TSUKI 都機
Tsuki means “the moon”; in this chapter Master Dogen uses the moon as a symbol to explain the relationship between an abstract concept and a concrete entity. The moon existed yesterday, it exists today, and it will exist tomorrow. We can say that at one moment in time the moon is a unique and independent entity. At the same time, there is the abstract concept “the moon.” The concept “the moon” is an abstraction of the concrete moon which exists at one moment; that is the moon yesterday, the moon today, the moon tomorrow. Although the unique, concrete moon is the origin of the abstract concept “the moon,” we are prone to discuss philosophical problems only in terms of abstract concepts, forgetting concrete facts, and creating a division between thinking and perception. Buddhist philosophy synthesizes the two factors, and here Master Dogen explains the mutual relationship between thinking and sensory perception comparing the abstract concept “the moon,” with the concrete moon. Secondly, Master Dogen uses the relationship between moon and cloud to explain the relationship between subject and object. Buddhist theory says that reality is oneness between subject and object here and now. Master Dogen explains this using the example of the moon and a cloud that surrounds the moon.
 KUGE 空華
Flowers in Space
Ku means “the sky,” or “space,” and ge means “flowers.” What are flowers in space? Master Dogen uses the words “flowers in space” to express all phenomena in this world. According to the ideas of the German philosopher Immanuel Kant, we cannot be sure whether things really exist in this world, but we can be sure that there are phenomena which we can perceive with our senses. Therefore, for him, phenomena are not necessarily identified with reality although they do actually appear in this world. He refused to discuss the metaphysical problem of “real existence” and based his philosophy on human reason. The same idea was present in ancient Buddhism. Master Dogen thought that this skeptical attitude was important in considering the meaning of our life, and so in this chapter he explains the meaning of “flowers in space,” which in Buddhism expresses real phenomena.
 KOBUSSHIN 古仏心
The Mind of Eternal Buddhas
Ko means “old” or “eternal,” butsu means “buddha” and shin means “mind.” So kobusshin means “the mind of eternal buddhas.” In this chapter, Master Dogen cites examples of the mind of eternal Buddhas, quoting Master Tendo Nyojo, Master Engo Kokugon, Master Sozan Konin, and Master Seppo Gison. Then he explains a story about National Master Daisho (Master Nan-yo Echu) and his disciple that suggests the oneness of the mind of eternal Buddhas and miscellaneous concrete things. At the end of the chapter he quotes Master Zengen Chuko’s words on the matter.
 BODAISATTA-SHISHOBO 菩提薩摩埵四摂法
Four Elements of a Bodhisattva’s Social Relations
Bodaisatta means “bodhisattva,” a person who is pursuing the Buddhist truth; shi means “four”; and shobo means “elements of social relations” or “methods for social relations.” The four are dana, free giving; priya-akhyana, kind speech; artha-carya, helpful conduct; and samana-arthata, identity of purpose, or cooperation. Buddhism puts great value on our actual conduct. For this reason, our conduct in relating to each other is a very important part of Buddhist life. In this chapter Master Dogen preaches that these four ways of behaving are the essence of Buddhist life. He explains the real meaning of Buddhism in terms of social relations.
 KATTO 葛藤
Katsu means “arrowroot” and to means “wisteria.” Arrowroot and wisteria, being vines, are unable to stand by themselves but grow by entwining with other plants. Because of this, in China and Japan, arrowroot and wisteria are used as a symbol of something that is very complicated. Buddhist philosophy strives to describe what reality is. Because reality cannot be adequately expressed with words, it is sometimes described as “the ineffable.” Here, Master Dogen uses the word katto, the complicated, to suggest reality, which is very direct, but complicated. He felt that the words “the complicated” express the nature of reality rather well.
