FUKAN-ZAZENGI SHINPITSU-BON
 

Rules of Sitting-Zen for All -- the Original Version



 

The original meaning of SHINPITSU is "the authentic brush." That is because we still have a draft of this original version of Fukan-zazengi that is thought to be in Master Dogen's own hand. The photographs on this page are of a facsimile of the ancient draft.




When I first began to read the Chinese characters that Master Dogen himself had written, and realized that they were not as difficult to understand (if one was guided by a teacher), as I had assumed they would be, I was very excited. I hope that I can facilitate for others here something of that memorable experience I first had more than 20 years ago -- under the guidance of Gudo Nishijima, whose text book, incidentally, I am using as a reference for how the original text is to be read in Japanese.

Master Dogen wrote Fukan-zazengi not in Japanese but using Chinese characters only -- in the same way that an English monk of his time might have written important monastic rules in Latin. When a Chinese character is read in Japanese, it can be pronounced in one of two ways: the "ON-YOMI" is the Chinese pronunciation, conventionally written in dictionaries in capitals; the "kun-yomi" is the Japanese pronunciation, conventionally written in lower-case. I will follow this convention in giving the pronunciation of each character -- I will give the ON-YOMI in capitals, or the kun-yomi in lowercase, or both.

For the first character on the scroll (in the top right hand corner), for example, the ON-YOMI, or Chinese-sounding pronunciation is FU; the kun-yomi, the word which already existed in the spoken Japanese language before writing was introduced from China, is amane[ku]. Either  way, the character expresses universality.



 

To the right of the photo of each Chinese character I will give possible English translations of that character. After working through each clause or sentence character by character, I will give the Japanese reading (all in capitals) and one or more possible English translations of the clause or sentence. Rather than aiming to nail down a definitive translation, I am mainly hoping that on this page I might help and stimulate each individual to look into and appreciate, both in form and in meaning, the whole text as a whole and each individual character in it -- "altogether, one after the other."






FU, amane[ku]
everywhere, general, universal

KAN, susu[meru]

recommend, advise, encourage



ZAZEN

sitting-zen, sitting-dhyana, sitting-meditation.

The pictograph for ZA, sitting, has as its base the pictograph for earth. Each upside-down y at the top represents an upright person. To a native Japanese sitting-zen practitioner, the pictograph may evoke the experience of an upward direction coming up from two sitting bones that are in contact, through a sitting-cushion, with the earth. In this way, the Chinese character for "sitting" can, in some sense, be more pregnant with meaning than the English 7-letter word. The argument may be even more valid if, as we are assuming to be the case, the Chinese character in question was selected and written by Master Dogen himself.

The lower character, ZEN, represents phonetically the Sanskrit word dhyana.



GI
rule, ceremony, model, rite, standard

FUKAN-ZAZENGI
 

Rules of Sitting-Zen Recommended to All

Universally Recommended Rules for Sitting-Zen

Rules of Sitting-Zen for Everybody



NYU
enter, go into

SO
Sung, Sung Dynasty China, China

DENPO
transmit the law, receive transmission of the Dharma

SHAMON
(Sanskrit:) sramana; striver, devotee

DOGEN

Dogen.

These characters are scaled down on the original scroll also.

SEN, ki[su]
compose, edit, compile, write

NYUSO-DENPO-SHAMON-DOGEN KISU
  Written by sramana Dogen who went into Sung China and received transmission of the Dharma.

tazu[nuru]
Look into, ask into, investigate, research

so[re]

that

here used as a rhetorical device to avoid going straight for the target -- well;  now then.



DO
bodhi, a buddha's enlightenment, the truth, the way, the tao

HON, moto
root, origin; originally

EN
circle, round

TSU, -ZU
pervade. (In conjunction with the previous character, this character is read not at TSU but as -ZU.)

TAZUNURU NI SORE, DO MOTO ENZU
 

Now, when we look into it, the truth is all-pervasive:

Upon investigation, the Buddha's enlightenment is all around:



ika[deka]

how?



SHAKU, ka[riru]
borrow from, rely on

SHU
self-discipline, training, practice

SHO
verification, experience, bearing witness, enlightenment

IKADEKA SHUSHO O KARAN
  how could it rely upon practice and experience?

SHU
fundament, religion

JO
vehicle

JI
self, of itself, by itself, spontaneously, naturally

ZAI
exist

SHUJO JIZAI
  The vehicle for the fundamental exists naturally:

nanzo
why? how? what?

HI, tsuiya[su]
expend, consume, waste

KUFU
kung-fu; working out -- in both senses, both in the sense of a physical work-out and also in the sense of mentally working something out; making effort

NANZO KUFU O TSUIYASA N.
 

Why expend effort?

Why bother working [it] out?

What is the point of trying?



iwa[nya]
Furthermore, still more

ZEN
all, the whole

TAI
body

haru[ka ni]
far off, by a long way

SHUTSU, i[zu]
exit, get out of

JIN-AI
dust

IWANYA, ZENTAI HARUKANI JINAI O IZU,
  Still more, the whole body far transcends dust:

dare [ka]
who?

