October 26th, 1971, Serial No. 00064

Audio loading...

Welcome! You can log in or create an account to save favorites, edit keywords, transcripts, and more.

AI Summary: 



The more I study and practice Zazen, according to the principle of Shakyamuni Buddha's life and the principle of Dogen's life, the deeper I have felt something I cannot explain anyway. Particularly, Dogen Zenji tries to find what the true practice we should follow


without attachment of any idea of Indian Buddhism, Chinese Buddhism, Korean Buddhism, Hinayana Buddhism, or Mahayana Buddhism. He really tries hard to get what the true practice we should follow. So, particularly, Dogen tries to describe what the true practice we should follow using Japanese language with Japanese feeling.


So, I think Dogen is really Japanese. Japanese, I think so. Unfortunately, we don't find the Shobo Genzo translated into English. So, I'm sorry, you will not have a chance to read the Shobo Genzo. Anyway, someday, I hope, you will have a chance to read the Shobo Genzo in English. Pretty soon. But I don't mean the list of founders of the Buddhist schools which flourished in the Kamakura period


are foreigners. I don't think so. Nichiren and Shinran, they are also Japanese, but particularly Dogen is really Japanese who tries to follow the Shakyamuni Buddha's practice. For instance, if you, Tsukiroshi and I, put often emphasis on what our practice is. Our practice is based on Shikantaza. Even this word, Shikantaza, is created by really Japanese sense, Japanese feeling, and also using Japanese language. If you translate Buddhism from Sanskrit into Japanese or Chinese, you will never find such a word, Shikantaza.


You cannot. Today, I attended, participated in Dr. Konze's lecture. I enjoyed very much. He explained about Samadhi and Prajna and so on. But Dogen, according to the technical word, Shikantaza, he tried to explain what is our Zazen, what is the Zazen which we are about to follow. Maybe from primitive Buddhism, maybe Zazen is Samadhi of Zazen, or maybe Jhana, or maybe Wisdom, and so on.


If I translate Shikantaza into English, I use very often wholeheartedness. But even wholeheartedness, I always mention, whatever you do, please do with wholeheartedness, or concentrate on your Zazen with wholeheartedness. So someone asked me, well, yes, I will try to concentrate on Zazen with wholeheartedness. What should I do, except Zazen, out of Zazen, walking, walking street, or walking something? What should I extend to the Zazen, extend Zazen into daily life? So someone says, all I have to do is to just concentrate on walking?


Yes, maybe so. Just concentrate on walking. It is true, but Shikantaza is not concentrate on yourself, not concentrate on walking. In other words, I think concentrate on the walking created by you, by your foot. Shikantaza is, for instance, it looks like as if smoke is rising up here, in the high air, constantly.


Smoke is rising up in the air, constantly. But this is, I think, concentration, or it looks like concentration, or it looks like wholeheartedness. But smoke doesn't ignore the whole existence around it, doesn't ignore. Then when the wind comes, smoke is moved, like this. When there is no wind, smoke is just rising up here, straightly, constantly. Even though the air, the wind comes, of course the wind, the smoke is moved to the right or to the left, maybe so. But it doesn't stop rising up in the air, constantly anyway.


It means the Shikantaza is not to concentrate on yourself, small self, small self. The Shikantaza is, of course, to concentrate on yourself and also you should keep in mind that you cannot ignore the whole picture of surroundings about you. You cannot ignore completely. For instance, you drive, you drive a car, of course all you have to do is concentrate on driving a car. But let's imagine it is, it would be possible to concentrate on just yourself, ignoring the circumstances, particularly on the freeway, you can't.


When I was in Los Angeles, I drove a car on the freeway. At that time, it was the first time for me, it's pretty hard. Even though I watched carefully all circumstances, but I couldn't. Just for a while, I hesitated to get off. What? At that time, the car coming behind me, and then I pushed up. I couldn't, I missed, I missed the chance to get off. Then all day I... All day I went around Los Angeles in order to get to the freeway, entrance of the freeway.


It's nonsense, but it's true. But, you know, the way you drive, I think it is important to concentrate on yourself, how to drive, how to deal with the handles. But at the same time, unconsciously or consciously, it is really true that you shouldn't ignore all circumstances. You concentrate once on yourself and you perceive, you perceive whole pictures, whole pictures of circumstances around you. That's why you can drive, you can drive in safety.


I think so, I think so. Uh... The... Then Samadhi, Samadhi Zazen, Samadhi Zazen. Zazen, the way you explain, describe what Zazen is, maybe Zazen is based on Samadhi. When you translate Samadhi into English, Samadhi is tranquility or concentration or calmness and so on. Then, with calmness, you concentrate on driving. Without, with ignoring, ignoring circumstances, I don't think so, you know. You always, you have to always be reflected on, what would you call, not the, no, excuse me, whole pictures of circumstances is on your mind, which is based on the calmness, calmness.


