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Unformatted text preview: 1JAPANESE BUDDHISMAND THEMEIJI RESTORATIONGudo Wafu NishijimathtdttldhtThe American Academy of ReligionSociety of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting 1997 San Francisco, CaliforniaNovember 22252For information about Nishijima Roshi, and books and articles produced byWindbell Publications Ltd, please visit our Web site at:http://www.windbell.comAll translations and quotations from Master Dogen's Shobogenzo,Shobogenzo Keiteki, and the Introduction to Master ldh , Windbell Publications Ltd. 19973JAPANESE BUDDHISMAND THEMEIJI RESTORATIONGudo Wafu NishijimaThe Meiji RestorationThe Meiji Restoration that engulfed Japan in 1868, although describedas a restoration, was in fact a complete revolution, which affectedall levels of society. Powerful feudalistic states, including Satsuma(present-day Kagoshima Pref.), Nagato (present-day Yamaguchi Pref.),Tosa (present-day Kochi Pref.), and Hizen (present-day Saga Pref.),banded together and formed an army against the Tokugawa government of the day, with the aim of taking over the capital, Edo (presentday Tokyo). A succession of civil wars ensued, and during the last ofthe Tokugawa Shogunates, Yoshinobu Tokugawa (18381913) tookthe decision to restore to power the Imperial House which had ruledJapan from the foundation of the state until 1192. The result was arevolution of unprecedented scale, which had an impact on everyfacet of lifecultural, economic, and political.Religions too were caught up in the sweeping changes, and Buddhism was no exception. The historical events that unfolded in Buddhism in Japan caused major destruction and irreversible changes tomany aspects of the religion and its practices. In this paper, I wouldlike to discuss the concrete nature of some of these changes, in orderto set the modern face of Buddhism in Japan within a historical andphilosophical context.What is Buddhism?In order that we may have a base for further discussion, I would liketo start by explaining what Buddhism is. A look at the situation ofBuddhism in modern-day Japan provides a very vague and confused4image of what Buddhism is about. There are many different points ofview, from the intellectual romanticism of D. T. Suzuki, through thenothingness theories of Kitaro Nishida, to entirely academic interpretations of Buddhism based on Master ldh , which came through Chinese (Tr:)and was translated into Japanese as the Churon. Studying thesedifferent theories in modern-day Japan will not yield any clear description of what Buddhism is really about. Further, after the SecondWorld War, many new Buddhist sects sprang up, promising believers great benefit and happiness in their secular lives. It is not a situation in which the central tenets of Buddhism stand out clearly, andcertainly there is no agreed fundamental idea.When I was 18 years old I met a Buddhist monk from the Soto sectcalled Kodo Sawaki Roshi. From that time I was drawn to study theworks of Master Dogen, and in particular, the Shobogenzo. I havenow been studying the Shobogenzo for more than 60 years, and myunderstanding of it is now complete. I have been giving regular lectures at the Tokyo University Young Mens Buddhist Association, theAsahi Culture Center, and other places, for 30 of those years. Throughmy long studies of the Shobogenzo I have come to a clear and exactunderstanding of Buddhist philosophy. However, I had alwaysthought of Master Dogen as one of many Buddhist thinkers, and thathis unique thoughts could not be put forward as a description of thewhole of Buddhism. However, about 10 years ago I started to readMaster s ldh in Sanskrit and subsequently went on to translate it into Japanese directly. As the translation proceeded, I found that the ideas set forth in theldh w ere exactly the same as those in theShobogenzo. I have concluded that among the many philosophicalinterpretations of Buddhism, there is one authentic theory, which canbe called Shobo or the True Dharma. Although the theory is complex, it has a unique, but rational structure which is mirrored in bothMaster Dogens works and in Master writings. I am convinced that this theoretical structure describes exactly what Buddhismis. However, because the philosophical structure is so unusual, it isdifficult to understand. This is one reason why Buddhism has beenmisunderstood by so many people for so long.5The Philosophy of theldhThe first two chapters of the ldhdamental statement of Master give a clear picture of what he believed. contain a funs Buddhist thought, and(1) Affirmation of this worldAt the beginning of the work, before the first chapter, Masterhas written a four-line verse in which he sets down hisunderstanding of Gautama Buddhas teachings. The verse describesGautama Buddhas preaching of p t ttpd , the fact thatthe totality of all we can see is this world (p pa), which is quiet(p) and gracious ().1(2) Denial of subjectivity and objectivityIn the first verse of the first chapter, Master denies thatsubjectivity (t ) and objectivity (p t ) are complete views of reality, or real entities in themselves.2 By subjectivity he means thoughtsand ideas, and by objectivity he means perceptions involving the senseorgans. Western civilization has given us two major philosophicalsystems; idealism and materialism. Master s denial of thesetwo positions is a criticism of the tenet that the idealistic viewpointalone, or the materialistic viewpoint alone, can tell us what reality is.This is quite an assertion, but Buddhist philosophy has from ancienttimes contained denials of the two extreme viewpoints, t d andh d d . t d refers to belief in the eternal spirit andso the eternity of this world, and as such is an ancient Indian form ofidealism.h d d refers to belief solely in the instantaneousphysical manifestation of the world; denying the existence or worthof moral value, and asserting that the world is just matter that weperceive in front of us. It is thus an early form of materialism. This iswhat has led me to interpret Master s denial of t d andh d d in the first verse as criticisms of the viewpoints ofidealism and materialism.However, idealism and materialism are the fundamental philosophiesupon which our civilizations rest, and denying their validity seems toleave us with no viewpoint that we can rely on. But Buddhism doesdeny both, and in their place establishes a philosophy which is based6on action, or reality itself. It may seem strange for a philosophy to bebased on something which is not connected with the intellect; it is usualto think that philosophy is about thinking itself. It is almost impossibleto imagine the content of a philosophy which is not based on the intellectual viewpoints of idealism or materialism. However, I am confident enough to assert that the philosophical system that is used in Buddhism is based on a philosophy with a viewpoint which is differentfrom both of these, and I would like to emphasize that this is a key factin understanding what Buddhism is.(3) Four beliefsAlthough in the first verse Master denies that what wethink (subjectivity) and what we perceive (objectivity) are ultimatedescriptions of reality, he goes on to proclaim the existence of fourfundamental beliefs (pratyaya), which include both the subjective andobjective views. He states these beliefs as:  h t , reason, l, the five attributes of things (that is, form, sound, smell,taste and touch), t , having no interior, meaning the presentmoment, and  t th dh p t, the Lord-like real world.3 Master defines these as beliefs, because with his sharp mindhe noticed that, although these four are fundamental to human consciousness, there is no way to prove their existence; thus we can onlybelieve that they exist.