 SANGAI-YUISHIN 三界唯心
The Triple World is Only the Mind
San means “three” and kai means “world.” So sangai means “the three worlds,” or “the triple world.” Traditionally, Buddhist theory looks at the world as the amalgamation of three worlds: the world of thinking, the world of feeling, and the world of action. In traditional Buddhist terminology these three worlds are called the worlds of volition, matter, and non-matter. The phrase “the three worlds,” or “the triple world,” is often used to mean this world here and now, the whole world, the real world, which includes the world of thinking, the world of feeling, and the world of action. Yui means “only,” “solely,” or “alone,” and shin means “mind.” So sangai-yuishin means “the triple world is only the mind” or “the triple world is the mind alone.” The phrase “the triple world is only the mind” is often interpreted as an idealistic insistence that the whole world is produced by our mind. Historically, many Buddhist monks thought that this was the case. Master Dogen did not agree; he insisted that in Buddhism, the phrase “the triple world is only the mind” means something far more real. This phrase refers to the teaching that reality exists in the contact between subject and object. From this viewpoint, when we say that the world is only the mind, we also need to say that the mind is only the world, to express the fact that the relationship is a mutual one. In this chapter, Master Dogen explains the meaning of the phrase “the triple world is only the mind” from the Buddhist viewpoint, criticizing idealistic interpretations.
 SESSHIN-SESSHO 説心説性
Expounding the Mind & Expounding the Nature
Setsu means “teach,” “explain,” or “expound.” Shin means “mind,” and sho means “the essence,” or “the nature.” So sesshin means “expounding the mind” and sessho means “expounding the nature.” Some Chinese Buddhist monks asserted that expounding the mind and expounding the nature belong within the sphere of intellectual effort, and so to make such effort to explain the mind and essence is not only unnecessary but also detrimental to attainment of the Buddhist truth. They believed that the Buddhist truth could never embrace intellectual understanding. Master Dogen had a different opinion. He thought that the concepts sesshin and sessho in Buddhist thought refer to something much more real. He understood sesshin-sessho as the manifestation of the mind and the manifestation of the nature in the real world. Master Dogen saw no reason to deny the concepts sesshin and sessho; instead he used them to explain the fundamental theory of Buddhism.
 BUTSUDO 仏道
The Buddhist Truth
Butsu means “Buddha” and do originally means “way,” but also “morals” and “the truth.” So butsudo means “the Buddha’s truth” or “the Buddhist truth.” The concept of “the Buddhist truth” is central to Master Dogen’s theory, and it is helpful to examine the meaning from each of the four phases of Buddhist philosophy. In the first (subjective) phase, the Buddhist truth is embodied in the Buddhist philosophical system. In the second (objective) phase, the Buddhist truth is the external world, or nature. In the third phase (based on action), the Buddhist truth is ethical or moral conduct in everyday life; that is, everyday life as we live it. In the ultimate phase, the Buddhist truth is ineffable, the complicated; the state in Zazen, or reality itself. In this chapter, however, Master Dogen does not try to explain these meanings of “the Buddhist truth”; he simply asserts that there is only one Buddhism — that which was established by Gautama Buddha. Based on his assertion, although there are several Buddhist sects, we do not need to use the titles that these sects have been given. Master Dogen insists that the title “the Buddha’s truth” or “Buddhism” is sufficient, and that it is wrong to use such titles as the Unmon Sect, the Hogen Sect, the Igyo Sect, the Rinzai Sect, and the Soto Sect. We usually think of Master Dogen as belonging to the Soto Sect, but he himself did not approve of the use of even the title “Soto Sect.”
 SHOHO-JISSO 諸法実相
All Dharmas are Real Form
Sho expresses plurality; it means “all,” “various,” or “many.” Ho means “dharmas,” both physical things and mental phenomena. Jitsu means “real.” So means form. The Lotus Sutra teaches the most important and fundamental theory in Buddhism: that “all things and phenomena are real form.” Because Buddhism is a philosophy of realism, its viewpoint is different from idealism and materialism. The idealist sees only phenomena, which cannot be confirmed to be substantially real. Idealists thus doubt that phenomena are real form. The materialist looks at the detail, breaking things into parts, thus losing the meaning and value that is included in the whole. Buddhism says that reality is all things and phenomena existing here and now and reveres them as real substance: reality itself. This teaching is found in the Lotus Sutra, expressed with the words “all dharmas are real form.” In this chapter, Master Dogen explains the meaning of the Lotus Sutra’s teaching.
