December, 2002 NUMBER 11

Dogen Zenji’s Genjo-koan Lecture (11)
Rev. Shohaku Okumura
Director, Soto Zen Buddhism International Center
(Edited by Koshin Steve Kelly)

(Text: section 13)
Zen Master Hotetsu of Mt. Mayoku was using a fan. A monk approached him and asked, “The nature of wind is everpresent and permeates everywhere. Why do you use a fan?”
The master said,” You know only that wind
’s nature is ever-present, — you don’t know that it permeates everywhere.”
The monk said, “How does wind permeate everywhere?”
The master just continued using the fan.
The monk bowed deeply.
The genuine experience of Buddha dharma — enlightenment — and the vital path that has been correctly transmitted is like this. To say we should not use a fan because the nature of wind is ever-present, and that we should feel the wind even when we don’t use a fan, is to know neither ever-presence nor the wind’s nature. Since the wind’s nature is ever-present, the wind of the Buddha’s family enables us to realize the gold of the great earth and to transform the [water of] the long river into cream.

Zen Master Mayoku Hotetsu

Mayoku Hotetsu (Magu Baoche, ?-?) was a Chinese Zen master who trained in Zen with Baso Doitsu (Mazu Daoi, 709-788) and succeeded his dharma. As was the custom in China at the time, Mayoku took his name from the mountain on which he lived after he became a teacher.

In Dogen Zenji’s collection of three hundred koans entitled Mana-Shobogenzo he included three stories regarding Mayoku. One of them (No. 123) is the one he quotes here in Genjo-koan.

Another one (No. 244 of Mana-Shobogenzo) also appears in the Rinzai-roku (The Record of Zen Master Rinzai). This is the story of Mayoku’s visit to Master Rinzai (Linji). (This story appears in Zen Teachings of Master Linchi, translated by Burton Watson P.12.)

Mayoku once asked Rinzai, “[The Bodhisattva of] the Great Compassion (Avalokitesvara) has one thousand eyes. Which one is the true eye?”

Rinzai said, “[The Bodhisattva of] the Great Compassion has one thousand eyes. Which one is the true eye? Say quickly! Say quickly.”

Mayoku grabbed Rinzai’s hand and dragged him down from his seat and Mayoku sat on the seat.

Rinzai finally stood up and said, “How are you?”

Mayoku tried to say something. Rinzai shouted and grabbed Mayoku’s hand and dragged him down from his seat and he sat in it. Mayoku walked out of the hall.

The Rinzai-roku also includes another similar story about Mayoku and Rinzai, which goes as follows. (The Zen Teaching of Master Linchi P.98)

Mayoku visited [Rinzai]. He spread his sitting cloth and asked, “The Avalokiteshvara has twelve faces. Which one is the true face?”

The master came down from the corded-chair. He folded the sitting cloth and hung it in one hand and with the other hand he held Mayoku and said, “Where has the twelve-faced Avalokiteshvara gone?”

Mayoku turned his body and tried to sit on Rinzai’s corded- chair.

The master held his monk’s staff and hit him.

Mayoku grabbed the staff. Both held on one end of it and went off to the master’s room.

As you can see, these two stories are very similar. I think they are two different versions developed from the same original story. In these stories, Mayoku and Rinzai each take a role being the face and eyes of Avalokiteshvara. The stories suggest that both Mayoku and Rinzai had in fact, the true eyes and face of the Bodhisattva of Great compassion. From these stories we can see that Master Rinzai held Mayoku in great respect. In the Rinzai-roku, Rinzai said that Mayoku was one of the important Zen masters for him. Although Obaku was his main teacher, he also introduced four masters he had been influenced by.

“Followers of the way, this mountain monk’s buddha dharma has been transmitted to me in a very clear line, from Master Mayoku, Master Tanka (Danxia), Master Doitsu (Daoi), the Master Rosan (Lu-shan) and Master Sekkyo (Shi-kung). This single road permeates the entire world. But no one trusts this, and everyone slanders it.”

Rinzai then goes on to comment on each master’s style. He says about Mayoku, “Mayoku’s way of doing things was as bitter as the bark of the Chinese cork tree; no one could get near him.” The word Rinzai used for “Chinese cork tree” is obaku, the name of Rinzai’s own master Obaku Kiun (Huanbo Xiyun, ?-850).

