Chants

Great Wisdom Beyond Wisdom Heart Sutra

Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva when practicing deeply the prajna paramita, perceived that all five skandhas in their own being are empty and was saved from all suffering. “O Shariputra, form does not differ from emptiness, emptiness does not differ from form. That which is form is emptiness, that which is emptiness form. The same is true of feelings, perceptions, formations, consciousness. O Shariputra, all dharmas are marked with emptiness; they do not appear nor disappear, are not tainted nor pure, do not increase nor decrease. Therefore in emptiness, no form, no feelings, no perceptions, no formations, no consciousness; no eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind; no color, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no object of mind; no realm of eyes until no realm of mind-consciousness; no ignorance and also no extinction of it until no old-age-and-death and also no extinction of it; no suffering, no origination, no stopping, no path; no cognition, also no attainment. With nothing to attain, a bodhisattva depends on prajna paramita and the mind is no hindrance. Without any hindrance no fears exist. Far apart from every perverted view one dwells in nirvana. In the three worlds all buddhas depend on prajna paramita and attain unsurpassed complete perfect enlightenment. Therefore, know the prajna paramita is the great transcendent mantra, is the great bright mantra, is the utmost mantra, is the supreme mantra, which is able to relieve all suffering and is true, not false. So proclaim the prajna paramita mantra, proclaim the mantra that says: Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate! Bodhi! Svaha!”

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Maka Hannya Ha Ra Mitta Shin Gyo

KAN JI ZAI BO SATSU GYO JIN HANNYA HA RA MITTA JI SHO KEN GO ON KAI KU DO ISSAI KU YAKU SHA RI SHI SHIKI FU I KU KU FU I SHIKI SHIKI SOKU ZE KU KU SOKU ZE SHIKI JU SO GYO SHIKI YAKU BU NYO ZE SHA RI SHI ZE SHO HO KU SO FU SHO FU METSU FU KU FU JO FU ZO FU GEN ZE KO KU CHU MU SHIKI MU JU SO GYO SHIKI MU GEN NI BI ZES SHIN NI MU SHIKI SHO KO MI SOKU HO MU GEN KAI NAI SHI MU I SHIKI KAI MU MU MYO YAKU MU MU MYO JIN NAI SHI MU RO SHI YAKU MU RO SHI JIN MU KU SHU METSU DO MU CHI YAKU MU TOKU I MU SHO TOK KO BODAISATTA E HANNYA HA RA MITTA KO SHIN MU KE GE MU KE GE KO MU U KU FU ON RI ISSAI TEN DO MU SO KU GYO NE HAN SAN ZE SHO BUTSU E HANNYA HA RA MITTA KO TOKU A NOKU TA RA SAN MYAKU SAN BO DAI KO CHI HANNYA HA RA MITTA ZE DAI JIN SHU ZE DAI MYO SHU ZE MU JO SHU ZE MU TO DO SHU NO JO ISSAI KU SHIN JITSU FU KO KO SETSU HANNYA HA RA MITTA SHU SOKU SETSU SHU WATSU GYA TE GYA TE HA RA GYA TE HARA SO GYA TE BODHI SOWA KA HANNYA SHIN GYO

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Enmei Jukku Kannon Gyo with translation by Robert Aitken

KAN ZE ON
NA MU BUTSU
YO BUTSU U IN
YO BUTSU U EN
BUP PO SO EN
JO RAKU GA JO
CHO NEN KAN ZE ON
BO NEN KAN ZE ON
NEN NEN JU SHIN KI
NEN NEN FU RI SHIN

Translation by Robert Aitken

Kanzeon!
Veneration to the Buddha!
With Buddha I have origin;
With Buddha I have affinity;
Affinity with Buddha, Dharma, Sangha;
Constancy, joy, self, and purity.
Mornings, my thought is Kanzeon;
Evenings, my thought is Kanzeon.
Thought after thought arises in mind.
Thought after thought is not separate from mind.