SHIN
believe

HOSSHIKI
sweep and polish; wipe away, sweep away

SHI, no
of [joining particle]

SHUDAN
means, device

DAREKA HOSSHIKI NO SHUDAN O SHINZEN.
  Who could believe in the means of sweeping and polishing?

oyoso
on the whole, in general, in sum, all in all

FURI, hana[re]zu
not leaving, do not leave

TO
right, apt; hit the target; this one; the one in question; the present [thing]; the present [moment]

SHO
place

OYOSO TOSHO O HANAREZU,
 

In sum, we do not depart from this place:

All in all, it does not leave this place:



a[ni]
How... ! How... ?!

YO, mochi[uru]
use, employ, have recourse to, utilize

SHUGYO
training, practice, ascetic practice

SHI, no
of [joining particle]

KYAKUTO
tiptoes

ANI SHUGYO NO KYAKUTO O MOCHIURU MONO NARAN YA.
 

Of what use are the tiptoes of self-training?

What use is it to tiptoe out training?



shika[redomo]
But, however, that said, and yet

GO
a fine hair; a thousandth part

RI
one tenth of a bu; a hundredth

U, a[ru]
there is, exist

SA
difference, variance, disparity, gap

TEN
heaven, the heavens, the sky

CHI
earth, ground

haru[ka]
far, by far, distantly

heda[taru]
be distant from, be separated from, become estranged, become alienated

SHIKAREDOMO, GORI MO SA AREBA, TENCHI HARUKANI HEDATARI
  If, however, there is the tiniest bit of a gap, heaven and earth will be far apart.

IJUN

going against or conforming

I: differ, vary; go against, disagree with; cross (someone), be at variance with, be at odds with

 

 

JUN: follow in order; follow in line, follow suit; obedience; docility

The three lines on the left represent a flowing river; the radical on the right is thought to represent a bowing head.

 

 

In translations of Fukan-zazengi up to now (October 2007), I have understood IJUN not as two concepts but as one: disobedience, with JUN representing obedience and I representing dis-. This may have been my  mistake.



wazu[ka]
a bit, a hint, a trace; slightly, faintly

KI, o[koru]

arise.

The original pictograph shows a snake (the element on the right) rising up. The big element, or "radical," occupying the top left, bottom left, and bottom right of the picture signifies running. In the course of a run, a snake rises up: the Chinese pictograph somehow conveys a greater sense of dynamism than the 5-letter English word "arise."



FUNZEN
confusion, complications

SHITSU, shis(su)
lose, forget

SHIN
heart, mind

IJUN WAZUKA NI OKOREBA, FUNZEN TOSHITE SHIN O SHISSU.
  If the least tendency arises to go against or to conform with, the mind is lost in confusion.

subeka[raku]
should, ought to, be imperative that

CHI, shi[ru]
know

RYAKU
continuation, passing of time, successive

KO
kalpa, aeon, age

RIN
wheel

E
turning

KAN, kae[su]
go back

IN, yo[ru]
cause, stem from

GI
aiming at, imitating, likening to, considering as

GI
debate, deliberation, consideration, discussion

SHI, no
of [joining particle]

ICHI
one

NEN

idea, thought; feeling; desire; concern, attention, care.

The top element of this pictograph means now, the present; the bottom element is that for heart or mind.



SUBEKARAKU SHIRUBESHI, RYAKUKO NO RINNE WA KAETTE GIGI NO ICHINEN NI YORI,
  Remember, successive kalpas of turning of the wheel originally stem from one intellectual idea.

JIN
dusty, secular

SE
the world

MEI, mayo[u]
be in doubt, go astray, be misguided; delusion, doubt, ignorance

DO, michi
way, road, path

FUKU, mata

go back to; also, again.

Somebody -- either Master Dogen himself or a later editor -- has clarified the meaning of the original character on the left with the smaller character on the right, which means to go back to, or also.



YU, yo[ru]
cause, stem from, depend on

SHO

barter, trade in.

In a compound formed with the character which follows it here, it means discussion, consideration, deliberation.



RYO, haka[ru]
capacity, quantity, measure, fathom, estimate

SHI, no
of [joining particle]

MU
without, -less

KYU, yasu[mu]
rest, cease

JINSE NO MEIDO WA MATA SHORYO NO MUKYU NI YORU.
  The deluded ways of the secular world also derive from the restlessness of the intellect.

YOKU, ho[su]
desire, want

CHO, ko[eru]
go over, go above, go beyond, surpass, transcend, rise above

KO, mu[kau]
direct towards, tend towards, lean towards, go towards

JO, ue

up, upwards; above.

As a compound KOJO in modern Japanese usage means making progress or developing -- as in a developing country.

In his masterwork Shobogenzo, Master Dogen expounds BUTSU-KOJO-NO-JI, the matter of buddha ascending beyond.