(4) ActionIn the fourth verse of the first chapter, Master points tothe separation between action () and the four beliefs (p t).He is pointing to the fact that in our actual lives, to act is much morereal than any of the four beliefs.4 Of the twenty-seven chapters thatmake up the ldh , fourteen (chapters 8 to 21) aredevoted to explanations of action.In the second chapter he describes the absolute difference betweena real act at the moment of the present, and the concept action. Thisis not a common subject in philosophy, but I think that recognition ofthe difference between what we think and what we actually doouractionis of fundamental importance.In the first verse of the second chapter, Master takes asan example the activity of going and asserts that gone (recognition7in the present of an action that took place in the past), going (recognition in the present of an action that is taking place in the present),and not gone (recognition in the present of an action that has yet totake place) are all different from the actual instantaneous act of goingperformed in the present moment. Our life is not acted out in thearea in which we think, and neither is it acted out in the area of ourperceptions. Our life is action in the here and now. This is the centraltheme of Buddhist belief, and from it all other Buddhist theorieshave emerged.When we are acting, we experience something, but what we experience is different from what we are thinking and different from whatwe are perceiving. In our thinking process we make a separation between the subject who is thinking and the object of our thoughts: theperson who is thinking can recognize what it is that they are thinkingabout. And in our perception processes, we make a separation between the subject who is perceiving and the object of our perception:the person who is perceiving can describe what they perceive. But inaction, there is no separation between subject and objectthey areone undivided whole. In the moment of acting it is difficult or impossible for the person who acts to describe or to observe what they aredoing while they are doing it. Because of this fact, although therehave been many philosophical systems in the history of human civilization based on idealistic viewpoints and materialistic viewpoints,it has been extremely rare to have a philosophy based on somethingother than these two viewpoints. It has been an accepted fact for thousands of years that all philosophies have an intellectual basis andthus deal with all matters on an intellectual level. However, Buddhistthinkers have repeatedly attempted to form a philosophy based onaction itself, and Master s attempt is an extremelysuccessful one.(5) Identity of present action and DharmaIn the ninth verse of the first chapter, Master states thatwhen Dharma does not appear, it is impossible for nirodha, self-regulation in our action, to exist.5 I have interpreted nirodha to mean selfrestriction, or self-regulation; that is, the state in which a person isregulating themselves in present action. Master , then, isasserting that self-regulation and Dharma are identical; that when8we act at the moment of the present, then Dharma, this world, appears; and that acting at the present moment is the real existence ofthe world. Although this view is unique to Buddhism, and may appear to be an extraordinary assertion to some, I am convinced thatthis is the true meaning contained in the ldh .The Philosophy of the Shobogenzo(1) Affirmation of this worldMany chapters of the Shobogenzo are concerned with the affirmationof the existing concrete world. Examples are found in Genjo-koan (TheRealized Universe), Ikka-no-myoju (One Bright Pearl), Keisei-sanshiki (TheVoices of the River Valley and the Form of the Mountains), Sansui-gyo(The Sutra of Mountains and Water), and Hokke-ten-hokke (The Flowerof Dharma Turns the Flower of Dharma).6 These chapters in particular,and many other parts of the Shobogenzo, assert that this world reallyexists. The theme is very strong throughout the work.I have always harbored doubts as to whether the nihilistic interpretations of Buddhism popular in academic circles in Japan today aretrue. However, after finding that the affirmation of this world in theShobogenzo is strongly supported by Master s realisticassertions in the ldh , I have come to believe thata thorough examination of the basis of true Buddhism is becomingurgent.(2) Denial of Senni-gedo (Non-Buddhist thinkers like Senika) andDanken-gedo (h d d )In chapter 1, Bendowa (A Talk About Pursuing the Truth), MasterDogen quotes the following statement: In other words, this physicalbody, having been born, necessarily moves towards death; but this mentalessence never dies at all. He then comments on the statement: Theview expressed now is absolutely not the Buddhist Dharma; it is the view ofthe non-Buddhist Senika.7 In chapter 37, Shinjin-gakudo (Learning theTruth with Body and Mind), Master Dogen quotes the words of Master Hyakujo Ekai: If a person attaches to the understanding that, beingoriginally pure and originally liberated, we are naturally buddha andnaturally one with the way of Zen, [that person] belongs among the nonBuddhists of naturalism. 89These two quotations support my claim that Master Dogen denies both of the two fundamental philosophical viewpoints; the idealistic viewpoint that believes in an eternal spiritual essence, andmaterialistic naturalism that believes in innate human perfectionand intrinsic liberation.(3) Four layers of philosophiesIn chapter 3, Genjo-koan (The Realized Universe), Master Dogen describes four philosophical viewpoints. They are:  When all dharmasare [seen as] the Buddha-Dharma,  When the myriad dharmas are eachnot of the self,  The Buddhas truth is originally transcendent over abundance and scarcity, and  It is only that flowers, while loved, fall; andweeds while hated, flourish.9I interpret these four viewpoints as follows . When all dharmas are[seen as] the Buddha-Dharma means when all things and phenomenaare interpreted through a belief system called Buddhism, which suggests an idealistic viewpoint. When the myriad dharmas are each not ofthe self refers to the case when all things and phenomena are examined from a non-subjective, that is, objective viewpoint. The Buddhastruth is originally transcendent over abundance and scarcity means thereal act which is separate from subjective and objective criteria. It isonly that flowers, while loved, fall; and weeds while hated, flourish is adescription of the real state of thingsa description of reality.(4) Reverence for action and the practice of ZazenThe Shobogenzo contains many chapters related with action. Examples include Bendowa (A Talk about Pursuing the Truth), Genjokoan (The Realized Universe), Ju-undo-shiki ( Rules for the Hall ofHeavy Cloud), Senjo ( Washing), and Shoaku-makusa ( Not DoingWrong).10 This reinforces my assertion that Buddhist philosophy isabout action itself. We all have two fundamental abilities: the ability to think and the ability to perceive. Using our ability to think,we have established the most excellent idealistic philosophies. Relying on our ability to perceive, we have established exceptionalscientific theories. But Gautama Buddha noticed that as excellent asthese two abilities are, they do not form the basis of our lives; henoticed that our lives are actually a series of actions at the presentmoment. His realization of this fact formed the basis of Buddhism,10with a philosophical system based neither on idealism nor materialism. This is the reason that Buddhist philosophy is so hard tounderstand. A detailed study of the Shobogenzo clearly reveals thisas the philosophical basis of Buddhism, and Master Dogen, just asGautama Buddha did before him, urges us to practice Zazen in order to notice reality, which forms the basis of Buddhist belief. Heinsists that by practicing Zazen we can notice the nature of realityin front of us, and realize what action is.Buddhism before the Meiji RestorationIt would seem that the system of Buddhist thought expounded byMaster Dogen and Master has been lost to present-dayBuddhists in Japan. This makes it important to confirm whether theirsystem of thought existed in pre-Meiji Japan or not. The problemcan be clarified by looking at the recorded works of the monk Master Bokuzan Nishi-ari (Kin-ei). A brief chronology of his life is asfollows: 111821Born in Hachinohe City in Aomori Prefecture, the son ofChozaburo Sasamoto.1833Becomes a Buddhist monk under Master Choryu Kinryu inChoryu-ji Temple when he is 12 years old, and studies Buddhism there for 7 years.1839Moves