Shōbōgenzō Bodaisattva Shishōbō 正法眼蔵 ・ 菩提薩 四摂法)
Translated by Shohaku Okumura and Alan Senauke
First is giving or dana. Second is loving-speech. Third is beneficial-action. Fourth is identity-action.
Giving or offering means not being greedy. Not to be greedy means not to covet. Not to covet commonly means not to flatter. Even if we rule the four continents, in order to offer teachings of the true Way we must simply and unfailingly not be greedy. It is like offering treasures we are about to discard to those we do not know. We give flowers blooming on the distant mountains to the Tathagata, and offer treasures accumulated in past lives to living beings. Whether our gifts are Dharma or material objects, each gift is truly endowed with the virtue of offering or dana. Even if this gift is not our personal possession, our practice of offering is not hindered. No gift is too small, but our effort should be genuine.
When the Way is entrusted to the Way, we attain the Way. When we attain the Way, the Way unfailingly continues to be entrusted to the Way. When material treasures remain as treasures, these treasures actually become dana. We offer ourselves to ourselves, and we offer others to others. The karma of giving pervades the heavens above and our human world alike. It even reaches the realm of those sages who have attained the fruits of realization. Whether we give or receive, we connect ourselves with all beings throughout the world.
The Buddha said, “When a person who practices dana comes into an assembly, other people watch that person with admiration.” We should know that the mind of such a
person quietly reaches others. Even if we offer just one word or a verse of Dharma, it will become a seed of goodness in this lifetime and other lives to come. Even if we give something humble—a single penny or a stalk of grass—it will plant a root of goodness in this and other ages. Dharma can be a material treasure, and a material
treasure can be Dharma. This depends entirely upon the giver’s vow and wish.
Offering his beard, a Chinese emperor harmonized his minister’s mind. Offering sand, a child gained the throne. These people did not covet rewards from others. They
simply shared what they had according to their ability. To launch a boat or build a bridge is the practice of dana paramita. When we understand the meaning of dana,
receiving a body and giving up a body are both offerings. Earning a livelihood and managing a business are nothing other than giving. Trusting flowers to the wind, and trusting birds to the season may also be the meritorious action of dana. When we giveand when we receive, we should study this principle: Great King Ashoka’s offering of half a mango to hundreds of monks was a boundless offering. Not only should we urge
ourselves to make offerings, but we must not overlook any opportunity to practice dana. Because we are blessed with the virtue of offering, we have received our
The Buddha said, “One may offer and use one’s own gift; even more, one can pass it to one’s parents, wife, and children.” Therefore we should know that giving to ourselves is a kind of offering. To give to parents, wife, and children is also offering. Whenever we can give up even one speck of dust for the practice of dana we should quietly rejoice in it. This is because we have already correctly transmitted a virtue of the buddhas, and because we practice one dharma of a bodhisattva for the first time.
The mind of a sentient being is difficult to change. We begin to transform the mind of living beings by offering material things, and we resolve to continue to transform them until they attain the Way. From the beginning we should make use of offering. This is the reason why the first of the six paramitas is dana-paramita. The vastness or narrowness of mind can not be measured, and the greatness or smallness of material things can not be weighed. But there are times when our mind turns things, and there is offering, in which things turn our mind.
Loving-speech means, first of all, to arouse compassionate mind when meeting with living beings, and to offer caring and loving words. In general, we should not use any violent or harmful words. In society, there is a courtesy of asking others if they are well. In the buddha way, we have the words “Please treasure yourself,” and there is a disciple’s filial duty to ask their teachers “How are you?” To speak with a mind that
“compassionately cares for living beings as if they were our own babies” is loving-speech. We should praise those with virtue and we should pity those without
virtue. From the moment we begin to delight in loving-speech, loving-speech is nurtured little by little. When we practice like this, loving-speech, which is usually not known or seen, will manifest itself. In our present life we should practice loving-speech without fail, and continue this practice through many lives. Whether subduing a deadly enemy or making peace, loving-speech is fundamental. When people hear loving-speech directly their faces brighten and their minds become joyful. When people hear of a someone else’s loving-speech, they inscribe it in their hearts and souls. We should know that loving-speech arises from a loving mind, and that the seed of a loving mind is compassionate heart. We should
study how loving-speech has power to transform the world. It is not merely praising someone’s ability.
