HyC Adventures
The Poetics of Perception
Dogen's Fukanzazengi: A Tale of Three Texts

 

 

 

 

Dogen’s Fukanzazengi:

A Tale of Three Texts

 

Hyatt Carter

 

 

 Introduction

 

Fukanzazengi, one of Dogen’s early writings, is a manual that explains how to do sitting meditation.[1] Fukanzazengi translates as “Universal Recommendation for Zazen.”

 

There are two versions, the original version, Shinpitsu-bon (真筆本),  and the so-called popular version, Rufu-bon (真筆本), a revised draft that Dogen wrote later. The popular version is included at the end of Volume 8 of Dogen’s Eihei Koroku.

 

There is a colophon at the end of the original version that gives the time and place of composition:

 

天福元年中元日書于觀音導利院

 

Written at Kannondori-in Temple on the fifteenth day of the seventh month in 1233.[2]

 

Tradition holds that an even earlier third version, referred to as the Karoku manual [3], was written and preached by Dogen shortly after returning from his sojourn in China. Carl Bielefeldt writes:
 
“The Fukanzazengi is generally held to represent Dogen’s first Zen teaching, promulgated immediately following his return to Japan after the pilgrimage to Sung China that culminated in his great awakening to the dharma of Ju-ching. As the opening act of his ministry, intended to reveal the very essence of the message he sought to bring to the Japanese Buddhist community, its composition is widely regarded as marking the historical origin of his Soto school. “It was, the school would later say, the very ‘dawn of Buddhism in Japan.’ This historical significance for the tradition, coupled with the work’s intrinsic importance as the primary textual source for the tradition’s characteristic form of meditation, has given the Fukanzazengi a central place in the literature of the Soto school. Indeed it has been taken into the litany of the church and is still recited daily at the close of evening meditation in the school’s monasteries throughout Japan.”[4]
 

 

A scroll of the original version of Fukanzazengi, calligraphed in Dogen’s own hand, is in the possession of Eiheiji Temple and has been designated as a national treasure of Japan. I used a copy of this as the source for my digitized text. The full scroll is divided into six panels [5] and, under each panel, I provide a table that represents Dogen’s text line by line, and character by character.  

 

Following this six-panel section, I have also included, at the end, the complete text of the original version arranged in three paragraphs [6] and, following that, the Chinese text of the popular version of Fukanzazengi. Carl Bielefeldt’s English translation of the original version concludes this presentation of Dogen’s Universal Recommendation for Zazen. To give a dual-language format, I have juxtaposed sections of Bielefeldt’s translation with their Chinese counterparts. 

[In the above paragraphs, the numbers of Endnotes are enclosed in brackets.]  

 

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 The Six Panels and Tables

 

01

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

02

 

 

退

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

03

 

 

 

調

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

04

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

05

 

 

 

竿

西

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

06

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

便

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

使

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fukanzazengi

普勸坐禪儀

 

Original Version

真筆本 (Shinpitsu-bon)

 

 

入宋傳法沙門道元 

 

原夫道本圓通。爭假修證。宗乘自在。何費功夫。況乎全體逈出塵埃。孰信拂拭之手段。大都不離當處。豈用修行之脚頭。然而毫釐有差天地懸隔。違順纔起紛然失心。須知歴劫輪迴還因擬議之一念。塵世迷道復由商量之無休。欲超向上之徹底。唯解直下之承當。直饒誇會豐悟。獲瞥地之智通。得道明心。擧衝天之志氣。雖有入頭之量。尚缺出身之路。矧彼釋迦老子之爲生知。已在六年端坐之跡。達磨大師之傳心印。更貽九歳面壁之蹤。古聖既然。今人盍辨。所以翻尋言逐語之鮮行。須迴光返照之退歩。自然身心脱落。本來面目現前。欲得恁麼。急務坐禪。

 