to Sendai City and studies Buddhism under MasterTen-ou Etsu-on in Sho-on-ji Temple there.1841Enters the monastery of Kichijo-ji Temple in Edo (present-dayTokyo).1842Becomes a certified monk and receives the Transmission ofDharma from Master Anso Taizen in Hon-nen-ji Temple inEdo. Becomes Master of Horin-ji Temple in Edo.1850Becomes a student of Gettan Zenryu in Kaizou-ji Temple inKanagawa Prefecture, who is very famous for his study ofthe Shobogenzo.1862From 1862 onwards Nishi-ari becomes Master of the followingtemples in succession: Nyorai-ji (Shizuoka Pref.), Eicho-in11(Kanagawa Pref.), Sosan-ji (Tokyo), Hosen-ji (Gunma Pref.)After the Meiji Restoration in 1868, Buddhist monks arepermitted to use their own family names, and so he registershis own family name as Nishi-ari.1875After 1875 he becomes Master of the following temples insuccession: Hokou-ji Temple (Aomori Pref.,) Chu-ou-ji Temple(Hokkaido,) Kasuisai Temple (Shizuoka Pref.,) and Denshinin Temple (Shizuoka Pref.)1899A sponsor builds a temple, named Saiyu-ji, for him inYokohama City.1901Becomes Abbot of Soji-ji Temple (Ishikawa Pref.), one of thetwo main temples of the Soto Sect.1910Dies in Yokohama City on 4th December, aged 90 years.From this biography we can see that Bokuzan Nishi-ari studied Buddhism in the Soto Sect tradition before the Meiji Restoration, and before Japans Universities exerted any influence on Buddhist thought.It is fortunate that his many lectures on the Shobogenzo have beenrecorded in his Shobogenzo Keiteki and are available today. Readingthe records of his lectures we can get a clear picture of his understanding of Buddhism. The Shobogenzo Keiteki contains the following29 chapters:Bendowa (A Talk about Pursuing the Truth), Maka-Hannya-Haramitsu( h P Pt), Genjo-koan (The Realized Universe), Ikka-nomyoju (One Bright Pearl), Sokushin-zebutsu (Mind Here and Now IsBuddha), Uji (Existence-Time), Sansui-gyo (The Sutra of Mountainsand Water), Shin-fukatoku (Mind Cannot Be Grasped [The Former]),Kokyo (The Eternal Mirror), Kankin (Reading Sutras), Bussho (The Buddha-Nature), Gyobutsu-yuigi (The Dignified Behavior of Acting Buddha), Jinzu ( Mystical Power), Z azenshin ( A Needle for Zazen),Butsukojo-no-ji (The Matter of the Ascendant State of Buddha), Inmo(It), Kai-In-Zanmai (dh , State Like the Sea), Juki (Affirmation),Kannon (lt), Arakan (The Arhat), Hakujushi (Cedar Trees),Komyo (Brightness), Shinjin-gakudo (Learning the Truth with Body andMind), Muchu-setsumu (Preaching a Dream in a Dream), Gabyo ( APicture of Rice Cake), Sesshin-Sessho ( Expounding the Mind and12Expounding the Nature), Shoho-jisso (All Dharmas Are Real Form),Mujo-seppo (The Non-Emotional Preaches the Dharma), and Shoji(Life-and-Death). 12The Philosophy of Master Bokuzan Nishi-ari(1) Affirmation of this worldIn the Ikka-no-myoju (One Bright Pearl) chapter of Shobogenzo Keiteki,Master Bokuzan gives his interpretation of One Bright Pearl: thatin the case of Gautama Buddha the whole Universe in ten directions mightbe interpreted as the Dharma of the One Vehicle or All Things and Phenomena which are real form. Summarily he [Gensa] calls the situations whichare seen as the world of the limitless Dharma in one sight, as piercing throughfrom the eternal past to the eternal future, nothing above it, nothing underit, solving the difference between outside and inside, manifesting the oneness of the world of Dharma, and stopping discussions of practice and experience or delusion and enlightenment.13In this commentary Master Bokuzan clearly affirms the real existence of this world as Dharma.(2) Denial of t d andh d d In the Bendowa (A Talk About Pursuing the Truth) chapter of theShobogenzo Keiteki, Bokuzan asserts that both Dan a nd J o a re nonBuddhist concepts.Dan is an abbreviation of Danken-gedo. Dan means to cut, Ken meansview, Ge means outside, and Do means Buddhist Way. Danken-gedothus refers to the non-Buddhist view which denies that the continuance of happiness or unhappiness relies upon moral behavior. Dankengedo is the translation into Chinese of the Sanskrith d d , whichpoints to the materialistic philosophical systems of ancient India.Jo is an abbreviation of Joken-gedo. Jo means constant, Ken meansview, Ge means outside, and Do means Buddhist Way. Joken-gedo thusrefers to the non-Buddhist view that believes in the eternity of thespirit and interprets all things and phenomena on the basis of mind.Joken-gedo is the translation into Chinese of the Sanskrit t d ,the ancient Indian philosophy that believed in the eternity of thisworld and the eternal Spirit.13Master Bokuzan denied both Danken-gedo a nd Joken-gedo i n thefollowing passages:The Non-Buddhist views are just the two views of Dan and Jo. Thetwo views of Dan and Jo are what are strongly forbidden inBuddhism. Dan and Jo, which Non-Buddhists and ordinary peopleinsist on, are to think the natural big mechanism of this world astheir own narrow mind and because they utilize delusions and considerations, sometimes they use Dan and sometimes they use Jo.Those ideas are all opposite to the real form of Dharma, and so theyare totally poisonous views that go against nature. Therefore whatthey recognize as Dan or Jo are not what they experience as Danand Jo synthesizing material and mental miscellaneous Dharma,but experience Dan and Jo thinking intellectually about materialand mental miscellaneous Dharma. So their Dan and Jo can be calledrelative Dan and Jo. 14Reading these sentences we can see clearly Master Bokuzans insistence that Buddhism is completely different from idealistic philosophy like that of Senika, or materialistic philosophies like those of theSix Non-Buddhist Thinkers, who lived at the time of GautamaBuddha.(3) Four layers of philosophiesWe have seen the four fundamental beliefs in theldh and the four philosophical viewpoints in theShobogenzo. Can we now find the same four-phased structure inMaster Bokuzans work? The following passage is taken from theBussho (Buddha-nature) chapter of Shobogenzo Keiteki:Mountains are high and the ocean is deep; a man walks upright anda rat runs on a crossbeam. Those all belong to superficial philosophies. Even Mount Fuji can be destroyed if we [want to] destroy it,and even the ocean can be buried if we [want to] bury it. What we seein front of us all belong to secular philosophies and are manifestingsuperficial form. If there is any time when all the heaven and the earthchange, there is nothing which can be called the unchangeable in eternity. There is no fact here which is described The T th t is alwaysconstant and there is no change or transformation. All are superficial philosophies. Therefore concepts are also superficial. And because14of these situations people usually repeatedly declare [their belief inthe concept] emptiness. In these situations, when we think aboutfact and form, even though it is in theory just empty form, they arejust the real existence of all things and phenomena in real form.Therefore when we look at them on the basis of theory, they areforms of emptiness, but when we look at them on the basis of the formof facts, they are inevitably real existence. For this reason, we say thatexistence and non-existence are both superficial in reality. And so wecall what is different from non-existence and different from existencethe Middle Way. However the Middle Way does not have a real entityother than the name. Leaving existence/non-existence there is nothing which is called the Middle Way. But leaving attachment to theform of existence/non-existence, we look at all as the Middle Way.Therefore in Tiantai theory they say both are not the Middle Way,both illuminate The Middle Way. In our denials that it is differentfrom existence or it is different from non-existence, [real] existence isdirectly the Middle Way and [real] non-existence is directly the MiddleWay. The Middle Way is directly the Buddha-nature.15This passage shows that Master Bokuzan accepts existence and nonexistence as concepts, but he thinks that they are superficial concepts;just thoughts in our brains and the results of our perceptions. He asserts that the Middle Way is that which is real and different fromconcepts, and he identifies it with Buddha-nature.