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Shobogenzo: Genjokoan – Talk 2

June 7, 1987 Dharma Talk by Dainin Katagiri Roshi

Transcribed by Kikan Michael Howard

This transcript is still in rough draft form.

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Yesterday I mentioned, the important point in Buddhism is that we have to feel deeply and directly who you are. Such as, tasting, realizing manas, psychologically speaking. At that time, the realization of manas guides you to touch, what would you say, karmic life, coming from past life. That is alayavijñāna.

Then, I think is not good enough to feel, to taste of who you are, deeply or directly - it’s not good enough for us. By meditation, you have to reach alayavijñāna, so called karmic consciousness, karmic life. But at that time, there is still problem: that we are stuck in the concept of karmic life. The alayavijñāna is characterized by the… something going in perpetual series, from the past, through present, to future. So, nothing pinned down, nothing to grasp, nothing to let you be stuck there. So, all that’s going. So finally, if you really feel what your karmic life is, finally there is no concept of your own karmic life. Finally what you can see is, just flow of energy. That’s it. That is called tathāgatagarbha.

There is nothing to put on a name; put a name on it. But it is kind of just a perpetual flow of energy. It’s very difficult to put a name on it; but it’s really something fact, real. Because it supports your life, and also all sentient beings. That is called tathāgatagarbha. At that time, you really appreciate it.

And then from this, I think religious ascertainment(?) and relaxation, or relief, oozes from the bottom of your heart. That is called faith. Naturally.


So, main purpose of Buddhist practice is to taste the ego consciousness, deeply who you are, through the meditation - but, it’s not good enough. The more practice, farther practice, is to taste alayavijñāna, karmic life, not only conceptually, but directly you should participate in alayavijñāna. What direct participation in alayavijñāna is, that is just movement. Flow, movement. Perpetual flow of energy, to live, to be present - not only for you. With all sentient beings. That is final purpose of Buddhism.


Then, yesterday I mentioned, most people believe if you don’t attain enlightenment, you are not Buddhist, you are really lower classes of human beings. But I don’t think it is true. Even though you are deluded person, or you are enlightened person, all sentient beings are aware. You should remember this one!

But yesterday I mentioned, individually, if you see your life, under all circumstances you want to live! That desire comes from where? Your own desire? No. Not your own desire. I gave you my own story: When the bomb exploded, I immediately ran, and jumped into the hole, and chanted the name of Amitaba. That is my desire? No way. Not my desire; no choice. No choice. So under all circumstances, everyone has great energy, capacity to live, to be. Completely beyond like or dislike.

So, you should remain there, from the beginning. You should appreciate this energy; you should appreciate this life force gifted to you, from the beginning-less past. Anyway, you have already great capacity.

That is temporarily, (what) we call Buddha Nature. Or, 2500 years ago, Buddha Shakyamuni mentioned, “all are buddha.” That is, temporarily, we call buddha. Buddha is a person who realize that perpetual flow of energy, flow of existence, constantly beginning from the beginning-less past, to the endless future. You should participate directly in it.

So, what is that? Just be here. And then, manifest it. So, strictly speaking, I think everyone is, anyway, in Buddha’s world. Great world.


So I think even though you are not enlightened person, it is not discrimination between Buddha and ordinary people. You are not enlightened person, but originally you are enlightened person. Because, you already survive; you are living from day to day - by who? By your effort? Yes it is; but something more than that. By the help of the grasses, rains, sunshine, humidity, the air; by all sentient beings, you can survive. This is the true reality.

So you should live in the vast, expansive realm of the world, surrounded by all sentient beings. But usually, we always see the world narrower, in the narrow way. “This is my world,” “that is your world,” - separately. But first of all, we should live in that expansive, enormously expansive realm of existence. That is called Buddha Nature. We are Buddha.


So, let’s see the Genjokoan. Do you have Genjokoan? [There is the sound of rustling papers in the group.]

And, last sentence, there is a conclusion there. Last one.

Last sentence, it says: “Because the nature of wind is eternal, the wind of Buddhism causes the manifestation of the earth’s being gold, and by participation, develops the long river into butter.”


(77) ‘Wind nature always abiding’ (fū shō jō jū) means that the breeze blowing from the House of Buddha brings forth a golden age on earth and ripens the ambrosia in heaven.


(77) 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.


(77) The nature of wind is permanent; because of that, the wind of the buddha house brings forth the gold of the earth and ripens the cream of the long river.

Nishijima & Cross:

(77) Because the nature of air is to be ever-present, the behavior of Buddhists has made the earth manifest itself as gold and has ripened the Long River into curds and whey.