夫參禪者。靜室宜焉。飮飡節矣。乃放捨諸縁休息萬事。不思善惡。莫管是非。停心意識之運轉。止念想觀之測量。正坐之時。厚敷坐物。上用蒲團。然後結跏趺坐。或半跏趺坐。謂結跏趺坐。先以右足安左上。左足安右上。半跏趺坐。但以左足壓右矣。寛繋衣帶可令齊整。次右手安左足上。左掌安右掌上。以兩大拇指面相拄。乃正身端坐。不得左側右傾前躬後仰。要令耳與肩對鼻與臍對。舌掛上腭唇齒相著。目須常開。身相既定氣息亦調。念起即覺。覺之即失。久久忘縁自成一片。此坐禪之要術也。謂坐禪則大安樂法門也。若得此意。自然四大輕安。精神爽利。正念分明。法味資神。寂然清樂。日用天眞也。已能發明。可謂。如龍得水。似虎靠山。當知。正念現前。昏散曷到。若從坐起。徐徐動身。安祥而起。不應卒暴。於一切時護持定力。參究之超上關無本可據證。放之被自礙。所以未留乃道之十成也。

 

誠禪定一門最爲高勝。先以十分之會擧。次轉一半之證來。只在此法。拈花破顏禮拜得髓。皆承他之恩力而獲大自在者也。學般若菩薩。詎不隨順者乎。嘗觀。超凡越聖必假靜縁。坐脱立亡能任定力。況復指竿針鎚之轉機。拂拳棒喝之證契。未是思量分別之所能解也。豈爲神通修證之所能知也。可爲聲色之外威儀。那非知見之前軌則者歟。然則不論上知下愚。莫簡利人鈍者。放下六根。見轉全道。不生一念坐斷十方。凡其自界他方佛法本無異法。西天東地祖門遂開五門。等持佛印。各檀宗風。唯務單傳。直指專事。翻身迴頭雖謂千差萬別。但喜歸程祥參。何忘却自家之坐床謾去來他國之塵境。若錯一歩。當面蹉過。既得人身之應會。莫虚度光陰。必憶佛道之當行。誰浪樂石火。加以形質如草露。運命似電光。倏忽便空。須臾即失。冀其參學高流久習摸象勿怪眞龍。早向直指端的之正道。速成絶學無爲之眞人。方遵百丈之規繩。遍通少林之消息。莫勞拂耳之風。更驚撃舌之響耶。但能正開自寶藏受用使如意。

 

天福元年中元日書于觀音導利院

 

 

Fukanzazengi

普勸坐禪儀

 

Popular Version

流布本 (Rufu-bon)

 

 

觀音導利興聖寶林寺沙門道元 

 

原夫道本圓通、爭假修證。宗乘自在、何費功夫。況乎全體逈出塵埃兮、孰信拂拭之手段。大都不離當處兮、豈用修行之脚頭者乎。然而毫釐有差天地懸隔、違順纔起紛然失心。直饒誇會豐悟兮、獲瞥地之智通、得道明心兮、擧衝天之志氣、雖逍遙於入頭之邊量、幾虧闕於出身之活路。矧彼祇園之爲生知兮、端坐六年之蹤跡可見。少林之傳心印兮、面壁九歳之聲名尚聞。古聖既然、今人盍辦。所以須休尋言逐語之解行、須學囘光返照之退歩。身心自然脱落、本來面目現前。欲得恁麼事、急務恁麼事。夫參禪者、靜室宜焉、飮飡節矣。放捨諸縁、休息萬事。不思善惡、莫管是非。停心意識之運轉、止念想觀之測量。莫圖作佛、豈拘坐臥乎。尋常坐處、厚敷坐物、上用蒲團。或結跏趺坐、或半跏趺坐。謂、結跏趺坐、先以右足安左腿上、左足安右腿上。半跏趺坐、但以左足壓右矣。寛繋衣帶、可令齊整。次右手安左足上、左掌安右掌上。兩大拇指、面相拄矣。乃正身端坐、不得左側右傾、前躬後仰。要令耳與肩對、鼻與臍對。舌掛上腭、唇齒相著。目須常開。鼻息微通。身相既調、欠氣一息、左右搖振。兀兀坐定、思量箇不思量底。不思量底、如何思量、非思量、此乃坐禪之要術也。所謂、坐禪非習禪也、唯是安樂之法門也、究盡菩提之修證也。公案現成、籮籠未到。若得此意、如龍得水、似虎靠山。當知、正法自現前、昏散先撲落。若從坐起、徐徐動身、安詳而起、不應卒暴。嘗觀、超凡越聖、坐脱立亡、一任此力矣。況復拈指竽針鎚之轉機、擧拂拳棒喝之證契、未是思量分別之所能解也、豈爲神通修證之所能知也。可爲聲色之外威儀、那非知見前軌則者歟。然則不論上智下愚、莫簡利人鈍者。專一功夫、正是辦道。修證自不染汙、趣向更是平常者也。凡夫自界他方、西天東地、等持佛印、一擅宗風。唯務打坐、被礙兀地。雖謂萬別千差、秪管參禪辦道。何抛卻自家之坐牀。謾去來他國之塵境。若錯一歩、當面蹉過。既得人身之機要、莫虚度光陰。保任佛道之要機、誰浪樂石火。加以、形質如草露、運命似電光。倐忽便空、須臾即失。冀其參學高流、久習摸象勿怪眞龍。精進直指端的之道、尊貴絶學無爲之人。合沓佛佛之菩提、嫡嗣祖祖之三昧。久爲恁麼、須是恁麼、寶藏自開、受用如意。

