Monday, May 5, 2008

15. The Buddha-Ancestors

Our buddha-ancestors become real when we pick up and honour our buddha-ancestors -- an act which is not only of the past, present, and future but which may ascend even beyond buddha ascending beyond. Truly, in going over those who have kept up, and let be, their buddha-ancestor faces and eyes, we bow down before them and we see each other. By making real the good Work of our buddha-ancestors and picking it up ourselves, we have already been inhabiting them; we have already been saluting them, and experiencing them.

The Great Master Vipasyin Buddha -- "Widely Preaching"

The Great Master Sikhin Buddha -- "Fire"

The Great Master Visvabhu Buddha -- "All-Pitying"

The Great Master Krakucchanda Buddha -- "Gold Wizard"

The Great Master Kanakamuni Buddha -- "Golden Wizard"

The Great Master Kasyapa Buddha -- "Drinker of Light"

The Great Master Sakyamuni Buddha -- "Humanity and Serenity"

The Great Master Mahakasyapa

The Great Master Ananda

The Great Master Sanavasa

The Great Master Upagupta

The Great Master Dhitaka

The Great Master Micchaka

The Great Master Vasumitra

The Great Master Buddhanandi

The Great Master Baddhamitra

The Great Master Parsva

The Great Master Punyayasas

The Great Master Asvaghosa

The Great Master Kapimala

The Great Master Nagarjuna -- "Dragon-Tree" or "Super-Dragon" or "Mighty Dragon"

The Great Master Kanadeva

The Great Master Rahulabhadra

The Great Master Samghanandi

The Great Master Geyasata

The Great Master Kumaralabdha

The Great Master Gayata

The Great Master Vasubandhu

The Great Master Manura

The Great Master Hakulenayasas

The Great Master Simha

The Great Master Vasasuta

The Great Master Punyamitra

The Great Master Prajnatara

The Great Master Bodhidharma

The Great Master Eka

The Great Master Sosan

The Great Master Doshin

The Great Master Konin

The Great Master Eno

The Great Master Gyoshi

The Great Master Kisen

The Great Master Igen

The Great Master Donjo

The Great Master Ryokai

The Great Master Doyo

The Great Master Dofu

The Great Master Kanshi

The Great Master Enkan

The Great Master Keigen

The Great Master Gisei

The Great Master Dokai

The Great Master Shijun

The Great Master Seiryo

The Great Master Sogyoku

The Great Master Chikan

The Great Master Nyojo


Dogen, during the summer retreat of the 1st year of the Hogyo era of the great Kingdom of Sung, met and served my late master, the olden buddha of Tendo, the Great Master. I perfectly realized the act of prostrating to, and humbly receiving upon my head, this buddha-ancestor -- buddhas alone, together with buddhas.

Treasury of the Eye of True Sitting:
The Buddha-Ancestors


Written at Kannon-dori-kosho-horin-ji temple in the Uji district of Yoshu, Japan, and delivered to the assembly there on the 3rd day of the 1st lunar month in the 2nd year of Ninji [1241].







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This translation copyright Mike Cross, 2008.
If you wish to use it, please ask. If you would like clarification of anything, please ask. If you object to anything, speak up. If you notice any typos or other mistakes, please let me know.

3 comments:

Jordan said...

I have seen the lineage list written a couple of other ways.
One where it is the ancestors name and then “DaiButsu.”

My understanding is that “DaiButsu” is Great Buddha, or Big Buddha.

I am curious as to the original Japanese you are working with, is it written “Great Master” or otherwise.

Thank you for your efforts.
Jordan

Jordan said...

Sorry, I have also seen it written “Hotoke”
Your clarification is appreciated,
Jordan

Mike Cross said...

Hi Jordan,

Yes, DAIBUTSU means great buddha -- not necessarily big in stature or big in the world.

My source text is Nishijima's GENDAI-GO-YAKU-SHOBOGENZO, in which the original three characters are DAI (great) and OSHO (an honorofic form of address for a master).

But if you are worried about getting this kind of piddling detail scrupulously right, I am afraid you might be missing the point of my present effort.

The translation I did from 1986-1997 was the outcome of my effort to do a careful, literal, authentic translation. It was just the fruit of me trying to be right, and by now it has begun to smell a bit ripe to my nose.

So I am starting afresh, in a spirit of carelessness, wishing to suggest what it might be truly to sit, to speak, to listen, with joints, heart, and ears open.

If a buddha-ancestor has never reached that level of sitting/speaking/listening, even if he is a big guy in the world, he is not my buddha-ancestor, and he is not great.