Okumura Roshi is translating a selection of Dogen’s poems, one for each month of the year. These are waka — short poems written in Japanese, generally in a pattern of 5-7-5-7-7 syllabic units. Okumura Roshi offers his translation of one poem along with a short commentary in the monthly Sanshin Zen Community e-newsletter. This is the first of the twelve. This page will house the entire collection, posted as they become available through the e-newsletter. Please enjoy them.
On the Dharma Flower Sutra
夜もすがら 終日になす 法の道 皆此経の 声と心と
Yomo sugara / Hinemosu ni nasu / Nori no michi / Mina kono kyo no / Koe to kokoro to.
All day long,
Everything we do following the way of Dharma,
Is the sound and the heart of this Sutra.
“Dharma Flower Sutra” refers to the Lotus Sutra. The Lotus Sutra is the most important sutra in the Tendai tradition in which Dogen Zenji was ordained and studied for several years, before he began to practice Zen. Even in later times, he quotes the Sutra in Shobogenzo and other writings. He said the Lotus Sutra is the king of the sutras. Right before passing away, he recited a chapter of the Sutra. For Dogen, the Lotus Sutra is not necessarily the written text, but everything we experience is the sound of the Sutra.
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