(Transcriber’s Note: I will include alternative translations from “Dark Side of the Mirror” by David Brazier, “Realizing Genjokoan” by Shohaku Okumura, “Treasury of the True Dharma Eye” edited by Kazuaki Tanahashi, and the Nishijima & Cross translation of Shobogenzo, in that order. Comparison may be useful. The line numbering, which is somewhat arbitrary, here is borrowed from Brazier. I do not know what translation Katagiri Roshi is using.)

[More of the group figuring out what page to be on. Page 35, apparently.]


The wind of Buddhism: I think… in this case Dogen Zenji uses ‘wind’ because he quoted the story of Zen Master Hōtetsu of Mount Mayoku using a fan, et cetera. That’s why he is talking about the wind, created by fan. That’s why we uses the “wind of Buddhism”; (it) means Buddha’s family. So in this case, wind means lifestyle; refined lifestyle of the Buddha’s family. All sentient beings are nothing but Buddha’s family, okay? So, their life has really refined lifestyle they’re on. What is this? That is, to manifest the earth. “The earth” means alayavijñāna, karmic life. “Being gold”: turn earth, turn alayavijñāna, into gold, means tathāgatagarbha. “And then, by participation”: you have to participate in this practice, directly. And then at that time you can develop - long river means the human life. “Long river”: human life, human world, handed down from century after century; long, long river. “Into butter”: sweet butter, sweet milk, wonderful milk - means Buddha’s world; peaceful, harmonious world.


What is the responsibility, what is the duty for us, if you want to be present in this world as a human being? That is, a human being who has great refined lifestyle of Buddha’s family. What is the duty? Our duty is to turn the earth - alayavijñāna, alaya world, karmic life - into gold - means tathāgatagarbha, Buddha’s world. How? You should participate in it(?), directly. Regardless of whether you judge your life, “I am enlightened,” or “unenlightened”; it doesn’t matter. All you have to do is, you should participate in this practice, directly, day by day. And then, at that time, your life ripens, very naturally. So, you can develop the long river: your whole life, including past, present, future, into the butter, sweet butter - means into the peaceful, harmonious world. That is your total personality coming up.

How do you develop the whole personality? It’s not your business. Your business is, just to participate in this practice. That’s it! And then, whole personality coming up just like water under the ground, coming up if your pipe touches the water vine(?) - naturally water – [shoop] – coming up.


When you see the water coming up from the ground, it is called ‘whole personality’. By which, people are really impressed; and people really want to have, to see such a person. It is necessary for us. And we have such a capability. So, finally, our purpose is just like this. That’s why it is a conclusion of Genjokoan.

Is that okay?


So, what is the practice for us? [He chuckles.] Well, we always say, “We want to, we want to attain enlightenment, we want to be enlightened person,” et cetera. We are always “juggling” - juggling? - in the realm of human … samsara. Always juggling: “you are wrong,” “I am right,” you know? “I practice for ten years, and with person,” “You are always lazy; you are not Buddhist.” And always, “I love him, so he is my teacher.” It’s ridiculous! [Laughter.] And then always… a person sometimes tells you the bitter things: “Oh, I don’t like him. He is not my teacher.” Something like that. They’re always juggling like this.

How do you understand? How do you share your life with all sentient beings, in peace and harmony? No matter how long you talk about compassion, wisdom, kindness, friendliness, with shaking hand; actually, practically, you never built up peaceful world, from day to day. No way. Always you are fighting, suffering. That’s why Dogen Zenji mentions like this.

What is our practice? Whoever you are, whatever it is, what you have to do is, try to turn the alayavijñāna into tathāgatagarbha. Our earth, human world; turn human world into the gold, Buddha’s world. You should participate! You can do it. How? That is explanation of Genjokoan.


Let’s go back to the first paragraph.

Let’s divide Genjokoan into eleven sections…

(From 18:20 to 21:05, Katagiri divides the text into sections. As we don’t have the text that he is using, and since he doesn’t end up covering all the sections in this talk, this division doesn’t seem particularly useful, so is omitted here.)


First paragraph. Would you read first paragraph?

Reader: “When all things are Buddha’s teaching, then there is delusion and enlightenment, there is cultivation of practice, there is birth, there is death, there are buddhas, there are sentient beings. When myriad things are all not self, there is no delusion, no enlightenment, no buddhas, no sentient beings, no birth, no death. Because the Buddha Way originally sprang forth from abundance and paucity, there is birth and death, delusion and enlightenment, sentient beings and buddhas. Moreover, though this is so, flowers fall when we cling to them, and weeds only grow when we dislike them.”


(1) Birth and death, practice and daily life, delusion and enlightenment, ordinary beings and all the Buddhas; such is the Buddha’s Dharma of all Dharmas.
(2) As the myriad Dharmas are other than self, when one is in their midst, there are no creating and destroying, no sentient beings and all Buddhas, no delusion and enlightenment.
(3) Out of abundance and lack springs forth the original Dao of Buddha, and for this there is making and destroying, delusion and enlightenment, and there are living Buddhas.
(4) So it is and nevertheless, blossom falls bittersweet and weeds spread amidst woeful resignation.


