Four Elements of a Bodhisattva’s Social Relations
Bodaisatta means “bodhisattva,” a person who is pursuing the Buddhist truth; shi means “four”; and shobo means “elements of social relations” or “methods for social relations.” The four are dana, free giving; priya-akhyana, kind speech; artha-carya, helpful conduct; and samana-arthata, identity of purpose, or cooperation. Buddhism puts great value on our actual conduct. For this reason, our conduct in relating to each other is a very important part of Buddhist life. In this chapter Master Dogen preaches that these four ways of behaving are the essence of Buddhist life. He explains the real meaning of Buddhism in terms of social relations.