The Four Horses
Shi means “four” and me means “horses,” so shime means four horses. In a very old Buddhist scripture called Saµyukta gama, we can find a story about four kinds of horses: horses that know the rider’s intention at the sight of the whip, horses that know the rider’s intention when the whip touches their hair, horses that know the rider’s intention when the whip touches their flesh, and horses that know the rider’s intention when the whip reaches their bones. These differences between four kinds of horses are used as a simile of the differences between Buddhist students in their intuitional ability to study Buddhism. Buddhism is not always studied by the intellect, but is sometimes studied with the intuition. So it is very important for Buddhists to have the intuitional ability to realize their master’s teachings. Therefore Master Dogen explained the meaning of shime, or the four kinds of horses, in this chapter.