(1) When all dharmas are the Buddha Dharma, there is delusion and realization, practice, life and death, buddhas and living beings.
(2) When the ten thousand dharmas are without [fixed] self, there is no delusion and no realization, no buddhas and no living beings, no birth and no death.
(3) Since the Buddha Way by nature goes beyond [the dichotomy of] abundance and deficiency, there is arising and perishing, delusion and realization, living beings and buddhas.
(4) Therefore flowers fall even though we love them; weeds grow even though we dislike them.


(1) As all things are buddha dharma, there is delusion, realization, practice, birth [life] and death, buddhas and sentient beings.
(2) As myriad things are without an abiding self, there is no delusion, no realization, no buddha, no sentient being, no birth and death.
(3) The buddha way, in essence, is leaping clear of abundance and lack; thus there is birth and death, delusion and realization, sentient beings and buddhas.
(4) Yet in attachment blossoms fall, and in aversion weeds spread.

Nishijima & Cross:

(1) When all dharmas are [seen as] the Buddha-Dharma, then there is delusion and realization, there is practice, there is life and there is death, there are buddhas and there are ordinary beings.
(2) When the myriad dharmas are each not of the self, there is no delusion and no realization, no buddhas and no ordinary beings, no life and no death.
(3) The Buddha’s truth is originally transcendent over abundance and scarcity, and so there is life and death, there is delusion and realization, there are beings and buddhas.
(4) And though it is like this, it is only that flowers, while loved, fall; and weeds while hated, flourish.


Katagiri: Okay. First paragraph, first section, is divided into … four sentences. First one is, when all things are buddha teaching, then there is delusion and enlightenment, there is cultivation of practice, there is birth, there is death, there are buddhas, there are sentient beings. This is one sentence.

Second: When myriad things are all not self, there is no delusion, no enlightenment, no buddhas, no sentient beings, no birth and no death.

Third: Because the Buddha Way originally sprung forth from abundance and paucity, there is birth and death, delusion and enlightenment, sentient beings and buddhas.

And then last: Moreover, although this is so, flowers fall when we cling to them, and weeds only grow when we dislike them.

He says “buddha teachings”. I think originally he said “buddha-dharma”. Buddha-dharma means the whole universe. Whole universe means not the huge avocado seed, okay? It’s not like a huge avocado seed. In other words, the universe is not huge lump of the earth body. Do you understand? That is, buddha-dharma means, I told you already, perpetual flow of energies, always going and acting and quiet. It’s quiet, but it’s dynamic; it’s always something going. That is huge; boundless. There is no boundaries. Always huge, huge. That’s why I sometimes use “vast expanse of existence”. It’s vast. It’s really vastness.


So that is buddha teaching, he says, but I think originally buddha-dharma. So… first of all, you have to see the human world, human beings, in terms of buddha’s eye. So first section talking about the outlook on the world; how you should see the world, how you understand the human world. So first of all, you have to see the world in terms of buddha’s eye.

Yesterday I mentioned, if you see the human world in terms in terms of ordinary people’s eyes, so call alayavijñāna, world becomes always alayavijñāna. Alayavijñāna (is) never buddha’s world. So if you see the world in terms of buddha’s eye, the whole world become buddha’s world. Alayavijñāna means karmic life. Karmic life, if you see karmic life through meditation, you taste it, karmic life. But still, that karmic life you have tasted through the meditation, is still conceptualized. If you go beyond conceptualization of karmic life, it is nothing but perpetual flow of energies. That’s it. Because, karmic life has been going from the past, present, futures, from every direction. So, we don’t know what it is. But it’s actually working, anyway. So that’s why it’s very difficult to be free from understanding of karmic life. Because, every day, you can see, you can taste karmic life. So it’s very easy for us to be stuck in karmic life. But originally, karmic life is what? It’s going. Dynamically, from the past, to the present, to the future.


At that time … if you go beyond, free from conceptualization of karmic life, at that time you really participate directly in alayavijñāna, which means tathāgatagarbha. Tathāgatagarbha is only when you participate in it, in deep understanding, deep taste, profound taste of alayavijñāna; then alayavijñāna turns into Buddha’s world, tathāgatagarbha.

Yesterday I mentioned, whole space, koku, fall down to the earth and be crushed. Then, that is the time when oak tree become buddha. We are always separated. When whole skies, whole world are crushed. We must be buddha. When you become buddha? Whole world, crushed. Nothing to compare. What do you mean? Just energy, working. And then, you become buddha. When you become buddha, that is the time when whole earths are crushed. That is direct participation in alayavijñāna, instead of understanding the human world, human life in the world of conceptualization. That is very tricky, very tricky. It’s very difficult to participate in that, the alayavijñāna directly, and turn it into tathāgatagarbha. It’s very difficult. Because, our head, it’s very strong; stubborn. [He chuckles.] Oh, it’s stubborn.