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Sho Sai Myo Kichijyo Dharani

NO MO SAN MAN DA MOTO NAN OHA RA CHI KOTO SHA SONO NAN TO JI TO EN GYA GYA GYA KI GYA KI UN NUN SHIFU RA SHIFU RA HARA SHIFU RA HARA SHIFU RA CHISHU SA CHISHU SA CHISHU RI CHISHU RI SOHA JA SOHA JA SEN CHI GYA SHIRI E SO MO KO

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Dai Hi Shin Dharani

NAMU KARA TAN NO TORA YA YA NAMU ORI YA BORYO KI CHI SHIFU RA YA FUJI SATO BO YA MOKO SATO BO YA MO KO KYA RUNI KYA YA EN SA HARA HA EI SHU TAN NO TON SHA NAMU SHIKI RI TOI MO ORI YA BORYO KI CHI SHIFU RA RIN TO BO NA MU NO RA KIN JI KI RI MO KO HO DO SHA MI SA BO O TO JO SHU BEN O SHU IN SA BO SA TO NO MO BO GYA MO HA TE CHO TO JI TO EN O BO RYO KI RU GYA CHI KYA RYA CHI I KIRI MO KO FUJI SA TO SA BO SA BO MO RA MO RA MO KI MO KI RI TO IN KU RYO KU RYO KE MO TO RYO TO RYO HO JA YA CHI MO KO HO JA YA CHI TO RA TO RA CHIRI NI SHIFU RA YA SHA RO SHA RO MO MO HA MO RA HO CHI RI U KI U KI SHI NO SHI NO ORA SAN FURA SHA RI HA ZA HA ZA FURA SHA YA KU RYO KU RYO MO RA KU RYO KU RYO KI RI SHA RO SHA RO SHI RI SHI RI SU RYO SU RYO FUJI YA FUJI YA FUDO YA FUDO YA MI CHIRI YA NORA KIN JI CHIRI SHUNI NO HOYA MONO SOMO KO SHIDO YA SOMO KO MOKO SHIDO YA SOMO KO SHIDO YU KI SHIFU RA YA SOMO KO NORA KIN JI SOMO KO MO RA NO RA SOMO KO SHIRA SU OMO GYA YA SOMO KO SOBO MOKO SHIDO YA SOMO KO SHAKI RA OSHI DO YA SOMO KO HODO MOGYA SHIDO YA SOMO KO NORA KIN JI HA GYARA YA SOMO KO MO HORI SHIN GYARA YA SOMO KO NAMU HARA TAN NO TORA YA YA NAMU ORI YA BORYO KI CHI SHIFU RA YA SOMO KO SHITE DO MODO RA HODO YA SO MO KO

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Names of the Buddhas and Ancestors

Capitalized syllables are approximately twice as long but are not accentuated.

bibashi butsu daiosho
shiki butsu daiosho
baishafu butsu daiosho
kuruSON butsu daiosho
kunaGONmuni butsu daiosho
kashO butsu daiosho
shakamuni butsu daiosho
makakashO daiosho
aNANda daiosho
SHOnawashu daiosho
ubakikuta daiosho
DAItaka daiosho
mishaka daiosho
vashumitsu daiosho
butsudaNANDAI daiosho
fudaMITta daiosho
barishiba daiosho
funayasha daiosho
anaboTEI daiosho
kabimara daiosho
nagyaharajuna daiosho
kanaDAIba daiosho
ragorata daiosho
SOGyaNANDAI daiosho
kayashata daiosho
kumorata daiosho
shayata daiosho
vashuBANsu daiosho
manura daiosho
kakurokuna daiosho
shishiboDAI daiosho
bashashita daiosho
funyoMITta daiosho
HANnyatara daiosho
boDAIdaruma daiosho
TAIso eka daiosho
KANchi SOSAN daiosho
dai-I DOSHIN daiosho
DAIMAN KONIN daiosho
DAIKAN enO daiosho
SEIGEN GYOshi daiosho
sekiTO kiSEN daiosho
yakuSAN iGEN daiosho
UNGAN DONJO daiosho
TOZAN RYOKAI daiosho
UNgoDOYO daiosho
DOAN DOhi daiosho
DOAN KANshi daiosho
RYOZAN ENKAN daiosho
TAIYO KYOGEN daiosho
TOsu giSEI daiosho
fuYO DOKAI daiosho
TANka shiJUN daiosho
CHOro SEIRYO daiosho
TENDO Sogaku daiosho
SECCHO shiKAN daiosho
TENDO nyoJO daiosho
EIHEI DOGEN daiosho
KOUN eJO daiosho
TETTSU giKAI daiosho
KEIZAN JOKIN daiosho
Great Teacher Mahapajapati Gotami
Great Teacher Dhammadina
Great Teacher Khema
Great Teacher Sundari-Nanda
Great Teacher Patacara
Great Teacher Uppalavana
Great Teacher Jing Jien
Great Teacher Tsong Gee
Great Teacher Ling Jow
Great Teacher Tai Shan
Great Teacher Mo Shan
Great Teacher Lee-o Tee-eh Mo
Great Teacher Sure Gee
Great Teacher Mai yo T’zu
Great Teacher Miao Tsong
Great Teacher Miao Shin
Great Teacher Mugai Nyodai
Great Teacher Yodo
Great Teacher Myochi-ni
Great Teacher Ekyu-ni
Great Teacher Eshun-ni
Great Teacher Jur Yuen Shing Gon
Great Teacher Soshin-ni
Great Teacher Ryonen Genso
Great Teacher Yoshihime
Great Teacher Tachibana no Someko
Great Teacher Otagaki Rengetsu
Great Teacher Nagasawa Sozen
Great Teacher Nogami Senryo
Great Teacher Kojima Kendo
aGreat Teacher Joshin Kasai