(4) Reverence for action and the practice of ZazenIn the Gyobutsu-yuigi (The Dignified Behavior of Acting Buddha) ofShobogenzo Keiteki, Master Bokuzan writes:Buddhas, being in the Buddhas state of truth, do not expect enlightenment. Enlightenment means the balanced enlightenment orthe splendid enlightenment, but we do not need to expect the Buddhist effect of balanced enlightenment or splendid enlightenment. Themeaning of the words that it is not necessary to expect enlightenmentas the result, is the Masters thoughts that Buddhas in the past, present,and future, are just simply the Acting Buddha. Mastery of action inthe Buddhas ascendant state of truth Buddhas do not stay at theplace of Buddhas, and this situation is described as the ascendantstate of Buddha. To replace ourselves there, is called the mastery of15action. To master action in the ascendant state of Buddha, or to enterthe circumstances of Buddha directly is just meeting Buddha ourselves right now, and it is impossible for us [to do so] when we relyupon discussing Buddha. What shall we rely upon? We rely onlyupon acting Buddha. Therefore it is necessary for us to understandacting Buddha. Where we act, acting Buddha appears at once. Whenwe practice Zazen one inch, we can become one inch Buddha. Wanting to become Buddha is just a delusion. Buddha does not have anyfault. Wanting to become Buddha is just a delusion. Instead of thinking about it, just practice Zazen: there exists Buddha directly.16These sentences show Master Bokuzans own mastery of action andZazen.Japanese Buddhism after the Meiji RestorationThe Meiji Restoration took place in 1868, and was a political and social revolution. Up to that time, due to the increasing development ofcapitalistic economic activities, the feudalistic social system underwhich Japan functioned had become weaker and weaker. Furthermore, western countries were now urging Japan to open its ports totrade. Eventually some of the stronger feudalistic states realized theinevitability of the need to establish a new and powerful governmentsuited to ruling a modern nation. Forming a strong alliance, thesestates proceeded to organize an army that was able to defeat the existing Tokugawa government.Haibutsu KishakuOne of the slogans of the Meiji Restoration was Osei FukkoRestore the Monarchy. This was used to encourage the population in theirenthusiasm to destroy any cultural habits and institutions that had beencentral to the Tokugawa era. Buddhism did not escape. For about fiveyears from the start of the Meiji Restoration, a popular movement todestroy Buddhism raged unchecked, many Buddhist temples weredestroyed, and thousands of Buddhist monks and nuns were forcedback into secular society. This movement was given the name HaibutsuKishaku. Hai means to throw away, butsu means Buddha, Kimeans to abolish, and shaku refers to Shakamuni (Gautama Buddha).16Throw away Buddha and abolish Shakamuni! The movement hadan irreversible effect on traditional Buddhism in Japan, despite the efforts of movements who tried to protect the traditions. The relentlessflow of history swept away all in its path.17Buddhist Studies in the New UniversitiesAfter the Meiji Restoration, the new government was eager to learnthe ways of the West, and in 1878 the University of Tokyo was established, soon followed by other universities. In Buddhist studies, newstreams appeared, intent on studying Buddhism in a more westernand scientific manner. Bun-yu Nan-jo (18491927), Junjiro Takakusu(18661945), Kaikyoku Watanabe (18721895), Unrai Ogiwara (18691937), and others, went to England, Germany, and France, in order tostudy Buddhism on the basis of western thought.Daijo-Hi-Bussetsu-RonDaijo meansh Buddhism, Hi means not, Bussetsumeans Buddhist teachings, and Ron means theory. Thus DaijoHi-Bussetsu-Ron means the theory thath Buddhism is not[true] Buddhism. In these powerful new streams of Buddhist studieswere scholars such as Sensho Murakami (18511929) and MasaharuAnezaki (18731949). They believed that Buddhism could be understood only by scholarly study of what Gautama Buddha taught directly in his lifetime, and that the many complex theories that emergedafter his death are not true Buddhism. They claimed thath Buddhist teachings were therefore unreliable, as they were additionsto the original teachings, and could only mislead people.18The Changes Wrought Upon the Study of BuddhismFollowing the enormous influences on Buddhism from the upheavals of the Meiji Restoration, and especially the Haibutsu Kishakuand Daijo-Hi-Bussetsu-Ron movements, Buddhist scholars implemented four important changes in what was to become the acceptedunderstanding of Buddhism:(1) Erasure of the distinction between p th andttP th (Jap. shintai) means the highest or whole truth, spiritual17knowledge, often translated as ultimate truth, andtt (Jap.zokutai) means common occupation; being, existing, becoming, orhappening, often translated as relative truth. For thousands of yearsBuddhism had maintained a clear separation between these two terms.It is not easy to clarify the original meaning of the difference betweenthese two terms, but we must attempt it if we are to have a clearunderstanding of original Buddhism.Chapter 2 of the ldh is entitled Examination of Gone and Not Gone. It is an explanation of the differencebetween the conceptual world, in which language and social custom exists, and the real world, which exists prior to, and outside of,the conceptual state. Master contrasts the process of theconscious recognition of an act (memory) , with the instantaneousact itself at the moment of the present. He uses the examples ofgone, not gone, and going as conscious recognition, to setagainst the real act of going. This sharp distinction between the conceived function and the real act itself forms the fundamental basisof Buddhist philosophy.The human race is endowed with formidable intellectual powers,and our civilizations rest upon these powers of thought and perception. Sometime, as did Plato, we find ourselves believing that thethoughts in our brains are real entities. Or sometimes, as did KarlMarx, that the forms that we perceive through our sense organs arereal entities. When he was sitting in Zazen, Gautama Buddha noticedthat neither of these is true; both are illusions. He noticed that whatwas real was his sitting. It became clear to him that his thoughts andperceptions both existed in the area of conceived recognition, andthat his act at that present moment was the only thing that was real.This simple recognition of the way things are is the fundamentalstarting point of Buddhism. In Chapter 2, again using to go as hisexample, Master explains the difference between the conceived recognition of an act that has been performed: gone ( t );an act that is yet to be performed: not gone (t ); action as a process in the present: going ( ); and the real instantaneous act in the present (gamyate). His explanations are exceptionalin their clarity. Based on these explanations, I interprettt tomean our conceived recognition, in the areas of thinking and feeling,18and p th to mean the Buddhist philosophical viewpoint basedon action, reality, Dharma. By reality, I do not mean only physicalmatter, as is believed by materialists, but real experience, differentfrom both thought and physical substance.The changes brought about by Daijo-Hi-Bussetsu-Ron have erasedthis fundamental insistence in Buddhist philosophy of the distinction between the conceptual or intellectual viewpoint (tt ), andthe viewpoint based on action (p th ).