So Zazen is not, not based on only calmness, okay. In other words, your daily life is not, is not based on just calmness. I can't, you can't, you know. Because many things exist around you, you know. The wind, I don't know where, you don't know where, from where the wind, the wind come. From the east, from the west, from the north, you don't know, nobody knows. Then calmness, your life, of course your life must be based on calmness. Which enables you to concentrate on your life. Right now, right here, this is good, this is good.


And at the same time, the calmness must perceive, perceive whole pictures surrounding, okay. Whole pictures of circumstances around you. It is wisdom, it is wisdom. Wisdom means, wisdom is the capability, what would you call the power, I don't know, I don't know the proper word. Anyway, power or capability, the mental capability, what would you call, the function of the mind, you know. The wisdom is the function of the mind which can accept, perceive, perceive all whole pictures, whole pictures of circumstances. This is shikan, this is shikan.


Then, when you walk on the street, of course you have to concentrate on walking, it is okay. And also you have to know, you have to know the circumstances around you. Otherwise your concentration makes work, works, you know, makes sense, you know. Your concentration makes sense, makes sense. If you ignore the whole circumstances, whole pictures of circumstances, your concentration doesn't make sense, you know. It is called selfishness, selfishness. For instance, if you practice in the Tathagata for one month, of course you will experience what calmness is, what tranquility is.


Yes, I think so. The moment when you go out of the Tathagata and go to the San Francisco, your calmness has gone immediately, you know. What is calmness? It is pretty hard, you know, to experience. Dogen, that's why Dogen doesn't use zazen zanmai. Zazen zanmai is samadhi. He doesn't use the word zanmai. Of course he wrote, he described about samadhi, what samadhi is. But when he wants to express what zazen is,


zazen is not samadhi, zazen is not merely wisdom. Wisdom is the functioning aspect of your mind. Samadhi is a very static aspect of your mind. Wisdom is a very dynamic aspect of your mind. Wisdom is always accepting, always perceiving, perceiving all pictures, all pictures of circumstances. That's why we always chant, with all sentient beings, with all sentient beings. Shikan is not to concentrate on just your life. If you want to concentrate on your life and at the same time to see all sentient beings.


In other words, in the Zen center, you have to always see the whole picture. You take care of your life and at the same time you have to see, you have to see the other's life too. This is shikan, this is shikan. The shikan is, zazen is not to escape from other's life or society or city life and to sit zazen in the quiet place. It is not shikan, it is not shikan. If you want to experience just samadhi, yes, you should go to the deep mountain and practice for one month. You can experience samadhi, what samadhi is. But our practice is not based on only samadhi.


Because life is always going on, going on, moving. Then he used the shikan taza, shikan taza. Shikan taza. Shikan taza. Of course, your mind must be calm. Your mind must be calm whatever you do. Because when your mind is not calm, it is pretty hard to perceive whole total pictures of circumstances. For instance, if you drive with nervous, nervousness, you're always scared.


Like a beginner's driver, like a beginner's driving car. Beginners are always nervous for driving car on the freeway. You always miss very important opportunity to get out or to ride on the freeway. It's pretty hard. That's why you need practice of driving car several times. We need calmness. We need calmness. Shikan has two meanings.


One is the mind must be based on calmness. Also, this mind, this calmness of the mind simultaneously perceives the vivid whole total pictures of circumstances around you. This is shikan. When you do zazen, I think it's pretty hard for you to experience just calmness. It's pretty hard. Because your mind is very busy, so lots of things are coming up. But if your mind is not calm, it's pretty hard for you to see that total pictures of your thoughts, busy world.


Then at last, you are completely upset. Zazen is nonsense. Or you are completely nervous. What shall I do? Of course, zazen makes your mind calm. This calmness is not to escape from your variety of thoughts running through your head. This calmness enables you to perceive, to see vivid total pictures of your mind. Nevertheless, at last, what shall I do? Just stay there. Just driving, just driving, just driving. This driving is not a certain instruction on how to drive.


In terms of a theoretical or logical point, aspect, I can't explain. You have to master this point. You have to drive. Of course, the driving teacher teaches you how to drive. You can learn how to drive through the book. But it depends on whether or not you can drive with calmness, watching carefully all circumstances around you. That's up to you. You have to learn this point. Then all I have to do is just to drive, just to be in the car and driving in safety. This is the crucial point.


All what you have to do, strictly speaking. If you analyze this present, being in the car, I say your mind must be calm. Then your calmness simultaneously perceives vivid whole pictures of circumstances. I can't explain that. But actually, what shall I deal with? This calmness or the perceiving the vivid total pictures of circumstances? Just you stay there and drive. That's all. That's all, you know. Zazen is...


During Zazen, you must make every possible effort to make your mind calm. Without being tossed away by lots of thoughts. You try to come back to your Zazen again and again. Without chasing after or repulsing. Because if you are chasing after the thought, your car is going zigzag. Then you will completely miss a very important point to get out of the freeway. So at any cost, there is just one point what you have to do.