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Metta Sutta

This is what should be accomplished by the one who is wise,
Who seeks the good and has obtained peace.
May I be strenuous, upright and sincere,
Without pride, easily contented and joyous.
May I not be submerged by the things of the world.
May I not take upon myself the burden of riches.
May my senses be controlled.
May I be wise but not puffed up,
and may I not desire great possessions, even for my family.
May I do nothing that is mean or that the wise would reprove.
May all beings be happy.
May they be joyous and live in safety.
All living beings, whether weak or strong,
In high or middle or low realms of existence,
Small or great, visible or invisible, near or far,
Born or to be born, may all beings be happy.
May I not deceive another, nor despise any being in any state;
May I not by anger or hatred wish harm to another.
Even as a mother at the risk of her own life,
Watches over and protects her only child,
So with a boundless mind may I cherish all living things,
Suffusing love over the entire world –
Above, below, and all around, without limit;
So may I cultivate an infinite good will toward the whole world.
Standing or walking, sitting or lying down,
During all my waking hours,
May I practice the way with gratitude.
Not holding to fixed views,
Endowed with insight,
Freed from sense appetites,
One who achieves the way will be free
From the duality of birth and death.

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Four Vows

Beings are numberless;
I vow to awaken with them.
Delusions are inexhaustible;
I vow to end them.
Dharma gates are boundless;
I vow to enter them.
Buddha’s way is unsurpassable;
I vow to become it.

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Metta Prayer

May I be well, loving, and peaceful. May all beings be well, loving, and peaceful.

May I be at ease in my body, feeling the ground beneath my seat and feet, letting my back be long and straight, enjoying breath as it rises and falls and rises.

May I know and be intimate with body mind, whatever its feeling or mood,calm or agitated, tired or energetic, irritated or friendly.

Breathing in and out, in and out, aware, moment by moment, of the risings and passings.

May I be attentive and gentle towards my own discomfort and suffering.

May I be attentive and grateful for my own joy and well-being.

May I move towards others freely and with openness.

May I receive others with sympathy and understanding.

May I move towards the suffering of others with peaceful and attentive confidence.

May I recall the Bodhisattva of compassion; her 1,000 hands, her instant readiness for action. Each hand with an eye in it, the instinctive knowing what to do.

May I continually cultivate the ground of peace for myself and others and persist, mindful and dedicated to this work, independent of results.

May I know that my peace and the world’s peace are not separate;that our peace in the world is a result of our work for justice.

May all beings be well, happy, and peaceful.

