We Are Just a Tiny Speck of Big Being
Sandokai Lecture V: Lecture to Professor Weller's Visiting Class
Saturday, June 6, 1970
[Note. This lecture was given-- as a general introduction-- to Prof. Jack Weller's visiting philosophy class following Lecture IV in Suzuki's series of lectures on the Sandokai.]
Purpose of study of Buddhism is to have perfect understanding of things, and subjectively to understand ourselves, and especially what we are doing in our everyday life-- what kind of activity we are involved in, [to] know why we suffer, [and why] we have such a conflict in our society or in our, you know, family, or within ourselves. So to understand with good understanding of subjective world and objective world and what is going on in objective world and in within ourselves.
If we, you know, realize-- If we see things-as-it-is, and if we know-- [are] aware of what we are doing actually, with good understanding of those things, we will, you know, know what we should do. And this is, you know, intellectual understanding of-- study of Buddhism. And this intellectual study include dualistic study and non-dualistic study. There are two ways of studying Buddhism. And then what you should do is to have real experience of Buddhist way. So study and our practice is different, you know. Even though you have good understanding, you know, if you do not follow the way-- follow your understanding, it will not help you.
We are now studying a kind of scripture, which was written by Chinese great Zen master, entitled Sandokai. And last night I explained, you know, what do we mean by “darkness” and what do we mean by “brightness,” you know. Darkness means, you know, something which we cannot, you know, see or think about, you know. It is something which is beyond our intellectual, you know, understanding. That is darkness. Darkness does not mean, you know, something-- some dark, you know [laughs], place which you do not know. Of course, we do not know what is going on at the darkness. But you will [be] afraid of it. You have a kind of fear if you are in dark place. But what we mean by utter darkness means, you know, something which is beyond our understanding, you know. This, you know, room is pretty dark right now, you know, but still you can see, you know, things in this room. If there is no lighting, in utter darkness you cannot see anything. But it does not mean there is nothing. There is many things, but you cannot see, that's all.
So utter darkness means, you know, something which is beyond our understanding. And brightness means something you can understand in term of good and bad, or square or round, or red or white. So brightness means “various things,” and darkness means “one whole being” in which many things exist, you know-- something which include everything. Even though there are many things, but the thing which include everything-- moon and stars and everything, you know-- is so big so [laughs] we are, you know, just a tiny speck of big being.
So, you know, when we, you know, we think-- we say, “That is darkness,” darkness means something which include everything. You cannot get out of it, you know. If there is some place where you can go, that place is also included in darkness. That kind of big, big being is utter darkness where anything can be acknowledged, you know, because everything is so small. But it does not mean there is nothing. Various thing exist in one whole big big great being.
Our study, you know, usually, whatever the study may be, is always, you know, going in realm of brightness. So we discriminate things: “This is good,” or “This is bad.” “Agreeable or disagreeable.” “Right or wrong,” you know. “Big or small.” “Round or square.” In this way, we, you know, study things and we live in this world saying, “This is good,” or “This is bad.”
Now whatever it is, you know, you-- things which is-- which you deal with is, you know, things which is in brightness, things which is in duality-- dualistic world. So it is-- but it is necessary for us to know, you know, utter darkness of the being where there is, you know, nothing to see or nothing to think about. This kind of experience will be experienced only in zazen practice. But in your thinking or listening to lecture, or talking about teaching, we cannot study what is actually darkness. And now I am talking about, of course, not-- I cannot talk about darkness [laughs]. But I can talk about something which we can understand and which-- by which you will be encouraged to practice zazen, which will lead you [to] the experience of darkness.
Darkness, you know, sometime we call it “nothingness” or “emptiness,” you know, in comparison to “somethingness.” Sometime we say, “no mind.” No mind means utter darkness. No mind. You don't think there.
I feel I went too far [laughs]. I feel I went too far, so I have to [laughs] go back to something, some bright room [laughs]. It is too dark [laughs, laughter] to see your [laughs] face, you know, one by one. It's too dark. But I will try to see each one of you and what kind of problem you have [laughs]. I think I must, you know, go back to everyday problem.