 MITSUGO 密語
Mitsu means “secret,” or “mystical,” in the sense of not apparent to the senses or the intellect, but experienced directly or immediately – as if two things are touching. Go means “words” or “talk.” So mitsugo means “secret talk,” that is, something communicated directly without sound. In Buddhism it is said that there is secret talk that can be recognized and understood even though it has no sound. So “secret talk” suggests the existence of intuitive perception. It is a fact that we can sometimes discover meaning, or secrets, without receiving any external stimuli, but we need not see the fact as particularly mystical. An analogy that helps to understand such facts is the sympathetic resonance of tuning forks.
 BUKKYO 仏経
The Buddhist Sutras
Butsu means “Buddha” or “Buddhist,” and kyo means “sutra” or “scripture.” So bukkyo means Buddhist sutras. Shobogenzo chapter 24 is also called Bukkyo, but in that chapter, kyo is a different word, meaning “teaching.” In Buddhism, there are fundamentally two ways that are useful in pursuing the truth. One is practicing Zazen, and the other is reading sutras. But some people emphasize the value of practicing Zazen so strongly that they are blind to the value of reading Buddhist sutras, and so they deny the value of reading them. They insist that Buddhism is not philosophical theories, and therefore that to attain the truth we need only practice Zazen, and that reading Buddhist sutras is useless or even detrimental to pursuing the truth. But Master Dogen did not think so. He esteemed the value of reading sutras, and he thought that it was necessary to read Buddhist sutras in order to attain the truth. Therefore he recorded the true meaning of reading Buddhist sutras in this chapter. Furthermore, in Master Dogen’s thought, Buddhist sutras are not only Buddhist scriptures, but they are also the Universe itself, which shows us and teaches us the true meaning of our life.
 MUJO-SEPPO 無情説法
The Non-Emotional Preaches the Dharma
Mujo means the non-emotional and Seppo means to preach the Dharma. Originally, mujo means inanimate or insentient things, so mujo-seppo means inanimate things preach the Dharma. But Master Dogen’s usage of the word mujo was wider than the usual usage, as if the words cover the whole of nature – human beings as well as mountains, rivers, and so on. Master Dogen insisted that even inanimate things can preach the Dharma, and at the same time he insisted that human beings can preach the Dharma when they are not emotional. He insisted that any thing that is not emotional can preach the Dharma – a viewpoint that profoundly expresses the true nature of Buddhist preaching.
 HOSSHO 法性
Ho means Dharma, that is the Buddha’s teaching, or the Universe itself. Sho means essence, or nature. So hossho means the Dharma-nature, or the essence of the Universe. Needless to say, we are living in the Universe. Therefore what the Universe means is one of the most important philosophical problems in our life. Some people insist that the Universe is something spiritual. Others insist that the Universe is something material. But from the Buddhist standpoint, the Universe is neither spiritual nor material, but something real. It is, however, very difficult to express the Universe as something real using words, because reality usually transcends explanation with words. Master Dogen undertook this difficult task, in order to express the nature of the Universe, in this chapter.
 DARANI 陀羅尼
The Chinese characters pronounced da-ra-ni represent the Sanskrit dharani, which originally means a spell or incantation that is believed to have mystical omnipotence. But Master Dogen’s interpretation was more concrete, and especially he esteemed the value of prostrations as dharani. In this chapter he explains the meaning of prostrations as dharani.
 SENMEN 洗面
Washing the Face
Sen means to wash, and men means the face. Idealistic religions generally revere only the spiritual side of the world; everyday activities such as eating meals, getting dressed, washing the face, and taking a bath are not considered to be religious practices. Buddhism, however, is a religion based on the real world; these everyday activities are important religious practices without which there can be no Buddhist life. This is why, when a Chinese Buddhist master was asked by his disciple, “What is the fundamental principle of Buddhism?” the master answered “Wearing clothes and eating meals.” Master Dogen put the greatest value on the practice of washing the face. In this chapter he explains the Buddhist meaning in the daily activities of taking a bath and washing the face.