Written by Kushin Seisho Maylie Scott

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Hymn To Prajna Paramita

Homage to the Perfection of Wisdom, the Lovely, the Holy.
The Perfection of Wisdom gives light. Unstained, the entire world cannot stain her.
She is a source of light,
And from everyone in the triple world she removes darkness.
Most excellent are her works.
She brings light so that all fear and distress may be forsaken,
And disperses the gloom and darkness of delusion.
She herself is an organ of vision.
She has a clear knowledge of the own-being of all dharmas,
For she does not stray from it.
The Perfection of Wisdom of the Buddhas
Sets in motion the wheel of the dharma.

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Sandokai / Harmonious Song of Difference and Sameness of Sekito Kisen Daiosho

The mind of the great sage of India
is intimately communicated from west to east.
While human faculties are sharp or dull,
The Way has no northern or southern ancestors.
The spiritual source shines clear in the light;
the branching streams flow on in the dark.
Grasping at things is surely delusion;
according with sameness is still not enlightenment.
All the objects of the senses
interact and yet do not.
Interacting brings involvement.
Otherwise, each keeps its place.
Sights vary in quality and form,
sounds differ as pleasing or harsh.
Refined and common speech come together in the dark,
clear and murky phrases are distinguished in the light.
The four elements return to their natures
just as a child turns to its mother.
Fire heats, wind moves,
water wets, earth is solid.
Eye and sights, ear and sounds,
nose and smells, tongue and tastes;
Thus with each and every thing,
depending on these roots, the leaves spread forth.
Trunk and branches share the essence;
revered and common, each has its speech.
In the light there is darkness,
but don’t take it as darkness;
In the dark there is light,
but don’t see it as light.
Light and darkness oppose one another
like front and back foot in walking.
Each of the myriad things has its merit,
expressed according to function and place.
Phenomena exist; box and lid fit.
Principle responds; arrow points meet.
Hearing the words, understand the meaning;
don’t set up standards of your own.
If you don’t understand the Way right before you,
how will you know the path as you walk?
Progress is not a matter of far or near,
but if you are confused, mountains and rivers block your way.
I respectfully urge your who study the mystery,
do not pass your days and nights in vain.

In medieval Japanese; capitalized syllables are approximately twice as long but are not accentuated.

chikudo DAI SEN no SHIN TO ZAI mitsu ni AI fusu NIN KON ni riDON ari DO ni NAM boku no so nashi REI GEN MYO ni KO KET tari shiha AN ni ruCHU su ji o SHU suru mo moto kore maYOI ri ni kaNO mo mata satori ni arazu MON MON IS SAI no KYO ego to fu ego to eshite sarani AI wataru shikara zareba ku RAI ni YOTte JU su shiki moto shitsu ZO o kotoni shi SHO moto RAKku o koto ni su AN wa JO CHU no koto ni kaNAI MEI wa SEI daku no ku o wakatsu shiDAI no SHO onozu kara fukusu kono sono haha o uru ga gotoshi hi wa NESshi kaze wa DO YO mizu wa uru OI chi wa KEN go manako wa iro mimi wa ON JO hana wa ka shita wa KAN so shi kamo ichi ichi no HO ni OI te ne ni YOTte haBUN pusu HOM matsu sube karaku SHU ni kisu beshi SON pi sono go o mochi u MEI CHU ni atATte AN ari AN SO o MOTte Okoto nakare AN CHU ni atATte MEI ari MEI SO o MOTte miru koto naka re MEI AN ono ono AI TAI shite hisu runi ZEN go no ayumi no gotoshi BAM motsu onozu kara KO ari masani YO to sho to o YU beshi jiSON sureba KAN GAI GAS shi ri O zureba SEN po saSO koto o ukete wa sube karaku SHU o esu beshi mizu kara kiku o RIS suru koto nakare soku moku DO o ese ZUNba ashi o hakobu mo izu KUN zo michi o shiRAN ayumi o susu mureba GON NON ni arazu ma YOte SEN ga no KO heDA TSU SHIN de SAN GEN no hito ni Mosu KO IN muna shiku wataru koto nakare

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Hokyo Zammai / Song of the Precious Mirror Samadhi of Tozan Ryokai Daiosho

The dharma of thusness is intimately transmitted by buddhas and ancestors. Now you have it; preserve it well. A silver bowl filled with snow; a heron hidden in the moon. Taken as similar they are not the same; not distinguished, their places are known. The meaning does not reside in words, but a pivotal moment brings it forth. Move and you are trapped; miss and you fall into doubt and vacillation. Turning away and touching are both wrong, for it is like a massive fire. Just to portray it in literary form is to stain it with defilement. In darkest night it is perfectly clear, in the light of dawn it is hidden. It is standard for all things; its use removes all suffering.Although it is not constructed, it is not beyond words. Like facing a precious mirror; form and reflection behold each other. You are not it, but in truth it is you. Like a newborn child, it is fully endowed with five aspects: no going, no coming, no arising, no abiding.