It is just do it. Just do it. When translated, Shikantaza is just do it. Just do it. Very simple. Just do it is not to stay in the sphere of yourself based on selfishness. Your selfishness must be perceived. Perceive the total pictures of your circumstances. What's going on? That's why Dogen Zen uses the word Shikantaza. Shikantaza is as if the smoke is rising up the air. When the wind comes, maybe it moves slowly. But the smoke doesn't give up rising up the air constantly.


It means Shikantaza must always be vivid. Living in the present, not in the past, not in the future. This is Zazen. This is Zazen. So Dogen Zenji is very tentative to everything, whatever he does. He is very tentative to everything. So if you read the Chopo Genzo, there is one chapter named Senjo. Senjo is what to do, how to take care of... No, what to do when you use the bathroom. We use the bathroom.


Dogen tried to explain what to do in the bathroom. Someone said, someone tried to translate this Senjo into English. He said, he thought it's far out. So he gave up translating. But for me it is not far out, because I did before. In the A.H. monastery, I did. It's not far out, but for you... Maybe it is far out for you, western people. Because see... Dogen Zenji used a small ball, a clay ball.


Clay ball. Every time when you use the bathroom... I will explain just a little bit. Maybe you think, oh, it's far out. About the size of the bean, you try to make the small clay ball. It is not clay, maybe clay. Maybe so. You have to choose the clay. You have to find the clay, not black clay. Yellowish clay. A little bit with reddish.


Reddish. And make a small ball. Put it on your left hand. You have to first like this. Then put it here, and water a little bit here. And then you should make it melt. With your hand, with your fingers like this. And then wash it. Wash it. Front and back, both. Every time. Then after that, you try to wash the hand with clay also.


Like this. And then rub your hand with a small rock. Like this. This is rock, like this. Put the clay ball, and then pour the water, and wash your hand like this. Always. Maybe it's far out. Then I explain what I did in Heiji. According to the master named Hashimoto Roshi. He said, are you crazy? It doesn't matter how it is far out.


It doesn't matter. But Dogen Zenji tried to be intimate with Shakyamuni Buddha's practice. In his daily life. Whatever he does. His practice must be in the sphere of Buddha's life. Always. Whatever situation he may be. The outside. The inside. He is very attentive. He is very considerate. To everything. I think he is really Japanese. Really Japanese. So if you read, if you will have a chance to read Shobo Genji in English.


I think you will not like Japanese way of practice. Because he is too much sensitive. To everything. Whatever you do. You have to always get sure before you do. Sure. And turn to the verse. When you step in the bathroom, you have to first bow. Bow. And then you can get in. And then when you... In Japanese bathroom is very different from western style. Then you step in the bathroom. Bow. First. You have to... Three times. Three times. Like this.


Then you start to do. OK. That's all tonight. Do you have a question? What does this mean? OK.


Not like this. Like this. OK. Hi. If wisdom is the ability to receive what's happening, all the circumstances in the moment. Then how come in the practice of Dogen Zenji, every circumstance seems to be very highly formalized. So that one is not reacting purely to the circumstances of the moment. But every situation has a preset formal pattern. How do you reconcile that? How do...


Well, isn't there a contradiction there? Between reacting to the circumstances of the moment. Each moment set a situation and circumstances as fresh. And practice... And some very formal... Almost a ritual practice. As Dogen Zenji outlines. The... Strictly speaking. The... In order to... Experience... In order to make the wisdom works. The unconsciously in your daily life. The... You have to need the practice of... The...


Taking care of... The... Everything. Everything. Right now. Right here. That's all. That's all. It's pretty hard. How to... How to accept, you know. How to accept the whole circumstances, you know. With your... Sense. With your sense. You know.


The... The... I think in the daily life. The first of all we have to... Arrange. Arrange. The physical situation. Then... For instance, if you want to... Feel fresh. Refresh. You try to take a bath. To clean your body. And clean the underwear. And clean dress. You try to... Arrange your circumstances. Neatly. This is... All what we have to do. This is practice.


This is practice. Then, through this practice. You can experience. You can experience. Mental calmness. Mental wisdom. Spiritual wisdom. Spiritual calmness. Then, what shall I... What should you... What should you perceive. The whole circumstances. When you... While you are driving a car. It's pretty hard to explain, you know. Then you must first of all. You must sit, you know. With calmness. With calmness. Anyway, you have to sit. Right in the middle of the seat. Then, correct the posture. Right in the middle... In front of the handles. Then, hold the handle. See. And look at the street. Open your eyes.


It's very simple, you know. Then, immediately, if something happens. You can catch it, you know. You can catch it. But if you sleep. If you close your eyes. And driving, you can't. That's why the Zen. When you're in the Zen. Please, straighten your posture. Back. Open your eyes. Not raising. Not raising.