 

普勸坐禪儀  

 

 

Universal Recommendation for Zazen

Fukanzazengi

 

Original Version

真筆本 (Shinpitsu-bon)

 

Fundamentally speaking, the basis of the way is perfectly pervasive; how could it be contingent on practice and verification? The vehicle of the ancestors is naturally unrestricted; why should we expend sustained effort? Surely the whole being is far beyond defilement; who could believe in a method to polish it? Never is it apart from this very place; what is the use of a pilgrimage to practice it? And yet, if a hair’s breadth of distinction exists, the gap is like that between heaven and earth; once the slightest like or dislike arises, all is confused and the mind is lost. You should know that repeated migrations through eons of time depend on a single moment’s reflection; losing the way in this world of defilement derives from the failure to stop deliberation. If you wish to transcend to the extreme beyond, just directly accede [to the way].

原夫道本圓通。爭假修證。宗乘自在。何費功夫。況乎全體逈出塵埃。孰信拂拭之手段。大都不離當處。豈用修行之脚頭。然而毫釐有差天地懸隔。違順纔起紛然失心。須知歴劫輪迴還因擬議之一念。塵世迷道復由商量之無休。欲超向上之徹底。

 

Though you are proud of your understanding and replete with insight, getting hold of the wisdom that knows at a glance, though you attain the way and clarify the mind, giving rise to the spirit that assaults the heavens, you may have gained the precincts of the entrance and still be missing the path of liberation.

唯解直下之承當。直饒誇會豐悟。獲瞥地之智通。得道明心。擧衝天之志氣。雖有入頭之量。尚缺出身之路。

 

Even in the case of that old one, Sakyamuni, innately wise though he was, there remains the mark of his six years sitting erect; even the great master Bodhidharma, though he succeeded to the mind seal, left the trace of his nine years facing the wall. When even the ancient sages were like this, how could men today dispense with pursuing [the way]? Therefore, reverse the intellectual practice of investigating words and chasing after talk; take the backward step of turning the light and shining it back. Of themselves body and mind will drop away, and your original face will appear. If you want such [a state], urgently work at zazen.

 

矧彼釋迦老子之爲生知。已在六年端坐之跡。達磨大師之傳心印。更貽九歳面壁之蹤。古聖既然。今人盍辨。所以ニ翻尋言逐語之鮮行。須迴光返照之退歩。自然身心脱落。本來面目現前。欲得恁麼。急務坐禪。

 

For studying Zen, one should have quiet quarters. Be moderate in food and drink. Then cast aside all involvements and discontinue all affairs. Do not think of good or evil; do not deal with right or wrong. Halt the revolutions of mind, intellect, and consciousness; stop the calculations of thought, ideas, and perceptions.

夫參禪者。靜室宜焉。飮飡節矣。乃放捨諸縁休息萬事。不思善惡。莫管是非。停心意識之運轉。止念想觀之測量。

 

When you sit, spread a thick mat and use a cushion on top of it. Then sit in either the full cross-legged or half cross-legged position. For the full position, first place your right foot on your left thigh; then place your left foot on your right thigh. For the half position, simply rest your left foot on your right thigh.