“Baba wawa”– is anything said or not? In the end it says nothing, for the words are not yet right. In the illumination hexagram, apparent and real interact. Piled up they make three, the permutations make five; like the taste of the five-flavored herb, like the five-pronged vajra. Wondrously embraced within the real, drumming and singing begin together. Penetrate the source and travel the pathways; embrace the territory and treasure the roads. You would do well to respect this; do not neglect it. Natural and wondrous, it is not a matter of delusion and enlightenment. Within causes and conditions, time and season, it is serene and illuminating. So minute it enters where there is no gap, so vast it transcends dimension. A hairsbreadth’s deviation, and you are out of tune. Now there are sudden and gradual, in which teachings and approaches arise. With teachings and approaches distinguished, each has its standard. Whether teachings and approaches are mastered or not, reality constantly flows. Outside still and inside trembling, like tethered colts, or cowering rats, the ancient sages grieved for them, and offered them the dharma. Led by inverted views, they take black for white. When inverted thinking stops, the affirming mind naturally accords. If you want to follow to the ancient tracks, please observe the sages of the past.

One on the verge of realizing the Buddha Way contemplated a tree for ten kalpas. Like a battle-scarred tiger, like a horse with shanks gone grey. Because some are vulgar, jeweled tables and ornate robes. Because some are wide-eyed, cats and white oxen. With his archer’s skill, Yi hit the mark at a hundred paces. But when arrows meet head-on, how could it be a matter of skill? The wooden man starts to sing, the stone woman gets up dancing. It is not reached by feelings or consciousness, how could it involve deliberation? Ministers serves their lords, children obey their parents; not obeying is not filial, failure to serve is no help. With practice hidden, function secretly, like a fool, like an idiot. Just to do this continuously is called the host within the host.

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Genjo Koan: Actualizing the Fundamental Point by Eihei Dogen

As all things are buddha-dharma, there is delusion and realization, practice, and birth and death, and there are buddhas and sentient beings.

As the myriad things are without an abiding self, there is no delusion, no realization, no buddha, no sentient being, no birth and death.

The buddha way is, basically, leaping clear of the many and the one; thus there are birth and death, delusion and realization, sentient beings and buddhas.

Yet in attachment blossoms fall, and in aversion weeds spread.

To carry yourself forward and experience myriad things is delusion. That myriad things come forth and experience themselves is awakening.

Those who have great realization of delusion are buddhas; those who are greatly deluded about realization are sentient beings. Further, there are those who continue realizing beyond realization, who are in delusion throughout delusion.

When buddhas are truly buddhas they do not necessarily notice that they are buddhas. However, they are actualized buddhas, who go on actualizing buddhas.

When you see forms or hear sounds fully engaging body-and-mind, you grasp things directly. 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.

To study the buddha way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be actualized by myriad things. When actualized by myriad things, your body and mind as well as the bodies and minds of others drop away. No trace of realization remains, and this no-trace continues endlessly.

When you first seek dharma, you imagine you are far away from its environs. But dharma is already correctly transmitted; you are immediately your original self. When you ride in a boat and watch the shore, you might assume that the shore is moving. But when you keep your eyes closely on the boat, you can see that the boat moves. Similarly, if you examine myriad things with a confused body and mind you might suppose that your mind and nature are permanent. When you practice intimately and return to where you are, it will be clear that nothing at all has unchanging self.

Firewood becomes ash, and it does not become firewood again. Yet, do not suppose that the ash is future and the firewood past. You should understand that firewood abides in the phenomenal expression of firewood, which fully includes past and future and is independent of past and future. Ash abides in the phenomenal expression of ash, which fully includes future and past. Just as firewood does not become firewood again after it is ash, you do not return to birth after death.

