Bukkyo: The Buddha's Sutras

by Eihei Dogen zenji

translated by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi

and Yasuda Joshu Dainen roshi

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

Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi presented a series of eight teisho on this text entitled "The Thread of the Buddhas" in 2004: 

Reading of "Bukkyo: The Buddha's Sutras", January 10, 2004 
Teisho 1: Buddha's Sutras and Sutra-Buddhas, January 10, 2004 
Teisho 2: The Whole Dharma as a Whole, February 14, 2004 
Teisho 3: Turning and Shining, February 15th, 2004 
Teisho 4: "Yes?", February 16, 2004 
Teisho 5: The Four Noble Truths and Interdependent Emergence, February 17, 2004 
Teisho 6: The Paramitas, February 18, 2004 
Teisho 7: The Twelve Divisions of the Sutras, February 19, 2004 
Teisho 8: The Purpose of the Sutras, March 20, 2004 


The actualization of the Way of all the Buddhas is the Buddha's sutras. Since this is done by Buddhas and Ancestors for the Buddhas and Ancestors, the sutras are authentically Transmitted as the sutras. This is the turning of the Wheel of Reality. The view within this turning of the Wheel of Reality actualizes all the Buddhas and Ancestors and their nirvana. All the Buddhas and Ancestors truly emerge in a speck of dust; a single speck of dust is nirvana. The total universe emerges, the total universe is nirvana. A single instant emerges and the ocean of this eon emerges. However, a single speck of dust and a single instant are without any lack of virtue. The total world and the emergence of the ocean of this eon are not compensations for some lack of virtue or other incompleteness. 

And so, we cannot say that Buddhas who have attained the Way in the morning and enter nirvana in the evening lack any virtue.1 If you think that a single day is of little virtue, then even a lifespan of eighty years is not enough. A span of eighty years compared to ten or twenty eons is the same as a single day compared to eighty years. The difference in virtue between this Buddha and that Buddha2 are indistinguishable; when we compare the virtue of a life of vast eons and an eighty-year span, there can be no doubt that there is no basic difference between them. Thus, the Buddha's sutras are the Sutra-Buddhas.3 This is the consummate virtue of all the Buddhas and Ancestors. Buddhas are high and vast, and so the Teaching of Dharma is not narrow and small. Truly, we should know that when the Buddha is great, the sutra is great. When the Buddha is small the sutra is small. Remember that the Buddha and his sutras cannot be measured by large and small, are not bound by designations of good, bad, or indifferent, and are not contained within sutras of self or others. 

Someone said,

"Old man Sakyamuni, as well as putting forth the Dharma and the sutras throughout his life, also gave the authentic Transmission to Mahakasyapa of the Sutra of the One Mind, the Supreme Path which has since been genuinely Transmitted from generation to generation. Other sutras and discourses are provisional tools but Mind is the actual nature of Reality. The Transmission of One Mind is 'a special Transmission outside the scriptures.' The Three Paths4 and the Twelve Divisions of the sutras should not be spoken of together with it. The Supreme Path of One Mind is 'direct pointing to the human mind, looking into one's nature and becoming Buddha."

This statement shows a lack of understanding of the activity of Buddha Dharma and the vigour of the liberated body and the dignity of embodiment. Those who speak like this might have been set up as elders for hundreds or thousands of years, but have not clarified or penetrated the Buddha Dharma or the Buddha Way. Why? Because they do not understand the meaning of "Buddha", do not understand "sutra", do not understand "mind", do not understand "inside", and do not understand "outside". They do not understand such things because they have not heard the Buddha Dharma. They speak about Buddhas but they do not understand the essence of the Buddhas nor the nuances. They have not properly studied even the margins of the meaning of coming and going and therefore should not be called disciples of Buddha. They talk about only the "One Mind" as the authentic Transmission because they do not know the Buddha Dharma. They do not know the One Mind as the Buddha Dharma and have not heard the sutras of the Buddha as the One Mind and so say that there is some sutra of the Buddha outside of One Mind. Their "One Mind" is other than the One Mind and so they say that there is One Mind outside of the Buddha Dharma; and their "sutras of the Buddha" are outside of the sutras of the Buddha. Such people pass on and receive this error of "a special Transmission outside the sutras" since they do not know the meaning of "outside" or "inside" and so become incoherent. How is it possible for Buddhas and Ancestors who Transmit one-to-one the Buddha's Eye and Treasury of the Complete Teachings to fail to Transmit the Buddha's sutras? Moreover, why would Old Man Sakyamuni present sutras that are useless in the every day conduct of the Buddha's students? The Old Man Sakyamuni's intention was always to present sutras that were to be Transmitted intimately so what Awakened Ancestor would try to destroy them? The Supreme Path of One Mind is not other than the Three Paths and Twelve Divisions of the sutras, and is the treasuries of the Hinayana and Mahayana. 