Beneficial-action means creating skillful means to benefit living beings, whether they are noble or humble. For example, we care for the near and distant future of others, and use skillful means to benefit them. We should take pity on a cornered tortoise and care for a sick sparrow. When we see this tortoise or sparrow, we try to help it without expecting any reward. We are motivated solely by beneficial action itself.
Ignorant people may think that if we benefit others too much, our own benefit will be excluded. This is not the case. Beneficial-action is the whole of Dharma; it benefits
both self and others widely. In an ancient era, a man who tied up his hair three times while he took a bath, and who stopped eating three times in the space of one meal
solely intended to benefit others. He never withheld instructions from people of other countries.
Therefore, we should equally benefit friends and foes alike; we should benefit self and others alike. Because beneficial actions never regress, if we attain such a mind we can perform beneficial-action even for grass, trees, wind, and water. We should solely strive to help ignorant beings.
Identity-action means not to be different—neither different from self nor from others. For example, it is how, in the human world, the Tathagata identifies himself with human beings. Because he identifies himself in the human world, we know that he must be the same in other worlds. When we realize identity-action, self and others are one suchness. Harps, poetry, and wine make friends with people, with heavenly beings, and with spirits. People befriend harps, poetry, and wine. There is a principle that harps, poetry, and wine befriend harps, poetry, and wine; that people make friends with people; that heavenly beings befriend heavenly beings, and that spirits befriend spirits. This is how we study identity-action.
For example, “action” means form, dignity, and attitude. After letting others identify with our “self,” there may be a principle of letting our “self” identify with others. Relations between self and others vary infinitely depending on time and condition. Guanzi says, “The ocean does not refuse water; therefore it is able to achieve vastness. Mountains do not refuse earth; therefore they are able to become tall. Wise rulers do
not weary of people, therefore they form a large nation.”
That the ocean does not refuse water is identity-action. We should also know that the virtue of water does not refuse the ocean. This is why water is able to form an ocean and earth is able to form mountains. We should know in ourselves that because the ocean does not refuse to be the ocean, it can be the ocean and achieve greatness. Because mountains do not refuse to be mountains, they can be mountains and reach great heights. Because wise rulers do not weary of their people they attract many people. “Many people” means a nation. “A wise ruler” may mean an emperor. Emperors do not weary of their people. This does not mean that they fail to offer rewards and punishments, but that they never tire of their people. In ancient times, when people were gentle and honest, there were no rewards and punishments in the country. The idea of reward and punishment in those days was different. Even these
days, there must be some people who seek the Way with no expectation of reward. This is beyond the thought of ignorant people. Because wise rulers are clear, they do
not weary of their people. Although people always desire to form a nation and to find a wise ruler, few of them fully understand the reason why a wise ruler is wise. Therefore, they are simply glad to be embraced by the wise ruler. They don’t realize that they themselves are embracing a wise ruler. Thus the principle of identity-action exists both in the wise ruler and ignorant people. This is why identity-action is the practice and vow of a bodhisattva. We should simply face all beings with a gentle expression.
Because each these Four Embracing Dharmas include all the Four Embracing Dharmas, there are Sixteen Embracing Dharmas.
Written on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month in the 4th year of Ninji (1243)
By Monk Dogen who went to Sung China and transmitted the Dharma.
OKUMURA ROSHI'S ARTICLE SERIES ON THE BODAISATTA SHISHOBO
Translated by Daitsu Tom Wright
[Four ways for a bodhisattva to act include] unconditional giving, compassionate words, [carrying out deeds that] benefit all beings and union with [or, identity with] the action (2).
