Part 5 Zazenshin: Acupuncture Needle of Zazen, by Shohaku Okumura part of the lecture on Zazen and Dogen-Zenji

Buddhism now

Reading what Dogen said with a fresh mind:

Buddhist Sage. Wang Zhen (Chinese, 1867–1938) © The Metropolitan Museum of ArtI have talked aboutthe original story ‘Nangaku polishing a tile’. I have also referred to the Diamond Sutra as a way of helping to understand what Nangaku was trying to teach Baso. Now we will look at Dogen’s commentary on the same story.

First, however, I would like to introduce Dogen’s interpretation of this story in writings other than in the Zazenshin. I will quote four examples.

The ‘Polishing-tile’ story in Shinji Shobogenzo:

This first quote is from the so-called Shinji-Shobogenzo or Three Hundred Koan. Dogen collected these koan at Koshoji when he was thirty-five or thirty-six years old. He gathered them without adding any comments, though he made minor changes to some stories. From this we can see that his interpretations have a slightly different flavour from the originals.

Writing in Chinese, Dogen added twelve characters into…

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