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Buddhadharma : Spring 2012
SPRING 2 0 1 2 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 27 T his fascicle, Genjo koan, is the most difficult of the entire Shobo genzo (Treasury of the True Dharma Eye). Even the teachers of old made mis- takes and developed distorted views. All of you should open the great vital eye and penetrate Dogen Zenji’s words without sparing body or life. This fascicle is the skin, flesh, bones, and marrow of Dogen. The fundamental teaching of Dogen’s lifetime is expounded in this fascicle. The buddhadharma of his entire life is revealed in this work. The ninety-five fascicles of Shobo genzo are the offshoots of this fascicle. In general, when the old teachers presented their essential teaching, they each had one phrase that none of their predecessors had chosen, and on which they based their teaching. With this phrase they penetrated a whole lifetime. Teachers in the past did not have two phrases. Therefore, that one phrase expressed their dharmakaya. For example, the “One Bright Jewel” of Xuansha, the “Cypress Tree” of Zhaozou, and “This very mind is Buddha” of Mazu are all words of iron never spoken by anyone before. With one phrase they thrust forward the suchness of the cosmos, and set in motion the same wheel of dharma as the Buddha. The same thing can be said of Dogen. He sees straight through the world of the ten directions as Genjo koan, which are his words of iron. When this phrase is cracked, the ninety-five fas- cicles appear here and there as branches of it. For that reason, the lifetime teaching of Dogen is all in the one phrase, Genjo koan. So, this fascicle is placed first in the seventy-five-fascicle version of Shobo genzo, edited by Zen Master Ejo. It was done under the supervision of Dogen, who had the vision for the basic teaching of the school. Bendowa (On the Endeavor of the Way), on the other hand, is placed first in the ninety-five- fascicle version, which is most commonly read now. This version is arranged according to the dates when the fascicles were first expounded. We can see why Dogen expounded Bendowa first NISHIARI BOKUSAN (1821–1910) was a prominent Dogen scholar and author of Shobo genzo Keiteki (The Opening Way of the Shobogenzo). He was the head of the Soto Zen school and served as abbot of Sojiji in Japan, an important temple in the Soto tradition. This teaching, from the newly published Dogen’s Genjo Koan, was translated by Sojun Mel Weitsman and Kazuaki Tanahashi.