Unconditional giving means to not be covetous. To be uncovetous may be more commonly understood as not currying favor. Even though we may rule over vast domains (3), to offer the Way directly and with certainty is simply not to be covetous (4). It is like offering something we are about to throw away to a person we do not know (5). An offering of flowers to the Tathagata one after another without cessation (6), or offering something of value from a former lifetime to all sentient beings, whether it be something spiritual or material, the virtuous functioning of unconditional giving is commensurate with and inherent in each individual act (7). Although there is nothing that we possess by nature, this is no obstacle to unconditional giving. We should not look lightly on something we are about to give away, even though it may seem trivial to us, as the [inherent] virtue of that gift will surely bear fruit (8).
When the Way is entrusted to the Way, the Way has been attained. On gaining the Way, the Way has been entrusted to the Way (9). Only when a gift is entrusted to the [inherent qualities of the] gift does that treasure become an unconditional gift (10). Self is being offered to self, and other is being offered to other (11). The virtuous power of unconditional giving that is present in the conditions and characteristics of all things is transmitted to those living in the heavenly and human realms; it is felt as well by those at various levels in their practice (12). This is because the giving [inherent in the gift] serves to connect all things—the giver [actually becomes one] with the receiver. The Buddha has said that when a new entrant who is well known for having offered freely comes into the assembly, everyone greets him/her with warm anticipation (13). You should understand that such a spirit [of giving] becomes transmitted deeply and without fanfare. In that same way, one word or one verse of the Dharma teaching becomes an offering as well. Such becomes a seed for carrying out good (14) in this and other lives. A trifling sum, even a blade of grass, should never be withheld; this, too, possesses giving, it becomes the root that functions as a power engendering good (15) in any age (16). The Teaching of the Dharma is a treasure; material treasures are also dharmas, either one depending on the fervency of our vow (17).
It is true that when it is called for, even the offering of one’s beard [as medicine for healing] can bring health into another’s life (18). One child’s offering of sand enabled him to become king in a later generation (19). These examples show unsparing gratefulness, they were people willing to share their strength [wealth] freely, of their own will. Unconditional giving is crossing over (20); it is like providing a boat or building a bridge. We truly practice (21) giving when we use the life we have been given [for the benefit of all]. Fundamentally, there is nothing in making a livelihood or in producing various things for our daily lives that is not giving (22). Entrusting the flowers to the wind and the birds to time, the results of freely giving is the manifestation of unconditional giving (23). King Asoka gave half a mango to several hundred monks with all his heart. To clarify the truth of his act as a great offering is something for those who are on the receiving end of the giving should emulate through their own practice. It is not just a matter of physically exerting ourselves, we must be constantly looking out for opportunities to offer [ourselves]. Truly, it is due to inherent unconditional giving that we are who we are today.
The Buddha said, “Unconditional giving functions through oneself; of course, when such giving is directed towards one’s family, that is all the better”(24). So, the functioning of unconditional giving for the benefit of oneself is the full functioning of such giving and, unconditional giving to one’s family is also the totality of unconditional giving. Even when our action is one we would normally be expected to perform, if for the sake of unconditional giving, though it involves the loss of only a trifling to oneself, we should be deeply pleased at another’s joy (in receiving the benefit), because it shows that one virtue of all buddhas has been directly transmitted. Moreover, it reflects the practice of one dimension of the bodhisattva spirit.
It is most difficult to change the rigid, habitual mind of sentient beings. Still, from the first, you should aspire to work with the [narrow and biased] mind like the change involved in planting a treasure seed that will grow until one has completely gained the Way. In the beginning, that seed is the seed of unconditional giving. That is why the first of the six paramitas is that of unconditional giving--fuse. Do not try to measure the magnanimity or pettiness of mind, nor endeavor to figure out whether a thing is large or a small. Sometimes, [our frame of] mind moves things; at other times, things have an influence on our [frame of] mind (25).
