White Wind Zen Community

A Community practising and teaching Dogen’s Zen since 1985

Jippo: The Ten Directions

(also romanized as "Juppo")

translated by Anzan Hoshin roshi

and Yasuda Joshu Dainen roshi

Digital art by Zen Master Anzan Hoshin: Caligraphy of Jippo with a hand holding a five-pointed vajra in a field of gold smoke

[excerpted from the forthcoming book Dogen: Zen Writings on the Practice of Realization]

One fist is the ten directions. Naked Awareness1 contains and illuminates the ten directions of the universe because the luminosity of Experiencing is its very bone and marrow.

Once, the Awakened One Sakyamuni said to the great assembly, "Throughout the Fields of Awakening of the ten directions there is only this single Path of Reality."2

These "ten directions" are the Field of Awake Awareness. There is no universe that we can know that is not a Field of Awakening. This universe of Saha is the Field of Awake Awareness and Sakyamuni is its Teacher. The world of events you see about you is exactly the same as the Field of Sakyamuni the Awakened One; they are like six of one, half a dozen of the other. The ten directions are all each in each direction and each is Awake Awareness. Each direction and each Awakened One contains all others. This universe has many facets such as the ten directions, one direction, this direction, directionality, and the direction of this present moment. There is the direction of the eye, the direction of a fist, the direction of a post, the direction of a stone lantern. The Awakened Ones within the Fields of the ten directions transcend vast or small, pure or stained.

And so all the Buddhas throughout the ten directions proclaim each other. When they criticize each other it is only to turn the cycle of the Teachings further and should not be understood as if it were the arguments of usual people. All Awakened Ones are intimate with each other as Teachers and students and question each other3 to clarify practice. This is how we must approach practice if we are to inherit the Transmission of the Awakened Ones and Ancestors.

Awakened Ones never engage in slander, even of the truly evil or those outside of the Vast Path. If we look through all of the Discourses that tell of the life of Sakyamuni that have been transmitted to China we never find an instance in which he says of other Awakened Ones that this one is better than that one or that they are not truly Awakened Ones. Throughout his life we cannot find any words of envy or libel. As well, we never hear of any other Awakened Ones finding fault with him.

The Awakened One Sakyamuni said, "I alone know the true form of all experiences4 and this can be said of all the Awakened Ones throughout the ten directions."5 You should understand that this form is something like a circle.6 It means that, "a long bamboo staff is long and a short one is short."7 That's it and that's all. All of the Awakened Ones throughout the ten directions know this "form" and therefore Sakyamuni knows it also. "I know true form" is the same for all Awakened Ones throughout the universe. It is my form, the form of Knowing, the form of Reality, the form of the ten directions, the form of this realm of Saha, the form of Sakyamuni.

This is the essential point of all of the Discourses: an Awakened One and a Field of Awakening are not two separate things. They are beyond sentient and insentient; they are neither "deluded" nor "enlightened;" not good, bad, or indifferent; not pure or impure; beyond arising, dwelling, destruction, and nothingness;8 permanent or impermanent; existent or non-existent; self or other. They cannot be understood through the fourfold analysis of same, different, existent, or non-existent, nor are they just nothing. The Field of Awake Awareness is the universe of ten directions. The whole world is the whole world. That's all.

Zen master Changsha Zhaoxian9 said, "The whole world of ten directions is reflected in this monk's eye."10 This eye is the eye of that monk Gautama; it is "I have the Eye of Utter Reality". It can be transmitted to anyone,11 but it is still the eye of that monk Gautama. All the ragged presencing of experiences of the ten directions are contained within this Eye. It is all points of view and contains all eyes.12

[Changsha said,] "The whole world of ten directions is contained in everyday talk." Everyday13 means used daily as well as customary or ordinary.14 The "ten directions" is everyday kind of talk for monks. Even every word contains the ten directions. This is correct speech and correct word. Learn through practice that because everyday talk is the universe of ten directions, the universe of ten directions is everyday talk. The ten directions are without limit15 and so are wholly16 the ten directions.

This is why the "ten directions" are used in our everyday lives. For example, an Indian emperor used to ask for "sendaba" which can mean a horse, salt, or a drink of water and a true servant knows by the context exactly what to bring.17 What can we call someone who steps past the confines of the conditioned attention of the mass of people and is transformed in body and mind in the midst of this stream of speech? Even in mid-speech, speech can be turned around.

The correct word and straightforward speech of the tongues of mountains and rivers are this everyday talk. You do not have to use the tongue and teeth to speak such sounds. Even if the mouth is stopped up and everyone plugs their ears, these words are always already spoken and heard. If you can speak and hear these words then you understand intimately the ten directions.

[Changsha said,] "The ten directions are the body of this monk." [When Sakyamuni was born he] pointed one hand to the sky as sky and one hand to the earth as earth and said, "Beneath the heavens and above the earth I alone am the Generous One."18 This is the ten directions presencing as the body of a single monk. His head, eyes, nose, skin, flesh, bones, and marrow are the body of a monk liberated into the ten directions. There is nowhere outside of the universe for the universe to move. Independent of ideas about it, realize this monk's body as the ten directions, the ten directions as the body of this monk.

"This whole world is your own luminosity." This luminosity is your nostrils before your father and mother were ever born. Who you are19 is right in the palm of your hand—it is the ten directions. Who you are is actualized in your very presencing. This is where we must establish the Hall of the Awakened Ones and find the Awake Awareness which we are.