Mayoku was a disciple of Baso Doitsu and Rinzai was a third generation disciple of Baso (Baso to Hyakujo, Hyakujo to Obaku and Obaku to Rinzai). Because of this we can safely assume Mayoku must have been much older than Rinzai. This is also indicated by the two stories in Rinzai-roku, where it seems that Mayuoku shares the same level of understanding as Master Rinzai. There does exist a lack of solid information regarding Mayoku’s true identity in the source texts however. In the Rinzai section of the Keitoku Dentoroku (Jingde Chuandeng Lu, Transmission of Dharma Lamp), there is a note that this Mayoku was the second abbot of Mt. Mayoku, but in Mayoku’s biography written after his death by his only disciple Ryosui (Liangsui), there is no mention of this. In the Mana-Shobogenzo, Dogen Zenji says this Mayoku was the Dharma heir of Baso. There is a chance that this information might have been a mistake. But I think the Mayoku whom Rinzai mentioned as a source of his dharma was Mayoku Hotetsu, who was Baso’s disciple.

The Way is endless

The second story of Mayoku in Mana-Shobogenzo No.121) is about Mayoku Hotestsu and Jushu Ryosui Shouchou Liangsui ?-?) the man who would eventually become his Dharma successor. Before he visited Mayoku, Ryosui was a Buddhist lecturer.

Ryosui first visited Mayoku. Upon seeing Ryosui coming, Mayoku took a hoe and went to hoeing up weeds. Although Ryosui went to where Mayoku was working, Mayoku paid no attention to him, but rather immediately went back to the abbot’s room and shut the gate.

The next day, Ryosui visited again and Mayoku shut the gate again. Ryosui then knocked on the gate. Mayoku asked, “Who is this?”(Who are you)?

He said, “ Ryosui.”

Upon calling out his own name, Ryosui suddenly attained realization. He said, “Master, do not impose upon Ryosui. If I had not come to see you, I would be deceived by the sutras and commentaries in my whole life.”

When Ryosui went back, he gave a speech to his assembly, “All that you know, Ryosui knows. What Ryosui knows, you don’t know.”

Then he quit giving lectures and dispersed his assembly.

It’s clear from this story that Ryosui was a lecturer, and had much knowledge of Buddhist philosophy. Yet somehow, he felt he lacked something very important. That was why he visited Mayoku. Mayoku at first completely ignored him. When Mayoku finally asked him, “Who are you?” Ryosui understood that Buddha’s teaching was not a philosophical system but rather a mirror to show him his own essential Self. After finally fulfilling this lack, Ryosui knew he had been deceived by the sutras and commentaries.

In the Shobogenzo Zuimonki, there is a record of Dogen’s informal talk regarding this story.

Essentially beginners in the Way should just practice [the Way] following the other members of the sangha. Do not be in a hurry to study and understand the essential points and ancient examples. It is good to understand such things without misinterpretation when you enter the mountains or seclude yourselves in a city. If you practice following the other practitioners, you will surely attain the Way. It is like making a voyage. Even though you don’t know how to steer the ship, if you leave everything to the skill of the sailors, whether you understand or not, you will reach the other shore. Only if you follow a good teacher and practice with fellow practitioners without harboring personal views, will you naturally become a person of the Way. Students of the Way, even if you have attained enlightenment, do not stop practicing. Do not think that you have reached the pinnacle. The Way is endless. Even if you have attained realization, continue to practice the Way. Remember the story of Ryosui who visited Zen master Mayoku. (Zuimonki 6-7 translated by Shohaku Okumura)

From this informal talk in Zuimonki, we can see that Mayoku is a venerable master not only for Rinzai, but for Dogen Zenji as well. The point of this story is that true practice is to continually inquire about the dharma forever. The Way is endless, and this is the same point he makes in the section (10) of Genjo-koan using the analogy of sailing on the ocean.

“This great ocean, however, is neither round nor square. It has inexhaustible characteristics. [To a fish], it looks like a palace; [to a heavenly being] a jeweled necklace. [To us] as far as our eyes can see, it looks like a circle. All the myriad things are like this. Within the dusty world and beyond, there are innumerable aspects and characteristics; we only see or grasp as far as the power of our eye of study and practice can see. When we listen to the reality of myriad things, we must know that there are inexhaustible characteristics in either oceans or mountains and there are many other worlds in the four directions. This is true not only in the external world, but it is the same right under our feet or within a single drop of water.”

From this example, it appears that Dogen Zenji is trying to say the same thing using the story of wind-nature.

Keep using the fan

In the Mana-Shobogenzo version of our story, there are a few small differences from the version that exists in the Genjo-koan. I will introduce the story from the Mana- Shobogenzo (No.123) with a literal translation.

