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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Important principle in Shobogenzo (4) Ikka-no-myoju


(1) He is already thirty years old, [but] he has realized the precari-ousness of the floating world and has recognized the nobility of the Buddha's way.

(Gensa Shibi has become 30 years old, but he has realized unreliability of secular societies, and he has noticed the high and valuable substantiality of Buddhism.)

Even though Gensa Shibi has been a simple fisherman, he has recognized that the secular societies, which are supported by fame of fantastic images or desire of materialistic greediness, are so unreliable, and he noticed that Buddhist Reality is so reliable.

(2) Gensa says, "In the end I just cannot be deceived by others." Seppo, loving these words very much, says, "Is there anyone who does not have these words [inside them]? [But] is there anyone who can speak these words?"

(Gensa says, "In conclusion, I am a strange stiff-necked person, who can never be cheated by others's words at all." And Master Seppo has praised these words so much that everyone should have the words like him, but very rare person can have the same words as him.)

Everyone should follow the stiff-necked behavior like Gensa, but in secular societies, a person like Genza is so few, therefore common human societies can never arrive at the Truth at all.

(3) Seppo asks further, "Bi of the dhuta, why do you not go explor-ing. The Master [Gensa] says, "Bodhidharma did not come to the Eastern Lands; the Second Patriarch did not go to the Western Heavens." Seppo praised this very much.

(Master Seppo asks further, " Mendicant monk Shibi! Why don't you visit many temples to study Buddhism." Gensa says, "Master Bodhidharma hasn't come to China intentionally, and the Second Patriarch Taiso Eka has never gone to India intentionally." And Master Seppo has praised those words especially.)

We, human beings, should research our historical conditions sincerely, and we should not neglect the historical conditions at all.

(4) "The whole Universe in ten directions is one bright pearl. What use is understanding?"

(The whole Universe in ten directions is just one bright pearl, and even if we want to make our efforts to understand it intellectually, it is perfectly useless, because the Universe, or Reality, is something real, which can never be understood intellectually in ultimate conclusion.)

The whole Universe is something real, and even though so many excellent philosophers and so many excellent scientists have been making their efforts so enormously for so many years, however, it seems that Master Shibi has been much more clever than those so many excellent philosophers and so many excellent schientists, saying that "The whole Universe in ten directions is one bright oearl."


(5) "The one pearl" goes directly through ten thousand years: the eternal past has not ended, but the eternal present has arrived.

(The one pearl has been continuing for limitlessly long ages, however, even though the eternal past hasn't ended yet, the eternal present has arrived here already.)

Even though the Universe has been continuing from the eternal past, the eternal present has arrived at just now, even though the eternal past hasn't ended yet. This may be the real situations of the present moment.

(6) The body exists now, and the mind exists now. Even so, [the whole Universe] is a bright pearl.

(Even though I have my body now, and even though I have my mind now, the whole Universe is just the bright pearl.)

Of course now I have my body actually, and I have also my mind actually, but at the same time the whole Universe can never be different other than the bright pearl.


(7) The sun's face appears together with the sun's face, and the moon's face appears together with the moon's face. For this reason, [Master Yakusan Igen said,] "Even if I say that the sixth moon is a very nice time of year, I should not say that my sur-name is Hot."

(The sun always manifests itself as if it were the sun, and the moon manifests itself as if it were the moon, therefore even though June (in the lunar calender) is the hottest month through a year in China, he (Master Yakusan Igen) should never say that it is too hot now without saying that June is also a just endurable season.)

A Buddhist monk can never say any complaint against the natural conditions, therefore even it is so hot actually in June, he can never say that it is too hot.


Blogger Smoggyrob said...

Greetings Nishijima Roshi:

As always, thank you for teaching. I'm sure I will be learning from what you've already written for the rest of my life.

I have a question about the traditional understanding of the Four Noble Truths. I read in your "To Meet The Real Dragon" that you believe the 4NT to be a misunderstanding of what you refer to as "The Four Philosophies" (or, "Three Philosophies And One Reality"). That is, Idealism, Materialism, Buddhism, and Reality.

Other than being a misunderstanding, what is your opinion of the 4NT as they are traditionally taught? Are the 4NT worthwhile teachings that just miss the original point? Or are they useless to a student trying to attain the Buddha's Way?

Thank you for your time and attention,


9:42 AM, September 27, 2007  
Blogger GUDO NISHIJIMA said...

Dear smoggyrob San,

I think that the true meaning of the Four Noble Truths is the most important Buddhist theory since Gautama Buddha has preached them for the first time.

However the true meaning of the Four Noble Truths are so difficult to understand as their true meaning, and so only a very few Buddhist Master, for example, Master Nagarjna or Master Dogen, have understood their true meaning.

I think that the most serious cause of their misunderstanding has caused from the wrong interpretation, which has been popular in the age of Hinayana Buddhism, that (1) this world is painful, (2) the cause of such pain comes from human desire. (3) therefore if we erase our desire, (4) we can arrive at the truth. But I think that this interpretation might be perfectly wrong.

Therefore I think that the true meaning of Buddhism has been misunderstood for thousands of years.

With best wishes

Gudo Wafu Nishijima

1:29 PM, October 13, 2007  

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