These are draft translations of the Eihei Shingi that were dictated in English by Gudo Nishijima Roshi to his students Mike Cross, Mike Luetchford, and Jeremy Pearson, between 1988 and 1990, generally either at his office in Ichigaya or at the Hideo Ida Zazen Dojo in Moto-Yawata. Nishijima Roshi would simply look at the original Chinese or Japanese source text, and directly read aloud his English translation, sometimes adding comments or explanations and answering questions. He would often use interpretations of idiomatic expressions rather than translating them literally. Although they may be rather “rough and ready” translations, they give us a flavor of Nishijima Roshi’s direct and down to earth interpretations of the Buddhist teachings of Zen Master Dōgen.

Eihei Gen Zenji Shingi: Eihei Dogen’s Sacred Rules (for the Temple Community)

The six texts that make up the Eihei Gen Zenji Shingi, commonly called the Eihei Shingi (永平清規), were written by Zen Master Dōgen between 1237 and 1249. The texts describe the procedures, rules, and attitudes that he wanted to instill in the monks that lived in the Zen temples that he founded, but also convey the essential points of Buddhist practice that he valued. They cover various aspects of monastic life and were closely based on the rules that he encountered in his time in China between 1223 and 1227, in particular, those described in the Zen-En Shingi (禅苑清規, Pure Rules for the Zen Garden, by Chōryo Sōsaku, 1103). Master Dōgen constantly quotes, sometimes at length, from this text. As well as the concrete matters that make up Buddhist life in a temple, the texts are full of examples of monks and their Masters pursuing the Truth through their roles in the Buddhist community.

The Eihei Shingi comprises the following texts:

TENZOKYŌKUN (典 座 教 訓; Spring 1237, Koshoji)
Teachings for the Chief Priest of Cooking

BENDŌHŌ (弁 道 法; 1245, Daibutsuji, later renamed Eiheiji)
The Method to Pursue the Truth

FUSHUKUHANPŌ (赴 粥 飯 法; 1246, Eiheiji)
Method to Take Breakfast and Lunch

SHURYŌ SHINGI (衆 寮 箴 規; 1249, Eiheiji)
Rules for the Priests’ Dormitory

TAITAIKO GOGEJARIHŌ (對 大 己 五 夏 闍 梨 法; 1244, Kippoji)
Method of Meeting with Veteran Priests of Five Summer Retreats

CHIJI SHINGI (知 事 清 規; 1246, Eiheiji)
Sacred Rules for the Temple Officers

For complete English translations of the Eihei Shingi with extensive introductory materials, notes, and references see:

Taigen Dan Leighton & Shohaku Okumura. Dōgen’s Pure Standards for the Zen Community. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1996.

Ichimura Shohei. Zen Master Dōgen’s Monastic Regulations. Daihonzan Eiheiji, Fukui-ken, Japan, and North American Institute of Zen and Buddhist Studies, Washington, USA, 1993.