43/50 Shoho-jisso



All Dharmas are Real Form

Sho expresses plurality; it means “all,” “various,” or “many.” Ho means “dharmas,” both physical things and mental phenomena. Jitsu means “real.” So means form. The Lotus Sutra teaches the most important and fundamental theory in Buddhism: that “all things and phenomena are real form.” Because Buddhism is a philosophy of realism, its viewpoint is different from idealism and materialism. The idealist sees only phenomena, which cannot be confirmed to be substantially real. Idealists thus doubt that phenomena are real form. The materialist looks at the detail, breaking things into parts, thus losing the meaning and value that is included in the whole. Buddhism says that reality is all things and phenomena existing here and now and reveres them as real substance: reality itself. This teaching is found in the Lotus Sutra, expressed with the words “all dharmas are real form.” In this chapter, Master Dogen explains the meaning of the Lotus Sutra’s teaching.