SHI, no
of [joining particle]

TETSU, to[ru]
penetrate, permeate, get to the limit, strike home

TEI

bottom; state.

This character is sometimes used as a suffix to make an abstraction into a noun -- as in FU-SHIRYO-TEI, "the state of not thinking" or "unthinkingness."

The compound TETTEI (with TEI suffixed to TETSU), in modern Japanese usage, means thoroughness, completeness, exhaustiveness.



KOJO NO TETTEI O KOEN TO HOSEBA,
 

Wanting to go beyond the ultimate state of ascending beyond,...

Wanting to rise above perfection in ascending beyond,...



Rules of Sitting-Zen for All

(Written by sramana Dogen who went into China and received the Dharma.)

Upon investigation, the truth originally is all-pervasive: how could it rely on practice and experience? The vehicle of the fundamental exists of itself, what is the point of trying? Still more, the whole body is far beyond dust: who could believe in the means of sweeping dust away? In sum, it does not leave this place: of what use are the tiptoes of training? If, however, there is the tiniest gap, heaven and earth are far apart. If the least tendency arises to go against or conform, the mind is lost in confusion. Remember, successive kalpas of turning of the wheel originally stem from one endgaining idea. The deluded ways of the dusty world also derive from the restlessness of the intellect. Wanting to rise above perfection in ascending beyond, just...



YUI , ta[da]
solely, just

GE, to[ku]

understand, comprehend

Read in Japanese as to[ku], this character can also mean to resolve [a problem], disentangle, unravel, cause to come undone, emancipate.

The three elements of the pictograph are a horn (left half), a sword (top right), and a bull (bottom right). The image evoked is one of a horn being liberated from a bull by means of a sharp sword.

JIKI
straight, directly

GE

down, downward; under

As a compound, JIKIGE, directly down, suggests what is directly underfoot --  the here and now.



SHI, no
of [joining particle]

JO, u[keru], uketamawa[ru]
receive; sustain (a loss); suffer (a bereavement); cop (a left hook on the chin); stop (a straight right with the nose); hear, listen to, be informed of; experience.

TO, a[taru]
hitting of the target

TADA, JIKIGE NO JOTO O GE SEYO.
 

just comprehend the experience of being a target, directly under, to be hit.

just understand the experience of a target, down here, being hit.



tato[e]
if, even if, although

KO, hoko[ru]
be proud of, boast of

E
understanding

HO, yuta[ka]
abundant, rich

GO, sato[ri]
enlightenment, realization

KAKU, e[ru]
get, obtain

BETSU
different, particular, extra, exceptional, special

CHI
ground, state

SHI, no
of [joining particle]

CHI
knowing, wisdom

TSU
passing through, penetration, mastery

TATOE E NI HOKORI, GO NI YUTAKA NI SHITE, BETSUCHI NO CHITSU O E,
  Although, proud of our understanding and abundantly endowed with enlightenment, we obtain special states of insight,...

TOKU, e[ru]
get, attain

DO
the truth, the way

MYO, aki[rameru]
clarify

SHIN
heart, mind

KYO, ko[su]
pick up, take up, hold up, utilize, manifest

SHO, tsu[ku]
pierce, thrust, spear

TEN
heaven, sky

no
of [joining particle]

SHI
will, intention, resolve, ambition

KI

spirit, energy, vitality.

The two elements of the pictograph are rice, and steam rising above it.

As a compound in modern Japanese usage, SHIKI means fighting spirit, morale.



DO O E, SHIN O AKIRAMETE, SHOTEN NO SHIKI O KOSHI,
  attain the truth, clarify the mind, and manifest a zeal that pierces the sky,...

iedo[mo]
even if

U, a[ru]
have, possess

NYUTO
putting in the head

no
of

RYO
capacity, measure, intellectual ability

NYUTO NO RYO ARI TO IEDOMO,
  even if we have the capacity to put in the head,...

nao
still

KETSU, ka[ku]
lack

SHUSSHIN
getting the body out

no
of

RO
road, path

NAO SHUSSHIN NO RO O KAKU.
  still we lack the path of getting the body out.

iwa[nya]
Moreover

ka[no]
that, him

SHAKA
Sakya, Sakyamuni, the Sage of the Sakya clan -- Gautama Buddha

ROSHI

Old Teacher, Venerable Master

 

RO: old, venerable

 

 

SHI: child.

 

The usual word for old teacher has the same pronunciation, ROSHI. By using the character for child instead of teacher, Master Dogen may have been hinting at the possibility of even a very experienced teacher remaining open-minded.

Incidentally, these two characters, ROSHI lit. Old Child, also form the name of the Taoist philosopher Lao-tsu.



no
of

ta[ru]
doing, becoming, being made into, [A] being [B]

SHO
born, innate

CHI
knowing

sude[ni]
already

ZAI, a[ru]
exist, there is

ROKUNEN
six years

TANZA
upright sitting, sitting upright

no
of

ato
trace, track, trail; precedent

IWANYA KANO SHAKA-ROSHI NO SHOCHI TARU, SUDENI ROKUNEN TANZA NO ATO ARI,
  Moreover, the precedent exists already of him, Old Teacher Sakyamuni, innate sage that he was, spending six years in upright sitting.