While I was talking with some student, some student said-- I was talking about, you know, my relationship to my wife [laughs, laughter]. I have many complaints [laughs, laughter] about her, but I cannot, you know, I don't think I can live without her [laughs, laughter]. That is, you know, to tell the truth [laughs], what I really feel [laughs, laughter]. Since I came to Tassajara I learned many, you know-- a kind of proverb [laughs]: “hen-pecked” [laughs, laughter]. It is very interesting word. Hen-pecked husband. Oh, it's-- There is no time for him to raise his head. Always pecked by hen [laughs]. Still, you know [laughs], he needs, you know, hen [laughs, laughter]. He feel as if, you know, it is impossible to live with her, you know. “Maybe better to get divorced from her” [laughs]. Sometime he may think in that way. But sometime he may think, “Oh, but I cannot live without her. So I cannot live with her-- with it-- and but I cannot live without her.” [Laughs.] I cannot live with her, and I cannot live without-- nor can I live without her. With her? No. Without her? No. [Laughs, laughter.] What should we do? [Laughter.]
That is the actual problem we have [laughs], you know, we have in the relative world of brightness. Where lamp is, you know-- When lamp is bright, we can see myself and wife. When there is no lamp, there is no problem [laughs]. But we don't, you know, think about utter darkness of the room. We always, you know, suffer from the life which we can see by our eyes or which we can hear by our ears. That is what we are doing. So in this world of brightness, you know, it is difficult to live, you know, without things. Of course difficult. Impossible. With things it is also difficult [laughs]. That is the problem we have. What shall we do? With things it is too much; without things, you know, we have no means-- no purpose of living in this world. In this way, you know, we have many problem. But, you know, if you [have] even [the] slightest idea of utter darkness, which is the other side of the brightness, then you can, you know, you will find out the way how to live in the brightness of the world.
In brightness of the world, you know, you will see something good and something bad, a man and woman, or something right and something wrong. This, you know, world of differentiation-- different things exist in different form and color. At the same time, you know, in this world of various forms and color, at the same time, we can find equality, you know, on [of] everything. You know, only chance for us to be equal-- to be on equal-- on an equality-- is to have its-- to, you know, to be aware of or to realize its-- his own form and color and to respect its own form and color. Only when you respect yourself as a man or as a woman, as a learned or as a[n] ignorant, then, you know, we-- each one of us has equal value. This is only way to be on an equality. Equal mean-- looks like, you know, to share something, you know, equally [laughs] with everyone. But we don't think that is possible, you know. Actually that is a kind of dream. You cannot share things equally. Even though we share things equally, some-- if-- for an instance, if we share our food equally, someone may like it. Someone [laughs] may not like it, you know. It is impossible for us to share things equally.
And to have same, you know, right, or responsibility, or duty, or commitment is not possible. But only when we realize our own capacity, our own physical, you know, strength, or nature of man and woman, then, you know, and respect our nature or characteristic, then we will have, you know, each one of us will be in an equality.
This equality [is] a little bit different from usual equality. You know, here is a cup and in which I have some water. Water and cup is not equal, you know. Water is water, and cup is cup. But, you know, if water want to be a cup, that is not possible [tapping on cup]. And it is true with cup. Cup cannot be water, you know. Cup should be a cup, and water should be water. So when water is in a cup, you know, water serve its own purpose, and cup will serve its own purpose. Then, cup without water means nothing [laughs], you see? Water without cup means nothing to us. When water is water and cup is cup, you know, and cup and water, you know, on the other hand, take some activity or relationship with each other, or interdependence-- become interdependent-- then, you know, water will have its own value and cup will have its own value. In this case, we say cup and water is on an equality.
“Freedom” we say, freedom-- there is, you know, no-- if you think freedom is just to be-- to ignore rules and to act as he want, without thinking anything, that is, maybe, a freedom, you may say. But that kind of freedom does not exist actually. That is, you know, a kind of dream. We say, that kind of, you know, dream is delusion, you know-- something which does not actually exist but sometime we care for it. But actually it doesn’t exist. So we shouldn't be involved in vain effort to try to catch, you know, cloud, you know. You cannot catch a cloud or a mist.
So how, you know, to be out of, you know, the difficulty-- how to get out of the difficulty is, you know, to have good understanding of [laughs]-- good understanding of ourselves, you know, and to know what we are doing, and to know what is possible and what is not possible. And we should be very realistic, you know, or else whatever you do, it will not work. If you enjoy your daydream, that is another matter [laughs, laughter]. Sometime it is good to think something, you know, which is impossible [laughs]. You know, dreaming about, you know, something which is wonderful, you know. That is good, because, you know, purpose of daydream is just to enjoy it like you see movie, you know. And you feel as if you became a movie star [laughs]. That is good, but that cannot be our final goal of life, you know [laughs]. So we should know what is delusion and what is reality. And when we [are] sincerely involved in good practice, you know, we should not dream of something which is impossible. We should work on which is-- something possible to attain, to realize.