You must know that the Buddha's mind is the Buddha's Eye: It is a broken ladle, all dharmas, and the three worlds, thus it is mountains, oceans, earth, sun, moon, and stars. "The Buddha's sutras" are all the numberless things gathered before us. "Outside" means "an actual place" and the "actual place" already arrives.5

Authentic Transmission is authentically Transmitted from someone to someone, and this someone is within the authentic Transmission. Since One Mind is authentically Transmitted to One Mind, there is One Mind in the authentic Transmission. The Supreme Path of One Mind is earth, stones, pebbles and sand. Since earth, stones, pebbles and sand are One Mind then earth, stones, pebbles, and sand are earth, stones, pebbles and sand. If we speak of the authentic Transmission of the Supreme Path of One Mind, we should do so in this way. 

However, people who have a mistaken view of "a special Transmission outside the scriptures" can never understand its meaning. Therefore, do not believe that there is "a special Transmission outside the scriptures" while misunderstanding the Buddha's sutras. Anyone who talks like that should ask themselves if it is possible to say that there is a special Transmission outside the mind? If we say "a special Transmission outside the mind," it is just senseless words; such words can never make a Transmission occur. If we cannot say that there is "a special Transmission outside the mind" then we also cannot say there is "a special Transmission outside the scriptures." 

Mahakasyapa is the Dharma-heir of Sakyamuni and master of the Treasury of Dharma; he Transmitted the Eye and Treasury of the Complete Teachings and maintained the Buddha Way. Anyone who thinks that the Buddha Way was not Transmitted like that has a distorted view of the Buddha Way. Even if only a single verse is authentically Transmitted, still the Dharma is authentically Transmitted. If one verse is authentically Transmitted, mountains and rivers are authentically Transmitted. This principle holds true in all cases. Sakyamuni's Eye and Treasury of the Complete Teachings and complete and utter Awakening was only authentically Transmitted to Mahakasyapa, and no one else. The authentic Transmission is surely Mahakasyapa. And so, anyone in the past or right now who wishes to study the true reality of the Buddha Dharma and wants to determine the correct Teaching must study and practice under the Buddhas and Ancestors. They should not go anywhere else. If someone lacks the correct standards of the Buddhas and Ancestors it means that he lacks any kind of correct standards. Anyone who wishes to determine if a Teaching is correct or not should use the standards of the Buddhas and Ancestors because they are the original masters of the Wheel of the Dharma. Only the Buddhas and Ancestors have clarified and authentically Transmitted the expression "existence," the expression "non-existence," the expression "emptiness," the expression "form," and Transmit them correctly as ancient and present Buddhas.6

Once a monk asked Baling,7 "The intention of the Ancestors and the intention of the sutras: Are they the same or different?" 

The master said, "When a chicken is cold it climbs a tree; when a duck is cold it goes into the water."

We must study this saying through practice, looking for the Ancestor's interpretation of the Buddha Way by seeing and listening to the Buddha's sutras. The monk's question concerns the sameness or difference between the intention of the Ancestors and the intention of the sutras. Baling's answer "when a chicken is cold it climbs a tree; when a duck is cold it goes into the water" seems to indicate a difference; however this "difference" is not the usual "difference" of most people's views of same or different. Baling is beyond limited views of same or difference and is saying, "same yet different." And so, we should not ask about "same or different" in that way. 