DARUMA
Daruma -- short for Bodhidharma, the 28th Indian patriarch who introduced sitting-zen into China.

DAISHI
Great Teacher, Great Master

no
of [joining particle]

DEN, tsuta[uru]
transmit

SHIN-IN

mind-seal

SHIN: heart, mind

 

 

IN: seal, stamp, imprint

Stands for the Buddha-mind-seal, that is, sitting in the full lotus posture as the formal embodiment of the Buddha's teaching.



sara[ni]
again

noko[su]
remain

KYUSAI
nine years

MENPEKI
facing the wall

no
of

ato
trace, precedent

DARUMA-DAISHI NO SHIN-IN O TSUTAURU, SARANI KYUSAI-MENPEKI NO ATO O NOKOSU.
  Again, the traces remain of the Great Teacher Bodhidharma, who transmitted the mind-seal, spending nine years facing the wall.

KO
ancient, of old

SHO
sage, saint

sude[ni]
already

shika[ri]
be like that, be thus

KON
the present, now, today

JIN
people, human beings

nan[zo... zezaru]
how could we not?

BEN

make effort, strive wholeheartedly

The middle element of this character signifies effort. If  the middle element is a sword, the same word BEN means discrimination, discernment, or pursuit [of the truth]. If the middle element is words, the same word BEN means speech or talk.



KOSHO SUDENI SHIKARI, KONJIN NANZO BEN ZEZARU.
  The ancient sages were like that already: how could people today not make effort?

yue[ni]
Therefore,

HON, hiruga[esu]
turn back from, do a U turn

JIN, tazu[neru]
look for, inquire for, ask questions, investigate

GON, kotoba
sayings, words

CHIKU, o[u]
chase, pursue

GO
words, talk

no
of

GE
understanding

GYO, oko[nai]
going, goings on, carrying on, conducting oneself, behaviour, activity

YUENI GON O TAZUNE GO O OU NO GEGYO O HIRUGAESHI,
  Therefore, do a U turn from the intellectual carry-on of researching sayings and chasing words,

SU, sube[karaku], mochi[iyo]

This character indicates an imperative -- as in the earlier phrase SUBEKARAKU SHIRUBESHI, "Remember!"

Here, this character is read in Japanese as MOCHI[IYO], "employ!" -- i.e. employ the backward step, take the backward step.



EKO

turning light, turning light around

E: turn, rotate, change the direction of, cause to be circular

 

 

KO, hika[ri]: light -- sometimes used as a symbol of consciousness, i.e. energy that is not directed by purely instinctive means



HENSHO

shining back reciprocally, being reflected, bathing in light, glowing, luminescing

HEN, kae[su]: turn around, pay back, give back, shine back, reflect

 

 

 

SHO, te[rasu]: light, illumination; shining, shedding light on, illuminating

In modern Japanese (according to the Kenkyusha dictionary) HENSHO means 1. reflection of light [the sunshine], 2. evening sun. The Nelson character dictionary gives "evening glow."

To me, as I understand it now, writing this on 11 October, 2007, HENSHO indicates a spontaneous process as predicted by the 2nd law of thermodynamics (luminescense, glowing), and not a process whose direction (e.g. inwards or outwards) I am responsible for. My responsibility rests with learning the backward step (TAIHO) and turning light around (EKO).



no
of

TAIHO
backward step, step backward

EKO-HENSHO NO TAIHO O MOCHI-IYO.
 

Take the backward step of turning light around and being reflected.

Take the backward step of turning and shining light.

Take the backward step of turning light and luminescing.

Take the backward step of turning light around and being bathed in it.



JI
self, of itself, spontaneous, natural

NEN
so, thus, like that; -ly [adverbial suffix]

SHINJIN

body & mind, the body-mind

 

SHIN: body

 

 

SHIN: mind



DATSURAKU

drop off

 

DATSU: shed, as a snake shedding skin

 

 

 

RAKU: fall, drop down



HONRAI

original;

 

HON: root

 

 

 

RAI: coming from



MENMOKU

face & eyes, features

 

MEN: face

 

 

MOKU: eyes



GENZEN

emerge, appear; appear before one's eyes

 

GEN: be present, be manifest, be revealed; appear, emerge; be real

 

 

ZEN: in front, before



JINEN NI SHINJIN-DATSURAKU SHI, HONRAI NO MENMOKU GENZEN SEN.
  Spontaenously, body and mind drop off and the original face emerges.

YOKU, ho[su]
desire, want

TOKU, e[ru]
get, obtain, realize

INMO

it; that; the state like this; suchlike; something ineffable

INMO is the title of a chapter of Master Dogen's Shobogenzo.