Aigo or compassionate words means to arouse a loving or benevolent attitude, offering words of care and concern for all beings. Surely, using rough or violent language will naturally decline. In any civil society, people inquire of each other as to how everything is going as a simple courtesy. In Buddhist circles, we part with words to the affect of taking care of the preciousness of the life we have been given (26). Inquiry as to the health of those who are older or above us is also an expression of devotion (27). Bearing in mind the words of the Lotus Sutra in which it is mentioned that taking care of sentient beings is like taking care of one’s children is an example of aigo (28). Give credit to and praise those with excellent character and show compassion towards those lacking in such a virtue. From the time one first seeks to employ compassionate words, those words will gradually abound (in one’s speech). Therefore, as the days pass, in ways you will not see [yourself] and without realizing it, aigo will appear more and more through your words. While life continues to flow through your body, foster a spirit to use compassionate words at various times and in your various lives without backsliding. Compassionate words are fundamental to defeating any outrageous or malicious enemy or to reconciling with someone in high position.
Compassionate words directly bring joy to the hearer and great inner pleasure. To hear such words even indirectly, they become engraved on one’s heart and soul. Compassionate words arise from a benevolent mind, and a benevolent mind engenders the seed of love and affection. You should realize that compassionate words have the power to change the direction of the times (29). They are not merely used to praise the emperor.
Rigyou or actions benefiting all beings means to act in a sensitive and skillful way toward all living beings; regardless of whether they’re rich or poor, in high position or low; to carry out such actions in a way that will be of great worth and help to all. Concretely speaking, skillful means that benefit others is carefully considering and focusing on the enactment of such deeds for the near and distant future. Releasing a caged turtle, nourishing a sick sparrow—in both instances, there was no consideration for reward [on the part of those who carried out the deeds] (30). They simply felt moved to act in a beneficent way [by the power of rigyou]. There are some people who foolishly think that if they put benefitting others ahead of themselves, they will surely lose out; however, benefitting others is not like that. Beneficial actions are actions that include everyone and all things including oneself. There is the legendary example of an emperor who reset his hair three times before taking a bath and who vomited up his dinner on three different occasions [in order to hear those who came to him for advice]. He acted in this way in order to devote his efforts to benefiting those who brought him their entreaties. He couldn’t help but try to benefit even the people of other countries in any way he could despite the inconvenience to himself. Therefore, we should try to benefit equally both those with whom we are close as well as those we may despise, as benefitting others benefits oneself. If we are able to acquire such an attitude, then naturally we will benefit without ever backsliding or turning away in the same way the grasses and trees or the wind and rivers [never turn away], and manifest the principle of beneficial action. Endeavor to help those who are foolish or mistaken. Douji refers to acting in correspondence without any difference. Identity of action never adversely affects oneself, nor does such an action [run counter to the best interests] of others. A human being as a tathagata is saying that a tathagata identifies with every human being. In the same way the tathagata identifies with the human world, there is identification with the other worlds (31) When we understand identity of action, there is no difference between self and other. Those things which are familiar and well-known—music, poetry, spirits (32)—become companions among human beings and deities above and on earth. Likewise, human beings become intimate with music, with poetry and literature and with spirits. Music becomes intimate with music, poetry with poetry and spirits with spirits. Human beings identify with human beings, the same for heavenly and earthly deities. This is the internalization of douji—identity of action. For example, douji consists of deportment, of behavior, of attitude. Other identifies with us, and we identify with other. What is ‘self’ and ‘other’ has no boundary and is dependent on the situation. Kanshi wrote, “The sea never turns away water and for that, it can do great things. A mountain never turns away more soil and for that, it performs feats of greatness. The emperor never loathes anyone and for that, he can lead the people” (33). Know that the sea ‘s never refusing water is [an example of] identity of action. Neither does water turn away from the sea. Because of this, the water gathers into a sea; soil piles up to form a mountain. The sea knows itself intimately, so it does not reject itself and is able to do great things. Likewise, a mountain attains to great heights because it does not refuse itself. Precisely because the ruler does not loathe the people, he is able to govern well. The people form the country. The ruler refers to an emperor, and the emperor does not loathe the people. Though he does not loathe them it is not as though there were no reward and punishment. There is reward and punishment, but this does not derive from a loathing of the people. In ancient times when the country was at peace, there was no [need for] reward and punishment. Or if there was, it was not the same sort of reward and punishment as that of today. Even now, there are some who pursue the Way oblivious to any reward they might receive, although this is totally beyond the comprehension of the foolish. Precisely because the ruler is perfectly clear [in his ways], he does not loathe the people. And the people carry out the activities of the country willingly. Because it is highly unusual to know entirely the reasoning of a gifted ruler, people are happy just to think they are not despised by him. Because they identify with him, the people do not know that they are not disliked by him. For both the emperor and the blind, because of [this truth of] douji or identity of action, douji is one of the bodhisattva vows (34), although surely, both face all things with a softer countenance. All four of these attitudes are contained in each bodhisattva attitude thereby making sixteen.
Recorded: May 5th, 1243 by Shamon [Dogen], having received transmission of the teaching of the Buddhadharma in Sung, China
== Notes: ==
[ASR] Aoyama Shundo roshi
[DTW] Daitsu Tom Wright
[ZGDJ] Zengaku dai jiten (Complete dictionary on Zen)
[BDJ] Bukkyo dai jiten (Complete dictionary on Buddhism)
1) The title Bodaisattva Shishobo refers to four aspects of bodhisattva actions—shishobo 四摂法 actions intimately connected toward being/becoming one on the way-seeking path of a bodaisattva or bodhisattva (Japanese, bosatsu) 菩提薩多. These should not be understood as some sort of moral imperatives. Rather they should be understood as principles or truths that are already working within us, if we only open our eyes to them. In Sanskrit, catuh-samgraha-vastu. They are mentioned both in the Hoke-kyo or Lotus Sutra and the Avatamsaka or Garland Sutra. The shishobo are sometimes called shishoji 四摂事. Also, shishoshomon 四摂初門.
2) In Japanese, the four kinds of actions mentioned are fuse 布施, aigo 愛語, rigyo 利業, and douji 同事.
3) In Japanese, shi[dai]shu 四「大」洲, or the four continents. Dogen is using this expression as a metaphor for suggesting that even if we were to control the whole world ~.
4) It is interesting to note Dogen’s use of offer or in Japanese, hodokosu 施す, one of the characters in the word I translated as unconditional giving or fuse 布施. In these opening sentences, Dogen translates the original two-character Chinese word into a more understandable Japanese expression for his Japanese readers, musaborazu, that is, the negative form of covetous and then, further, he defines it with the word hetsurau, that is, to curry favor with or flatter.
5) [ASR] Perhaps a concrete example of what Dogen is saying here is giving up our seat on a train to a complete stranger without particularly being conscious that we are “giving up” anything. Waiting to be thanked or being miffed at not being thanked is not the spirit of fuse or unconditional giving. An invisible but concrete example of such giving might be the wind which gives us the air and oxygen we breathe. Unconditional giving is inherent in the wind itself, but the wind is not thinking it is giving us anything. [DTW] In this and the succeeding sentence, Dogen takes the word unconditional giving or fuse out of the simply moral or charitable realm and shows the inherency or naturalness, of unconditional giving prior to our awareness of it as a conscious act. [Text note] An illustration of not being possessive of things nor expecting thanks from the person we’ve given something to. This is also the practice of ‘not gaining’ or mushotoku 無所得.