Once a monk asked Xuansha,8 "Are the Three Paths and Twelve Divisions of the sutras unnecessary? And what about the meaning of the First Ancestor's coming from the west?"

Xuansha replied, "The Three Paths and Twelve Divisions of the sutras are completely unnecessary".

The monks question, "Are the Three Paths and Twelve Divisions of the sutras unnecessary? And what about the meaning of the First Ancestor's coming from the west?" is based on the common assumption that the Three Paths and Twelve Divisions of the sutras each represent a branching aspect of a single path while the meaning of the First Ancestor's coming from the west is separate. There is no recognition that the Three Paths and Twelve Divisions of the sutras are the meaning of the First Ancestor's coming from the west. Therefore, how could the monk know that the eighty-four thousand Dharma-gates are the same as the meaning of the First Ancestor's coming from the west? 

We should look into this more closely. 

Why are the Three Paths and Twelve Divisions of the sutras unnecessary? When they are necessary what kind of principle is behind it? If the Three Paths and Twelve Divisions of the sutras are unnecessary is study through practise of the meaning of the First Ancestor's coming from the west actualized? The monk's question was not just a mischievous one. Xuansha said, "The Three Paths and Twelve Divisions of the sutras are completely unnecessary."

This saying is the Wheel of the Dharma. Where this Wheel turns we find the Buddha's sutras. The point here is that the Three Paths and Twelve Divisions of the sutras are the Wheel of the Dharma of the Buddhas and Ancestors and it turns where the Buddhas exist and where they do not; it turns both before and after the Ancestors existed. Its great virtue is in turning the Buddhas and Ancestors. In the moment that the meaning of the First Ancestor's coming from the west appears the Wheel of the Dharma becomes "completely unnecessary."9

"Completely unnecessary" does not mean "not usable" or "broken." This Wheel of the Dharma only turns as the Wheel of "completely unnecessary." Do not say that the Three Paths or Twelve Divisions of the sutras do not exist, just look into the moment of "completely unnecessary." Because they are "completely unnecessary" they are the Three Paths and Twelve Divisions of the sutras. Because they are the Three Paths and Twelve Divisions of the sutras they are not simply the Three Paths and Twelve Divisions of the sutras. And so we call them "the Three Paths and Twelve Divisions of the sutras." 

Now let us outline the Three Paths and Twelve Divisions of the sutras. 

The Three Paths are: 

The sravaka10 path. This is the path of those who have attained the Way through the Four Noble Truths.11 The Four Noble Truths are: the truth of suffering, the truth of grasping as its cause, the truth of ceasing, and the truth of the Way. Hearing these truths leads to their practise and the transcending of birth, old age, sickness, and death and culminates in pari-nirvana. In the practise of the Four Noble Truths suffering and the cause of suffering are secular while cessation and the Way become the first principle. That is the view of scholars.12 If practice is based on the Buddha Dharma, the Four Truths are each a Buddha alone together with the Buddhas,13 the Four Truths are each the Dharma abiding in the place of Dharma, the Four Truths are each the form of reality and the Four Truths are each Buddha Nature. Therefore, it is not necessary to mention concepts of "unborn" or "uncreated" and so on, since the Four Truths are each "completely unnecessary." 

