The lifetime teaching of Dogen can be found in one phrase: Genjo koan, says Nishiari Bokusan, the late head of the Soto school. : Dogen’s Genjo Koan: Three Commentaries (): Eihei Dogen, Nishiari Bokusan, Shohaku Okamura, Shunryu Suzuki, Sojun Mel. When Eihei Dogen compiled Shobogenzo, his collection of essays, he put the Genjo Koan first. The Genjo Koan, written by Dogen for a lay person, is his.

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Buddhism is not any special teaching, and enlightenment is not any particular stage that you attain.

thezensite: English Translations of Genjokoan

When you understand your life completely, that is enlightenment. So though the approach to it is not the same, as long as you study sincerely, you will reach the same goal.

You may think genjk have discovered a new teaching, but almost all the teachings we discover have already been discovered by Buddhist teachers. You may say Buddhism is the accumulation of our human experience.

So whatever you make fenjo on, there is the way. Some people are always trying to discover some particular way for themselves. That is not the true way to study; this kind of idea is utterly wrong.

When you start to study Buddhism, thinking that it is good to expect that Egnjo will give you some particular teaching, if you cannot satisfy your expectations, you will give up. This is not how we study. Suzuki-roshi and Lama Govinda. There is a slight difference between your usual activity and the activity in our monastery. Of course, we do our best in our everyday work in order to support our activity. The work you do should be done with your very best koaj and to the best of your ability.

But you should not be too attached or take pride in your ability. Forgetting all about your ability and the result of genoj effort, you should still do your best in your work.

This is how you work in a monastery as a part of practice. And everyone has their own responsibility. But right now, what you are working on is your practice, and when you work, just work in your position. Each of us should work on our position. When you do so, there is our practice.

Form is emptiness and emptiness is form. But the form, or the position, you have right now is not a permanent one.

Zen in daily life

Right now you are working on it, and right now you should work on genmo. Through your position, you can attain your own enlightenment. We should work in this way. Note from Brian Fikes: The first portion of this lecture was not recorded. There are four ways of understanding the relationship of form and emptiness: There is no need for us to attach to some particular thing.


As long as everything gejjo changing, nothing is permanent.

Genjōkōan – Wikipedia

So this [form is emptiness] may be a more advanced view of life. So whatever you do is enlightenment itself. This is rather difficult to understand, or to accept, genjjo you think emptiness is genio unusual thing. Something unusual is something very common.

This is rather difficult to understand, especially when you practice zazen. Even though your practice is not perfect, that is enlightenment. This statement is very difficult to accept. Suzuki-roshi holding a flower. Listen to this talk: Suzuki-roshi 4th talk. When the truth does not fill our body and mind, we think that—we think that we have enough. When the truth fill our body and mind, we know that something is missing. For an example, when we view the world from a boat on the ocean, it looks circular and nothing else.

But the ocean is neither round nor square, and its features are infinite in variety.

It is like a place—it is palace—it is like a palace. It is like a jewel. It seems circular as far as our eyes can reach at the time. All things are so. Though there may—there are many features in the dusty life and the pure life, we only understand what our study can reach.

And in our study of all things we must appreciate that although they may look round or square, the other features of oceans or mountains are infinite in variety, and universes lies in all squares [quarters]. It is so not only around ourselves, but also directly here—even in a drop of water. Suzuki-roshi in the wilderness near Tassajara. Suzuki-roshi 2nd talk. Life is a period of itself; death is a period of itself. They are like winter and spring. We do not call winter the future spring, nor spring the future summer.

Here he talks about life and death. But this life and death does not just mean the problem of life and death. When you practice Zen, our purpose of religion or goal of the religion is not in—to attain some state of mind non- —called non-existence. We want to attain enlightenment in realm of—both in realm of non-existent and existent. This is a Buddhist way of understanding—Buddhist way of practice.

Then—paragraph—in each paragraph, I—I think you want some brief comment so that you can understand—.

All—when all things are in Buddhist way or Buddhist phenomena, we are enlightenment and ignorance, something to study, life and death, buddha, and people. When all things are without self, we have no ignorance, no enlightenment, no doubt, no buddha, no people, and no life and no death. The Buddhist way is beyond being and non-being. Therefore we have life and death, ignorance and enlightenment, people and buddha.

However, flowers fall with our attachment, and weeds grow with our detachment. Firewood turns into ash, and it does not turn into firewood again.

But do not suppose that the ash is after and the firewood before. We must understand that firewood is at the stage of firewood, and there must—and there we find—there we find its before and after. And yet with this past and future, its present is independent of them. Ash is at the stage of ash, and there we find its before and after. Because it include everything, it is independent being.


So here we find the absolute liberation. When we practice zazen, concentrating ourselves on each breathing, we are absolute independent being. The secret of all the teaching of Buddhism is how to live on each moment.

Moment after moment we have to obtain the absolute freedom. And moment after moment, we exist in interdependency to past and future and other existence. So in short, to practice—if you practice zazen, concentrating yourself on your breathing moment after moment, that is how to keep precepts, how to have the actual understanding of Buddhist teaching, and how to help others, and how to help yourself, how to attain liberation.

Why we call true Zen the capital city of religion is we have actually m- [partial word]—gist of teaching and secret of practice—to understand various religion and various way of practice through and through. And at least some day you will understand this lecture.

This is a blog of all of the transcripts and audio recordings of talks given by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, following the order in which they were given. By publishing them over time, we can study Suzuki Roshi’s way of practice together over the course of his teaching in America. Please join us in spending some time with these teachings and feel free to leave comments with your reflections, questions, insights and anything else you would like share in relation to these talks.

While we are publishing the individual talks over time in this blog, you may also browse and search the entire collection of transcripts. June 19, 4th Talk Sunday, June 19th, Suzuki-roshi holding a flower. June 19, 2nd talk Sunday, June 19th, Suzuki-roshi in the wilderness near Tassajara.

Someone has my—my paper. Finish the whole thing. Wednesday night we finish the whole thing. No, I think we finished the whole thing.

Wednesday night we did it. The first paragraph is the framework of whole Buddhism. Suzuki-roshi Page 2: May 25 Wednesday, May 25th, Suzuki-roshi in Japan. March 13, Sunday, March 13th, Suzuki-roshi at Tassajara. About this Blog This is a blog of all of the transcripts and audio recordings genuo talks given by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, following the order in which they were given. Join us in our effort to be a quiet, powerful force for a better world.