So equality, you know-- another side of, you know, differentiation is equality. Because things are different there is equality. Things are on equality. When you understand equality of man and woman in its true sense, you know, we have no more that kind of problem. “I cannot live without her.” [Laughs.] When you feel in that way, you know, you are, you know-- you don't know who is her and who is you. When we realize that she is, you know, she is important because she is in that way because she is, you know, taking care of me. Sometime it may be too much [laughs]. But, you know, that is her nature.
And nature of man is something different from that, you know. He is thinking about something, you know-- He is usually more idealistic, you know [laughs], and thinking about something which looks like almost impossible, not so realistic, and he is trying to go on and on, you know, without thinking about what will happen to him if he do it, you know. So, you know, the wife may say, “Oh, don't do that. It is too soon. Wait. Wait.” [Laughs, laughter.] If she say so you think, “Oh, I must do it right now,” you know. You will feel in that way. So you say, “I cannot live with her.” [Laughs.] That is her nature, you know.
So careless, you know, hasty man wants careful, you know [laughs], more conservative, emotional, you know [laughs], woman. So sometimes she may be very angry with her husband, but that is also her nature, you know. Because of her nature he is important. So, you know, you may say, “I cannot live without her.” So that you say, “I cannot live with her” is wrong. Something is missing in your understanding when you think you cannot live with her. “I cannot live without her” is right, you know.
The other day I said the Chinese character of man [is] like this, you know [draws Chinese character of “person” in the air with his finger: two lines leaning on each other]:
Supporting with each other, man and woman may be one, and man and woman-- or maybe teacher and disciple [laughs], you know. If there is no disciple, no teacher [laughs]. [Draws the following with his finger in the air.]
If there is no teacher, there is no disciple, you know. So teacher and disciple-- when they exist, you know, like this (supporting with each other) [draws Chinese character for “person” with his finger in the air]:
-- there is, you know, monastery. If, you know-- Everything exist in that way. That is, you know, our understanding. So that we cannot exist without her or without it is right. And there is, you know-- Many difficulties, you know, will be created when you lack this kind of true understanding of the other side of the meaning of-- meaning of the other side of each event or fact or things. The good-- Another side of good will be bad. And another side-- The other side of the bad will be good. That is, you know, reality.
So dark side of the bright side-- The other side of the darkness is brightness, you know. You may say, “This room is dark,” you know, but it is brighter than, you know, basement where there is no light. And even basement is brighter than, you know, brighter than hall of a morgue [laughs]. So bright-- You cannot say “bright” or “dark” actually. Bright or dark is only in your mind; there is no bright or no dark in reality. But sometime we have to have some standard, or some rules, or some means of communication, so we have-- we say good or bad, agreeable or disagreeable, but that is just words. We should not be caught by word. We shouldn’t stick to words. That is, you know-- But usually we stick to words, you know. When your girlfriend [says], “I don't like you!” you know [laughs], if she say so, you, you know, take that word literally [laughs]. But she didn't mean so, you know. Maybe opposite. Because she likes you so much, you know, sometimes she feels, “I don't like you. I hate you,” [laughs], but it is not actually so. If-- so if we stick to words, without observing things from both side, you will, you know, [not?] know what to do about things.
Excuse me but, you know, our eyes unfortunately, you know, open towards, you know, outside [laughs] so we cannot see, you know, inside of ourselves. It means that we are liable to be, you know, concerned about some other's, you know, practice or some other's life, and you will be very critical with others. And even though you start to think about what kind of practice we-- I should have, which way we should-- I-- we should take, you know, but still in that way you cannot find out your own way, because still your eyes, you know, and your thinking is directed to outside: “Which way I should take?”-- you know, when you say so “way” is there and “I” is here [thumps chest], and “I” is not realized, you know. You don't know what is “I” and what you think about the way you should go-- this way or that way. And you are completely ignorant about yourself.
So you criticize yourself as if you criticize others. That is a terrible thing [laughs], you know. So you cannot exist, you know, in this world because of your sharp criticism. It is easy to criticize others, you know, and so is [also] to criticize yourself too-- it is easy-- quite easy-- but it may be a little bit difficult because you don't feel so good [laughs]. But even though you don't feel so good you will criticize yourself anyway. And you will suffer. That is what we are doing, you know, every day. Why we suffer is because, you know, something is missing in your understanding of what you are doing.