That’s why immediately Dogen Zenji mentions, all things are… not all things you have thought. All are buddhas. Anyway, you should deal with this. At that time, see the world, see yourself. You live alone? No. You are there, with all sentient beings. That’s why delusion and enlightenment, cultivation of practice, and birth and death, and buddhas and all sentient beings, exist simultaneously. This is true reality.

What is this? This is your world, created by you? No. This is the world created by the past of your life? No. It is something more than that. It’s really expansive, the existence of the world. That’s why he says.


And then, next, “When the myriad dharma are all not self, there is no delusion, no enlightenment, no buddhas, no sentient beings, no birth and no death.” Then at that time, you are you, but you are not you. You are all sentient beings. You are supported by all sentient beings. So you shouldn’t always attach to yourself: “I am great.” I don’t think (so); this is really egoistic. If you become really great, in other words, if you really become mature, you don’t know this maturity. Real maturity is some energy which makes you go smoothly, like a stream of water. People just participating in that stream of water, just like a boat. But if you attach to maturity, this maturity becomes very strict. It’s not a stream of water, so always bumping, lots of maturity there: your maturity, my maturity – [laughter] – always bumping, and creating a creaking sound. Do you understand? That is the human world that we all research(?).


That’s why myriad dharmas are all not self. When you see the world in universal perspective, all don’t have it’s own ego-sense. No; exactly flow of energy, nothing but the flow of energy, penetrating, exchanging their own position with somebody else. I change my position with somebody’s position. In other words, I can talk with a bird, I can talk with a wok(?). I can talk with an Indian elephant. … The elephant can shake hands with the Indian … monkey. Do you understand that one? Intellectually you don’t understand this, but this is a buddha’s world. Buddha’s world is shaking hand: if you pick up this one, whole world pick up. You don’t believe it, but this is really true. This is outlook on human world in terms of buddha’s eye. Because you live with all sentient beings. Without all sentient beings, how can (you) survive? No possibility.

So in the next, if so, what is true reality? He said, “Because the Buddha Way originally sprung forth from abundance and paucity, there is birth and death, delusion and enlightenment, sentient beings and buddhas.” What are the all sentient beings you can see, with your naked eye? They are not all sentient beings, seen with your naked eye; something more than abundance and paucity, being or not being. Completely beyond this one. That is what? Buddha? I can see the trees, I can see the birds. But birds doesn’t have their own nature, their own ego; tree doesn’t have its own ego; and then, that is a true picture of the trees and birds. Saying, going beyond being and not being, like or dislike, paucity and abundance. That is true reality, of everything. So, complete different world, coming up.


Next, last sentence says, “Moreover, though this is so, flowers fall when we cling to them, and weeds only grow when we dislike them.” Yesterday, Shoken Floyd Winecoff asked me, when you feel (pensive?) … talking about sadness. Religiously speaking, if you see your karmic life, there is some deep sadness there. For instance, if I look at myself, there is a deep sadness there. Because I cannot handle it… I cannot control, anyway. It can be controlled, but it’s not usual way. You cannot control it in the usual way. It can be controlled, but not in the usual way; that’s why it’s very difficult. So in a sense, deep sadness there.

Deep sadness means, completely beyond speculation, when you see something, you feel sad, you feel pensive. So when the flower falls, you feel, well, pensive. And say, “Please, stay on the branch,” you know? When weeds grows, you hate it. I’ve really experienced this hatred in the everyday cleaning my temple yard. [He chuckles.] Big temple yard, and by myself, picking up. I didn’t have a big machine, or chemicals to kill the weeds, so I had to pick up weeds every day. When you see them, you know, it’s really questionable. I always ask them, “What are you doing here? (What am I doing here?) That is your lifestyle, spending your… picking up grasses like this? This is purpose of monk’s life?” [Laughter.] So I thought, “Oh, big mistake.” [Laughter.] “Why did I become a monk?” [Laughter.] I have no choice, so always, I did it, you know?


So, it’s really hatred; hatred coming up. Beyond grasses and flowers, blooms, flower blooms and weeds grows, beyond your hatred or love. Before, before or in advance, it’s blooming. Do you understand? Your blooming of life is already, in the same as blooming of flower. So your life is what? Just a blooming flower. Your life is what? Growth of the weeds. It’s the same thing. But when you see the weeds, you separate it; and then, you hate it. But basically, weeds grows in the same way as your presence. Before you poke your head into it, it already grows, the flower blooms.