The pratyekabuddha14 path. This is the path of those who have attained nirvana through the twelve linked chain of interdependent emergence. The chain of interdependent emergence consists of: ignorance; tendency formations; consciousness; name and form; the six sense spheres; contact; sensation; craving; grasping; becoming; birth; and old age and death.15 The practice of this chain of interdependent emergence is based on the relationship of cause and effect in the past, present, and future and the distinction between observer and observed. However, if we study through practise the relationship between cause and effect carefully we can see that both samsara and causality are the Wheel of "completely unnecessary."16 We must know that if ignorance overtakes mind, then tendency, consciousness, and so on, will also overtake mind. If ignorance is destroyed then tendency, consciousness, and so on, will be destroyed. If ignorance becomes nirvana, then tendency, consciousness, and so on, will also become nirvana. When we understand that [the Wheel of] becoming also disappears, we can say such things. Ignorance is one aspect of this truth, and the other links are exactly like it. We must know that the relationship between ignorance, tendency, and so on, is like [Qingyuan telling Shitou]. "I have an axe and I'll give it to you so that you can live on this mountain" and [Shitou's reply] "When I set out I received the Master's permission and now I would like to receive that axe."17

The bodhisattva path. This is the path of those who attain the Way through the Teaching, practice, and Awakening of the six paramitas and it is the actualization of complete and perfect Awakening. That actualization is not intentional nor unintentional, not originally existent, not newly or previously attained, not original action or non-action. It is just the actualization of complete and utter Awakening. The paramitas are: generosity, discipline, flexibility, exertion, practice, and perfect knowing. These are all complete and utter Awakening and not concepts like "unborn" or "uncreated." Dana or generosity isn't necessarily first and perfect knowing isn't necessarily last. The sutras say, "One who is opening to Openness who is intelligent understands that perfect knowing is first and generosity last but one whose opening is dull thinks that generosity comes first and wisdom last." In any case, exertion or practice could each be placed foremost. The six paramitas could be seen as thirty-six permutations of each other; with each device,18 a device being realized. "Paramita" means "going to the other shore." The other shore is beyond any mark or trace of coming and going and is actualized in arriving.19- 19 The universe is this arriving. Do not think practice leads to the other shore. Practice exists as the other shore arriving as our practice because this practice is always this arriving of the universe.

The Twelve Divisions of the sutras, also called thread-sutras:20

Sutras (kaikyo), here21 called "according to sutras." 

Geya (juju), verses in praise and summary of the sutra. 

Vyakarana (juki), contain predictions of attainment. 

Gathas (geju), here called "chants," (verses other than geya praising the sutras, more like the verses of this region.) 

Udana (mumon jisetsu), are spontaneous presentations not prompted by questions. ("Sutras that are spontaneous presentations not prompted by questions": Sacred people generally wait until requested to present the Dharma but here unasked they offer spontaneous presentations not prompted by questions. The Buddha Dharma is so difficult to comprehend that it is called "unaskable". Without spontaneous presentations, many would not come to know it. In Teaching others, sacred people might not know which Dharma to present for others and so manifest spontaneous presentations not prompted by questions and so present Teachings so profound they can only be understood through experience. And so by spontaneous presentations not prompted by questions they reveal what should be revealed.) 

Nidana (innen), here called causes and conditions. (Sutras of causes and conditions aim to clarify the practice of the precepts and to show what transgressions are. When the transgression is clear it is possible to establish discipline. This division through causes and conditions clarify what is shown.) 

Avadana (hiyu), here called parables. 

Itivrttaka (honji), here called "past events." (Here called "accounts of what occurred" or "past events.") 

Jataka (honsho), here called "past lives." (The events in "past lives" describe the deeds performed in past lives as a bodhisattva. The tales in "past events" describe various events of past ages.) 

Vaipulya (hoko), here called "vast and wide." 

Adbhuta-dharma (mizou), here called "unprecedented marvels." 

Upadesa (ronji), here called "discussions of doctrine." 

The Thus Come presented the Dharma in tale and fact for beings, such as entry into the world of aggregates. This division is called "sutra". Sometimes, four to nine-word verses praise over again such things as entry into the world of aggregates. This division is called "geya". Sometimes, predictions of the attainment of Buddhahood by all sentient beings, even pigeons and swallows. This division is called "vyakarana". Sometimes, independent verses praising such things as entry into the world of aggregates. This division is called "gatha". Sometimes, presentations not prompted by questions from disciples. This division is called "udana". Sometimes, summaries of unwholesome acts of the world in order to clarify various precepts and prohibitions. This division is called "nidana". Sometimes, parables describing the world. This division is called "avadana". Sometimes, facts of the world in the past. This division is called "itivrttaka". Sometimes, the past lives of Shakyamuni Buddha. This division is called "jataka". Sometimes, vast and wide subjects. This division is called "vaipulya". Sometimes, describing the miraculous workings of the world. This division is called "adbhutadharma". Sometimes, critical discussions of doctrine. This division is called "upadesa". 