So Buddhist, you know, understands things, you know, which look like exist outside is actually exist inside of yourself. When you think, “He is not good,” it means that, you know, you-- he is, you know, actually [criticizing someone] within yourself. It is picture of yourself. “He is not good.” When you say so, you are, you know, criticizing someone within yourself. No one exist-- Nothing exist outside of yourself. This understanding is, you know, understanding which include everything: understanding of Big Mind, which include everything. So things happened only within yourself.
So things, you know-- it is, you know, activity of your life, you know, within yourself, like your, you know, stomach is, you know, digesting things. But by Thinking Mind, you know, by Thinking Mind, here is, you know [thumps on chest], heart, and here is [pats stomach] tummy, you know. You understand in that way. And there is not much relationship, you know, in your-- according to your understanding, there is not much relationship between tummy and heart. So by big surgery or by operation, you can [laughs] take-- cut off your tummy, you know. You understand, in that way, our physical activity. But it is not actually so. It is closely related with each other. So if you make your tummy strong, the heart be also stronger. So there is no need-- it is not always necessary to, you know, to have big operation on your heart.
When we understand ourselves in that way, you know, things --
[Sentence not finished. Tape turned over.]
So there is no need to say “tummy” or “heart” any more. So when you don't know what is going [on], you know, in your physical body, you are in complete health. So when you don't talk about, you know, “he” or “she” or “me,” you know, then your life is pretty sound and good.
How you obtain this kind of complete harmonious life within yourself is by practice. To talk about things is to, you know, to arrange your food on your dish, you know [laughs]. Every morning, you know, my student arrange food beautifully, you know, on each dish. But, you know, fortunately or unfortunately, if I eat and chew it [laughs], all mixed up, you know, in our mouth, and I just taste-- I have just taste of food, and no color, or no beauty, or no goma-- sesame seed or no brown rice in our mouth. So even more so, when it reach to my tummy, I don’t know even what it is in my tummy.
When things, you know, in full activity, you know, there is no idea of good or bad, you know, this or that. But it is good, you know, to see things in different dishes, you know, and different way and in different color. It is good, but so is to think about, you know, food, your life, or nature of man and woman, is good. But, you know, to-- even though you think about it, you know, it doesn't, you know, mean much unless you, you know, really have a taste of it-- a taste of our life. Unless you chew it up and mix them together and [laughs] swallow it in your tummy, it doesn't make much sense.
So why I didn't talk about this [laughs, laughter]? I'm sorry [laughs]. But indirectly I was talking about this. Why we study this kind of thing is, you know, to study Buddhist study like this is just to, you know, arrange our food in different dishes and appreciate, you know, the color and form of it. But eventually, you know, we must eat it, you know. If you eat it, there is no such teaching at all. That is darkness of the teaching. No teaching whatsoever. No teacher or no disciple. No Buddha or no Christ, you know, when we eat it, you know, actually eat it.
How to eat it is practice. Actual practice is how to eat things, or how to chew it up, or how to mix it together. And we are fortunate, you know, even though we mixed up together, we know how to, you know, how to analyze things in various way to know what we have been doing, you know. This is important: To analyze your psychology, to analyze your practice. This is important, but this is, you know, actually shadow of your practice, not actual practice.
So our practice will go on and on in this way, arranging carefully, you know, and mixing together, and chewing it up, and analyzing our practice again to see what is going on-- what am I doing, you know. In this way, you know, our practice goes on and on. Tomorrow we will arrange things, and mix it, and chew it, and digest it, and again and again our practice will go on and on.
So at end of the Sandokai, Sekito Zenji says: “If you go in this way step by step,” you know, “there is not matter of one-thousand-miles trip or a one-miles trip.” If you go, when you start to go on and on, you know, in this way, arranging things, mixing things, and analyzing things, you know-- analyzing things in bright light, mixing things in dark room, you know-- our practice goes on and on endlessly. Then there is no, you know, enlightenment or no fool-- no ignorance, because we are going on and on and on, and we are always on the path of the Buddha.
But if you stick to, you know, if you stop working and stick to the idea, you know, of good or bad, then you will have difficulty of big river or high mountain, because you create river for yourself, and you create mountain for yourself. But-- which doesn't exist. When you analyze, when you criticize yourself, you know, you think you are like that. It is, you know-- you have some special concept or understanding of yourself in term of good or bad, but it is not actually so. But you create some difficulty for yourself. That is what we are doing.