But on the other hand, you cannot ignore that feeling. So Dogen Zenji says, let’s come back to everyday life as a human being. What do feel, this one? What do you feel, flowers, weeds? Do you feel love? Do you feel the love (of) weeds? Are you sure you love the weeds? Are you sure? We cut the grasses always, and then some people say, “don’t cut the grasses,” you know? Are you sure you love the weeds? Are you sure you love the insects and the mosquitos? Are you sure? But - you hate? Are you sure? You don’t hate, you don’t love; I don’t know.

But, it is a fact: you feel hate; you feel hatred, you feel love. So this is a fact. Very straightforwardly, look at your human life. That your feeling, hatred, love, is not usual sense of love. Hatred; you have fought for a long time. Let’s see the different way, okay? That’s why Dogen Zenji says last sentence. Dogen Zenji says, bring up first the buddhas world, your way of seeing how to see the human world. You should see the world in terms of buddha’s eye. If so, you should hate samsaric world? No, no. Come back, please come back, to the human life, which exists day by day, with feelings, emotions, hatred, anger, et cetera.

That’s why yesterday I mentioned, I think we should, instead of handling a feeling of sadness, all this, we should go back to the important point: how to live, how to see the world. In other words, your basic attitude toward human life. So let the… different way you should see the world, from the buddha’s eye. That is our practice. Because, sadness, feelings, always appear just like bubbles, bubbles coming up, always. You love so much feelings, but next moment it disappears, and love turns into hatred. So always, it’s very uneasy. But you cannot ignore that one; that’s why Dogen Zenji brings up this one. Don’t ignore this one. But that feeling, sadness, hatred, are not something you should hate or you should love. You should take care of hatred, love as the buddha’s world, as a decoration of the buddhas’ land.


So if you do it, how do you decorate human world with hatred, with sadness? That is our practice. Actually deal with: calm your mind, calm your six senses, and then, deal with your life; sadness, hatred, et cetera. Means, deal with love as (it) truly is.

And then, next… I think the contents of the next paragraph is the contents of all sentient beings. What is the contents of all sentient beings?


(5) How deluded, to think oneself the teacher of myriad Dharmas! When myriad Dharmas come forth to train and enlighten the self, that is enlightenment.
(6) All Buddhas are busy greatly enlightening delusion.
(7) Those who are greatly deluded about enlightenment are ordinary beings.
(8) So people who are enlightened are continually being enlightened within enlightenment.
(9) Those in the middle of delusion get more deluded.


(5) Conveying oneself toward all things to carry out practice-enlightenment is delusion. All things coming and carrying out practice-enlightenment through the self is realization.
(6) Those who greatly realize delusion are buddhas.
(7) Those who are greatly deluded in realization are living beings.
(8) Furthermore, there are those who attain realization beyond realization
(9) and those who are deluded within delusion.


(5) To carry the self forward and illuminate myriad things is delusion. That myriad things come forth and illuminate the self is awakening.
(6) Those who have great realization of delusion are buddhas;
(7) those who are greatly deluded about realization are sentient beings.
(8) Further, there are those who continue realizing beyond realization
(9) and those who are in delusion throughout delusion.

Nishijima & Cross:

(5) Driving ourselves to practice and experience the myriad dharmas is delusion. When the myriad dharmas actively practice and experience ourselves, that is the state of realization.
(6) Those who greatly realize delusion are buddhas.
(7) Those who are greatly deluded about realization are ordinary beings.
(8) There are people who further attain realization on the basis of realization.
(9) There are people who increase their delusion in the midst of delusion.


So, acting on and witness myriad things with the burden of one’s self is delusion. Acting on and witnessing oneself in the advent of myriad things is enlightenment.

So here it says, acting on… witnessing myriad things means cultivating practice and verifying myriad things, by conveying oneself to them, is delusion. In other words, first … we try to project, we try to move toward nature, and create the poem. By creating a poem, you can verify the existence of nature, how wonderful it is. But, it is delusion. He says, it is delusion. Yes, it is delusion. Because, you see the world in terms of your eyes, your feelings; delusion. But it is real delusion? No, no; no way. That is a little bit narrow understanding. That delusion is going in the buddha’s land, supported by all sentient beings. Because, there is no other way. No other way.


If it is delusion, which you should hate - at that time, all sentient nature coming to you and help(ing) you. In the 1960’s and 70’s, always the hippie says, “I don’t know where I am going (now). The Universe takes care of me.” Something like that. Can’t you say so? [He chuckles.] No way. If you do it, your life becomes mess.

So first of all, you have to move toward the nature, toward the world, and take care of it. And then, at that time, you can verify the presence of the world, with you. That’s why we have to do it. But, it is delusion. But we say, “It is right. Enlightenment.” I don’t think it is. Prejudice. Ego. So that’s why, if you see the very … energetic businessmen, and politicians, whoever they are; you really respect them, because he’s always acting positively, creating something. He’s a wonderful person. But I don’t think it’s wonderful. It is a delusion.