Zen master Hotetsu of Mt. Mayoku was Baso’s heir. One day he was using a fan. A monk asked him, “The windnature abides permanently and there is no place it does not permeate. Why do you swing a fan?”

The master said,” You know only that wind’s nature abides permanently, — you don’t know that there is no place it does not permeate.”

The monk said, “What is the principle of that there is no place wind-nature does not permeate?”

The master swung the fan all the more.

The monk made a prostration.

The master said, “Even if I have thousand monks, what is the merit of those monks if they don’t have the actual function?”

One of the eminent Soto scholar monks in the Edo period, Shigetsu Ein (1689-1764) made a short comment on each of the three hundred koans in Mana Shobogenzo entitled Nentei Sanbyakusoku Funogo (Holding and Commenting the Three Hundreds Cases; The Indescribable). Shigetsu’s comment on this story is: “This story certainly causes the wind even today. Mayoku swung the fan and the monk made a prostration. What is this?” In this comment, “what is this” is not a question but a statement. Shigetsu means that within the actions of Mayoku’s using a fan and the monk’s prostration, the reality beyond word and concepts manifests itself.

Wind-nature and using-a fan.

I have introduced a few stories about Zen Master Mayoku to show that he was an important Chinese master for both Rinzai and Dogen. In these stories, we see that Mayoku put his emphasis on practice and function (work or actions as expressions of dharma) instead of intellectual understanding. Dogen will later introduce many other stories (in his Chiji-shingi, Pure Standards for the Temple Administrators) that contain the same theme.

Here at the end of Genjo-koan, he introduces the story of wind-nature and using a fan as a good example of what he has been discussing in Genjo-koan.


Obviously this wind-nature refers to buddha-nature. The monk who questioned Hotetsu thought that buddhanature was like wind-nature, being ever-present in time and all-pervading in space. If we study the history of Mahayana Buddhist philosophy, we find that this is a very different understanding from the original concept of buddha-nature.

In India, the word thathagata-garbha was more commonly used than buddha-nature. Garbha means womb or embryo. So tathagata-garba means the womb or the embryo of the tathagata. Another way to say it is, tathagatha- garbha means that all living beings are the womb in which the embryo (of the tathagata) is contained. We are containers (wombs) of the tathagata. In living beings, the tathagata is still in the stage of an embryo. It is hidden and not revealed. But if we take a good care of the embryo, it will be born and grow and sometime in the future and will become a real tathagata.

The word “buddha-nature” was first used in the Maha-Parinirvana Sutra. The most famous statement on buddha-nature in the sutra is, “All living beings without exception have buddha-nature.” In China, this expression and understanding of “buddha-nature” became much more popular than the teaching of tathagata-garbha.

Anyway, the original concept of “buddha-nature” is that the potential of a tathagata is stored in living beings. But because it is only potential, buddha-nature is still hidden hidden and it does not yet work. One of the famous analogies of this kind of understanding about buddha-nature is a diamond covered with rock and dirt. We have buddhanature within us (the diamond) but it is still concealed by delusion (rocks and dirt). First we have to discover the diamond. Then we take the dirt and rocks off and polish the diamond. Then the beauty of diamond is revealed and we will become enlightened buddhas.

This theory of tathagata-garbha or buddha-nature has been problematic in the history of Buddhist philosophy, because it sounds like the Hindu theory of the “atman” (or an individual separate existence) that Shakyamuni Buddha clearly negated. The basic theory of the atman is that it is a pure changeless spiritual nature concealed within a body that is the source of delusion and defilement. As far as the atman is imprisoned in the body, we create karma and cannot be released from transmigration within samsara. So, the purpose of religious practice is to separate the atman from the prison of body.

Buddha-nature in Chinese Zen

This theory of tathagata-garbha or buddha-nature became a basis of the teachings of many Chinese Buddhist schools through the influence of a work entitled Daijo-kishin-ron (Awakening the Faith in the Mahayana). In the text it is said that the “One Mind” or “life” of living beings (shujo-shin, literally the mind/heart of living beings) has two aspects. One is the aspect of Mind in terms of the Absolute (tathata; suchness itself). Another is the aspect of mind in terms of phenomena (samsara; birth and death). It is said these two aspects are mutually inclusive. The absolute tathata is like water and living beings in samsara are like the waves of water caused by the wind of ignorance. In terms of absolute tathata, all living beings (waves) are fundamentally the same as tathagata (water) and enlightened from the beginning. This side is called the ‘original enlightenment’ (hongaku) or ultimate reality (li). But living beings are influenced by the wind of ignorance and create karma and then transmigrate within samsara, the basic idea is that we need to practice and become free from the ignorance and return to the original enlightenment. This is called ‘the process of actualization of enlightenment’ (shikaku) or concrete reality (ji). It is said “As for the ultimate reality (li), all living beings are enlightened and buddhas as they are from the beginning, but as for phenomenal reality (ji), we are deluded living beings and therefore we need to study and practice in order to restore the original enlightenment and become a enlightened buddha.”