(2) Misunderstanding of t tThe ldh , the Shobogenzo, and Shobogenzo Keitekiare all constructed around the same layered philosophical structure;one that uses four viewpoints. This is not a coincidence, but reflectsthe fundamental Buddhist principle called t t , o r fourviewpoints. They are: dht,dt,dht,and tIt can be said that Buddhism consists of efforts tofind what reality is. But as reality is beyond concepts, in the end itproves impossible to describe what reality is with words. Because wenormally identify what something is by the meaning of the word thatwe assign to it, we are constantly confusing our conceptualized viewof reality with reality itself, which exists outside of the conceptualarea. Although we are always living in reality, the main characteristicof reality is that it transcends both thoughts and perceptions; it isdifferent from what we think it is, and it is different from what weperceive it to be. In order to attempt a description of reality, we needto adopt a unique approachthe four-phased method called t t . Dht (philosophy of anguish) suggests idealistic philosophy. When we think about something, our ideas are always moreperfect than the real situation, and for this reason we feel anguish atthe difference between our perfect plans and imperfect reality. Thusdht suggests a philosophy of anguish, or idealism, as itexisted in ancient India.dt (philosophy of accumulation) suggests a philosophy based on the accumulation of material elements. When peoplebecome disappointed by the imperfect nature of reality measuredagainst their ideals, they often swing to the opposite extreme, and19become trapped in a materialistic view of the world. They start tobelieve that the only thing that can be relied upon is physical substance. Thusdt suggests a philosophy of materialism,as it existed in ancient India.dht (philosophy of self-regulation) suggests a philosophical system based on action. Gautama Buddha was disturbed bythe contradiction between idealistic thought and the material world,and it took him many years of searching to realize that action at thepresent moment is the basis of reality. He then constructed his philosophy around this fact. In the whole history of philosophy therehas never been another philosophy based on action at the moment ofthe present. For this reason, the philosophy of action sounds strangeto our ears. However Buddhisms excellence in describing the realworld as it is comes from having its basis in such a uniquephilosophy. t (philosophy of the Way) suggests a philosophy thatis based on the identity between action and the Rule of the Universe.Buddhism asserts that our life is just a succession of actions at thepresent moment, which suggests that the most important thing in lifeis to make our action here and now right. This is the foundation ofBuddhist moralitya morality that is not abstracted from our presentactions, but that is here with us at every moment. We can say thatright actions are in harmony with the Universe; they obey its rules.So right action at the moment of the present is following the Rule ofthe Universe.tt , the four philosophies, gives us these four layerswith which to explain reality, and we find that they form the basicstructure behind Buddhist philosophical works.(3) Making light of practiceBuddhism is not an intellectual pursuit; it is a practical pursuit,which suggests that practice is central to the establishment of Buddhist philosophy. Japanese Buddhist scholars after the Meiji Restoration, however, as a result of the earnestness with which they pursued the western rational method, began to feel that the idea thatwe need to rely on some kind of practice in order to clarify Buddhist theory was ridiculous. They thought that the idea that we need20to rely on practice to establish theory was neither rational nor scientific. Such scholars had come to believe that all ideas could beunderstood purely by intellectual effort, and this led them to encourage Buddhism to abandon its traditional practices after the MeijiRestoration. This attitude shut the door to the study of the philosophy of action, and so Buddhists in Japan lost the way to study Buddhism based on practice.(4) Loss of Buddhist realism from practical Buddhism to intellectualBuddhismIt is impossible to deny the belief in the existence of this world expressed by Master in the ldh , andby Master Dogen in the Shobogenzo. We find that their philosophical writings express a realistic view which is quite different fromthe idealism and nihilism expressed by Japanese Buddhists scholars after the Meiji Restoration. These scholars place Buddhism firmlyin the area of intellectual studies and, further, they do not like toaffirm this world as a real place. They interpret the Sanskrit conceptof as a nihilistic concept meaning empty or void, to suittheir insistence that the world in front of us is not real existence. Butinterpreted from the viewpoint that affirms the real world in frontof us, has another meaning; it means hollow, barren, desolate, deserted, in the sense of the bare, bald, naked, raw and transparent state of reality just as it is. The translation we select forthis concept depends on our fundamental Buddhist viewpoint. Ifwe believe that Buddhism does not affirm this world, then the meaning of emptiness or void may make sense to us; but if we believethat Buddhism expresses a profound affirmation of the reality infront of us, then the meaning of as it is may be more suited. BothMaster Dogen and Master insisted that Buddhist philosophy is realistic. Realistic, not in the sense of practical materialism, but in the sense of present action. Many materialistic peoplethink that they are realistic, that the material world is the only basisfor realism. But Buddhism asserts that what is real is neither ideas,not physical matter, but action at the present moment in this place.So there is an important distinction between materialistic realism,which believes in the absolute existence of matter through time, andBuddhist realism, which believes that the world exists at the present21moment. However, after the Meiji Restoration, Japanese Buddhistscholars threw away Buddhist realism and changed Buddhist philosophy into a kind of idealistic nihilism.After the Second World WarAlmost a century after the Meiji Restoration, Japans defeat by theallied armies in 1945 wrought further enormous changes. The nationalistic spiritualism that had dominated Japan was almost completelydestroyed, and the people of Japan swung heavily to the oppositedirectionbecoming an increasingly materialistic society. Buddhismlost almost all of its power and has subsequently turned into a religion of funerals.(1) The appearance of new religionsIn postwar society new religions emerged, almost entirely based onBuddhism, but offering to believers happiness, and financial rewardfor their devotion. In the confusion and spiritual vacuum of the postwar years, many ran to these religions for security and the promise ofsalvation.(2) Nihilistic BuddhismOne well-known philosopher at Kyoto University, Kitaro Nishida(18701945), established his own unique philosophy, based aroundthe concept of absolute nothingness. Nishida attracted many excellent students to his ranks. Some of these students had studied Buddhism in the Rinzai sect and they established their own Buddhisttheory, based on Nishidas philosophy and formed around the concept of mu or nothingness.(3) The common authorized viewJapanese Buddhist scholarship has based itself around an authorized theory which has been taken up by virtually all Buddhistscholars in Japan. The theory has three basic concepts: engi,mujisho, and ku.Engi comes from the Sanskrit word p t ttpd , whichwas rendered into Chinese bya s causes and conditions. En means conditions and gi or ki means to occur. Thusengi translates as what has occurred relying on conditions. This22is interpreted by most Japanese scholars to mean the mutual relationship which arises relying on conditions and which is not asubstantial entity.Mujisho comes from the Sanskritt .is a negative particle andt m eans essence of self. So the wordst a ndmujisho are interpreted as a denial of self as a real entity. This is afurther instance of the nihilistic attitude that pervades Buddhist studies in Japan.Ku come from the word Sanskrit word , which is interpretedto mean emptiness, nothingness, rather than, as I suggested earlier,as bare, naked the state of things as they are.Thus the three pillars of authorized Buddhism in Japan are entirelybased upon nihilistic assumptions.The Importance of Open DiscussionI have described some of the enormous changes in Buddhist beliefand philosophy that have taken place in Japan since the Meiji Restoration, and which have affected the very essence of Buddhist thought.It