These divisions are the world's realization.22 For the delight of living beings these Twelve Divisions of the Teachings were established. 

It is not easy to hear of the names of the Twelve Divisions of the sutras. We can only hear about them when the Buddha Dharma is widespread. If the Buddha Dharma is extinct, such Sutras cannot be heard. If the Buddha Dharma has yet to spread, again, they cannot be heard of. Only those who are able to encounter the Buddha and have good roots23 can hear of the Twelve Divisions of the sutras. Once these sutras are heard complete and utter Awakening will soon follow. 

Each of these twelve may be called "sutras". They are called "the Twelve Divisions of the Teachings" and "the Twelve Parts of the sutras." Each of the Twelve Divisions contains all the others; consequently, we have one hundred and forty-four divisions of sutras. Since the Twelve Divisions of the sutras involve all the others, each one, there is really only One Division. Also, they are numberless whether you count below one hundred million or above one hundred million. Each one of them are the Eye of Awakened Ancestors, the bones and marrow of Awakened Ancestors, the everyday activity of Awakened Ancestors, the radiance of Awakened Ancestors, the adornments of Awakened Ancestors, and the realm of Awakened Ancestors. When you meet the Twelve Divisions of the sutras you meet the Buddhas and Ancestors. When you can grasp the Buddhas and Ancestors you can comprehend all the Twelve Divisions of the sutras. 

Thus Qingyuan's dangling a leg is the Three Paths and Twelve Divisions of the sutras. Nanyue's "To call it a thing misses the mark"24 is the Three Paths and Twelve Divisions of the sutras. This is what Xuansha's "completely unnecessary" means. In picking up this point it is nothing other than the Buddhas and Ancestors, not even a half a person or a single thing else. "From the beginning not one thing." 25 Right now, what is it? We should say "completely unnecessary." 

There is another form of classification called the Nine Parts26 which can be called the Nine Divisions of the sutras. They are: sutras, gathas, itvrttaka, jataka, adbhutadharma, nidana, avadana, geya, and upadesa. 

These nine parts have nine transposable possibilities giving altogether eighty-one parts. These nine parts are each part of the whole and so are nine. They each belong to the whole and the whole belongs to each of them and so it is for the eighty-one parts. They are "this" part, "my" part, part of a fly whisk, part of a staff, and a part of the Eye and Treasury of the Complete Teachings. 

Sakyamuni Buddha said, 

This my Dharma of nine parts, 
taught according to the ability of sentient beings, 
is the basis of entering the Vast Path 
and that is the purpose those sutras were proclaimed.27

We must know that the "I" which is "this" is the Tathagata. This is the emergence of his face and eye and body and mind. This "I" which is "this" is the "Dharma of nine parts" and the "Dharma of nine parts" is "I" as "this". One phrase or verse right now is the "Dharma of nine parts." The "I" which is "this" thus teaches "according to the ability of sentient beings." Thus, the life lived by all sentient beings appears and "those sutras were proclaimed", and the death which is died by all sentient beings appears and "those sutras were proclaimed."28 Each movement and deportment is just "those sutras proclaimed."

"Teaching all sentient beings, causing them to enter the Buddha's Way"29 is "why those sutras were proclaimed." Sentient beings "accord to" "this, my Dharma of nine parts." "According to" means "just going with"30 others, "just going with" oneself, "just going with" sentient beings, "just going with" life, "just going with" this "I," and "just going with" "this." Sentient beings are always an "I" which is "this" and so are each part of the nine parts. 

