These talks are from our June 2018 Genzo-e Sesshin with Kokyo Henkel, where we studied a section of Dogen’s Shobogenzo titled: “The Ten Directions” (Jippo).
‘A Zen ancestor once said, “The entire world of the ten directions is the radiant light of the self. The entire world of the ten directions is within the radiant light of the self. In the entire world of the ten directions, there is not a single person that is not the self.”’ Listen & explore the wondrous meaning and implications of these profound meditation instructions.
Kokyo Henkel leads a new generation of Buddhist scholars. He is Head Teacher at the Santa Cruz Zen Center. Kokyo's interests include looking at how the classic original teachings of Buddha-Dharma from ancient India, China, and Japan are still very much alive and useful in present-day America to bring peace and harmony to this troubled world.
The Ten Directions
SHŌBŌGENZŌ JIPPŌ BY EIHEI DŌGEN ZENJI
TRANSLATED BY CARL BIELEFELDT
A single fist is just the ten directions; a single bare mind is the ten directions crystal clear. The marrow is beat from the bones. The Buddha Śākyamuni addressed the great assembly saying, “In the buddha lands of the ten directions, there is only the dharma of the one vehicle.”
These “ten directions” have been formed by grasping “the buddha lands.” Therefore, if we did not take up “the buddha lands,” there would be no “ten directions.” Since they are “buddha lands,” a buddha is their ruler, as this Sahā world is the buddha land of the Buddha Śākyamuni. Holding up this Sahā world and noting clearly “eight tael and a half catty,” we should study that the buddha lands of the ten directions are seven feet or eight feet.
These ten directions enter one direction, enter one buddha. Therefore, they have manifested the ten directions. Because the ten directions are one direction, this direction, one’s own direction, the present direction, they are thedirection of the eye, the direction of the fist, the direction of the exposed column, the direction of the lantern. The buddhas of the ten directions of such “buddha lands in the ten directions” are not large or small, are not pure or dirty. Therefore, “only a buddha and a buddha” in the ten directions praise and admire each other. They do not take condemning each other, talking of their strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, as turning the wheel of dharma and preaching the dharma. As buddhas and buddhas’ children, they assist and inquire [of each other].
In receiving the dharma of the buddhas and ancestors, one studies in this way. One does not slander and insult over rights and wrongs like the alien ways and minions of Māra. When we peruse the scriptures of the Buddha transmitted to the country of Cīnasthāna and look at the entirety of his ministry, the Buddha Śākyamuni never preached that the buddhas of other directions are inferior, or preached that the buddhas of other directions are superior; nor did he preach that the buddhas of other directions are not buddhas. In general, what one does not see in all the teachings of his entire life is a word of the Buddha judging other buddhas; nor has there been transmitted any word of a buddha in which the buddhas of the other directions judge the Buddha Śākyamuni.
Therefore, the Buddha Śākyamuni addressed the great assembly saying, “I alone know their marks / And the buddhas in the ten directions are also like this.”
We should know that the “mark” in “I alone know their marks” is “making a circular mark.” The circular mark is “this bamboo is this long; that bamboo is that short.” In the words of the buddhas in the ten directions, they say, “I alone know their marks, and the Buddha Śākyamuni is also like this.” “I alone verify their marks, and the buddha of one’s own direction is also like this.” They are the mark of “I,” the mark of “know,” the mark of “their,” the mark of “all,” the mark of “the ten directions,” the mark of “the land of Sahā,” the mark “the Buddha Śākyamuni.”
This point is the scripture of the buddha. The buddhas and the lands of the buddhas are not two; they are not sentient or insentient; not deluded or awakened; not good, bad, or neutral; not pure, not dirty; not formation, not continuation, not destruction, not emptiness; not permanent, not impermanent; not existent, not nonexistent; not themselves. They are free from the four propositions; they have cut off the hundred negations. They are just the ten directions; they are just the buddha lands. Hence, the ten directions are just “a fellow with a head and without a tail.”
The Chan Master Changsha Jingcen addressed the great assembly saying, “All the worlds in the ten directions are a single eye of the śramaṇa.”
What is referred to here is one of the eyes of the śramaṇa Gautama. The eye of the śramaṇa Gautama is “I have the treasury of the eye of the true dharma.” No matter to whom it is transmitted, it is the eye of the śramaṇa Gautama. Each “horn” and each “point” of all the worlds in the ten directions is the eye of Gautama. “All the worlds in the ten directions” here is one among the eyes of the śramaṇa. Beyond this, he has so many eyes.
“All the worlds in the ten directions are the everyday words of the śramaṇa.”
