Treasury of the Eye of
the True Dharma
This fascicle of the Shôbôgenzô
was composed in the winter of 1241, at Kôshôji, Dôgen's
monastery on the southern outskirts of the capital, Heian kyô
(present Kyoto). It appears as Book 35 in both the seventy-five-
and sixty-fascicle redactions of the Shôbôgenzô.
As its title indicates, the theme
of the work is the Buddhist teaching of the supernormal powers
ascribed to the buddhas, bodhisattvas, and other adepts of the
religion. This teaching was widespread throughout both the technical
and popular literature of Buddhism and represented one of the
common assumptions of the Buddhist community. Discussion of the
powers also occurs with some frequency in the texts of the Chinese
Zen masters, who tended in one way or another to redefine, dismiss
or make light of the traditional understandings of the teaching.
Dôgen's text takes up several
of the passages on the powers from the Chinese Zen literature,
using them to develop his own vision of the higher meaning of
what he calls "the great powers" and "the powers
of the buddha." In this vision, the powers become the welling
up of the world itself, the fundamental activity through which
all things emerge and in celebration of which the Zen masters
act out their own eccentric powers. Throughout the text, Dôgen
has harsh words for those Buddhists who lack this vision and
remain limited to what he calls "the small powers"
of the thaumaturgical tradition.
In 1245, after his move from
the capital area to Echizen, Dôgen returned to the theme
of the powers, in an essay entitled "Penetrating Others'
tsû). This text may be interesting to read together
with the Jinzû. Readers may also wish to consult
my article on the context of Dôgen's treatment of the spiritual
powers, also on line, at: http://scbs.stanford.edu/Resources/Papers/bielefeldt.superpowers.html.
The present translation is based
on the text edited by Kawamura Kôdô, in Dôgen
zenji zenshû 1 (Tokyo: Shunjûsha, 1991), pp.
392-402; I have revised the paragraphed breaks for ease of reading.
Other English versions can be found in Nishijima and Cross, Master
Dogen's Shobogenzo, Book 2 (1996); Nishiyama and Stevens,
A Complete English Translation of Dogen Zenji's Shobogenzo,
vol. 3 (1975); Kazuaki Tanahashi, Enlightenment Unfolds (1999);
and Yokoi Yûhô, The Shobo-genzo (1986).
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