KYU
emergency, hurry, haste; [as adverb] quickly, in a hurry, urgently, snappily, promptly

MU, tsuto[meru]
duty, task; be diligent in, apply oneself to, exert oneself, practise

ZAZEN
sitting-dhyana, sitting-zen, sitting-meditation

INMO O EN TO HOSEBA, KYU NI ZAZEN O TSUTOME YO.
 

Wanting to get the state like this, quickly practise sitting-zen.

Wanting to get it, quickly practise sitting-zen.



so[re]
Now then... [rhetorical device -- a new starting point]

SANZEN

dhyana practice; Zen practice; meditation

 

SAN: going, coming, visiting; taking part in, partaking of

 

 

ZEN: dhyana, Zen, meditation

 

In Shoobgenzo Master Dogen says SANZEN WA ZAZEN NARI, "Zen practice is sitting-zen."



[indicator of subject]

JOSHITSU

quiet room

 

JO: quiet

 

 

SHITSU: room



yoro[shii]
good

[added for emphasis]

ONJIKI

drink and food; food and drink

 

ON: drink

 

 

JIKI: food, meals



SETSU, ses[suru]
economise; be temperate; be moderate; restrain; save, be sparing.

[marks end of sentence]

SORE SANZEN WA, JOSHITSU YOROSHIKU ONJIKI SETSU ARI.
  In general, a quiet room is good for Zen practice, and food and drink are taken in moderation.

SOKU, sunawa[chi]
Just

HOSHA

throw away, abandon

 

HO: let go, release, give up, neglect

 

SHA: throw away, abandon



SHO-EN

involvements, circumstances, peripheral things

 

SHO: [indicates plurality] many, various, all

 

 

EN: connections, circumstances, indirect causes; border, periphery



KYUSOKU

cease; take a rest; take a breather

 

KYU: rest, let be, leave idle

 

 

SOKU: breath



BANJI

ten thousand things, myriad things

 

BAN: ten thousand, myriad

 

 

JI: things, matters



ZEN-AKU

good & bad

 

ZEN: good

 

 

AKU: bad, evil



FU-SHI, omo[wa]zu

not to think

 

FU, -zu: not

 

 

SHI, omo[u]: think



MAKU-KAN, kan[suru koto] na[kare]

do not care

 

KAN, kan [suru]: care

 

 

MAKU, na[kare]: don't! [imperative]



ZE-HI

right & wrong, pros & cons

 

 

ZE: right, justice, fairness

 

 

HI: wrong, mistake, misdeed; injustice, not being fair



SUNAWACHI SHOEN O HOSHA SHI, BANJI O KYUSOKU SHITE, ZENAKU O OMOWAZU, ZEHI O KANSURU KOTO NAKARE.
  Just abandon all involvements. Give the ten thousand things a rest. Don't think good, bad. Don't care right, wrong.

understand the experience of a target, down here, being hit. If, proud of our understanding and full of enlightenment, we obtain a special state of insight, attain the truth, clarify the mind, and manifest a zeal that pierces the sky, even if we have the ability to put our head in, still we lack the road of getting the body out. Moreover, the precedent exists already of the Old Teacher Sakyamuni, innate sage though he was, doing six years of upright sitting. Again, the traces remain of Great Master Bodhidharma, who transmitted the mind-seal, spending nine years facing the wall. The ancient sages were like that already: how could people today not make effort? Therefore, go in the opposite direction from the intellectual activity of studying sayings and chasing words. Take the backward step of turning light and luminescing. Spontaneously, body and mind will drop off and the original face will emerge. Wanting to get it, quickly practice sitting-zen. In general, a quiet room is good for Zen practice, and food and drink are taken in moderation. Just abandon all involvements. Let the ten thousand things be. Don't think good, bad. Don't care...

  The gap at the bottom of the 4th line from the right precedes the characters for SHAKA-ROSHI, by which Master Dogen indicated Sakyamuni Buddha. In the case of other two-character compounds, for example, JI-NEN, natural-ly, in the ninth line from the right, the compound is separated by the line break. But not in this particular case.

TEI, ya[meru]
stop, halt, disconinue, cut out

SHIN-I-SHIKI

mind, will, consciousness

SHIN:  heart, mind

The pictograph is of a heart, the three short strokes representing arteries

 

 

I: will, mind, intention -- as in SOSHI-SAIRAI-no-I the intention of the ancestral master (Bodhidharma) in coming to the west, which is a title of a chapter of Shobogenzo.

 

 

 

SHIKI: knowing, discrimination, consciousness



no
of [joining particle]

UNTEN

running, motion, driving movement

 

UN: carry, transport; progress, move forward

 

TEN: turning



SHI, ya[meru]
stop, halt, cease, quit

NEN-SO-KAN

ideas, thoughts, reflections

 

NEN: idea -- as earlier in GIGI NO ICHINEN, "one intellectual idea" or "one end-gaining idea."

