Indian Traditionalism in Eihei Dōgen’s Shoaku makusa

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 30, 2023

Indian Traditionalism in Eihei Dōgen’s Shoaku makusa

Victor Forte
Albright College

Eihei Dōgen’s Shōbōgenzō fascicle Shoaku makusa (“Not Producing Evil”), was presented during the early period of his career, while leading a small group of monastic and lay followers at the Kōshōji temple in Kyoto. Derived from the early Buddhist universal precept and inspired by the Indian ideal of bodhisattvic moral freedom within the dharmadhātu, this work primarily served as a corrective for antinomian inherent awakening doctrine. The ethical implications of this corrective are best understood in the context of Indian Mahāyāna philosophy, an often-overlooked influence on Dōgen’s thought. Not only are such influences to be found in the Shoaku makusa fascicle, but throughout Dōgen’s career, in earlier works like the Shōbōgenzō zuimonki, and later fascicles like Sanjūshichihon bodaibunpō, “The Thirty-seven Factors of Awakening,” and Hotsu bodaishin, “Raising the Mind of Enlightenment,” which were also concerned with the meaning of moral practice from an Indian Buddhist standpoint.
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