At that moment, our eyes have become black beads. Further, the face splits open and we are able to meet the great masters. To go further, calling someone to come to us is easy but getting them to leave is difficult. And when you are called, the head turns. What need is there for someone to do the turning of the head? My head is just turned, relying on the fact of actuality. A meal is there for someone to eat it, a robe is there for someone to wear it; but if you naively grope for a "someone", you have already deserved thirty blows from the staff. It's too bad, but it's true.

"The whole world of ten directions fills your body." An eyelid is actually luminosity. When the eyelid opens, there is this "filling". The filling of the eyes with seeing is the whole world of ten directions. Since we sleep together on the same floor, we know the holes in each other's quilts.

"The whole world of ten directions is your own luminosity." Whenever a teacher raises their hand, there is no situation of ten directions that is not who they are. The ten directions are who I am; they are me as myself, you as me, me as you. I as you and you as I and these ten directions are seamless. The life of each person and all people is found right in the palm of your hand. Each returns to the others the cost of their straw sandals. Can you see that the entire lives of the Awakened One and of Bodhidharma are there in that stone pillar? You must understand that the stone pillar's coming and going is the coming and going of the total universe of ten directions.

Great master Zongyi20  of Xuansha said, "This world of ten directions is a single bright jewel." You must understand intimately that this "single bright jewel" is everywhere throughout the ten directions. States high and low21 all arise within this "single bright jewel." Awakened Ones and Ancestors teach that this is the essential point of the Way of Awake Awareness. Men and women live their lives through its richness and it is the practice of those just beginning and those maturing within the Way. Our everyday activities of wearing the robes and eating rice arise within this "single bright jewel."

My late master Rujing once held up a ball of mud to show his students the "single bright jewel." Although it is as simple as placing a stone on a go board, it scoops out the eyes of the Ancestors. Each of the Ancestors helps with this scooping out. The insides of their eyes shine with radiance.

Once a monk asked Qianfeng,22 "I have heard that there is only one gate to the end of all conditions which is used by all Generous Ones throughout the ten directions." Qianfeng drew a circle with his staff in the air and said, "Here it is."23

"Here it is" is the ten directions. All of the Awakened Ones are within the staff and the staff is right here. This is the single gate of the ten directions. But don't lose the staff in Gautama's nostrils or lose the staff in the nostrils of the staff. Don't worry about what Qianfeng might know about the Awakened Ones of the ten directions and the single gate to nirvana. Just take his saying of "Here it is!" You can't deny that.

Old Man Qianfeng's "Here it is" was quite good but I hope that he didn't miss anything with that circle he drew with his staff in the air. The ten directions are the breath of the Awakened One. This is the point of our practice.

Presented to the monks at Kippo-ji in Echizen province, Japan, on November 13, 1243. Transcribed by Ejo at the head monk's quarters in Daibutsu-ji,24 Echigo, on December 24, 1246.

  • 1. Sekishin. Literally "red mind" in the sense of peeled and raw.
  • 2. Lotus Discourse, Skilful Means (Hoben) chapter.
  • 3. Monjin. "To enquire after", a bow.
  • 4. Shoho jisso.
  • 5. Lotus Discourse, Skilful Means (Hoben) chapter.
  • 6. Ta-enso.
  • 7. A saying associated with Cuiwei Wuxue (Ts'ui-wei Wu-hsueh, Suibi Mugaku), 9th C. A Dharma-heir of Danxia Tianran, gave Transmission to Touzi Datong. He appears in <strong>Blue Cliff Records</strong> 20 which is also <strong>Records of Silence</strong> 80.
  • 8. The four phases of an eon (kalpa) and the universe arising within it according to Indian Buddhist cosmology.
  • 9. Changsha Jingcen Zhaoxian (Chang-sha Chao-hsien, Keishin Chosa), n.d.
  • 10. Also see <strong>Komyo: Luminosity</strong> for further on this saying.
  • 11. This is a play on Sakyamuni Buddha's statement in the Daibonten-o-monbutsu-ketsugi-kyo, (Sutra of Questions and Answers between Mahabrahman and the Buddha), "I hold the Treasury of the Eye of True Utter Reality, the luminous Awareness beyond reference point. This I Transmit to Mahakasyapa."
  • 12. Nyoko-ta-gen. A reference to "the whole body is hands and eyes."
  • 13. Kajo.
  • 14. Dogen here uses "yonotsune", a Japanese colloquialism.
  • 15. Jin. Limit.
  • 16. The same word jin but in the sense of entirely or "up to the limit".
  • 17. The translation of this sentence contains an explanatory gloss of the origin of the reference. See <strong>Osaku Sendaba</strong> for further on this saying.
  • 18. Bhagavan. Usually translated as the World Honoured One.
  • 19. Ware: self released into suchness, authentic self transparent to the Open Space of Awareness.
  • 20. Zongyi of Xuansha. His name usually appears as Xuansha Shibei (Hsuan-sha Shih-pei, Gensha Shibi), 835-908. See also <strong>Ikka Myoju</strong>.
  • 21. Literally, the lives of shining beings and demons.
  • 22. Qianfeng Chuanchu (Ch'ien-feng Ch'uan-ch'u, Seiho Denso or Kempo), n.d. Dharma-heir of Luopu Yuanan.
  • 23. Sanbyakusoku Shobogenzo, case 37.
  • 24. Later renamed Eihei-ji.