Date Written: 1227
English title in Nishijima/Cross translation: Universal Guide to the Standard Method of Zazen (appendix in Book 1)
English title in Tanahashi translation: Recommending Zazen to all People (Appendix 1)
Commentaries: The Zen Master’s Dance chapter 3; Don’t Be A Jerk chapter 2; Zen, Simply Sitting by Philippe Coupey.
Audio reading: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydCAB9roPjg
Although not part of Shōbōgenzō, Fukan-zazengi is of great importance in conveying Dōgen’s attitude towards Shikantaza (‘just sitting’) so I am including it here. It is Dōgen’s writing which I refer to most often and, despite its relative brevity, almost always notice something I have forgotten about practice.
Fukan-zazengi is thought to be the first writing by Dōgen on his return from China in 1227 and it gives instructions for his approach to Zazen.
Important passages (although most of Fukan-zazengi is important so it is worth reading as a whole)
“[W]e should cease the intellectual work of studying sayings and chasing words. We should learn the backward step of turning light and reflecting. Body and mind will naturally fall away, and the original features will manifest themselves before us.”
“In general, a quiet room is good for practicing Zazen, and food and drink are taken in moderation. Cast aside all involvements. Give the myriad things a rest. Do not think of good and bad. Do not consider right and wrong.”
“This sitting in Zazen is not learning Zen concentration. It is simply the peaceful and joyful gate of the dharma. It is the practice-and-experience which perfectly realizes the state of bodhi.”
“In general, the patriarchs of this world, and of other directions, of the Western Heavens and of the Eastern Lands, all similarly maintain the Buddha’s posture, and solely indulge in the custom of our religion. They simply devote themselves to sitting, and are caught by the still state.”
“Accord with the bodhi of the buddhas. Become a rightful successor to the samādhi of the patriarchs. If you practice the state like this for a long time, you will surely become the state like this itself. The treasure-house will open naturally, and you will be free to receive and use its contents as you like.”