A04/70 Hotsu-bodaishin



Establishment of the Bodhi-mind

It is supposed that this chapter and the previous chapter originally had the same title, i.e., Hotsu-bodaishin, “Establishment of the Bodhi-mind,” but that the title of the previous chapter was changed to Hotsu-mujoshin, “Establishment of the Will to the Supreme,” for the purpose of distinction. Dr. Fumio Masutani believes that the former chapter was a sermon for lay people and this chapter was a sermon given on the same day to monks and nuns. Whatever Master Dogen’s intention was, one point is that this chapter includes a presentation of the “The Theory of the Momentary Appearance and Disappearance of the Universe.” In Buddhist theory, action is esteemed highly; when we consider the meaning of life, we can consider that our life is just a series of moments of action. Why do we say that our life is momentary? Because once we have done an act we can never return to the past to undo it. At the same time, we can never perform an act until its time comes to the present. So an act is always done just at the moment of the present. Furthermore, the moment of the present is cut off from the moment immediately before it and the moment immediately after it, because we can never act in the past and we can never act in the future. According to Buddhist theory, then, our life is momentary, and the whole Universe appears and disappears at every moment. This theory, also known as “The Theory of Instantaneousness,” is important in resolving the conflict between human freedom and the law of cause and effect; that is, free will versus determinism. In this chapter, Master Dogen clearly explains the theory.