SANJUSHICHI-BON-BODAI-BUNBO 三十七品菩提分法
The Thirty-seven Auxiliary Bodhi Methods
Sanjushichi means “thirty-seven.” Bon means “kinds.” Bodai represents the Sanskrit bodhi, which means “the truth.” Bunbo means “auxiliary methods.” So Sanjushichibon Bodai Bunbo means “the thirty-seven kinds of auxiliary methods [for realizing] the truth.” Generally speaking, Buddhist study is divided into Hinayana Buddhism and Mahayana Buddhism. And the thirty-seven methods are usually said to belong to Hinayana Buddhism, because they are discussed in the Abhidharma-mahavibhasa-sastra, which is a fundamental sutra of Hinayana Buddhism. In Japan, and especially among Mahayana Buddhist masters, it was very rare for Buddhist monks to discuss these teachings. But Master Dogen has his own view of Mahayana and Hinayana Buddhism. According to him, there is only one Buddhism, which Gautama Buddha taught. So although there are distinctions between Mahayana Buddhism and Hinayana Buddhism, the distinctions are due to the different ages in which the two kinds of Buddhism were taught. Therefore Master Dogen does not like to discriminate between the two Buddhist streams. In this chapter Master Dogen explains the thirty-seven methods as Buddhist practice which is not divided into Hinayana and Mahayana Buddhism, and which is based on practicing Zazen.
 TEMBORIN 転法輪
Turning the Dharma Wheel
Ten means “turn”; ho means “Dharma,” or the Buddha’s teaching, and rin means “wheel,” or in Sanskrit “cakra.” In ancient India a cakra was a wheel with pointed spokes, used as a weapon. The Buddha’s preaching was likened to the turning of a cakra, so temborin, or the turning of the Dharma wheel, means Buddhist preaching. In this chapter Master Dogen explains the true meaning of Buddhist preaching. Before this explanation, he quotes the words of several masters on what happens when someone realizes the truth and returns to the origin. Master Dogen does this to illustrate the value of Buddhist scriptures written in China. Some people claim that only scriptures written in India can be called Buddhist scriptures, and that scriptures written in China cannot be called true Buddhist scriptures. But Master Dogen takes a wider view: According to him, sutras quoted by true Buddhist Masters are true Buddhist scriptures, even if they are produced outside of India. They become true Buddhist scriptures by being quoted by true Buddhist masters. On this basis, Master Dogen, insists that the preaching of Buddhism can be done at all places and at all times. So in this chapter Master Dogen explains the universal validity of Buddhist preaching. At the same time, he insists that to preach true Buddhism is to spend one’s life in a temple, and to practice Zazen in Zazen Halls.
 JISHO ZANMAI 自証三昧
Samadhi as Self Experience
Ji means “self,” sho means “to experience,” and zanmai means “samadhi,” or “the balanced state.” So jisho zanmai expresses samadhi, as the state of self-experience. In this chapter Master Dogen explains the meaning of jisho zanmai, or “samadhi, as self-experience.” At the same time, he criticizes the wrong understanding of Master Dai-e Soko and his disciples. They understood that jisho zanmai means getting so-called enlightenment, and they made their efforts to get so-called enlightenment on an intellectual level. Master Dogen did not agree with their idea, and so in this chapter he strongly criticizes Master Dai-e Soko in order to show the true meaning of jisho zanmai.
 DAI SHUGYO 大修行
Dai means “great,” and shugyo means “practice.” So dai shugyo means “great practice.”There is a famous Chinese story about Master Hyakujo Ekai and a wild fox; the story concerns the relation between Buddhist practice and the law of cause and effect. This relation is explained in two ways, each totally at odds with the other. The first explanation says that someone of great practice “does not fall into cause and effect”; in other words, it denies the influence of cause and effect upon someone of great practice. The other explanation says “do not be unclear about cause and effect”; in other words, it affirms the influence of cause and effect upon someone of great practice. But Master Dogen considered the difference between these two explanations to be only a matter of intellectual thought, not the situation in reality. He explained that someone of great practice transcends both the negation and the affirmation of the law of cause and effect, by acting in the real world.
 KOKU 虚空
Ko means “vacant” or “void,” and ku means “air,” “space,” or “emptiness.” So koku means “space.” Space and time have been most important concepts in philosophy since ancient times, and even in ancient India people frequently discussed the problem of space and time. And this tradition influenced Buddhism, so the problem of space and time became very important in Buddhism in India. The tendency was also accepted by Chinese Buddhism, so there are many stories of Chinese Buddhist masters discussing space and time. In this chapter Master Dogen discusses space. He first quotes a discussion about space between Master Shakkyo Ezo and Master Seido Chizo. Then he gives his own explanation, quoting a poem by Master Tendo Nyojo, a discussion between Master Baso Do-itsu and a monk called Seizan Ryo, and the words of Master Vasumitra.