 MENJU 面授
The Face-to-Face Transmission
Men means face, and ju means transmission. Menju means the transmission of the Dharma from a master to a disciple face to face. In Buddhism, what is transmitted from a master to a disciple is not only abstract theory, but also something real, including actual conduct, physical health, and intuitional wisdom. Therefore the transmission of this real something cannot be actualized solely through explanations with words, or simply by passing on some manuscript. For this reason, the Dharma that Gautama Buddha taught has been transmitted in person from master to disciple since the days of Gautama Buddha. Without this personal contact, the Buddhist Dharma cannot be transmitted. In this chapter, Master Dogen praises the transmission of the Buddhist Dharma and explains its importance.
 ZAZENGI 坐禅儀
The Standard Method of Zazen
Gi means a form, or a standard of behavior. Therefore Zazengi means the standard method of Zazen. Master Dogen wrote several treatises about Zazen. First he wrote Fukan-zazengi, (The Universal Guide to the Standard Method of Zazen), in 1227, just after coming back from China. In Shobogenzo he wrote Bendowa (A Talk about Pursuing the Truth), Zazenshin (A Needle for Zazen), Zanmai-o-zanmai (The Samadhi That Is King of Samadhis), and this chapter, Zazengi. Fukan-zazengi was the first text Master Dogen wrote, and thus it was the first proclamation of his belief in Zazen. Bendowa was an introduction to Zazen written in an easy style and format to help us understand the fundamental theories of Zazen. Zazenshin contains a guiding poem on Zazen, and Master Dogen’s interpretation of it. The reason Master Dogen used poetry to interpret the meaning of Zazen is that it is difficult to interpret the philosophical meaning of Zazen in prose, because the ultimate meaning of Zazen is something that cannot be explained with words. Master Dogen felt that it was appropriate to suggest the ultimate philosophical meaning of Zazen in poetry. But in this chapter, Zazengi, Master Dogen explained only the formal method of practicing Zazen. The existence of this chapter indicates how highly Master Dogen revered the formal standard of Zazen.
 BAIKE 梅華
Baike means plum blossoms. Master Dogen loved plum blossoms very much and we can find many descriptions and poems about plum blossoms in his works. Master Tendo Nyojo, Master Dogen’s master, also loved plum blossoms and so we can also find many poems about plum blossoms in his works. Plum blossoms may have been a great pleasure to Buddhist monks living in mountain temples when there were few consolations to relieve the hardship of winter – because plum blossoms bloom at the very beginning of spring, when there are no other flowers, and plum blossoms are both pretty and fragrant. In this chapter, Master Dogen described the real situation of nature, quoting Master Tendo Nyojo’s poems and preachings on plum blossoms.
 JUPPO 十方
The Ten Directions
Ju means “ten” and ho means “direction,” so Juppo means “the ten directions.” The ten directions are east, west, south, north, northeast, southeast, southwest, northwest, and upward and downward. These represent all directions, the whole of space, or the whole world. In Buddhist philosophy the meaning of space is frequently discussed. In these discussions, the word juppo, “the ten directions,” is often used as a concrete expression of space. In this chapter, Master Dogen picks up the word juppo, and uses it to discuss real space.
 KENBUTSU 見仏
Ken means “look at,” “meet,” or “realize the state of,” and butsu means “Buddha” or “buddhas.” Therefore kenbutsu means “meeting Buddha” or “meeting buddhas.” In order to meet buddhas it is necessary first to become buddha, because buddhas can be seen only by buddhas. In this chapter, Master Dogen explained the real situation of meeting buddhas and the true meaning of meeting buddhas.
 HENSAN 遍參
Hen means “everywhere” or “widely,” and san means “to visit,” or “to study through experience.” Originally hensan described the custom Buddhist monks used to have of traveling around in order to meet excellent masters with whom they could be satisfied. But according to Master Dogen, hensan, or “thorough exploration,” is accomplished not by traveling around, but by a Buddhist monk’s thorough exploration of the Buddhist state under one true master. In this chapter, Master Dogen explains the true meaning of hensan.
 GANZEI 眼睛
Ganzei, which means “eyeballs” or “eyes,” symbolizes the viewpoint of Gautama Buddha, that is, the Buddhist viewpoint. In this chapter, Master Dogen explains the meaning of the word ganzei, which appears frequently in Shobogenzo, quoting Master Tendo Nyojo, Master Ungan Donjo, Master Tozan Ryokai, and other Buddhist masters.