"The basis of entering the Vast Path" is to experience, practise, hear, and proclaim the Vast Path. We cannot say that sentient beings inherently attain the Way but that they are part of it. "Enter" is the "basis"; "basis" means right from head to tail. Buddha proclaims the Dharma, the Dharma proclaims Buddha. The Dharma is proclaimed by Buddha, the Buddha is proclaimed by the Dharma. Fire31 is proclaimed by the Buddha and Dharma; Buddha and Dharma proclaim fire.32

In "those sutras" is "the purpose" for "proclaiming purpose" and "the purpose" for "purposely proclaiming." It is impossible not to proclaim "those sutras." Thus, "purpose proclaims these sutras." "Purposely proclaiming" pervades the total universe,33 and the total universe "purposely proclaims." This Buddha and that Buddha,34 both with a single voice proclaim "these sutras." This world and other worlds also purposely proclaim "those sutras." 

Therefore, "Those sutras were proclaimed." Those sutras are the Buddha's sutras. We must know that the sutras of the Buddha which are like the sands of the River Ganges are a bamboo stick35 or fly whisk. The sands of the Ganges of the Buddha's sutras are revealed in a staff and fist. 

We must know that the Three Paths and Twelve Divisions of the sutras and so on are the eyes of the Buddhas and Ancestors. If we have yet to open our eyes to this, how can we be called descendants of the Buddhas and Ancestors? How can those who do not take these up receive, one-to-one, the Transmission of the True Eye of the Buddhas and Ancestors? If we have not bodily realized the Eye and Treasury of the Complete Teachings, we cannot be Dharma-heirs of the Seven Buddhas. 

This was delivered to a large assembly at Kosho monastery in Yoshu on the 14th day of the 11th month, in the second year of Ninji (1241), and presented again at the same place on the 7th day of the 11th month, in the third year of Ninji (1242).