 HATSU-U 鉢盂
Hatsu represents the Sanskrit patra, and u means bowl or bowls. In India, Buddhist monks ate their meals from a large bowl called a patra And the word patra was translated into hatsu-u in China. So hatsu-u means the Buddhist food bowls used in China. In this chapter, Master Dogen explained the importance of the patra, which has traditionally been revered very highly as a symbol of Buddhist life.
 ANGO 安居
An means “peaceful” and go means “reside.” Ango means the ninety-day summer retreat. In India, the rainy season lasts for about three months in the summer. Buddhists in ancient India used this time for concentrated practice of Zazen, and this period was called varsika in Sanskrit. The tradition was imported into China, and so when Master Dogen went to China he experienced the concentrated practice of Zazen for three months in the summer and felt his mission to introduce it into Japan. So he wrote this chapter.
 TASHINTSU 佗心通
The Power to Know Others’ Minds
Ta means “others,” shin means “mind,” and tsu (short for jinzu) means “mystical power.” So tashintsu means “the mystical power to know others’ minds.” In some Buddhist theory it is said to be possible for Buddhist practitioners to attain a mystical power to know others’ minds. Related to this matter there is a famous story about questions and answers between Master Nanyo Echu and an Indian monk called Daini Sanzo. And five famous Buddhist masters discussed the meaning of the story. But Master Dogen was not satisfied by the explanations of the five famous masters. So in this chapter Master Dogen criticizes the views of the five masters, and in the process he expresses his own view.
 O SAKU SENDABA 王索仙陀婆
A King’s Seeking of Saindhava
O means “king,” saku means “to seek,” and sendaba is a phonetic rendering of the Sanskrit saindhava. Saindhava means “products of the Indus river basin.” In the Maha-parinirvana-sutra there is a story which expresses the multiple meanings of words and the ambiguity of reality. When a king needs to wash his hands and seeks saindhava, his servant will bring water. When the king is eating a meal and seeks saindhava, the servant will bring salt. When the king wants to drink water and seeks saindhava, the servant will bring a cup. And when the king wants to go out and seeks saindhava, the servant will bring a horse. Buddhist monks in China often used this story to discuss the multiple meanings of words and the ambiguity of reality. So Master Dogen explained the meaning of “A King’s Seeking of Saindhava” on the basis of his own thoughts.
 JI-KUIN-MON 示庫院文
Sentences To Be Shown in the Kitchen Hall
Ji means “to show,” kuin means the Kitchen Hall of a temple, and mon means “sentences.” So Ji-kuin-mon means “Sentences To Be Shown in the Kitchen Hall.” This chapter was not originally included in Shobogenzo, but when Master Hangyo Kozen edited the 95-chapter edition in 1690, he included this chapter along with Bendowa and Ju-un-do-shiki. Master Dogen esteemed the value of cooking very highly in Buddhist temple life. He wrote a book called Tenzo-kyokun or “Instructions for the Cook.” The reason Master Dogen wrote this book, and the reason he revered the work of cooking in a Buddhist temple, is his experience in China. Just after arriving in China, he met an old monk who was proud to be the cook of his temple, and who explained the value of cooking in a temple as Buddhist practice itself. Later, Master Dogen saw another old monk who was working very diligently to dry seaweed for monks’ meals, and he realized how important it was for Buddhist monks to cook meals for the other practitioners in a temple. So Master Dogen expressed the same idea in this chapter.
 SHUKKE 出家
Leaving Family Life
It was the custom in ancient India that people who wanted to pursue the truth left their family, and this custom was retained in Buddhist orders. First of all, it is said that Gautama Buddha originally left his family life and began the life of a monk when he was 29 years old. Therefore, in the Buddhist order, people highly revere transcendence of family life in order to pursue the truth. This chapter explains the custom.
 SANJI-NO-GO 三時業
Karma in Three Times
San means three, ji means time and go means conduct. In this case, sanji means three kinds of time lags and go means both conduct and its effects. As you know, belief in cause and effect is a very important theory in Buddhist philosophy. So Master Dogen wrote a chapter of Shobogenzo titled Shinjin-inga, or “Deep Belief in Cause and Effect.” He insisted that all things and phenomena in the Universe are governed by the law of cause and effect, perfectly and without any exception. According to this theory, we should deny the existence of any indeterminate event. But in our daily life it often seems that such accidents happen. So if Buddhism insists that the law of cause and effect is totally perfect, it is necessary for Buddhism to explain the apparent existence of many accidents. Buddhism explains such apparent accidents with the theory that there are three kinds of time lag between our conduct and the effect of our conduct. After we act, sometimes the effect manifests itself at once, sometimes the effect manifests itself with a short time lag, and sometimes the effect manifests itself with a very long time lag. In the second and third cases, people usually doubt whether the law of cause and effect perfectly governs this world. But if we recognize the three kinds of time lag between conduct and its effects, we can affirm the existence of the law of cause and effect in all cases without exception. Master Dogen explained this problem in the following chapter.