 KAJO 家常
Ka means “house” or “home,” and jo means “usual” or “everyday.” So kajo means “everyday” or “everyday life.” People are often prone to think that religious matters should be different from daily life, being more sacred than and superior to daily life. But according to Buddhist theory, Buddhist life is nothing other than our daily life. Without daily life there can never be Buddhism. In China it was said that wearing clothes and eating meals are just Buddhism. In this chapter, Master Dogen explains the meaning of kajo, everyday life, on the basis of Buddhism.
 RYUGIN 龍吟
The Moaning of Dragons
Ryu means “dragons,” and gin means “sing,” “chant,” or “moan.” Dragons, of course, are not living animals, but are mythical animals. So it would be very strange for dragons to sing or moan; in short, it is impossible for dragons to sing or moan. But in ancient China people used the word ryugin, “the moaning of dragons” or “the whispers of dragons,” as a symbol of something mystical in nature or in the Universe – for example, in the expression koboku ryugin. Koboku means “withered trees”; the words conjure an image of a lonely, desolate landscape of withered trees, where we feel we can hear something that is not a sound. This concept later entered into Buddhist explanations. The moaning of dragons is not a sound but something which cannot be heard with the ears alone; that is, quietness, nature, the Universe, or reality. Buddhism is not simple mysticism, and so we should not readily believe in the existence of something mystical. At the same time, we should not limit reality to the area of sensory perception. On this basis, Master Dogen explains the meaning of ryugin or “the moaning of dragons” in this chapter.
 SHUNJU 春秋
Spring and Autumn
Shun means “spring” and ju, which is a corruption of shu, means “autumn.” Shunju, spring and autumn, expresses the seasons. In this chapter Master Dogen describes the Buddhist attitude towards cold and heat. First Master Dogen quotes a famous conversation on this subject between Master Tozan Ryokai and a monk. Then he discusses the comments of some ancient masters in order to explain the true meaning of the story.
 SOSHI-SAIRAI-NO-I 祖師西来意
The Ancestral Master’s Intention in Coming from the West
So means “ancestor” or “patriarch” and shi means “master”; thus soshi means “ancestral masters,” or “the ancestral Master.” The word sometimes, as in this case, indicates Master Bodhidharma. Sai means “west” and rai means “come.” I (pronounced not as in white but as in green) means “intention” or “aim.” So Soshi-sairai-no-i means Master Bodhidharma’s intention in coming from the west. It is said that in the sixth century Master Bodhidharma went from India (the west) to China (the east) to spread Buddhism, and that this event marked the transmission of true Buddhism to China. Master Bodhidharma was then called the first Patriarch in China and so Chinese Buddhists thought it very important to discuss Master Bodhidharma’s intention in coming from the west. In this chapter, Master Dogen picks up a famous discussion between Master Kyogen Chikan and his disciple to explain the real meaning of Master Bodhidharma’s intention in coming from the west.
 UDONGE 優曇華
The Udumbara Flower
Udonge means the flower of a type of fig tree called udumbara in Sanskrit. The udumbara tree (Ficus glomerata) is a large tropical tree of the mulberry family (Moraceae). Its flowers grow around the fruit, so they look like peel rather than flowers. Because of this, people in ancient India considered the udumbara to be flowerless. Consequently, they used the udumbara flower as a symbol of something that rarely happens; for example, the realization of the Buddhist truth. In a Buddhist sutra called Daibonten-o-monbutsu-ketsugi-kyo (The Sutra of Questions and Answers between Mahabrahman and the Buddha) there is a story that one day Gautama Buddha showed an udumbara flower to an audience. No-one could understand the meaning of Gautama Buddha’s suggestion other than Master Mahakasyapa, who smiled. In Chinese Buddhism this story symbolized the transmission of the truth. So Master Dogen used udumbara flowers to explain the meaning of the transmission. Because Daibonten-o-monbutsu-ketsugi-kyo was said to have been written in China, it was criticized by some Buddhists as not expressing Gautama Buddha’s true intention. Master Dogen, however, insisted in Shobogenzo, chapter 74, Tenborin, that even if a Buddhist sutra was produced in China, after its words have been discussed by Buddhist masters it becomes a Buddhist sutra which expresses the true intention of Gautama Buddha; we need not worry whether or not it was written in India.