Mmm. I have some more time. Maybe, you know, I have-- I think better not to continue this kind of [laughs] talk any more. Do you have some question so far? Could you hear me?
Students: Very well.
Ah. Good. Thank you. Ah. Do you have some question?
Student A [DC]: Roshi?
DC: When-- You said zazen was darkness, but listening to lecture was bright. If one listens to lecture with a good understanding, then that's zazen, right?
SR: Mm-hmm. “About zazen”? Or no?
DC: I-- I--
SR: Oh-- ”good understanding.” You have good understanding, yeah. When, you know, when you understand, you know, as Sandokai says, “Even though you recognize truth, that is not enlightenment,” you know? That is not enlightenment, but it will encourage you, you know, your practice, and you will know why you practice zazen. You see? I am-- you are arranging things, you know, by my recipe, you know, by Buddhist recipe, and you are cooking something here [laughs, laughter]. Now, you know, here is, you know, some dishes to eat. So we should eat it. How you eat it is to practice zazen. This food-- our recipe is, you know, prepared for people who practice zazen. So if you eat it, you know, it will help your practice.
DC: Roshi, you said that zazen was darkness, and lecture was bright, and things are bright, and maybe also you talked about ri being “this” and ji being “that.” But what I wanted to know is can you really separate them?
SR: No. It is not possible to separate. That is good point. You know, we are separating, you know, tentatively [something] which is not possible to separate. So even though it is like two side of a coin, you know: This side is brightness and the other side is darkness. So I am talking about this [bright] side, you know [holds up a book]. And by your practice you will see the other side. And you will see whole picture of this book. That is reality. So if-- even though-- if you think, you know, by your practice, you will understand something which is completely different from this [bright] side, that is big mistake, you know.
DC: Roshi, is the reason that-- I was wondering why you talk about one side or the other. Is it impossible to speak about both sides together?
SR: Both side together is not possible, because, you know, if you talk about it, it is bright side [laughs, laughter]. Only when, you know-- what I can say is about the other side of the bright side. This side is not possible to talk about. But, you know, to talk about this side, because I have some experience or understanding of the other side, I can talk about this side. If I have no idea of this side, what I am talking about is just, you know, means nothing. It will be poisoned for you, maybe [laughs]. How beautifully I may describe it, you know, this side-- it is poison, actually. It is something which is quite different from the other side and which is not possible to mix, you know, to put together [puts hands together]. So something poisonous is something which you cannot-- which does not agree with the other side-- is poisonous thing, poisonous teaching, you know. Even though-- something poisonous looks like very beautiful, you know [laughs], but if the other side is not-- is ignored, you know, that teaching is opium or drug [laughs]. It doesn’t accord with the other side of the life [light?].
Okay? Is that what you are asking? Maybe my answer is little bit, you know, doesn’t fit exactly.
DC: Well, we chant, “an unsurpassed penetrating and perfect dharma” before (or after, I forget) the lecture, and I'm just wondering how the lecture enters into darkness. Or what-- I'm wondering how is this lecture teaching? How is it something besides brightness?
SR: “How-- ”? Excuse me?
DC: I was wondering how is the lecture zazen?
SR: “How can I talk about zazen”? [Trying to clarify David's question.]
DC: No, no.
SR: “How-- ”? “ What is-- ”?
DC: I just wondered what is teisho?
SR: Uh-huh. Teisho. Teisho is little bit different from, you know-- Teisho is to give encouragement, you know, not just talk about it, but to give some suggestion, you know, and to help people to have good understanding of our practice is teisho. It is-- It should not be dead words. The words must come from actual experience of-- ohh, I don't want to say it [laughs], but-- actual experience of enlightenment. This is big words [laughs].
You know, actual experience of reality is teisho-- should be, you know, should not be dead words. Should not be some words, you know, which we study-- which we read in some book. That is, you know, the difference between teisho and lecture. Maybe-- Strictly speaking, lecture is, you know, to give some knowledge of something is lecture. Teisho is-- includes, or most part of the teisho is to give, to help people's actual practice and enlightenment.
So, yeah, as you say, there is a little difference between. So actually, we are pushing people towards real practice. That is teisho. To, you know-- tei means “here is” [holds up a book], you know, something which you must have, you know, as a Buddhist. “Look” is teisho, you know. So without something, you know, something real, we cannot talk about it, you know.