6) [ZGDJ] The original phrase, enzan no hana 遠山の花, literally means flowers from the mountain Enzan, but in this case, implies doing something again and again without stopping. The flower is being used metaphorically for any gift that might be given. Here, Enzan is not referring so much to a particular place as it is suggesting the frequency of something, in this case, repeated action of giving. Enzan is used elsewhere in Zen to suggest enlightenment piled on enlightenment, that is, enlightenment is not a one shot thing, but rather must be experienced again and again more deeply. In our daily lives, it means that no matter how careful we are with our lives, there are still many things which we do not see and need to awaken to in order to live out our lives more fully.
7) What Dogen is emphasizing here is that unconditional giving is present before any conscious or even sub-conscious thought of our giving something arises.
8) [Text note] Do not “offer” something because you no longer need it or care for it and merely wish to throw it away. The value of the gift will be recognized by the receiver.
9) Entrust. [ASR] Yogo Suigan roshi was abbot at Saijoji Temple, famous for being a gokito temple. Gokito are somewhat shamanistic or exorcistic prayers. He had one prayer for peace in the home, another for aborted fetuses, another for the safety of your automobile, another for a happy marriage and another for success in the university entrance exams. However, the first thing he told those who came to him was, “If you’re going to pray, then don’t just ask for one or two things, ask for everything!” In saying such, his “ask for everything” is the same as entrusting. Sawaki Roshi expressed it with his sweeping statement: “Take everything. Just don’t select!” So, entrusting is the same as accepting everything that is on your plate and dealing with it. Uchiyama roshi called this deau tokoro waga seimei 出逢うところわが生命, that is, “whatever we encounter is our life”.
10)“To entrust” is the key word here. I have chosen to translate it literally in accord with basically the same meaning as the Japanese word makaseru 「任せる」. However, to trust or makaseru should not be thought in any way to imply a giving up of one’s personal responsibility. It is because of this implication in English or, more broadly, in Western thought, that I hesitate to use the word ‘entrust’ here. The sense of the passage suggests that when we set aside our ego and become one with the encounter or situation, then offering or giving, that is, fuse or dana, truly manifests or functions of itself. [ASR] When we try to exert our own narrow way as to what is valuable or how I think a thing should be used, it is no longer an offering. I bought a calligraphy I particularly wanted to give to my teacher. When he responded that he didn’t particularly care for it but would find use for it as a gift to someone else, I told him that I bought it for him and if he wasn’t going to use it, I didn’t want to give it to him. This was a big mistake on my part.
11)[Note in text] Self is offered to self as it is, other is offered to other as it is.
12)[BDJ] sangen juuji 「三賢十地「聖, another way of saying ‘bodhisattvas’. Readers of this text should substitute themselves and their own practice as little bodhisattvas in this passage.
13)The Japanese word here is nozomimiru which can be written with two different characters which means to look on from a distance「臨む」, or「望む」to have hope for or have expectation in regard to someone. In the context of the original text, the Zoitsu Agon-kyo, Chap. 24, it would seem to be the latter, though some scholars prefer the former sense of the word.
14)”Seed for carrying out good (deeds)”: zenshu 「善種」.
15)To function as a power for good zengon「善根」. Here, Dogen is using the words zenshu and zengon which are virtually the same in meaning in this context. The former literally means ‘seed’, while the latter means ‘root’.
16)In this life and the next…in this realm and others. Here, Dogen is referring to time (in this life and the next) and place (in this realm and others).
17)Here the Chinese character for vow is 「願楽」, gangyo. The character「楽」has several readings. It can be read raku implying doing something with pleasure. In that case, the Japanese reading would be tanoshimu. It can also be read gaku having to do with music, either of an instrument or perhaps of a bird. Combining the character with gan, however, the reading changes to gyo and the meaning changes to vow but implies that vow, in this case, is the pleasurable pursuit of the highest truth, that is, pursuit of buddhadharma.