is very important for discussion to continue. The problem is a serious oneto what extent have the changes that took place during theMeiji Restoration effected the core beliefs of Buddhism in Japan? It ismy belief that Buddhism before the Meiji Restoration was a practicalBuddhism, based on practices such as Zazen and so forth, and thatthe Buddhism that emerged from the great upheavals of those timesis an intellectual Buddhism, a religion based only on ideas, and notgrounded in experience. I hope very much that Buddhist scholarswill be motivated to take up this theme and study the historical factsin greater detail. I think that research will be able, not only to shedlight on the changes that have taken place, but to clarify in greaterdetail the original body of beliefs, and the original philosophical system that were central to Buddhism prior to those changes.23References1., ldhNishijima, Chap. 1.2.Ibid. Chap. 1, Verse 1.3.Ibid. Chap. 1, Verse 2.4.Ibid. Chap. 1, Verse 4.5.Ibid. Chap. 1, Verse 9.6.Gudo Nishijima & Chodo Cross , Master Dogens Shobogenzo,Book 1 (Windbell Publications 1994).7.Ibid. Book 1, p. 148.Ibid. Book 1, pp. 25354.9.Ibid. Book 1, p. 33., trans. Gudo Wafu10. Ibid. Book 1.11. Komazawa University, Zengaku Daijiten (Taishukan Shoten1978). Vol. 2, p. 977.12. Bokuzan Nishi-ari, Shobogenzo Keiteki (Daihorin-kaku 1978),3 volumes.13. Ibid. Vol 1, p. 354.14. Ibid. Vol 1, pp. 15657.15. Ibid. Vol 2, p. 177.16. Ibid. Vol 2, p. 330.17. Zen-nosuke Tsuji, Meiji Bukkyo-shi no Mondai (Ritsubun Sho-in1949), pp. 481.18. Yusen Kashiwabara, Nihon Bukkyo-shi: Kindai (YoshikawaKobun-kan 1990), pp. 8792.2425INTRODUCTION TOMASTERLDHldh was written by , a Buddhist philosopher who lived in India circa 150 to 250 A.D. Around this period,h Buddhism was at its zenith, and was the mostexcellent of all the Buddhist thinkers of his age. Although he wrotemany books on Buddhism, it is likely that he wroteldh to record the conclusions of his philosophicaljourney. What is written in ldh is very simpleand direct, and to me this suggests that he wrote the work near theend of his life, when his thoughts were mature. Because of these facts,to study the ldh is possibly the best way to gainan understanding of theh Buddhism of ancient India.However, there is another reason why I started to translate theldh . I have spent more than 60 years studyingthe works of Dogen Zenji. During my studies, it became clear to methat the Buddhist thought of Master Dogen is unique among the manyBuddhist thinkers of India, China and Japan. I concluded that MasterDogens thoughts, despite being excellent and compelling, were somehow one isolated example among the many Buddhist theories inexistence.After reading and understanding the ldh ,however, I realized that Dogen Zenjis theories are not at all peculiar.I found in fact that the philosophical structure which setsout in the ldh is in fact identical to the theoriesof Dogen Zenji. I have now come to believe that Dogen Zenjis thoughtis far from an isolated view; it is in fact an exact and excellent expounding of the original theories of Buddhism. Both andDogen expound true Buddhist philosophy. The reason that they haveboth been seen by so many people as unique and isolated in theirview comes, I think, from the fact that they were both so excellent26that few Buddhist thinkers, from ancient times right through to thepresent, have been able to understand what they wrote; their thinking represents the very highest level of Buddhist philosophy.This is a very important fact, but I fear that many people will not beable to accept it, and will think that my opinion is rather odd. For thisreason I think that it is more than just importantit is my dutytoexplain what it is that has led me to this conclusion. This is why Iembarked on an English translation of the ldhfollowing my translation into Japanese. When people are able to readthis translation, they will be able to follow the path that has led me tomy conclusion, and will, I hope, be able to agree with me.This, then, has been my aim in this translation, but in reality thingshave not been so simple. Before beginning the translation, I read translations into English by Kenneth K. Inada, David Kalupahana andRamchadra Pandeya, and into Japanese by Hajime Nakamura andJushin Saegusa. I found two things; the first was that all of the translations were completely different in meaning. The second was that Icould not understand any of them, even after extensive efforts to doso. I concluded from this that there was no reliable translation of theldh in existence, and no clear commentaries onthe meaning. I reached the point where I realized that if I wanted tounderstand the meaning of the ldh I would haveto translate it myself.Method of TranslationI adopted the following four methods in translating thedh :l1. Precise meaning of each wordIn reading the existing translations, I found that all of them adoptedquite a loose interpretation for the meaning of individual words. Whilereading existing translations I looked up words which I did not knowin the dictionary, but frequently was unable to find the meaning attributed to the word in the translation. In my translation I used threeSanskrit-English dictionaries: by Monier Monier-Williams, by ArthurA. McDonnell, and by Carl Cappeller. I decided to use only the meanings given in these dictionaries in order to maintain consistency and27accuracy, and to further this aim, I have listed the meaning adoptedfor each word at the start of every verse.2. Strict interpretation of Sanskrit grammarIn reading existing translations I came across many examples wherethe rules of Sanskrit grammar had not been followed in rendering atranslation. In these situations, it is natural to conclude that the translated text does not follow the meaning of the original. If there is notstrict adherence to the rules of grammar in a translation, then thattranslation cannot be called reliable. I therefore resolved to followthe rules of Sanskrit grammar as closely as I was able. To supportthis, I have added grammatical notes at the start of each verse.3. Not referring to previous translations and commentariesIn translating original texts, most people proceed by studying all existing translations and references, and then starting their own translation. In the case of the ldh , there are someproblems with this method. ldh was translatedfrom Sanskrit to Chinese around the end of the 4th century to the beginning of the 5 th century by. His translation was so fluent, so elegant and concise that it was accepted widely and receivedgreat acclaim in China and subsequently in Japan. However, on checking his translation against the original Sanskrit, I found innumerableproblems throughout the whole translation.Many early commentaries that were written by Indian Buddhistswere subsequently translated into Chinese relying oninterpretation. It is highly doubtful that these Chinese versions of thecommentaries retain any of the original meaning of theldh . At the least, they cannot be relied upon.These are some of the factors that led me to resolve not to refer toother translations or commentaries, but to endeavor to translate theldh as systematically and objectively as possible.I think that this is the most meaningful and rational approach to take.4. The role of Buddhist philosophyIt is normal when reading a classical work to attempt as far as possible to throw away all personal prejudice and bias, and read the workas objectively as possible. But in reality, we all have our own biases28and beliefs, and it is impossible for us to throw them away completely.It is actually impossible to read a work without imposing our ownbeliefs on it.In my case, I have been studying the works of Dogen Zenji, a Buddhist monk who lived in the 13th century, for more than 60 years, andmy Buddhist beliefs now rely entirely on his thoughts. I have translated his works into modern Japanese and some of them into English,and I have been giving lectures on his works regularly for the last 30years. My understanding of Buddhist thought is so deeply influencedby Dogen Zenji that I feel my beliefs are identical to his. In this situation it is impossible for