But that delusion, the point is: there is no other way, except deluded way, in order to reach whole world. So, important point is: Don’t be stuck in delusion. You can use properly delusion. How? Simply deal with delusions; as simple as you can. There is no reason you should be stuck, you should (be) proud of yourself; no matter how long, no matter what. You are successful in business, or politics, et cetera; even though I became a saint, there is no reason I should be proud of myself. No way. Because it is delusion. That is my karmic life. Just like an owl can see everything at night; something like that. “By practice, I became a saint”: it is wonderful? No; it’s not wonderful. It is just like a owl…

[Tape change.]

… because I create it. But on the other hand, please deal with… If so, it is wrong? No, it’s not wrong. Behind this delusion, huge, expansive world is there, by which your delusion is supported. So, don’t get stuck with delusion. Please use delusion in universal perspective. That is a bodhisattva practice. That’s why bodhisattvas suffer from their life, and also from peoples’ life, all sentient beings’ life: how to save, how to help all sentient beings. Is that clear?

And then, that’s why next, he says, “acting on, witness(ing) oneself in advent of myriad things is enlightenment”. So already there is… your life, your delusion is already manifested in the advent of myriad things. That is your way of life. That is a unique way to approach, to know the total picture of the life, human world.


So, delusion and enlightenment work together. So that’s why … always bodhisattva is characterized by working with all sentient beings hand in hand, instead of getting into buddha’s position. Becoming buddha - they don’t want! So, always working. But behind bodhisattva’s delusion, there is a buddha there. So-called enlightenment. That’s why, if you read scriptures, always bodhisattva appears in front. And behind, the buddhas. Always the buddha is behind the bodhisattva, supporting.

So if you read the scriptures, there is something very quiet, silent, beyond bodhisattvas activities in the front. There is something - quietness. That quietness is described sometimes (as) emptiness.

It’s very interesting: if you sit down quietly and read scriptures, very naturally, you can see first, the bodhisattva for activities, and dynamism, in the front of the existence. But behind, always there is something there, which is quiet and supportive.


Next, “great enlightenment about delusion is buddhas”. That’s why you should know what delusion is. That is called buddha. Delusion is not something you should hate or keep away from. So you should have great enlightenment about delusion; then you become bodhisattva. Bodhisattva: then you can help, you can share. For instance, you always try to help, but people don’t accept you. This is suffering. But suffering is okay… Not okay, but there is no other way. So, if the help is good, you have to consider again and again how to help people, all people, all kinds of people. Whatever happens, accepting or not accepting, anyway you should continually consider carefully how to help. That is really delusion. Don’t you think so? It’s delusion, by which you suffer. But this is a bodhisattva.

That delusion is really supported by enlightenment. That’s why next sentence says, “great delusion about enlightenment is sentient beings.” That is called you. Ordinary people. Ordinary people are persons who have attained … really deeply … what delusion is. Then, this is called all sentient beings.


“There are also those who attain enlightenment on top of enlightenment, and there are those are farther deluded in the midst of delusion.” That’s why, what you have to do is, you are always acting and helping all sentient beings as a Buddhist. Always acting. But on the other hand, you are always acting, the bodhisattvas who suffer a lot. So obviously, you are doing in the realm of delusion. But on the other hand, there is a great supporter there, called Buddha. So, who is helping people? Buddha helps, in the realm of buddhas.


In the saying, “When the buddhas are indeed the buddhas, there is no need to be self conscious of being buddha. Nevertheless, it is realizing buddhahood. Buddhas go on realizing.”


(10) When All Buddhas really are All Buddhas the self does not need to know All Buddhas.
(11) So, thus, we can say, enlightened Buddhas go on enlightening Buddhas.


(10) When buddhas are truly buddhas they don’t need to perceive they are buddhas;
(11) however, they are enlightened buddhas and they continue actualizing buddha.


(10) When buddhas are truly buddhas, they do not necessarily notice that they are buddhas.
(11) However, they are actualized buddhas, who go on actualizing buddha.

Nishijima & Cross:

(10) When buddhas are really buddhas, they do not need to recognize themselves as buddhas.
(11) Nevertheless, they are buddhas in the state of experience, and they go on experiencing the state of buddha.

That’s why, “What is this? How do you know this? How you feel stable? Please give me the stability and faith and the strength, by practicing this. Katagiri mentions, Buddha mentions, ancestor mentions. Please give me something!” But, no way; I don’t know. I don’t have anything to give you. So all you have to do is, just do it. If you just do it, participate directly in the perpetual flow of energy, at that time, there is no way to know. But, it is, you can realize it.