 SHIME 四馬
The Four Horses
Shi means “four” and me means “horses,” so shime means four horses. In a very old Buddhist scripture called Saµyukta gama, we can find a story about four kinds of horses: horses that know the rider’s intention at the sight of the whip, horses that know the rider’s intention when the whip touches their hair, horses that know the rider’s intention when the whip touches their flesh, and horses that know the rider’s intention when the whip reaches their bones. These differences between four kinds of horses are used as a simile of the differences between Buddhist students in their intuitional ability to study Buddhism. Buddhism is not always studied by the intellect, but is sometimes studied with the intuition. So it is very important for Buddhists to have the intuitional ability to realize their master’s teachings. Therefore Master Dogen explained the meaning of shime, or the four kinds of horses, in this chapter.
 SHUKKE-KUDOKU 出家功徳
The Merit of Leaving Family Life
Shutsu means “to get out of” or “to transcend.” Ke means “house,” “home” or “family life.” Kudoku means “merit.” So shukke kudoku means the merit of transcending family life. In this chapter Master Dogen praised and emphasized the merit of transcending family life. We human beings are generally brought up in families, and so we can say that the influence that our family has on us is incredibly strong. The aim of studying Buddhism is to get the truth. So if we would like to get the truth it is necessary for us to transcend our family life, because when we are accustomed to family life, we are sometimes influenced by family life and cannot discriminate what the truth is. Therefore the merit of transcending family life is much revered in Buddhism, and Master Dogen explained the merit of transcending family life, following the Buddhist tradition.
 KUYO-SHOBUTSU 供養諸仏
Serving Offerings to Buddhas
Ku-yo means “to serve offerings” and shobutsu means “buddhas” so Kuyo-shobutsu means “Serving Offerings to Buddhas.” There is a tradition in Buddhism that Buddhist believers serve offerings to buddhas. Buddhas are people who have attained the truth, so it is very natural for Buddhist believers to serve offerings to buddhas. But people who have a spiritual viewpoint might say that it is not necessary to serve material offerings, purely spiritual reverence being sufficient. Buddhism, however, is not a spiritual religion but a religion of reality. Buddhism reveres conduct. So Buddhism values the service of real offerings, and recognizes the sincere attitude of belief in that service. Of course, the offerings need not be expensive. The service of offerings is valuable because it is just Buddhist conduct.
 KIE-SANBO 帰依三宝
Taking Refuge in the Three Treasures
Ki-e means “devotion to” or “taking refuge in” and sanbo means “the Three Treasures”: Buddha, Dharma, and Samgha. Buddha means Gautama Buddha and other people who have attained the same state as Gautama Buddha. Dharma means reality. Samgha means the Buddhist community of monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen. The Three Treasures are of supreme value in Buddhism and Master Dogen emphasized the importance of devoting ourselves to the Three Treasures, because devotion to the Three Treasures is the beginning and end of Buddhism.
 SHINJIN-INGA 深信因果
Deep Belief in Cause and Effect
Shin means deep and shin (in this case pronounced jin) means belief. In means cause, and ka (in this case pronounced ga) means effect. So shinjin-inga means deep belief in cause and effect. It is obvious that there is belief in cause and effect in Buddhist theory. But many so-called Mahayana Buddhists say that the Buddhist theory of belief in cause and effect belongs to Hinayana Buddhism, and that Mahayana Buddhists can transcend belief in cause and effect. This idea, however, is wrong. Master Dogen insisted that, to understand Buddhism, it is very important for Buddhists to believe in the law of cause and effect, and so he emphasized the importance of belief in cause and effect in this chapter. In Chinese Buddhism there is a very famous story about a Buddhist priest who had fallen into the life of a wild fox because he negated the law of cause and effect, but who was saved by the words of Master Hyakujo Ekai. Many Buddhist students misunderstood this story as an example which taught the transcendence of cause and effect. But Master Dogen indicated their mistakes in this chapter. He clearly explained the meaning of the story and he explained profound belief in cause and effect in Buddhist theory.