This is a very rough description of the basic theory of buddha-nature in Chinese Buddhism.

Buddha-nature in Zen

The famous debate regarding sudden enlightenment and gradual enlightenment between the Southern School and the Northern School of Chinese Zen are about which side of the One Mind they put emphasis on, the ‘original enlightenment’ (hongaku) or ‘process of actualization of enlightenment’ (shikaku). This debate is clearly expressed in the biography of the sixth ancestor Eno (Huineng), in the section with Jinshu’s poem about the mirror (polish it to keep it bright), and Eno’s response (there is no mirror).

Zen scholars often say that due to the influence of Baso (Mazu), Zen masters stressed the concrete reality in front of our eyes and taught that our actions are nothing other than the manifestations of tathata (suchness). The two famous sayings of Baso and his students were, “the mind itself is buddha (sokushin zebutsu)” and “ordinary mind is the Way.” Their basic attitude was viewing ultimate reality (li) within concrete phenomena (ji). In other words, buddha nature is not something hidden in living beings but all beings are manifestations of tathata. Concrete phenomena are themselves ultimate reality.

This is what the monk meant when he said to Mayoku Hotetsu, “Wind-nature is ever-present and all pervading.” That meant buddha-nature is always revealed and never hidden in all time and space. But this idea causes another problem. If this is true, why did Mayoku have to use a fan to reveal wind (Buddha nature)? If everything is the manifestation of the ultimate reality (tathata) and we are enlightened from the beginning, why we have to study and practice? This is a very natural question.

In fact it is mentioned as Dogen Zenji’s original question that sent him to China. But Mayoku did not answer this question with a theoretical explanation. Rather he just continued to use the fan. What Dogen wants to show here is that practice not a philosophical debate. If we want to argue with our teacher (or anyone else), we can do so endlessly. Dogen’s suggestion here is that we stop arguing and just make a prostration to the person who knows how to use a fan (how to practice). Here we should sincerely ask ourselves a few questions such as, “Have I ever met a person who is actually using a fan? Can I make a sincere prostration to them? What is the value of this action and what does it say about our practice?”

Theory of original enlightenment in Japan

As I said before, this question of action was a problem for Dogen himself. When Dogen was ordained as a Tendai monk, the movement called Tendai Hongaku Homon (the dharma gate of original enlightenment) was very popular. The theory put emphasis on concrete phenomena (ji) itself as the absolute and ultimate reality. In other words, deluded living beings are themselves enlightened buddhas.

According to his biography, Dogen Zenji had a question regarding this theory when he was a teenager. “If all beings are the dharma-nature from the beginning, why do all buddhas have to arise bodhi-mind, go through difficult practices, attain awakening and enter nirvana?” If we are paying attention here we can see that Dogen’s question about the theory of original enlightenment and the monk’s question to Mayoku Hotetsu is the same question. If all phenomena are themselves ultimate reality and all living beings are themselves buddha-nature, why we have to study and practice? Why we have to make all this effort to make our world and ourselves better?

Dogen eventually put this question to his teacher Tendo Nyojo (Tiantong Rujing, 1163-1228), and recorded their dialog in the Hokyoki. One of the questions Dogen gave to Nyojo was,

Teachers in the past and present have said that self-awareness is like a fish that knows whether the water is cold or warm when it drinks. This Wisdom is awakening and the realization of enlightenment. I (Dogen) criticized this understanding. If self-awareness is the true awakening, then all living beings have such awareness. Because all living being know themselves as [cold or warm, itchy or in pain], they are all tathagatas with true awakening? Some people said, “Yes, all living beings are the original tathagata from the beginingless beginning.” Others said, “All living beings are not necessarily tathagatas. Why is this so? If they know that the self-awareness and natural wisdom are [supreme awakening] they are tathagatas, and unless they know it, they are not [tathagatas]. Are these opinions buddha dharma, or not?
To this question from Dogen, Tendo Nyojo answered:
If they say that all living beings are from the beginning buddhas, they are the same as the Non-Buddhists of naturalness. Comparing self and attributes of the self to buddhas is nothing other than considering those who have not yet attained as those who have attained and those who are not enlightened as those who are enlightened.