So, it’s… just like your body soaks in the stream. And then, your whole body (is) wet. But, we always scoop the water into our bodies. If you feel thirst, you always scoop the water and you drink, and then you feel good; and next moment, some thirst comes again. So if you really quench your thirst, you jump into the water; you soak your body and mind into the river. And then, the river water soaks through your huge pores, just like a bamboo basket. Your body is just like a bamboo basket; do you understand? Like the pores. But you don’t believe it. If you soak it, and then water falls through there, lots of immediate holes there. That is the pores.


That’s why you sense when the buddhas are indeed the buddhas, at that time, you become buddhas. With great enlightenment about delusion, is all sentient beings. That is you. Great enlightenment about delusion is buddhas; great delusion about enlightenment is sentient beings, because, how to save all sentient beings? How to guide deluded, stubborn people to buddha’s way? It’s very hard. It’s really tired. [Laughter.] But this is… anyway, there is no other way. So you have to continue to live. That is great delusion about enlightenment. This is called sentient being. This is called you.

And then, at that time, if you do it, that is called buddha becomes buddha. But, how do we know? Who proves this?

There is no need to be self conscious of being buddhas. No. Because, just perpetual flow of energies. You just be there. Just like being present in a jet airplane, I always mention - just be there.

Nevertheless, it is realizing buddhahood. Buddhas go on realizing means, that way of practice makes your life mature, naturally. Before you know it, mature. This is called shu-gyō(?) - practice. He translated it “cultivating practice”. Practice is constantly cultivating; there is no “top,” no end. Constantly cultivating.


Next, in seeing how do we do this… he says, that practice seems to be very hard. But he mentions, there is a way. He says, “In seeing forms with the whole body-mind, hearing sounds with whole body-mind, though one intimately understands, it isn’t like reflecting images in the mirror. It is not like water and the moon. When you witness one side, one side is obscure.”


(12) Though one may deeply understand the forms of body and mind, though one may deeply understand what body and mind are saying, still this is not like a reflection in a mirror, nor like the moon in water, which is only realized on one side when the other side is dark.


(12) In seeing color and hearing sound with body and mind, although we perceive them intimately, [the perception] is not like reflections in a mirror or the moon in water. When one side is illuminated, the other is dark.


(12) When you see forms or hear sounds, fully engaging body-and-mind, you intuit dharma intimately. Unlike things and their reflections in the mirror, and unlike the moon and its reflection in the water, when one side is illumined, the other side is dark.

Nishijima & Cross:

(12) When we use the whole body and mind to look at forms, and when we use the whole body and mind to listen to sounds, even though we are sensing them directly, it is not like a mirror’s reflection of an image, and not like water and the moon. While we are experiencing one side, we are blind to the other side.


So, all you have to do is, anyway, to bore a hole, you should throw away whole body and mind into your object. At that time, your body is reflected in the realm of your object. And interconnected and interpenetrating each other at super-speed, just like moon and water. But, never disturbed. Just creating the world; so-called “how beautiful it is”. You feel this one, simultaneously. That’s why it says, it isn’t like reflecting image in the mirror, it is not like water and the moon. Because if you see the water and the moon, you separate. If you attain enlightenment, all sentient beings are reflected in your whole body and mind. And then, you say, “I am Universe!” [He laughs.] That’s ridiculous. And then when you fall, and when you walk, a little far from the earth, three feet and five feet and walking, and then you say, “I am saint. Whole universe helps my life, and free from.” That is not real enlightenment. That’s ridiculous. That is called prejudice, okay? [Laughter.]

So, that’s why it says, it is not like a reflecting image in the mirror. If you believe religion is to experience such a miracle, flying in the sky, that is just like relationship between… water and the moon. That’s it. But real enlightenment is not like that. That’s why he says it isn’t like a reflecting image in the mirror, it is not like water and the moon. When you witness one side, one side is obscure. So, what is real enlightenment, what is real activity of human beings? At that time, when the moon is reflected in the water, whole water becomes moon. That’s it. Whole universe.


So, you cannot see the moon, because moon’s penetrated and disappeared, melted into your body and mind. So it is, you can experience; the way you climb, walk mountains, and then you have a consciousness, and always using a consciousness. But the more you really devote yourself into the rock mountains. Because no choice to escape, so it requires enormous attention to it. At that time, mind penetrates, your body and mind finally melts away. So where is it? What is this? What are they? They are just body; there is no work. Rock penetrated your body; just your body is there. But your body, through the rock procedures, using boots, using a rope, et cetera; that your body doesn’t confuse, because mind is there, rock is there; but all are penetrated and melted away, so whole body is rock, whole body is rock mountain. And then, how do we know? Just climb. Activity of climb; perpetual flow of activity, called climbing. From moment to moment. That’s it.