 SHIZEN-BIKU 四禅比丘
The Bhiksu in the Fourth Dhyana
Shi means four. Zen represents the Sanskrit word dhyana, which means Zazen or the state in Zazen. Biku represents the Sanskrit word bhiksu, which means a Buddhist monk. Shizen-biku, or the bhiksu who had attained the fourth state in Zazen, was a monk who mistook his own state for the state of an arhat, the fourth and ultimate stage of a Buddhist practitioner. When he was dying this monk saw an image usually seen by someone who has attained the fourth state in Zazen, so he thought that Gautama Buddha must have deceived him. And because of this wrong idea, he fell down into hell. Master Dogen quoted this story as an example of a wrong approach to Buddhism. In addition, he strongly insisted in this chapter that it is a very serious mistake for Buddhist students to believe that Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism are the same in their teachings.
 YUI-BUTSU-YO-BUTSU 唯仏与仏
Buddhas Alone, Together With Buddhas
Yui means “only” or “solely,” butsu means “buddha” or “buddhas” and yo means “and” or “together with.” Therefore Yui-butsu-yo-butsu means “buddhas alone, together with buddhas.” Yui-butsu-yo-butsu are very famous words in the Lotus Sutra. The sentence of the Lotus Sutra which includes the words yui-butsu-yo-butsu is “buddhas alone, together with buddhas are directly able to perfectly realize that all dharmas are real form.” In this chapter, Master Dogen explained what buddhas are.
 SHOJI 生死
Sho means “life” and ji means “death,” so shoji means “life and death.” We have the words “life” and “death,” but Master Dogen did not recommend us to understand intellectually what our life and death are. He found value in our real day-to-day life itself. So in this chapter Master Dogen explained life-and-death as the real momentary state of our daily life in which life and death are combined.
 DOSHIN 道心
The Will to the Truth
Do, which means “way” or “truth,” is a translation of the Sanskrit word bodhi, and shin means “mind” or “will.” So doshin represents the Sanskrit bodhicitta. In this chapter, Master Dogen preached the will to the truth, devotion to the Three Treasures, the making of buddha-images, and practicing Zazen. The teachings of this chapter are rather concrete and direct, and so some Buddhist scholars have supposed that this chapter might have been preached for laymen and laywomen.
 JUKAI 受戒
Receiving the Precepts
Ju means “to receive,” and kai means the Buddhist precepts, so jukai means receiving the precepts. Traditionally in Buddhism people who want to enter the Buddhist order receive the Buddhist precepts. So we can say that receiving the Buddhist precepts is a ceremony of entry into the Buddhist order, or of becoming a Buddhist. Master Dogen esteemed the value of receiving the precepts very much. Therefore in this chapter he explained the value of receiving the precepts and outlined an example of a ceremony for receiving the precepts.
 HACHI-DAININGAKU 八大人覚
The Eight Truths of a Great Human Being
Hachi means eight. Dainin means a great human being, that is, a buddha. And kaku, pronounced here as gaku, means an intuitive refllection or truth. The eight truths of a great human being were preached in Yuikyo-gyo and the teaching was the last teaching of Gautama Buddha, given just before he died. Master Dogen also preached this chapters when he felt his death was not far away, and he did not preach any more after this chapter. So this chapter became the last chapter of the 95-chapter edition of Shobogenzo.
[Appendix 1] BUTSU-KOJO-NO-JI 仏向上事
The Matter of the Ascendant State of Buddha
The words butsu-kojo-no-ji describe the fact that even after getting the truth, Buddhist masters continue their daily life as if they have not had any enlightenment at all. Comparing the following chapter from the 28-chapter “Secret Shobogenzo” and the chapter which appears in the 95-chapter edition, we find much difference between the two chapters. The one in the 95-chapter edition is made up of many stories of Chinese Buddhist masters relating to butsu-kojo-no-ji. This chapter has a rather long philosophical explanation of butsu-kojo-no-ji and just a couple of related stories. Therefore, it may be valuable to read the following chapter from the 28-chapter edition in order to get more exact knowledge about butsu-kojo-no-ji, or “the matter of the ascendant state of buddha.”
[Appendix 2] IPPYAKUHACHI-HOMYOMON 一百八法明門
One Hundred and Eight Gates of Dharma-Illumination
Ippyaku-hachi means one hundred and eight. Ho means Dharma, that is, the Buddha’s teachings or the Universe. Myo means clarity, brightness, or illumination. Mon means gate, that is, a means to something, or a partial aspect of something. So ippyakuhachi-homyo-mon means “one hundred and eight gates of Dharma-illumination.” In compiling this chapter Master Dogen quoted two long paragraphs from the sutra Butsu-hongyo-jikkyo, which is a biography of Gautama Buddha. The chapter is the 11th chapter of the 12-chapter edition of Shobogenzo, but it cannot be found in either the 95-chapter edition or the 75-chapter edition.