Nyojo said such an understanding is not in accordance with Buddha’s teachings but that of Non-Buddhist’s who say that everything natural is itself enlightenment and all man-made things come from delusion and are therefore unnecessary or even evil. This reply from Nyojo became foundation of Dogen’s teaching after he went back to Japan.

Fukanzazengi (Universal Recommendation of Zazen)

Right after he went back to Japan Dogen wrote a manual of zazen practice entitled Fukanzazengi (Universal Recommendation of Zazen). In the very beginning of his first exposition, Dogen wrote,

“Originally, the Way is complete and universal. How can we distinguish practice from enlightenment? The Vehicle of Reality is in the self. Why should we waste our efforts trying to attain it? Still more, the whole body is free from the worlds dust. Why should we believe in a means to sweep it away? The Way is never separated from where we are now. Why should we wander here and there to practice? Yet, if there is the slightest deviation, you will be as far from the Way as heaven is from earth. If adverse or favorable conditions arise to even a small degree, you will lose your mind in confusion. ——— Moreover, consider Shakyamuni Buddha who was enlightened from birth, to this day you can see the traces of his sitting in the upright posture for six years. And Bodhidharma who transmitted the mind-seal; even now you can hear of the fame of his facing the wall for nine years. These ancient sages practiced in this way. How can you people of today refrain from practice!”

Here Dogen clearly says, “even though the Way is perfect and universal, we still need to practice as Shakyamuni Buddha and Bodhidharma did. Why? He does not explain at depth. He just says we should do it simply because they did.

Bendowa (Wholehearted practice of the Way)

Bendowa is Dogen’s second essay and was written in 1231, four years after he came back from China. In this piece, he first describes the practice of zazen as jijuyu-zanmai and says, “ when we sit in an upright posture, the entire universe becomes enlightenment.” For him, the practice of zazen is the pivotal point “ that makes the entire universe into enlightenment”.

In the question and answer section of Bendowa, Dogen discusses various views regarding practice and enlightenment. Questions 10 and 16 refer to the view that we have buddha-nature inside of us and are therefore buddha from the beginning. To know that is enough and we don’t need to practice.

Question 7 is from the viewpoint (which Dogen did not agree with) that, we need to practice in order to attain enlightenment but it is not necessary once we have attained enlightenment. This was a common understanding of Rinzai Zen. As we have discussed before, this view puts emphasis on the ‘process of actualization of enlightenment’ (shikaku). According to this view, in the ultimate reality we are all enlightened from the beginning, but in the actuality, we are deluded. So we need to practice until we re-discover the buddha nature by a kensho experience. But after having attained enlightenment (kensho), zazen practice is not needed.

These questions are examples of two extremes that
Dogen found while he was searching for the answer to his
own question, “why practice?”


In chronological order, Genjo-koan is Dogen’s fourth discourse. Before Genjo-koan he wrote Maka-Hannya- Haramitsu (Maha-prajna-paramita) in the summer of 1233. That was also the year Dogen founded his own monastery Koshoji. In the fall of the same year he wrote Genjo-koan and gave it to his lay student, Yokoshu. Later he put Genjo-koan at the very beginning of the collection of his treatise in Japanese entitled Shobogenzo and made Maka-Hannya-Haramitsu the second chapter. I think these two are closely connected. In the beginning of Maka-hannya- haramitsu, Dogen Zenji paraphrases the Heart Sutra and says:

“The time of Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva practicing profound prajna paramita is the whole body clearly seeing the emptiness of all five aggregates. The five aggregates are forms, sensations, perceptions, predilections, and consciousness; this is the five-fold prajna. Clear seeing is itself prajna.

To unfold and manifest this essential truth, [the Heart Sutra] states that “form is emptiness; emptiness is form.” Form is nothing but form; emptiness is nothing but emptiness — one hundred blades of grass, ten thousand things.

The twelve sense-fields are twelve instances of prajna paramita. Also, there are eighteen instances of prajna: eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind; form, sound, smell, taste, touch, objects of mind; as well as the consciousnesses of eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind. Also, there are four instances of prajna: suffering, its cause, its cessation, and the path [to cessation]. Also, there are six instances of prajna: generosity, pure precepts, calm patience, diligence, quiet meditation, and wisdom. There is also a single instance of prajna manifesting itself right now — unsurpassable complete, perfect awakening. Also, there are three instances of prajna: past, present, and future. Also, there are six instances of prajna: earth, water, fire, wind, space, and consciousness. Also, four instances of prajna are going on daily: walking, standing, sitting, and lying down.”

