins to remember the page until now I can join in. Lately I also got the meaning and it still sounds as wonderful as the first time.

Ji ho san shi i shi fu
shi son bu sa mo ko sa
mo ko ho ja ho ro mi

7:57 PM, December 25, 2006  
Blogger Michael said...

Dear Nishijima-sensei,

I was finally able to join this blog by opening a new Blogger user account. Everything seems to work now, and I thank you for the invitation.

I have a question:

We have the Buddhadharma, and we have Bodhidharma's expression and interpretation of it through zazen.
So, can all the sutras, chants, traditions, monastic rules and so on be considered uppaya? Is zazen itself just an uppaya? Is this a gross oversimplification?
What I'm asking, in other words, is that if we have zazen, are the other trappings of Zen (various chants to open and close sutra readings and services, the sutras themselves, whether talking is allowed at sesshin, whether to wear the kesa or the rakusu and so on) ultimately necessary?

Sincerely and respectfully,

Michael
(ohenrosan.blogspot.com)

2:31 AM, December 27, 2006  
Blogger Zushi said...

Dear Roshi,
when I practised Zazen in different German Zendos I was used to recite the poem "On Zen" by Daio Kokushi. Is this a verse that is only recited in the Rinzai-lineage? Does it have any importance in Soto-lineage?

5:29 AM, December 27, 2006  
Blogger GUDO NISHIJIMA said...

For Michael San

We can say that to practice Zazen is all in Buddhism.

Sutras are discription of Buddhist teachings, chants are almost nothing to Buddhism, among traditions some are valuable, some are not valuable.

Therefore it is impossible for us to think that they are all upaaya, but some parts are true Buddhism, and some parts do not have any relation with Buddhism.

In Shobogenzo Bendowa, Master Dogen describes that "After the inicial meeting with [good] counselor we never need again to need burn incense, to do prostrations, to recite Buddhist name, to practice confession, to read sutras. Just sit and get the state which is free of body and mind."

In the case of upaaya, it means methods, which are related with Buddhism, but in cases of reciting sutras, monastic rules, tradition, and so forth they do not have sometimes any relation with Buddhism at all.


For Zushi San

As you know I have studied Buddhism almost only relying Master Dogen's thoughts, and so I think that you might suggest Master Daio Kokushi, who was called Nanpo Shomyo , who belonged to Rinzai Sect, but I am very sorry that I do not know him almost at all.

3:02 PM, December 27, 2006  
Blogger Michael said...

Thank you, sensei, for your answer.

4:59 PM, December 27, 2006  

Post a Comment

<< Home