If you read my book, this book, you know, after memorizing it, that is not teisho. So teisho is something which comes out from inside, from bottom of heart. That is teisho. So actually, you know, it-- because I must use words, so I must follow logic, you know, and philosophical special technical terms. But sometime, ignoring those, you know, special terms, we can directly speak about it. That is teisho. Sometime it may not be words. [Knocks on table. Laughs.] This is teisho, you know. Something to talk about which is not possible to talk about is teisho. Excuse me, I cannot explain [laughs] so well. Hai.
Student B [Roovane ben Yumin]: Your lecture on the Sandokai is supposed to give us understanding, you say. Then you say that we can't understand this bright side unless we understand the dark side, unless we have good zazen.
SR: Mm-hmm. Yeah.
Roovane ben Yumin: Is lecture just skillful means? I mean, just because we talk a lot, we talk--
SR: Why I say so, you know, you will stick to my words, you know. So I, after giving you some lecture, I [laughs], you know, take it [laughs] from you. That is, you know, just intellectual things. So you should forget what I said, but you should, you know, sense what the real meaning of my words [is], you know.
Roovane ben Yumin: Is this Buddhist skillful means-- talking to the students?
SR: “Skillful-- ” It should be in that way, you know, whether we are Buddhist or not. But Buddhist knows that if we stick to words, we will not-- we will be enslaved by words, and we will understand just a little, you know, part of it. So, you know, it is better, after suggesting something, it is better to, you know, cut off his finger-- my finger, you know. After pointing at something, when you are interested in something, it may be better to [laughs] to cut off my finger so that you will not be attached to this finger anymore. And then you will be interested in something which I pointed out. That is words, you know.
You explain, you know, how to cook something, you know, by book, but actually, what you do is to cut vegetables, and to put salt in it, and boil it. That is actually what you do. When you forget all about our cookbook, you know, you will be a good cook [laughs]. As long as you are watching cookbook, if you try to understand, you know, what is written in it, it may take time. It is better to, you know, to study it, you know, by seeing someone who is actually doing it. That is best way. Teisho is something, you know, to give something directly.
But usually, you know, your attitude of listening to it, to, you know, to [laughs], you know, to think about it, and whether it is good or bad [laughs], you know, and wondering, “What is he speaking about?” or wondering whether it is acceptable for you or not, you know. And, “If it is good I will accept it. If it is not good I will not accept it.” You know, that is extra. You don't need to be, you know, so careful [laughs]. If you just to listen to it, and you don't need to try to understand it even, you know. If you don't understand it, it's okay. If you understand it, it is better [laughs]. That's all. So there should be no special intention of listening to it-- just to listen to it. That is how you listen to teisho. It is different from-- to study something. As you are, you know, very logical [laughs], your mind works very logically, I have to follow some logic, that's all [laughs, laughter]. Because you are logical, I have to be logical, that's all [laughs]. If you are not logical, you know, I can say whatever I like. I can sing a song even [laughs, laughter].
Roovane ben Yumin: Could you try that some time? Not singing a song, but being a little bit not logical.
SR: Yeaaah. [Sounding skeptical.] Do you think I'm too logical? [Laughter.]
Student C [Craig]: I'd like to hear you sing a song. [Suzuki laughs, then students laugh.]
SR: Okay. [Laughter.] I wish I could do it. [Sounding reluctant.]
DC: Roshi? I've got a nice song. It goes, “Negawakuwa -- ”
SR: Okay! [Loud laughter.] Let's do it. Right now. [Bell sounds. Suzuki laughs. All chant the following Universal Eko.]
Negawakuwa kono kudoku o motte,
Amaneku issai ni oyoboshi,
Warera to shujo to,
Minatomo ni Butsudo o jo sen koto o.1
Shujo muhen seigando.
Bonno mujin seigandan.
Homon muryo seigangaku.
Butsudo mujo seiganjo.
Sentient beings are numberless; I vow to save them.
Desires are inexhaustible; I vow to put an end to them.
The dharmas are boundless; I vow to master them.
The Buddha's way is unsurpassable; I vow to attain it.
1Literally: “May it be that with this merit, universally pervading all, together (may we) attain the Buddha's way” (translation by DC). As chanted in English: “May our intention equally penetrate every being and place with the true merit of Buddha's way.”