Buddhas teaching is often mentioning about this one; worried about human beings from that point of view. That’s why, a little difficult. That’s why Dogen Zenji brings (it) up first. You should see the world in terms of buddha’s eye.


… This last sentence, “When you witness one side, one side is obscure,” this is a crucial point of buddha’s practice. If you explain this one, then the teaching of egolessness, interconnection, interpenetration, interdependent co-origination, something, teaching coming up. But, when you witness one side once the other side is obscure, (it) is whole world penetrated, to you. At that time, your life becomes very secure, very secure. (I can’t tell for sure if he’s saying “secure,” “skilled”, “pure,” or some combination thereof.) Stand up, and walk. Gassho becomes gassho; gassho settles in gassho, exactly, because whole world is gassho. Whole world is walking. That’s why Dogen Zenji mentions the mountain walks. But intellectually, you cannot believe it, but from this point of view, mountain walks. But how do you know? You just walk. Then, whole mountain walks. This is same applied to sports and everything. Without this one, you cannot taste the profundity of sports, profundity of arts, profundity of physics. No.


So, this is a key point. And then, the rest of things are explaining about this, in a concrete way. So, I don’t know if we have enough time.

So please remember, the last sentence of this chapter, is the conclusion. What is the point? What is the advantage of practice? [Someone] asked me, couple of days ago, what is the advantage of practice for human being? That is, to turn earth into the gold. It means, even though whatever happens in the world - fighting, killing each other - but all we have to do is, from the beginning to the end, even one person, let’s turn the earth into the gold. That is what you can do it.

If you do it, that is called way to turn alayavijñāna into tathāgatagarbha. That is called “world become buddha”. That is actual practice to build up buddha’s world. But most people understand the world in the light of the world of conceptualization. That’s why when you see the world (is) miserable, then you say, “Terrible; no choice to build up peace.” But that is still, you are playing with world of conceptualization; just a game. No. World is not game. World is very close to you, and helping, and also strict. You have to do it, otherwise, you will die. You know? You are suffocating.


So, no way; if you don’t do it, anything like the Buddha’s suggestions, ancestors’ suggestions like this, no way to build up peaceful world. So, remember, this is a key point. But if you teach this one philosophically, that is called egolessness. Egolessness, interdependent co-origination; lots of teaching coming up. The point is, regardless of whether you understand egolessness or not, there is a unique way to practice, for everyone. Everyone can do it.

Okay, do you have a question? I’m sorry, I didn’t finish.


Question: Can you go back to this last point, “When you witness one side, the other side is obscure”? I didn’t understand…

Katagiri: Okay, first, I recommended a book, “Beyond Boredom and Anxiety”. In this book, I think he mentions about expert of mountaineers and rock climbers, et cetera. They mention about the oneness with the rock mountain and his body and his mind. But he or she doesn’t feel any tiredness and consciousness; just the flow of experience, that’s it.

(Note: The book Beyond Boredom and Anxiety: Experiencing Flow in Work and Play, 25th Anniversary Edition by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is available but expensive. However, the modern update is probably Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by the same author - which appears to be a popular, mainstream book. And yes, you should follow the trail, here, and check it out.)

… What do you mean, just the flow of experience? Just the flow of activity, when you climb the mountain - what is it? Just the flow of activities called “climbing the mountain”. At that time, where are they, what are they? Right in the middle of perpetual flow of activities, there is rock, mountain, tree, your consciousness, feelings, past, present, future; all things come together. And then, this is temporarily called “perpetual flow of activities,” called “climbing the mountain”. Without all sentient beings, you cannot climb. That’s why “one side is manifested, and the other side is obscured.” The other side means, rest of the existence. Whole world comes into you. That is, what? Just practice, just practice. Total manifestation of perpetual flow of activities. And then, if you experience, philosophically, etymologically speaking, that is Buddhist psychology, Buddhist philosophy. And that makes you confused. But it helps.


Question: When one side is obscure - that’s when all things are sentient beings.

Katagiri: Yes.

Question: When no side is obscure - that’s when all things are buddhas.

Katagiri: Yeah; behind, anyway. In other words, all sentient beings are behind you, always supporting. We are always going in front. But we have a back. But we don’t see the back, you know; we always see the front, what’s going on. But we always ignore the back. The back is huge. So, “the other sentient beings are obscure” means “with a back,” in other words, behind you, and then supporting. Even though you don’t like crying, “Oh, go ahead, go ahead,” in many ways. [Laughter.]

That’s spiritual teacher. If you become a spiritual teacher, you must be like that. You cannot be a front. If you become a front person, if you become a person in front, it’s trouble maker. So if you become a spiritual teacher, you must be always a person of behind. But, it really helps.

Next Talk: Manas: Spontaneous, Perpetual, Homogeneous