Treasury of the Eye of
the True Dharma
Penetration of Other Minds
The Tashin tsû is
one of the later essays in the Shôbôgenzô,
composed according to its colophon, in 1245, while Dôgen
was residing at Daibutsuji (the monastery he would rename as
Eiheiji). The title theme of the essay concerns mental telepathy,
one of the supernormal powers (abhijñâ) regularly
said in Buddhist literature to be accessible to those who have
mastered the four basic levels of meditation (dhyâna).
Here, Dôgen takes up the famous story of a Zen master's
test of the mind-reading powers of an Indian monk. The story
well reflects the Chinese Zen masters' doubts about the Indian
tradition of such powers, and Dôgen's comments well reflect
his own doubts about the understanding of some of the Chinese
This translation reflects the
version published in Dharma Eye, vol. 11 (spring 2003).
In order to avoid overloading the text with technical detail,
annotation is limited to a few notes on the more obscure passages.
A more fully annotated version will appear here when available.
An earlier version of this translation appeared as "Reading
Others' Minds," in D. Lopez, ed., Buddhism in Practice
(1995), pp. 69-79.
Some readers may also wish to
consult my discussion of this text, and the general issue of
the supernormal powers in Zen, which appeared in "Disarming
the Superpowers: The abhijñâ in Eisai and
Dôgen zenji kenkyu ronshû, edited by Daihonzan
Eiheiji Daionki Kyoku (2002), pp. 1018-1046.