Eihei Dogen compiled Shobogenzo, his
collection of essays, he put the Genjo Koan first.
The Genjo Koan, written
by Dogen for a lay person, is his concise, poetic
of the practice of the Buddha’s dharma.
The secret of all the schools of Buddhism can be said
to be: being in the present. I can't think of a text
this more than Dogen's Genjo Koan.
title Genjo Koan is difficult to translate. Let’s
look at these two words:
You may be familiar with “koans” as they are used as objects of
meditation and contemplation—“koan practice”—where
the koan is a problem presented to the student (e.g. “what is the sound
of one hand clapping?”).
as Dogen used the term here refers to a public or
legal issue—a public case. As a legal case,
such a koan addresses multifaceted issues or problems
about which there may be dispute, disagreement or
misunderstanding and provides
a clear example—a constellation of principals—for
us to study and examine.
what’s right in front of you – right
now, in the present. Most importantly it’s
active—actualizing what’s in front of
may see Genjo Koan translated as:
the fundamental point
What might this mean? Is Dogen Zenji just (!) teaching us to be in the present?
Or is the Genjo Koan itself the teaching of
what is vital and essential?
koan—question—of everyday life
Here the question—the koan— is how
we live our everyday life! So again Genjo Koan
points to fundamental teachings of awakening
to the reality
as shown by the Buddha. The Genjo Koan is meeting life itself.
issue at hand
That’s pretty good. What's directly in
front of you.
koan is not just for priests, it’s not just
for lay persons. It’s for all of us. Now.
now let’s say that this koan, when we grasp
it, reveals the way to actualizing reality. The
issue at hand—things as they are.
Things as they is
begin our study of Dogen’s koan and see what
he’s teaching us about practicing in our everyday
lives, with what’s right here right now.