 

 

SO: thought, idea, impression

The uppper left element of the pictograph is a tree, the upper right is an eye; together these two elements signify "form." The lower element is the pictograph for heart or mind.



KAN: look; view, outlook; reflection, contemplation

no
of [joining particle]

SHIKIRYO

gauging, measuring, weighing up

 

SHIKI, haka[ru]: measure, gauge, weigh; fathom, estimate.

 

RYO, haka[ru]: capacity, quantity; measure



SHIN-I-SHIKI NO UNTEN O YAME, NEN-SO-KAN NO SHIKIRYO O YAME YO.
  Stop the driving movement of mind, will, consciousness. Quit weighing things up through ideas, thoughts, views.

SHOZA

Straight sitting, upright sitting

 

SHO: right, just, straight, proper, correct, regular

 

ZA: sitting

In modern Japanese usage, these characters are pronounced SEIZA, and usually refer to upright kneeling.



no
of

JI, toki
time

atsu[ku]
thick, thickly

shi[ku]
spread, lay out

ZAMOTSU

sitting mat, mat

ZA: sitting

 

 

MOTSU: thing, object



ue
on, on top of, over, above

YO, mochi[uru]
use

FUTON

round cushion

 

FU: cattail, bulrush

 

 

TON: circle

These characters are used in modern Japanese for a mattress, or futon.



SHOZA NO TOKI, ATSUKU ZAMOTSU O SHIKI, UE NI FUTON O MOCHIU.
  For the time of upright sitting, spread a thick mat and use a round cushion on top of that.

shika[shite]nochi

After that, next

 

shika[shite]: like that, that

 

 

 

nochi: after



KEKKAFUZA

sit in full lotus

KETSU: tie a knot; join up; fasten

 

 

KA: The original meaning of the individual character is uncertain. The radical on the left means leg or foot, the radical on the right, as a character in its own right also pronounced KA, means add or sum up.

 

 

 

FU: Again, the original meaning of the individual character is uncertain. The radical on the left means leg or foot, the radical on the right, as a character in its own right also pronounced FU, means man, husband, bloke.

 

 

 

ZA: to sit

Usually we translate these four characters "sitting in the full lotus posture," but the middle two characters seem to have to do not with posture but with the legs. Hence "sitting in full lotus," or "sitting fully cross-legged," might be a truer translation -- dropping off the habitual conception of posture.


aru[iwa]
or

HANKAFUZA

sit in half lotus

 

HAN: half



KA

 

 

FU

 

 

ZA: sit



SHIKASHITE NOCHI, KEKKAFUZA ARUIWA HANKAFUZA SU.
  Then sit in full lotus or sit in half lotus.

iwa[ku]
say; that is to say

KEKKAFUZA
to sit in full lotus

ma[zu]
first, first of all, to begin with

mot[te]
with

migi [no] ashi

right foot

migi: right

 

 

 

ashi:  foot



an[ji]
place, rest

hidari [no] momo

left thigh

 

hidari: left

 

 

 

momo: thigh



ue
on, on top of

hidari [no] ashi
left foot

an[zu]
place

migi [no] momo
right thigh

ue
on

IWAKU KEKKAFUZA WA, MAZU MIGI NO ASHI O MOTTE HIDARI NO MOMO NO UE NI ANJI, HIDARI NO ASHI O MIGI NO MOMO NO UE NI ANZU.
 

Lit., To sit in full lotus, first,  with the right foot, place it on the left thigh, and the left foot place on the right thigh.

To sit in full lotus, first place the right foot on the left thigh, then place the left foot on the right thigh.



HANKAFUZA

H|AN: half

 

 

 

 

KA

 

 

 

 

FU



ZA: sit

ta[da]
just, only

mot[te]
with

hidari [no] ashi
left foot

o[su]
press

migi [no] momo
right thigh

[full stop]

HANKAFUZA WA TADA HIDARI NO ASHI O MOTTE, MIGI NO MOMO O OSU NARI.
 

Lit., To sit in half lotus, just, with the left foot, press the right thigh.

To sit in half lotus, just place the left foot on the right thigh.



yuru[ku]
loosely

KEI, kake[te]

tie, fasten; wear

This character is generally read in Japanese as tsunagu, to tie or fasten. But here the reading is kakeru, which means to put something on, to lay something over.



ETAI

gown and belt, robe and belt; clothing

 

E, koromo: a robe, a gown, clothes



TAI, obi: belt, sash, waistband

[nara]shi[mu]be[shi]

should cause to be

 

- beshi: suffix expressing desirability, need, expectation possibility, et cetera. Can be translated as should, must, might, may; or as an imperative.

 

 

nara[shi]mu:  causitive suffix. As a noun, the Chinese character, pronounced REI, means an order.