This being so, it is an established way in buddha-dharma to deny that birth turns into death. Accordingly, birth is understood as no-birth. It is an unshakable teaching in Buddha’s discourse that death does not turn into birth. Accordingly, death is understood as no-death.

Birth is an expression complete this moment. Death is an expression complete this moment. They are like winter and spring. You do not call winter the beginning of spring, nor summer the end of spring.

Enlightenment is like the moon reflected on the water. The moon does not get wet, nor is the water broken. Although its light is wide and great, the moon is reflected even in a puddle an inch wide. The whole moon and the entire sky are reflected in dewdrops on the grass, or even in one drop of water.

Enlightenment does not divide you, just as the moon does not break the water. You cannot hinder enlightenment, just as a drop of water does not hinder the moon in the sky.

The depth of the drop is the height of the moon. Each reflection, however long of short its duration, manifests the vastness of the dewdrop, and realizes the limitlessness of the moonlight in the sky.

When dharma does not fill your whole body and mind, you think it is already sufficient. When dharma fills your body and mind, you understand that something is missing.

For example, when you sail out in a boat to the middle of an ocean where no land is in sight, and view the four directions, the ocean looks circular, and does not look any other way. But the ocean is neither round or square; its features are infinite in variety. It is like a palace. It is like a jewel. It only look circular as far as you can see at that time. All things are like this.

Though there are many features in the dusty world and the world beyond conditions, you see and understand only what your eye of practice can reach. In order to learn the nature of the myriad things, you must know that although they may look round or square, the other features of oceans and mountains are infinite in variety; whole worlds are there. It is so not only around you, but also directly beneath your feet, or in a drop of water.

A fish swims in the ocean, and no matter how far it swims there is no end to the water. A bird flies in the sky, and no matter how far it flies there is no end to the air. However, the fish and the bird have never left their elements. When their activity is large their field is large. When their need is small their field is small. Thus, each of them totally covers its full range, and each of them totally experiences its realm. If the bird leaves the air it will die at once. If the fish leaves the water it will die at once.

Know that water is life and air is life. The bird is life and the fish is life. Life must be the bird and life must be the fish.

It is possible to illustrate this with more analogies. Practice, enlightenment, and people are like this.

Now if a bird or a fish tries to reach the end of its element before moving in it, this bird or this fish will not find its way or its place. When you find your place where you are, practice occurs, actualizing the fundamental point. When you find you way at this moment, practice occurs, actualizing the fundamental point; for the place, the way, is neither large nor small, neither yours nor others’. The place, the way, has not carried over from the past and it is not merely arising now.

Accordingly, in the practice-enlightenment of the buddha way, meeting one thing is mastering it–doing one practice is practicing completely. Here is the place; here the way unfolds. The boundary of realization is not distinct, for the realization comes forth simultaneously with the mastery of buddha-dharma.

Do not suppose that what you realize becomes your knowledge and is grasped by your consciousness. Although actualized immediately, the inconceivable may not be apparent. Its appearance is beyond your knowledge. Zen master Baoche of Mt. Mayu was fanning himself. A monk approached and said, “Master, the nature of wind is permanent and there is no place it does not reach. When, then, do you fan yourself?”

“Although you understand that the nature of the wind is permanent,” Baoche replied, “you do not understand the meaning of its reaching everywhere.”

“What is the meaning of its reaching everywhere?” asked the monk again. The master just kept fanning himself. The monk bowed deeply.

The actualization of the buddha-dharma, the vital path of its correct transmission, is like this. If you say that you do not need to fan yourself because the nature of wind is permanent and you can have wind without fanning, you will understand neither permanence nor the nature of wind. The nature of wind is permanent; because of that, the wind of the buddha’s house brings forth the gold of the earth and makes fragrant the cream of the long river.

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Fukanzazengi by Eihei Dogen

The Way is basically perfect and all-pervading. How could it be contingent upon practice and realization? The Dharma-vehicle is free and untrammelled. What need is there for concentrated effort? Indeed, the whole body is far beyond the world’s dust. Who could believe in a means to brush it clean? It is never apart from one, right where one is. What is the use of going off here and there to practice?