me to read the ldh without bringing with me Dogen Zenjis philosophy.Fully aware of this fact, it was therefore a revelation to me to findthat in fact ldh contains exactly the same philosophical structure as Dogen Zenjis work. As it turned out, my deepknowledge of Dogen Zenjis philosophy was the one thing above allthat enabled me to understand and translate theldh relatively quickly.The Structure of theldhAs the ldh is a highly structured work, I thinkit helpful for the reader to have an idea of the overall structure of thework to better understand the translation.1. Four main groupsThe 27 chapters that make up the ldh can bedivided into four groups according to the main focus of each chapter.Group 1: Chapters devoted to philosophical explanations ofthe fundamental basis of Buddhist thought.Chapter 1 Examination of Fundamental BeliefsChapter 2 Examination of Gone and Not GoneGroup 2: Chapters devoted to philosophical explanations ofthe external worldChapter 3 Examination of the Eyes and Other Sense OrgansChapter 4 Examination of AggregatesChapter 5 Examination of Physical Substances29Chapter 6 Examination of Passion and the ImpassionedChapter 7 Examination of the External WorldGroup 3: Chapters devoted to explanations of the philosophyof actionChapter 8 Examination of Action/ConductChapter 9 Examination of Prior to the MomentChapter 10 Examination of Flame/CombustionChapter 11 Examination of Ends Before and AfterChapter 12 Examination of AnguishChapter 13 Examination of DoingChapter 14 Examination of The Undivided WholeChapter 15 Examination of Subjective IdentityChapter 16 Examination of Restriction/ EmancipationChapter 17 Examination of Action/ResultChapter 18 Examination of SoulChapter 19 Examination of TimeChapter 20 Examination of Grasping the WholeChapter 21 Examination of Coexistence and UniversalExistenceGroup 4: Chapters devoted to philosophical explanations ofRealityChapter 22 Examination of the Appearing of RealityChapter 23 Examination of ChangeChapter 24 Examination of Holy RealitiesChapter 25 Examination ofChapter 26 Examination of the Twelve Causes and EffectsChapter 27 Examination of DoctrineAlthough when I had read the whole of theldh it was obvious to me that the chapters fall intofour groups, there may be some who question the four groups I haveused. These groups or categories are in fact taken from Verse 2 inChapter 1. In that verse, states the existence of t pt, or four fundamental beliefs. These are: h t o r reason,lor what is hanging down,tor the present moment,and t th or reality. It is these four categories that I have used in classifying the chapters into groups.30Overall Intent of the Work1. Simple acceptance of this worldw rote an introductory verse to theldh which he placed before Verse 1 in Chapter 1. Inthat verse he proclaims Gautama Buddhas message as simple acceptance of p t tt pd , the totality of visible, recognizable phenomena. This proclamation is of fundamental importance in understanding the central principles of Buddhism.Later, some of the sects that sprang up in China and Japan assertedthat Buddhism does not affirm the real existence of the world. However, at the culmination ofh Buddhism in India, clearly and positively affirms this world.2. Denial of subjectivity and objectivityIn the first verse of the first chapter, denies that eithert(subjectivity) or p t (objectivity) are true pictures of reality. If wedefine subjectivity as a view of the world based on thought, and objectivity as a view of the world based on perception, then what is saying here is that ideas are not real existing entities, and also thatthings we perceive with our sense perceptions are also not real entities.We normally call things that we perceive matter, and in this verse,is saying that matter as we perceive it is not real.These assertions are extremely important in understanding Buddhist philosophy, for when denies that ideas are real, he isalso denying idealistic philosophies. And when he denies that matteris real, he is also denying materialistic philosophies. These two denials are startling when we examine them, because if we deny bothidealistic and materialistic philosophies, then we leave nothing in theintellectual area that we can affirm as real. These two philosophicalsystems, which have been with us for thousands of years, both losetheir validity.But s denial in unequivocal; he clearly states that neither idealism nor materialism is able to explain the real nature of thisworld. Although human beings have been making efforts for thousands of years to explain reality with the twin tools of idealistic andmaterialistic philosophies, they will never achieve their goal.31says that the reality in which we exist is completely different from intellectual explanations from idealistic or materialistic viewpoints. In saying this, he is reaffirming true Buddhist theory; the teachings passed down by a small number of Buddhist Masters for twothousand five hundred years from Gautama Buddha himself.We can find exactly the same insistence in the writings of DogenZenji. In Shobogenzo Bendowa he asserts that Buddhism is completelydifferent from the beliefs of the non-Buddhist Senika, who was a believer in the idealistic Brahmanism of ancient India.And he also asserts in Shobogenzo Sansui-gyo that Buddhism is completely different from naturalistic beliefs, by which he means the kindof materialistic beliefs that assert that this world is composed of onlymatter. These kind of materialistic beliefs were very strong in India atthe time when Gautama Buddha was living.So Dogen Zenji also denied both the idealistic beliefs of the Brahman Senika and the materialistic beliefs of naturalist thinkers.From these two great Buddhist thinkers, we can conclude that Buddhism is originally based on a denial of both idealistic and materialistic thought. It was from this position that Buddhism developeda philosophy based on action. A philosophy of action soundsstrange; how can such a philosophy exist? What is it based on? Bothand Dogen Zenji expounded a philosophical structurefor Buddhism based around a denial of the traditional subjective/objective dialectic. In fact they both expound a philosophy basedon action. They assert that reality is not what we think it is, and notwhat we perceive it to be; but is in fact action at the moment of thepresent. And a series of moments comprises our experience of reality. They both explain the nature of reality from the perspective ofpresent action, and affirm the identity between action and Dharma,the rule of the Universe.3. The four beliefsIn the second verse of the first chapter of the ldh ,p roclaims his belief in four fundamental beliefs( t p t). The four beliefs are h t , or reason, l,or objective things and phenomena,t , or the present moment,and t th dh p t, or Thisreality like a Lord. Although he32denies subjectivity and objectivity as inclusive views of reality, heaffirms the existence of four fundamental beliefs: reason, the externalworld, the present moment, and this world as reality. He found thatit is impossible to deny the existence of ones own consciousness, ofthe world outside oneself, of the moment here and now, and of reality itself. But at the same time, his sharp intellect noticed that althoughwe cannot deny the existence of the four, we cannot prove their existence either. For this reason he calls them beliefs. What is more surprising is that he strongly asserts that there exists no fifth belief. Thisis the mark of his confidence in his Buddhist convictions.4. ActionIn the fourth verse of the first chapter, states that,action, is different from the four beliefs, and different from not having any belief. He recognized that existence is something much moredirect and real than belief. He believed that the most fundamental,basic state of existence is action at the present moment. And from thisbasic belief, he developed his philosophy to embrace a description ofthe whole of reality.s thoughts thus originate from, and developed relyingupon, action at the present moment. I also assert that action at thepresent moment is the fundamental basis of the Buddhism whichGautama Buddha established.5. DharmaIn the ninth verse of