SEISEI

evenly arranged, neat

 

SEI, hito(shii): equal, even

 

 

SEI, totono[eru]: arranging



YURUKU ETAI O KAKETE SEISEI NARASHIMU BESHI.
  Let clothing hang loosely and make it neat.

tsugi
next

migi [no] te
right hand

an[ji]
place, rest

hidari [no] ashi
left foot

ue
on, above, over

hidari [no] tanagogoro

left hand, left palm

hidari: left

 

 

 

tanagogoro: hollow of hand, palm



an[zu]
place, rest

migi [no] tanagogoro
right hand, right palm

ue
on

TSUGI NI MIGI NO TE WA HIDARI NO ASHI NO UE NI ANJI, HIDARI NO TANAGOGORO WA MIGI NO TANAGOGORO NO UE NI ANJI.
  Next, place the right hand over the left foot and place the left hand over the right palm.

mot[te]
with

RYO[no]DAI-BO-SHI

the two thumbs, the thumbs

 

RYO: both, two

 

 

DAI:  big, great

 

 

BO: thumb

 

 

SHI: fingers/thumb



MEN, muka[ite]

MEN means face, as in the earlier phrase HONRAI NO MENMOKU, original features.

As a verb, men suru, or mukau, means to face, border, front on, be opposite to.

Mukau can also mean 1. to meet, confront, oppose, or defy; and 2. to approach,  go toward, tend toward, be directed toward



a[i]
each other, mutually, reciprocally

sasa[u]

support, prop up



RYO NO DAIBOSHI O MOTTE MUKAI TE AI SASOU.
 

The two thumbs are directed one towards the other so that they prop each other up.

The thumbs meet and support each other.



Sunawa[chi]
just

SHOSHIN-TANZA

body-righting erect sitting; upright sitting that allows the body to right itself; upright sitting

 

 

SHO, tada[su]: right, make true, rectify, reform, straighten, cause to be perpendicular

The original pictograph consists of the element for stopping below one horizontal stroke representing unity.

 

 

SHIN: body

SHOSHIN means to allow the body to right itself, to allow the body to change in the right direction

 

 

TAN: end, tip, edge, corner, extremity

 

 

ZA: sit

As a compound, TANZA means sit erect, sit upright.

For a fuller discussion of this phrase, see posting for 17 October 2007 at  http://fukan-zazengi.blogspot.com/



SUNAWACHI SHOSHIN-TANZA SHI
 

Just sit upright



ezare

do not! do not commit [the sin of]

FU, -zaru: not

 

 

TOKU, e[ru]: be able to, commit (sin)



hidari [ni] sobada[chi]

lean left

 

SA, hidari: left

 

 

SOKU, sobada[tsu]: side; lean to one side



migi [ni] katamu[ki]

lean right

 

U, migi: right

 

 

 

KEI, katamu[ku]: lean toward, incline toward, list, tilt.



mae [ni] kugu[mari]

slouch forward

 

ZEN, mae: front

 



kugu[maru]: bow, stoop, bend over; slouch, slump

The radical on the left is that for a body; the radical on the right depicts a bow (as in bow and arrow).



shirie [ni] a[ogu]

arch backward

GO, shirie:  backward, behind, after

 

 

aogu: look up, turn one's face upward to



HIDARI NI SOBODACHI, MIGI NI KATAMUKI, MAE NI KUGUMARI, SHIRIE NI AOGU KOTO O EZARE.
  Do not lean to the left, incline to the right, slouch forward, or arch backward.

YO, yo[su]
main point, pivot, essence, aim, secret; be crucial, be vital, be necessary

REI, -shi[men koto]

order

Read in Japanese, this character becomes a causitive suffix. Appended to the verb for to oppose, it means cause to oppose, order to oppose, allow to oppose



mimi to kata

ears vs shoulders

 

JI, mimi: ears

 

 

 

YO, to: and, together with

 

 

 

KEN, kata: shoulders



TAI, tai [shi]
oppose

hana to heso

nose vs navel

 

 

BI, hana: nose

 

 

YO, to: and, together with

 

 

SEI, heso, hozo: navel, belly button



tai [se]
oppose

MIMI TO KATA TO TAISHI, HANA TO HESO TO TAI SESHIMEN KOTO O YOSU.
 

It is vital to cause the ears vs the shoulders, and the nose vs the navel, to oppose each other.

It is vital to direct the ears vs the shoulders, and the nose vs the navel, away from each other.



ZETSU, shita
tongue

KEI, ka[kete]
hang, put against, let be in contact with

ue [no] agito

palate, roof of the mouth

ue: upper

 

 

agito: gill, jaw



SHINSHI

lips & teeth

SHIN, kuchibiru: lip

 

 

 

SHI, ha: teeth



ai-tsu[keru]

adjoin each other, touch each other

ai-: each other

 

 

tsukeru: join, bring together



SHITA UE NO AGITO NI KAKETE, SHINSHI AI TSUKE,
  Put the tongue against the roof of the mouth, with lips touching and teeth together.