Here Dogen shows us that prajna (wisdom) is a practice we perform with our whole body and mind. Our whole body and mind clearly sees the emptiness of the five aggregates, and that seeing is nothing other than the whole body and mind revealed. The five aggregates see the emptiness of the five aggregates themselves. So, this prajna cannot be a particular way in which a subject views objects. It cannot be just another viewpoint. In the beginning of Genjo-koan, he discusses this point in great detail and in the end he shows us how to practice based on this understanding. According to Dogen Zenji our practice is not to attain a one-time enlightenment experience and therefore recover our buddha-nature. Practice for Dogen is an ongoing activity. We continue to deepen and broaden our understanding, day by day, moment after moment. We must breathe moment after moment to stay alive, we must digest what we eat each day. We need to keep awakening moment by moment whenever we find that we have turned aside from awakening.

Our practice of zazen is bodhisattva practice. We take four bodhisattva vows when we begin to practice and each time we see the incompleteness of our practice or we notice we have deviated from our direction, we make repentance and return to the path the four-bodhisattva vows show us. Thus our practice is endless.

(text) The genuine experience of buddha dharma — enlightenment — and the vital path that has been correctly transmitted is like this.

To say we should not use a fan because the nature of wind is ever-present, and that we should feel the wind even when we don’t use a fan, is to know neither ever-presence nor the wind’s nature.

Mayoku said that the monk knew only the ever-presence of the wind-nature but did not know how it permeates every place. According to Mayoku using a fan - our moment-by-moment practice- is the way the wind nature permeates everywhere.

On this point Dogen was even stricter than Mayoku. He said the monk did not even know the ever-presence of the wind, let alone how it permeates everywhere.

In the original story that Dogen quotes in the Mana-shobogenzo, after the monk made a prostration, Mayoku said one more thing, “Even if I have a thousand monks, what is the merit of monks if they don’t have the actual function?!” So, in the original story it is not clear if Mayoku acknowledged the monk’s prostration or not. He might have thought the monk still didn’t have the vital function. I think Dogen cut off the final speech of Mayoku to show that the monk’s prostration is the way to use a fan to cause the wind. Another way to see it would be: in the wind caused by Mayoku’s fanning, the monk understood the point of practice and instead of speaking using words he demonstrated it by actual practice of a prostration.

The wind of Buddha family

(Text) Since the wind’s nature is ever-present, the wind of the Buddha’s family enables us to realize the gold of the great earth and to transform the [water of] the long river into cream.

The great earth is our world and the water of the long river is the stream of our own life. The wind of the Buddha’s family caused by our ceaseless practice of vow and repentance makes our world precious like gold and our own lives nutritious like cream. Here again Dogen shows the Self and the world of the Self (the ten thousand things) as they really are, totally interdependent.

Like a fish in the water
Like a bird in the sky.
A fish is swimming like a fish.
A bird is flying like a bird.

The First Chapter of
Shobogenzo (The True Dharma Eye Treasury)
Genjo-koan (Actualization of Reality)

This was written in mid-autumn in the first year of Tenpuku era (1233) and given to my lay disciple, Yo Koshu, who lived in Chinzei (Kyushu).
Compiled in the fourth year of Kencho (1252)

[ afterword ]
I gave this series of lectures on Genjo-koan from September 1997 to March 1999 as a part of the activities of the Soto Zen Education Center, located at the time, at Zenshuji in Los Angeles. I have been editing and publishing the transcriptions of my lectures for the Soto Zen Journal “Dharma Eye” for five years. This has been a very difficult but educational experience. This was the first time for me to write my own articles regarding Dogen’s teachings in English. I hope you have enjoyed this series of lectures. I would like to express my deep gratitude to Rev. Chiko Clelia Corona and Rev. Koshin Steve Kelly who transcribed my lectures and who edited my drafts. My speech and my writing are very Japanese. It must be difficult work to turn it into real English.

I would like to dedicate this series of lectures to my teacher Kosho Uchiyama Roshi who died in March 1998 while I was working on these lectures. Without his teachings and example of using a fan, I would not have understood Dogen Zenji’s teachings at all.

The End


Copyright © 1996-2004 by Sotoshu Shumucho.All rights reserved. No reproduction or republication without written permission.