  • 1. Entering nirvana here means the death of a buddha, the cessation of the final reference point for others to find a location for the Buddha. The passage means someone who Awakens and then dies after but a single day, like Gatsumen Butsu, Moon Face Buddha.
  • 2. Shibutsu-Hibutsu. This Buddha is present and manifest, that Buddha is never present and never manifest.
  • 3. Bukkyo kyobustu.
  • 4. Sravakayana, Pratyekkhebuddhayana, Mahayana.
  • 5. "Ge" or "outside" describes some actual place but all actual places, all outsides and insides, arise right here. Outside and inside are provisions that dissolve before the intimacy of actuality.
  • 6. Kobutsu-konbutsu. "Past-Buddha present-Buddha." Buddhas throughout time.
  • 7. Baling Haoqian (Pa-ling Hao-chien, Haryo Kokan), 10th C. A Dharma heir of Yunmen Wenyen, He appears in Blue Cliff Records 13 and 100.
  • 8. Xuansha Shibei (Hsuan-sha Shih-pei, Gensha Shibi), 835-90. A Dharma-heir of Xuefeng Yicun. He appears in Blue Cliff Records 22, 56, 88, Records of Silence 81 and in Wumen's commentary in Gateless Gate 41. See Dogen's Ikka Myoju, Gyoji, Bukkyo.
  • 9. So-fuyo. Which can also mean "being completely beyond necessity" or "at ease."
  • 10. Shomon.
  • 11. Shitai: ku (duhkha-satya), shu (samdhaya-satya), metsu (nirodha-satya), do (marga-satya).
  • 12. This is a reference to the two truths of secular and principle (shinzoku-nitai) of the Sanron school.
  • 13. Yuibutsu-yobustsu. "A Buddha Together With A Buddha."
  • 14. Engaku (perceiver of conditions).
  • 15. "Dependent on ignorance arises tendency-formations; dependent on tendencies arises consciousness; dependent on consciousness arises mind and form (knower and known); dependent on mind and form arise the six sense spheres; dependent on the six sense spheres arises contact; dependent on contact arises sensation; dependent on sensation arises craving; dependent on craving arises grasping; dependent on grasping arises becoming; dependent on becoming arises birth; dependent on birth arises aging and death; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair. Thus arises this whole mass of suffering."—stock passage occurring in many Pali and Sanskrit texts. Avijja-paccaya sankhara; sankhara-paccaya vinnanam; vinnana-paccaya namarupam; namarupa-paccaya salayatanam; salayatana-paccaya phasso; phasso-paccaya vedana; vedana-paccaya upadanam; upadana-paccaya bhavo; bhaca-paccaya jati; jati-paccaya jraramaranam; soki-parideva-dukkha-domanassupayasa sambhva vanti. Evametassa kevalassa dukkhakkhandhassa samudayo hoti.
  • 16. Sofuyo-rin.
  • 17. Jingde Chuandenglu chapter 5. The Master (Qingyuan) asked Xiqian to take a letter to Master Nanyue (Huairang) and he said, "Having delivered the letter come right back. I have an axe and I'll give it to you so that you can live on this mountain." On arriving there, before presenting the letter, Xiqian asked immediately, "What is it like when we do not idealize the sages and not attach importance to our own views?" Huairang said, "The disciple asks about a refined life. Why not aim your question a bit lower?" Xiqian said, "How could I accept being always sunk down? I will pursue Awakening without trailing the sacred ones." Huairang let him go. Xiqian went back and the Master said, "It isn't lomg since the disciple left. Did you deliver the letter or not?" Xiqian said, "Nothing was conveyed nor any letter delivered." The Master asked, "What happened?" Xiqian told him the above story then said, "When I set out I received the Master's permission and now I would like to receive that axe." The Master let a leg hang down. Xiqian offered prostrations to it and then departed for Nanyue.
  • 18. Raro. A trap, net, or cage designed to catch small birds.
  • 19. To. "To arrive" or "to be already present, having arrived."
  • 20. Senkyo.
  • 21. This section is quoted from the Mahaprajnaparamitopadesa, the Daichido-ron.
  • 22. Shitsudan, the Japanese transliteration for siddham.
  • 23. Zenkon (kusala-mula)
  • 24. Refers to the following koan concerning Nanyue and Huineng in Sanbyakusoku Shobogenzo 101: When Zen Master Nanyue Dahui first enters into training with the Old Buddha Caoxi, the Old Buddha asked, "What thing comes thus?" Nanyue thoroughly investigated this ball of mud for eight years. At last he presented the end-play of his thorough investigation to the Old Buddha and said, "Huairang understands now why when I first came here, the Master received Huairang with, 'What thing comes thus.'" The Old Buddha Caoxi said, "How do you understand it?" Dahui said, "To call it a thing misses the mark." The Old Buddha Caoxi asked, "Do you rely upon practice and realization or not?" Dahui said, "It is not that there is no practice and realization but that it is stainless." Then Caoxi said, "Just this stainlessness is what the Buddhas maintain and care for. You are thus, I am thus, and the Ancestors of India were also thus."
  • 25. A reference to Huineng's verse on the mirror.
  • 26. Bu. A section, a part. It carries an association of solidity.
  • 27. From the Skillful Means (Hoben) chapter of the Lotus Discourse. Dogen refers to the verse with "this" part (shibu), "my" (gabu).
  • 28. Setsu-zekyo. Setsu means "to Teach" not merely verbally but "to manifest." Zekyo means "those sutras."
  • 29. Another quotation rom the Lotus sutra's Skillful Means chapter.
  • 30. Zuitako. As in Hekiganroku 29.
  • 31. Kaen.
  • 32. Zen master Xuefeng taught the assembly, "All the Buddhas of the three times turn the Wheel of Reality in the midst of fire." Yunmen said, "The flames present the Teachings of the Buddhas of the three times. All the Buddhas do is stand there and listen!" See Koun Ejo's Komyozo-Zanmai.
  • 33. Goten. Another reference to Hekiganroku 29.
  • 34. Shibutsu-hibutsu. This actual Buddha and that primordial Buddha.
  • 35. Shippei.