47/52 Bukkyo



The Buddhist Sutras

Butsu means “Buddha” or “Buddhist,” and kyo means “sutra” or “scripture.” So bukkyo means Buddhist sutras. Shobogenzo chapter 24 is also called Bukkyo, but in that chapter, kyo is a different word, meaning “teaching.” In Buddhism, there are fundamentally two ways that are useful in pursuing the truth. One is practicing Zazen, and the other is reading sutras. But some people emphasize the value of practicing Zazen so strongly that they are blind to the value of reading Buddhist sutras, and so they deny the value of reading them. They insist that Buddhism is not philosophical theories, and therefore that to attain the truth we need only practice Zazen, and that reading Buddhist sutras is useless or even detrimental to pursuing the truth. But Master Dogen did not think so. He esteemed the value of reading sutras, and he thought that it was necessary to read Buddhist sutras in order to attain the truth. Therefore he recorded the true meaning of reading Buddhist sutras in this chapter. Furthermore, in Master Dogen’s thought, Buddhist sutras are not only Buddhist scriptures, but they are also the Universe itself, which shows us and teaches us the true meaning of our life.