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Saturday, October 6, 2007

Important principles in Shobogenzo (7) Senjo


(1) There is practice-and-experience that Buddhist patriarchs have guarded and maintained; it is called not being tainted.

(There is Buddhist action, which is oneness between practice and experience, that have been guarded and maintained in Buddhist tradition. That is called "nothing dirty.")

Buddhism is never only theory, or never only perception, but Buddhism is just action itself. Therefore Buddhism is just simple facts at the present moment, and it requests fundamentally "nothing having dirt."


(2) The Sixth Patriarch asks Zen Master Dai-e of Kannon-in temple on Nangaku-zan mountain, "Do you rely on practice and experience or not?"
Dai-e says, "It is not that there is no practice and experience, but the state can never be tainted."
The Sixth Patriarch says, "Just this untainted state is that which buddhas guard and desire. You are also like this. I am also like this. And the ancestral masters of India were also like this..."

(The Sixth Patriarch Master Daikan Eno asks Master Nangaku Ejo, who has been presented the title of Zen Master Daie by the Emperor, "Do you rely upon practice and experience of Zazen, or not?"
Master Daie replied, "Of course, I can never deny the existence of practicing Zazen, but I am sure that there is "nothing dirty" at all.
The Sixth Patriarch says, "Just "nothing dirty" is what many Buddhas has been guarded and desired. You are also like that. I am also like that. Farthermore the ancestral Masters in India have been also like that.)

Therefore we should think that, of course it is very important for us to practice Zazen everyday, but at the same time the practice of Zazen should be always "nothing dirty." We should never practice Zazen for fame or profit, but we should practice Zazen for pursuing the Truth. We should always practice Zazen for "nothing dirty" itself.

(3) Not only do we clean body-and-mind; we also clean the national land and clean beneath trees. To clean the national land, even though it has never become dirty, is that which bud-dhas guard and desire; and even when they have arrived at the Buddhist ef-fect, they still do not draw back or cease.

(We do not only clean our body and mind, but we should also clean the national land and even beneath trees. And even if the national land were not dirty, such efforts are our common duty and desire as Buddhist practitioners and Buddhas. And such a kind of cleansing efforts are human duty, and so we, human beings, should continue such a efforts for ever.)

Buddhism believes in the oneness between body and mind. Both in Idealism and Materialism, body and mind can be considered separately from each other. But in Buddhism, or the philosophy of action, it is impossible for us to think body and mind separately. In our action body and mind work always combined into one, and so we can never separate action into two parts. Therefore in the area of action we should alway consider our action including both body and mind. When we are washing our hand, we are just washing our hands, but at the same time we are washing our mind, which is thinking dirt.


(4) At the same time, [to wash] is not to use water to clean the body; [rather,] when we are maintaining and re-lying upon the Buddha-Dharma in accordance with the Buddha-Dharma, we have this form of behavior, and we call it "washing."

(However, cleansing is not only to cleanse our body with water, but when we maintain such behavior relying upon the Rule of the Universe, such behavior manifests itself just as the maintenancing the Rule of the Universe. We usually have such behavior in our daily life, and it is called cleansing.)

The cleansing is not only to cleanse our body by water, but it is just the maintenance of the universal Rule in such a form, which is called cleansing. In this chapter Master Dogen lists the examples of cleansing as cutting fingernails and toenails, cutting hair, cleansing body after excretion, and so forth.


(5) Thus, at a place of the truth where we strive in pursuit of the truth, we should consider this behavior to be foremost.

(Therefore Master Dogen reveres our behavior in toilets so much, and so he describes Chinese monks' behavior in toilet precisely to introduce it into Japanese Buddhist temples.)

Buddhism is constructed into philosophy of Action, and so to revere human Action means to revere Buddhism itself.


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