The “everyday” is the ordinary; in the vernacular idiom of the land of Japan, we say “the common.” Thus, the common language in the house of the śramaṇa is all the worlds in the ten directions. “The speech is straightforward; the words are straightforward.” Because the everyday words are all the worlds in the ten directions, we should clearly study the principle that all the worlds in the ten directions are everyday words. Because these “ten directions” are inexhaustible, they exhaust the ten directions. We use these words in everyday [speech]. They are like that “requesting a horse, requesting salt, requesting water, and requesting a bowl”; like “offering water, offering a bowl, offering salt, and offering a horse.” Who knows how the immeasurably great person turns his body and turns his brain within this flow of words? He turns the words within the flow of words. The mouth of the ocean and the tongue of the mountain — these are the “everyday” [language] of “speech straightforward and words direct.” Therefore, “covering the mouth” and “covering the ears” are what the ten directions truly are.
“All the worlds in the ten directions are the entire body of the śramaṇa.”
“One hand pointing to the heavens” is heaven; “one hand pointing to the earth” is the earth. Although they are such, “in the heavens above and beneath the heavens, I alone am honored.” This is all the worlds of the ten directions as “the entire body of the śramaṇa.” The head, eye, nose, skin and flesh, bones and marrow — each is the body of the śramaṇa that passes through and beyond all the ten directions. It is like this without moving all the ten directions; it does not depend on considering and thinking. In taking up the body of the śramaṇa of all worlds in the ten directions, ones see the body of the śramaṇa of all worlds in the ten directions.
“All the worlds in the ten directions are the radiance of the self.”
“The self” means the nose “before your father and mother were born.” The nose inadvertantly in the hand of the self is called “all the ten directions.” Still, when the self is realized, it is “the realized kōan”; it is “opening the hall and seeing the buddha.” Nevertheless, “the eye has been switched by another for a soapberry seed.” Nevertheless, coming at it head on, one should be able to encounter the great ones. Furthermore, though we say “summoning him is easy; sending him off is hard, having been called, he turns his head. What is the use” of his turning his head? Make “this fellow” turn his head. When the food waits for the person to eat it, and the clothes wait for the person to wear them, though we seem to be “groping for it without touching it,” how sad that I have already given you the thirty blows.
“All the worlds in the ten directions are within the radiance of the self.”
The eyelid is “the radiance of the self.” Suddenly to open it is “are within.” The dependence of seeing on what is in the eye is “all the worlds in the ten directions.” Nevertheless, though this is the case, “when you sleep on the same bench, you know the holes in the quilt.”
“In all the worlds in the ten directions there is no one without a self.” (or: “there is no one who is not myself.”)
Therefore, of every “maestro,” every “fist,” there is no one of the ten directions that is not the self. Because they are the self, each and every self is the ten directions; the ten directions of each and every self themselves obstruct the ten directions. Because the vital artery of each and every self is in the hand of the self, it is [a case of] “return his original lot of feed.” Why would Dharma’s eye and Gautama’s nose now be freshly in the womb of the exposed pillar? Going in and out are left entirely to the ten directions, the ten sides.
The Great Master Zongyi of Xuansha Cloister said, “All the worlds in the ten directions are one bright pearl.”
Clearly, we know that “one bright pearl” is all the worlds in the ten directions. Spirits and demons take it as their cave; the progeny of the buddhas and ancestors take it as the eye; the men and women of families take it as a head or a fist; beginners and latecomers take it as wearing robes and eating rice. My former master took it as a ball of mud and hit his disciples with it. Moreover, though we may say this is “one move directly presented,” he has gouged out the eye of the ancestors. When he gouges, the ancestors “each put out a hand.” And from their eyes just shines a light.
The Venerable Qianfeng was once asked by a monk, “The bhagavats in the ten directions are on one road to the gate of nirvāṇa. I don’t understand, where are they on that road?” Qianfeng drew a mark with his staff and said,
“They are here.”
This “they are here” is “the ten directions”; “the bhagavats” are the “staff”; the “staff” is “they are here”; the “one road” is “the ten directions.” Nevertheless, do not hide the staff in the nose of Gautama; do not ram the staff in the nose of the staff. Nevertheless, though this is the case, do not think that old man Qianfeng has managed “the bhagavats in the ten directions” or “the road to the gate of nirvāṇa”: he just says, “they are here.” It is not that “they are here” is not the case; and it is fine so long as old man Qianfeng is not from the start deceived by his staff.
Overall, we just study the living nose as the ten directions.
Presented to the assembly on the twenty-third day of the eleventh month of the first year of Kangen (mizunoto-u) at Kippō Shōja, Etchū, Land of Japan. Copied the twenty-fourth day of the terminus of winter, third year of Kangen (kinoto-mi) at the Attendant’s Office, Daibutsuji, Etchū by Ejō.