正坐之時。厚敷坐物。上用蒲團。然後結跏趺坐。或半跏趺坐。謂結跏趺坐。先以右足安左上。左足安右上。半跏趺坐。但以左足壓右矣。

 

Loosen your robe and belt, and arrange them properly. Next, place your right hand on your left foot, and your left hand on your right palm. Press the tips of your thumbs together. Then straighten your body and sit erect. Do not lean to the left or right, forward or backward.

寛繋衣帶可令齊整。次右手安左足上。左掌安右掌上。以兩大拇指面相拄。乃正身端坐。不得左側右傾前躬後仰。

 

Your ears should be in line with your shoulders, and your nose in line with your navel. Press your tongue against the front of your palate and close your lips and teeth. The eyes should always remain open.

要令耳與肩對鼻與臍對。舌掛上腭唇齒相著。目須常開。

 

Once you have settled your posture, you should regulate your breathing. Whenever a thought occurs, be aware of it; as soon as you are aware of it, it will vanish. If you remain for a long period forgetful of objects, you will naturally become unified. This is the essential art of zazen. Zazen is the dharma gate of great ease and joy.

身相既定氣息亦調。念起即覺。覺之即失。久久忘縁自成一片。此坐禪之要術也。謂坐禪則大安樂法門也。

 

If you grasp the point of this [practice], the four elements [of the body] will become light and at ease, the spirit will be fresh and sharp, thoughts will be correct and clear; the favor of the dharma will sustain the spirit, and you will be calm, pure, and joyful. Your daily life will be [the expression of] your true natural state. Once you achieve clarification [of the truth], you maybe likened to the dragon gaining the water or the tiger taking to the mountains. You should realize that when right thought is present, dullness and agitation cannot intrude.

若得此意。自然四大輕安。精神爽利。正念分明。法味資神。寂然清樂。日用天眞也。已能發明。可謂。如龍得水。似虎靠山。當知。正念現前。昏散曷到。

 

When you arise from sitting, move slowly and arise calmly; do not be hasty or rough. At all times protect and maintain the power of samadhi. In studying and investigating it, you transcend its higher workings, without a basis to rely on. In verifying and letting go of it, you are obstructed by the self, wherein you are never impeded. This is the full realization of the way.

若從坐起。徐徐動身。安祥而起。不應卒暴。於一切時護持定力。參究之超上關無本可據證。放之被自礙。所以未留乃道之十成也。

 

Truly this one teaching of meditation is the highest, the supreme. First taking up a full understanding and then turning over a half verification—such belongs solely to this dharma. Holding up a flower and breaking into a smile, making a bow and attaining the marrow—such represents the great freedom gained through the power of its grace. How could bodhisattvas who study prajna fail to follow and accord with it?

誠禪定一門最爲高勝。先以十分之會擧。次轉一半之證來。只在此法。拈花破顏禮拜得髓。皆承他之恩力而獲大自在者也。學般若菩薩。詎不隨順者乎。

 

Considering the past, we see that transcending the profane and surpassing the holy are always contingent on the condition of dhyana; shedding [this body] while seated and fleeing [this life] while standing are fully subject to the power of samadhi. Surely, then, turning the opportunity with a finger, a pole, a needle or a mallet, and verifying the accord with a whisk, a fist, a staff or a shout—these are not to be understood through the discriminations of thinking; much less can they be known through the practice and verification of supernormal powers. They must represent conduct beyond sound and form; how could they fail to provide a standard prior to our knowledge and understanding?

嘗觀。超凡越聖必假靜縁。坐脱立亡能任定力。況復指竿針鎚之轉機。拂拳棒喝之證契。未是思量分別之所能解也。豈爲神通修證之所能知也。可爲聲色之外威儀。那非知見之前軌則者歟。

 

Therefore, it does not matter whether one is very smart or very stupid; there is no distinction between those of sharp and dull faculties. If you let go of the six senses, you see and turn the whole path; if you do not produce a single thought, you sit and cut off the ten directions. Both in our world and the other quarters, the Buddha dharma originally has no other dharma; from the Western Heavens to the Eastern Earth, the Patriarchal gate eventually opens five gates. All equally maintain the Buddha seal, while each enjoys its own style of teaching. They devote themselves only to single transmission and direct pointing; they engage solely in reversing the body and turning the head. Though they speak of a thousand differences and ten thousand distinctions, they only delight in the full investigation of the homeward course.

