A10/90 Shizen-biku



The Bhiksu in the Fourth Dhyana

Shi means four. Zen represents the Sanskrit word dhyana, which means Zazen or the state in Zazen. Biku represents the Sanskrit word bhiksu, which means a Buddhist monk. Shizen-biku, or the bhiksu who had attained the fourth state in Zazen, was a monk who mistook his own state for the state of an arhat, the fourth and ultimate stage of a Buddhist practitioner. When he was dying this monk saw an image usually seen by someone who has attained the fourth state in Zazen, so he thought that Gautama Buddha must have deceived him. And because of this wrong idea, he fell down into hell. Master Dogen quoted this story as an example of a wrong approach to Buddhism. In addition, he strongly insisted in this chapter that it is a very serious mistake for Buddhist students to believe that Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism are the same in their teachings.