MOKU, me
eyes

SU, subeka[raku]... -[beshi]
should, must; imperative

JO, tsune [ni]
normality, constancy; always, constantly

KAI, hira[ku]
open

ME WA SUBEKARAKU TSUNE NI HIRAKU BESHI.
  Keep the eyes open as normal.

SHINSO

physical form, posture

SHIN: body

 

 

 

SO: form



sude [ni]
already

JO, sada[maru]

be settled, be stilled, quiet down

 

This character was the one that the Chinese chose to represent the Sanskrit samadhi.



KISOKU

breathing, breath

KI: vital energy, spirit

 

 

SOKU, iki: breath



ma[ta]
also, again

CHO, totono[eru]
tune; prepare, arrange, put in order, regulate

SHINSO SUDENI SADAMARI, KISOKU MO MATA TOTONOE,
  Once the physical form has come to stillness, let the breathing also be regulated.

NEN

idea, thought, wish, desire; attention, awareness, mindfulness... any mental phenomenon

As mentioned previously, the pictograph consists of the character for "now" above the character for heart or mind -- so it suggests 1. whatever is in one's heart or mind, now, or 2. the state of one's heart or mind, now.

This is the character the Chinese chose to represent the Sanskrit smrti, which is often translated as mindfulness.



KI, o[koru]
arise

SOKU, sunawa[chi]
just, as is

KAKU, kaku[su]

wake up, become conscious, feel, bring into sensory awareness

This is one of the characters chosen by the Chinese to represent the Sanskrit bodhi, that is, the Buddha's awakening or enlightenment.

Alternatively, enlightenment is represented by another character pronounced GO, or satori in Japanese.

KAKU and GO appear together in the compound KAKUGO, which means resignation or readiness.

 

 



NEN OKORABA SUNAWACHI KAKU SEYO.
  When an idea arises, just wake up.

KAKU, kaku[su]
wake up to, be aware of, pay attention to

SHI, ko[re]
this, it

SOKU, sunawa[chi]
just, just then

SHITSU, shis[su]
cease to exist, be lost, be forgotten, vanish

KORE O KAKU SEBA SUNAWACHI SHISSU.
  Just in the waking up to it, it ceases to exist.

KYU-KYU, hisabisa [ni]

a long, long time; plenty of time

KYU, hisa[shiku]: a long time; for a long time

 

 

 

KYU, hisa[shiku]: ditto



EN [o] bo[jiru]

forget involvements

 

BO, bo[jiru], wasu[reru]: forget

 

 

 

EN: involvements, connections, indirect causes, relations, circumstances; border, edge, periphery; peripheral things



HISABISA NI EN O BOJI
  Taking plenty of time, forget involvements

JI, ono[zukara]
self, of itself, naturally, spontaneously

IPPEN [to] na[ran]

integration, becoming one piece, becoming all of a piece, being reduced to a bit [of something bigger]

JO, na[ru]: become, grow into, be reduced to

 

 

ICHI: one

 

 

HEN: counter used for thin flat things like sheets of paper, leaves, silk

 

IPPEN: a piece, a bit



ONOZUKARA IPPEN TO NARAN.
  will spontaneously become one piece.

SHI, ko[re]....[nari]
This

ZAZEN
sitting-zen

no
of

YOJUTSU

vital art, essential technique, secret

 

YO, kaname: pivot, main point, essence, secret.

 

 

JUTSU: art, technique, skill, means, method, trick, strategem



ZE, nari

is

 

[Kore].... nari is emphatic. This IS the vital art of sitting-zen.



KORE ZAZEN NO YOJUTSU NARI.
  This is the vital art of sitting-zen.

right, wrong. Stop the driving movement of mind, will, consciousness. Quit weighing things up with ideas, thoughts, and views. When practising upright sitting, lay a thick mat and use a round cushion on top of that. Then sit in full lotus or sit in half lotus. To sit in full lotus first put the right foot on the left thigh and put the left foot on the right thigh. To sit in half lotus, just let the left foot press down on the right thigh. Let clothes hang loose and keep them neat. Then place the right hand over the left foot, and place the left hand over the right palm, with the thumbs meeting and propping each other up. Just sit upright, not leaning left, inclining to the right, slumping forward or arching backward. It is vital to bring about an opposition between the ears and the shoulders, and an opposition between the nose and the navel. Let the tongue rest against the roof of the mouth, with the lips touching and the teeth together. Keep the eyes open as normal. Having brought the physical form to stillness, let the breathing also be regulated. When an idea arises, just wake up. Just in the waking up to it, it ceases to exist. Taking plenty of time, forget all involvements and you will spontaneously become all of a piece. This is the vital art of sitting-zen. What is called sitting-...

  This is roughly the mid-way point of Fukan-zazengi Shinpitsu-bon. In the second half, Master Dogen praises the virtues of sitting-zen and exhorts us to devote ourselves to it. If you wish to continue the intellectual activity of studying Master Dogen's sayings and chasing his words, return to the main Zen page, and click on the underlined link -- Original Version (2) -- to start the second half.



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