And yet, if there is the slightest discrepancy, the Way is as distant as heaven from earth. If the least like or dislike arises, the Mind is lost in confusion. Suppose one gains pride of understanding and inflates one’s own enlightenment, glimpsing the wisdom that runs through all things, attaining the Way and clarifying the Mind, raising an aspiration to escalade the very sky. One is making the initial, partial excursions about the frontiers but is still somewhat deficient in the vital Way of total emancipation.

Need I mention the Buddha, who was possessed of inborn knowledge? The influence of his six years of upright sitting is noticeable still. Or Bodhidharma’s transmission of the mind-seal?–the fame of his nine years of wall-sitting is celebrated to this day. Since this was the case with the saints of old, how can we today dispense with negotiation of the Way?

You should therefore cease from practice based on intellectual understanding, pursuing words and following after speech, and learn the backward step that turns your light inwardly to illuminate your self. Body and mind of themselves will drop away, and your original face will be manifest. If you want to attain suchness, you should practice suchness without delay.

For sanzen (zazen), a quiet room is suitable. Eat and drink moderately. Cast aside all involvements and cease all affairs. Do not think good or bad. Do not administer pros and cons. Cease all the movements of the conscious mind, the gauging of all thoughts and views. Have no designs on becoming a Buddha. Sanzen has nothing whatever to do with sitting or lying down.

At the site of your regular sitting, spread out thick matting and place a cushion above it. Sit either in the full-lotus or half-lotus position. In the full-lotus position, you first place your right foot on your left thigh and your left foot on your right thigh. In the half-lotus, you simply press your left foot against your right thigh. You should have your robes and belt loosely bound and arranged in order. Then place your right hand on your left leg and your left palm (facing upwards) on your right palm, thumb-tips touching. Thus sit upright in correct bodily posture, neither inclining to the left nor to the right, neither leaning forward nor backward. Be sure your ears are on a plane with your shoulders and your nose in line with your navel. Place your tongue against the front roof of your mouth, with teeth and lips both shut. Your eyes should always remain open, and you should breathe gently through your nose.

Once you have adjusted your posture, take a deep breath, inhale and exhale, rock your body right and left and settle into a steady, immobile sitting position. Think not-thinking. How do you think not-thinking? Non-thinking. This in itself is the essential art of zazen.

The zazen I speak of is not learning meditation. It is simply the Dharma gate of repose and bliss, the practice-realization of totally culminated enlightenment. It is the manifestation of ultimate reality. Traps and snares can never reach it. Once its heart is grasped, you are like the dragon when he gains the water, like the tiger when she enters the mountain. For you must know that just there (in zazen) the right Dharma is manifesting itself and that, from the first, dullness and distraction are struck aside.

When you arise from sitting, move slowly and quietly, calmly and deliberately. Do not rise suddenly or abruptly. In surveying the past, we find that transcendence of both unenlightenment and enlightenment, and dying while either sitting or standing, have all depended entirely on the strength (of zazen).

In addition, the bringing about of enlightenment by the opportunity provided by a finger, a banner, a needle, or a mallet, and the effecting of realization with the aid of a hossu, a fist, a staff, or a shout, cannot be fully understood by discriminative thinking. Indeed, it cannot be fully known by the practicing or realizing of supernatural powers, either. It must be deportment beyond hearing and seeing–is it not a principle that is prior to knowledge and perceptions?

This being the case, intelligence or lack of it does not matter: between the dull and the sharp-witted there is no distinction. If you concentrate your effort single-mindedly, that in itself is negotiating the Way. Practice-realization is naturally undefiled. Going forward (in practice) is a matter of everydayness.

In general, this world, and other worlds as well, both in India and China, equally hold the Buddha-seal, and over all prevails the character of this school, which is simply devotion to sitting, total engagement in immobile sitting. Although it is said that there are as many minds as there are persons, still they all negotiate the way solely in zazen. Why leave behind the seat that exists in your home and go aimlessly off to the dusty realms of other lands? If you make one misstep, you go astray from the Way directly before you.