然則不論上知下愚。莫簡利人鈍者。放下六根。見轉全道。不生一念坐斷十方。凡其自界他方佛法本無異法。西天東地祖門遂開五門。等持佛印。各檀宗風。唯務單傳。直指專事。翻身迴頭雖謂千差萬別。但喜歸程祥參。

 

Why leave behind the seat in your own home to wander in vain through the dusty regions of another land? If you make one false step, you miss what is right before you. Since you have already attained the proper conjunction for a human body, do not pass your days in vain; when one always bears in mind the appropriate conduct of the way of the Buddha, who can carelessly enjoy the spark from a flint? Verily form and substance are like the dew on the grass, and the fortunes of life like the lightning flash: in an instant they are

emptied, in a moment they are lost.

何忘却自家之坐床謾去來他國之塵境。若錯一歩。當面蹉過。既得人身之應會。莫虚度光陰。必憶佛道之當行。誰浪樂石火。加以形質如草露。運命似電光。倏忽便空。須臾即失。

 

Eminent students [of the dharma], long accustomed to groping for the elephant, pray do not doubt the true dragon. Promptly take the right way, which points directly at reality; quickly become the true man, through with learning and free from action. Then will you comply with the rule of Po-chang and everywhere convey the circumstances of Shao-lin. Do not trouble yourself over winds that offend the ear nor be upset by sounds of the wagging tongue. just directly open your own treasure store and use it as you will.

冀其參學高流久習摸象勿怪眞龍。早向直指端的之正道。速成絶學無爲之眞人。方遵百丈之規繩。遍通少林之消息。莫勞拂耳之風。更驚撃舌之響耶。但能正開自寶藏受用使如意。

 

English translation:

Carl Bielefeldt, in his book—

Dogen’s Manuals of Zen Meditation

 

 

Endnotes

 

1. Dogen’s Fukanzazengi draws heavily on an earlier meditation manual, Tso-ch’an i  (坐禪儀) by Tsung-tse (宗賾).

 

2. There is also a prefatory line, at the beginning, that reads:

 

入宋傳法沙門道元撰

 

Written by the monk Dogen who made a pilgrimage to Song China to receive transmission of the Dharma.

 

3. “Karoku” refers to the Karoku era, 1225-27, thus dating the manuscript no later than 1227, the year Dogen returned from China. 

 

4. Carl Bielefeldt, Dogen’s Manuals of Zen Meditation, p, 8. Bielefeldt argues that the existence of this 1227 text is problematic.

 

5. My source for the pictures of the six panels is a website at:

 

  http://the-middle-way.org/subpage8.html

 

The site provides a detailed character-by-character analysis and translation of Dogen’s Fukanzazengi (Shinpitsu-bon).

 

6. This threefold division is suggested by Carl Bielefeldt on page 109 in his book, Dogen’s Manuals of Zen Meditation. He writes:

 

“The Fukanzazengi is by no means merely a practical manual on the techniques of contemplation: it is also—and perhaps more conspicuously—a theological statement of the Zen approach to Buddhism and a literary appreciation of Zen training. The text falls into three fairly distinct and roughly equal sections. Of these, only the middle section offers concrete advice on the procedures to be followed in meditation. Here, as I have indicated, Dogen is largely content to follow Tsung-tse’s Tso-ch’an i—albeit with occasional, sometimes interesting, omissions and additions. In contrast the introductory section, in which Dogen expounds the rationale of Zen mental cultivation, is wholly new. Similarly, though it retains much of the structure and some of the phrasing of his Chinese model, his conclusion, which constitutes a panegyric on the virtues of meditation and an exhortation to undertake its practice, again departs from Tsung-tse to elaborate Dogen’s own understanding of Zen. These latter two sections, then, most clearly bear Dogen’s stamp and most sharply distinguish his text from Tsung-tse’s simple meditation manual.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HyC

 

Zen Koans
Four 12th-Century Zen Letters
Dogen's Metaphors of Enlightenment
Dogen Preaches on Nonduality
Dogen's Fukanzazengi: A Tale of Three Texts
Two Zen Cooks Show Dogen the Way
The Karma of Words: A Poem by Bai Juyi
The Zen Koan
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