18) [Note in Japanese text] Emperor Taiso during the Tang dynasty is said to have shaved off his beard and, after searing it, presented the ashes to his disgruntled General who secretly had despised the emperor. The ashes of an emperor were considered to be a miraculous medicine. General Li was so struck by the generosity of the emperor that he entirely forgot about his obsession with acquiring power for himself.
19) The second example refers to a child who gave sand to the Buddha when he was out on takuhatsu and became King Asoka 100 years later.
20) Originally, in Sanskrit, paramita meant crossing over. Later, during the To dynasty in China, however, it was translated as ‘having arrived or having crossed over to the other shore’. That is, the perfect tense was used. It came to mean absolute or complete. Practicing the paramitas came to mean the completion of practice. Or, ‘the practice of satori’ or ‘way of satori’. Or, ‘the bodhisattva practive for arriving at satori’. All of the paramitas are practiced for the purpose of living out one’s life more fully while benefitting others.
21)Practice, in Japanese gakusu 「学す」. As a Buddhist term, gakusu or manabu means to practice, not merely to learn in an intellectual sense, but rather to do or function with our bodies.
22) The Japanese expression is chishou sangyou 「治生産業」.
23) The key word ‘entrusting’ here means to desist in abnormally trying to control our life, but rather entrust more to the natural order of things rather than trying to prevent this from happening because it might make us look bad or trying to posses this or that because it might give us a foot up on our rivals, etc. There is a lot of room for misunderstanding here. Entrusting should not be interpreted as encouraging irresponsibility or a naïve leaving things to fate. Moreoever, Dogen takes fuse, unconditional giving, out of the realm of human intention. This is something we have to think about carefully. Why is the wind fuse, why is the water fuse?
24) From: the Zoagon-kyo 24 「増阿含経２４」There may be times when in order to benefit those around us, we need to take care of something within our own life first. [Alternate translation: “The Buddha said, ‘We ourselves constantly receive the power of unconditional giving. And that giving can be directed towards our family as well’.”]
25)How we look at the various things or people around us determines our perception of them. For example, when a third grader goes outside to play and run around on the playground, she might think how small it is. On the other hand, when the same child has go out on that same playground for cleaning up the area, she might very well imagine it to be huge! [Aoyama Roshi]
26)The Japanese expression is anpi or anpu 「安否」which is literally an inquiry concerning another’s welfare and chinchou 珍重」 which by itself refers to something rare or precious, in this case, and in the Buddhist sense, what is precious or valuable is the very life we have received.
27)The Japanese words kookoo 「孝行」 means piety or devotion and is used in such expressions as oya kookoo 「親孝行」 or filial piety. Here it could be a student inquiring about the health of his or her teacher; more broadly, any inquiry of those older or in higher position than ourselves.
28)In the Devadatta chapter of the Lotus Sutra, where Bodhisattva Wisdom Accumulated is questioning Manjushri about anyone who might have been able to attain Buddhahood quickly just by practicing the Lotus Sutra, “Manjushri replied, ‘There is the daughter of the dragon king Sagara, who has just turned eight. Her wisdom has keen roots and she is good at understanding the root activities and deeds of living beings… Her eloquence knows no hindrance, and she thinks of living beings with compassion as though they were her own children.” The Lotus Sutra, [trans.] Burton Watson, Columbia University Press, 1993, p. 187.
29)The Japanese phrase is kaiten no chikara aru 「廻天のちからある」; the sense of the expression is used to indicate that good advice had the power to move even the emperor.
30)This is a reference to two legendary tales in Chinese history, one in which a caged turtle is released into a large pond, the other is of the nurturing of an injured sparrow resulting in great rewards for the families of the those who most willingly gave of themselves without any expectation of personal reward or benefit.
31)This is a reference to either the “six worlds” rokkai 「六界」or “ten worlds” jukkai 「十界」
32)Hakkyoi’s three friends— music, poetry and sake.
33)Kanshi 管子, in Chinese, Guan-tzu.
34)Here Dogen is using the word gangyou 「願行」 interchangeably with shoubou 「摂法」.