the first chapter, states that actionand Dharma are identical. Dharma has always been the ultimate object of worship in Buddhism, but here identifies it as thesame as action at the present moment. Buddhist philosophy includesthe concept of the instantaneousness of the worldthat this world,Dharma, appears and disappears at every moment. If we accept thataction at the present moment and Dharma are the same, then we canrealize that this world, which is our action, appears and disappearsat every present moment. I think that this theory is the most important in Buddhism.6. Distinction between thought and actIn chapter two, d escribes the difference in dimension33between thought and action. For better or for worse, human beingsare endowed with unrivaled intellectual powers. Because of our excellent intellect, we sometimes mistake our thoughts for reality; thatis, we take the world inside our heads to be the real world. This is thereason that some people believe that ideas are absolute truth, andbelieve in the absolute truth of idealistic philosophies. Other peoplethink that what we perceive through our senses is completely reliable, and that the things we perceive are real entities; they believe inthe absolute truth of materialistic philosophies. But Guatama Buddha doubted the absolute nature of both of these views, and urged usto realize what this world is really like.This same fundamental philosophy can be found in swork, and he expounds on it in chapter two under the title Examination of Gone and Not Gone. Gone is recognition of an actioncompleted in the past, and not gone is recognition of an action yetto be performed. In the second line of the first verse, he also introduces the concept going, which is action in the present as a continuous process. He then goes on to assert that all of these three descriptive concepts are completely different from the actual act itself,which can only take place in the moment of the present. It is onlywith the greatest difficulty that modern people, with our ingrainedintellectual view of the world, can see the truth of this subtle distinction. But it is just this subtle and fine distinction between what wethink and what things are actually likereal action at the presentmomentthat lies at the heart of Buddhism.7. The external worldThe five chapters from chapter 3 to chapter 7 are devoted to explanations of the external world. There are many Buddhist scholars, especially in Japan, who insist that Buddhism does not affirm the existence of this world. They do not think that Buddhist philosophy istalking about reality. However, clearly affirmed the existence of this world, although his sharp intellect noticed that it is notsomething that can be proven; it remains a fundamental belief. It isagainst this backdrop that he explains what the external world is inthese five chapters.In chapter 3, he describes the sense organs as windows on the34external world, and in chapter 4 he discusses the five skandha or aggregates. In chapter 5 he discusses the dht , or physical elementswhich Buddhism uses to explain the external world. Chapter 6 is devoted to a discussion of passion and the impassioned, andt,as our perception of the external world is heavily influenced by ouremotional state. His description, in Chapter 7, of the external worldis so precise, that it is next to impossible to believe that he had anydoubts about the existence of the external world.8. Philosophy of actionBuddhist philosophy is based on action, and it is important to noticeclearly that action is in a fundamentally different dimension fromthinking or feeling. Of course, we can discuss action intellectuallyfrom both idealistic and materialistic viewpoints, but the real act uponwhich Buddhism centers its philosophy is not the same as the concept action; it is real action at the moment of the present. It is precisely because Buddhist philosophy is based upon real action in themoment of the present that it is so difficult to understand.Master devotes the 14 chapters from Chapter 8 to Chapter 23 to an explanation of the philosophy of action. On readingthese 14 chapters the unique philosophical standpoint of Buddhistthought that pervades the whole work is clarified. It becomes clearthat the whole of the ldh , rather than being atheoretical explanation from idealistic or materialistic bases, is a direct and exact description of the real facts in front of us, which relieson the intuitive consciousness that comes with the state of balancedbody/mind, and which is called p.In Chapter 8, explains that real action at the present moment is not divided into act and behavior, into content of action andway of acting. Chapter 9 is devoted to describing the moment justbefore the present. Although real action exists only in the present, itis impossible for us not to think about the moment that went beforethe present moment. He goes on to explain, in Chapter 10, the oneness of action in the present moment by using the simile of real fireand its two component concepts; flame (form) and burning (content).Chapter 11 continues with a description of the boundaries of life; birthand death. Acknowledging their importance, goes on to35explain that they are simple facts at the moment of the present. Looking at the two events in this way as action in the present, both birthand death are seen as present states, and in that sense, not fundamentally different. The subject of Chapter 12 is anguish, whichalso explains as a simple fact in the present, and Chapter13 deals with performance. In Chapter 14 he goes on to describe theoneness/totality of acting at the present moment, and in Chapter 15he denies again that there can be any subjective awareness duringaction. He goes on in Chapter 16 to describe restriction and freedom,insisting that both restriction and freedom are combined into the oneness of action in the present; they do not exist as separate entities.Chapter 17 explains that in real action, there is only action, and nothing exists that can be called result. He denies the existence of anything called soul in present action in Chapter 18, and asserts thataction can only take place in the present, and at this place, in Chapter19. Chapter 20 is devoted to an explanation of the totality/undividedwholeness that is manifested in present action, and Chapter 21 describes the philosophical relationship between co-existence and universal existence in present action.9. Realizationuses the final six chapters, from Chapter 22 to Chapter 27to describe the ultimate state in Buddhismthe state of realization.He first explains the meaning of the word t th t , which is usuallyinterpreted as meaning a person who has arrived at reality, or a person to whom reality has come. However, in Chapter 22 he describesthe arrival of reality itself. He discusses the state of arrived reality,denying the existence of any sudden, tremendous change in thisworld. In Chapter 23 he goes on to explain that, as the world is existence at every moment, it is impossible to experience a sudden changeof the order that is commonly connected with the words satori orenlightenment. In Chapter 24 he describes sacred reality. Becauselife is just at the moment of the present, it is important that our conduct in the present is in tune with, identified with, the law whichgoverns the Universe. In Chapter 26, identifies our dayto-day life with . He says that daily life is just andthat is just our daily life. Chapter 26 is devoted to an explanation of the mutual relationship between the twelve causes and36effects, and in the final chapter, Chapter 27, he denies that doctrinehas value. We usually adopt some particular doctrine and attempt tolead our lives according to that doctrine, believing it to be the truth.doubts the value of doctrine, and suggests that the mostvaluable thing is not doctrine, but the balanced state, which revealsthe origin of everything and all phenomena that are spread in frontof us.[Note: this Introduction is from a work-in-progress English translation ofthe ldh Windbell Publications Ltd. hopes to publishNishijima Roshis complete translation within the next two years.40...
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