Genjōkōan (現成公按) sometimes translated as Actualizing the Fundamental Point is an influential essay written by Dōgen, the founder of Zen Buddhism's Sōtō school in Japan. It is considered one of the most popular essays in Shōbōgenzō.
History and background
According to Taigen Dan Leighton "The word genjo means to fully or completely manifest, or to express or share. And in this context koan does not refer to these teaching stories, but to the heart of the matter."
Shohaku Okumura says that Gen means "to appear", "to show up," or "to be in the present moment" while Jo means "to become," "to complete," or "to accomplish." The combined word genjō therefore means "to manifest," "to actualize," or "to appear and become."
Hakuun Yasutani wrote: "...[C]oncerning the word genjōkoan, genjō is phenomena. It's the whole universe. It's all mental and physical phenomena.... Kōan is derived from the word official document, and is meant to mean the unerring absolute authority of the Buddha-dharma. So then, genjōkōan means that the subjective realm and the objective realm, the self and all things in the universe, are nothing but the true Buddha-dharma itself."
Genjōkōan begins with an explanation of Zen and then goes on to elucidate delusion and realization, wholehearted practice, and the relationship of self to realization and environment.
Thomas Cleary states that Genjōkōan begins with an outline of Zen using a presentation of the Five Ranks claiming that Dogen used the device throughout his Shōbōgenzō. Shohaku Okumura says that in Genjōkōan "Dogen created a metaphor to express the reality of individuality and universality."
- The fourth ideograph in this expression, as originally written by Dōgen, is not the same as that in the term kōan, which is written 公案. For discussion of the possible significance of this difference, see Okumura, Shohaku (2010). Realizing Genjokoan: The Key to Dogen's Shobogenzo. Wisdom Publications. p. 15 ff. ISBN 9780861716012.
- Tanahashi, Kazuaki (1995). Moon in a Dewdrop. North Point Press. pp. 244–245. ISBN 9780865471863.
- Weitsman, Mel; Wenger, Michael; Okumura, Shohaku (2012). Dogen's Genjo Koan: Three Commentaries. Counterpoint. p. 1. ISBN 9781582437439.
- Thomas Cleary. "The Issue at Hand by Eihei Dogen". The Zen Site. Retrieved May 13, 2013.
- Taigen Dan Leighton. "The Practice of Genjokoan". Ancient Dragon Zen Gate. Retrieved May 13, 2013.
- Okumura, Shohaku (2010). Realizing Genjokoan: The Key to Dogen's Shobogenzo. Wisdom Publications. p. 13. ISBN 9780861716012.
- Yasutani, Hakuun (1996). Flowers Fall. A Commentary on Zen Master Dōgen's Genjōkōan. Boston: Shambala Publications. pp. 6–7. ISBN 978-1-57062-674-6.
- Okumura, Shohaku (2010). Realizing Genjokoan: The Key to Dogen's Shobogenzo. Wisdom Publications. pp. 23–24. ISBN 9780861716012.
- Okumura, Shohaku (2010). Realizing Genjokoan: The Key to Dogen's Shobogenzo. Wisdom Publications. p. 21. ISBN 9780861716012.
- Maezumi, Taizan; Glassman, Bernie (eds.). On Zen Practice. Body, Breath & Mind. Boston: Wisdom Publications. pp. 133–138 & 139–160. ISBN 0-86171-315-X.
- Yasutani, Hakuun (1996). Flowers Fall. A Commentary on Zen Master Dōgen's Genjōkōan. Boston: Shambala Publications. ISBN 1-57062-674-X. Translated from: Yasutani, Hakuun (1967). Shōbōgenzo Sankyū: Genjōkōan (正法眼蔵参究 : 現成公案?) (in Japanese). Tokyo: Shunjūsha. OCLC 33802506.