 HOTSU-MUJOSHIN 発無上心
Establishment of the Will to the Supreme
Hotsu means “to establish,” mujo means “supreme,” and shin means “mind” or “will.” Hotsu-mujoshin means the establishment of the will to the supreme truth. In the original sentences of this chapter we do not find the words hotsu-mujoshin; but the words hotsu-bodaishin, which mean “the establishment of the bodhi-mind,” appear many times. Therefore, the title Hotsu-mujoshin may have been selected to distinguish this chapter from the next chapter, Hotsu-bodaishin. Furthermore, the two chapters end with exactly the same words: “Preached to the assembly at Kippo temple in the Yoshida district of Esshu on the 14th day of the 2nd lunar month in the 2nd year of Kangen .” We need to consider how the two chapters are related. Dr. Fumio Masutani has suggested that Hotsu-mujoshin was preached for lay people who were working on the construction of Daibutsu-ji temple (later called Eihei-ji temple), and that Hotsu-bodaishin was preached on the same day for monks. Unfortunately, there is no evidence to prove this theory conclusively, but the content of the two chapters does lend it some support. Both hotsu-mujoshin and hotsu-bodaishin mean the will to pursue the Buddhist truth, which can never be pursued for any purpose other than the truth itself. Master Dogen highly esteemed this attitude in studying Buddhism, and he explains the importance of establishing the will to the truth in these two chapters.
 HOTSU-BODAISHIN 発菩提心
Establishment of the Bodhi-mind
It is supposed that this chapter and the previous chapter originally had the same title, i.e., Hotsu-bodaishin, “Establishment of the Bodhi-mind,” but that the title of the previous chapter was changed to Hotsu-mujoshin, “Establishment of the Will to the Supreme,” for the purpose of distinction. Dr. Fumio Masutani believes that the former chapter was a sermon for lay people and this chapter was a sermon given on the same day to monks and nuns. Whatever Master Dogen’s intention was, one point is that this chapter includes a presentation of the “The Theory of the Momentary Appearance and Disappearance of the Universe.” In Buddhist theory, action is esteemed highly; when we consider the meaning of life, we can consider that our life is just a series of moments of action. Why do we say that our life is momentary? Because once we have done an act we can never return to the past to undo it. At the same time, we can never perform an act until its time comes to the present. So an act is always done just at the moment of the present. Furthermore, the moment of the present is cut off from the moment immediately before it and the moment immediately after it, because we can never act in the past and we can never act in the future. According to Buddhist theory, then, our life is momentary, and the whole Universe appears and disappears at every moment. This theory, also known as “The Theory of Instantaneousness,” is important in resolving the conflict between human freedom and the law of cause and effect; that is, free will versus determinism. In this chapter, Master Dogen clearly explains the theory.
 NYORAI-ZENSHIN 如来全身
The Whole Body of the Tathagata
Nyorai represents the Chinese translation of the Sanskrit word tathagata, which means a person who has arrived at the truth. Sometimes, as in this case, nyorai means Gautama Buddha himself. Zenshin means “the whole body.” In this chapter, Master Dogen teaches that Buddhist sutras are Gautama Buddha’s whole body, using the word “sutras” to express the real form of the Universe. Thus Master Dogen insists that the Universe is Gautama Buddha’s whole body.
 ZANMAI-O-ZANMAI 三昧王三昧
The Samadhi That Is King of Samadhis
Zanmai is the Japanese pronunciation of the phonetic rendering in Chinese of the Sanskrit word “samadhi,” which means the state in Zazen; that is, the balanced state of body and mind. O means “king.” We can consider that there are many kinds of samadhi in our daily lives. However, according to Buddhist theory the most important and best samadhi is just the samadhi that we can experience in Zazen. Therefore, we call the state in Zazen “the king of samadhis.” In this chapter, Master Dogen explains what Zazen is, and so he chose the title Zanmai-o-zanmai, The Samadhi That Is King of Samadhis.