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Citation from Commentary on Dogen Zenji's
SOKU SHIN ZE BUTSU 即心是佛 (Mind itself is Buddha)
Dogen on Meditation and Thinking, trans. by Hee-Jin Kim
(Chapter Four: The Reason of Words and Letters)
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Transposition of Lexical Components
 This is perhaps the most frequently used procedure in Dogen's Shobogenzo. Its model consists of reshuffling the Chinese lexical components of a given phrase or expession, say, A, B, C, D, and E of "ABCDE," and so on. The transpositon of linguistic elements is intended to suggest that they are as dynamic and versatile as reality itself in their infinitely variegated configurations and possibilities. The analogy of a mosaic rearranged in multiple designs might help us here. Just as reality incessantly transforms itself, so can language act as a living force in its own right. The method of transposing lexical components attests to this view.

In his exposition on the Buddha notion of "Mind itself is Buddha" (sokushin zebutsu), Dogen presents a classic treatment. After defining the four linguistic elements — "mind" (shin), "itself" (soku), "is" (ze), and "Buddha" (butsu) — in "Mind itself is Buddha," he reshuffles them in various ways, and gives five examples out of twenty-four possible combinations. [...]

[In Sokushin Zebutsu, Dogen Zenji says:]
 "[The Buddha ancestors] penetratingly study 'Mind itself is Buddha,' penetratingly study 'Itself mind Buddha is,' penetratingly study 'Itself Buddha is mind,' penetratingly study 'Mind itself Buddha is,' and penetratingly study 'Is Buddha itself mind.' Penetrating study such as this is indeed 'Mind itself is Buddha,' and exerting this, they have authentically transmitted ['Mind itself is Buddha'] to 'Mind itself is Buddha.' Such an authentic transmission has continued to this day."
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(Zen Master) DOGEN ZENJI'S (道元禅師)
(Gender Inclusive) STUDIES OF THE WAY (學道) | (INDEX)
95-Fascicle SHOBOGENZO (正法眼蔵) & Other Writings
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