You have gained the pivotal opportunity of human form. Do not use your time in vain. You are maintaining the essential working of the Buddha-Way. Who would take wasteful delight in the spark from the flintstone? Besides, form and substance are like the dew on the grass, destiny like the dart of lightning–emptied in an instant, vanished in a flash.

Please, honored followers of Zen, long accustomed to groping for the elephant, do not be suspicious of the true dragon. Devote your energies to a way that directly indicates the absolute. Revere the person of complete attainment who is beyond all human agency. Gain accord with the enlightenment of the buddhas; succeed to the legitimate lineage of the ancestors’ samadhi. Constantly perform in such a manner and you are assured of being a person such as they. Your treasure-store will open of itself, and you will use it at will.

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Bodhisattva Precepts

Pure Precepts

I vow to refrain from all evil.
(Doshi) It is the abode and the source of all Buddhas, and the law of all Buddhas.
I vow to do all that is good.
It is the teaching of anuttara samyaksambodhi and the path of the one who practices, and that which is practiced.
I vow to live and be lived for the benefit of all beings.
It is transcending profane and holy, taking self and others across.

Prohibitory Precepts

I vow not to kill.
By not killing life, the Buddha seed grows. Transmit the life of Buddha and do not kill.
I vow not to take what is not given.
The self and objects are such, two yet one. The gate of liberation stands open.
I vow not to misuse sexuality.
Let the three wheels of self, objects, and action be pure. With nothing to desire, one goes along together with the Buddhas.
I vow to refrain from false speech.
The Dharma Wheel turns from the beginning. There is neither surplus nor lack. The sweet dew saturates all and harvests the truth.
I vow not to sell the wine of delusion.
Originally pure, don’t defile. This is the great awareness.
I vow not to slander.
In the Buddha Dharma, go together, appreciate, realize, and actualize together. Don’t permit fault-finding. Don’t permit haphazard talk. Do not corrupt the way.
I vow not to praise self at the expense of others.
Buddhas and Ancestors realize the vast sky and the great earth. When they manifest the noble body, there is neither inside nor outside in emptiness. When they manifest the Dharma body, there is not even a bit of earth on the ground.
I vow not to be avaricious.
One phrase, one verse–that is the ten thousand things and one hundred grasses. One dharma, one realization–is all Buddhas and Ancestors. Therefore, from the beginning, there has been no stinginess at all.
I vow not to harbor ill will.
Not negative, not positive, neither real nor unreal. There is an ocean of illuminated clouds and an ocean of ornamented clouds.
I vow not to abuse the three treasures.
To expound the Dharma with this body is foremost. Virtue returns to the ocean of reality. It is unfathomable–we just accept it with respect and gratitude.
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Meal Chant

Buddha was born at Lumbini,
Enlightened at Boghgaya,
Taught at Varanasi,
Entered nirvana at Kusinagara.
Now we open Buddha Tathagata’s eating bowls.
May all be free from self-clinging.

Homage to the Dharmakaya Vairochana Buddha.
Homage to the Sambhogakaya Lochana Buddha.
Homage to the Nirmanakaya Shakyamuni Buddha.
Homage to the future Maitreya Buddha.
Homage to all Buddhas in the ten directions, past, present, and future.
Homage to the Mahayana Sadharma Pundarika Sutra.
Homage to Manjushri, the perfect wisdom Bodhisattva.
Homage to Samantabhadra, the shining practice Bodhisattva.
Homage to Avalokiteshvara, the infinite compassion Bodhisattva.
Homage to the many Bodhisattva Mahasattvas.
Homage to the Maha Prajña Paramita.

Innumerable labors brought us this food,
May we know how it comes to us.
Receiving this offering,
Let us consider whether our virtue and practice deserve it.
Desiring the natural order of mind,
Let us be free from greed, hate, and delusion.
We eat to support life and to practice the way of Buddha.

This food is for the three treasures,
For our teachers, family, and all people, and for all beings in the six worlds.
The first portion is for the precepts,
The second is for the practice of samadhi,
The third is to save all beings.
Thus we eat this food and awaken with everyone.

The water with which we wash these bowls tastes like ambrosia.
We offer it to the various spirits to satisfy them.
Om Makurasai Svaha!

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