"Genjō Kōan" - What does that actually mean?
Although I mentioned in the previous entry that the translators of Genjō Kōan usually agree on the meaning of Dōgen’s words, this is not the case for the very title of the essay. My three primary translators, Okumura (2010), Nishijima and Cross (1994) and Tanahashi (2013) all present quite different renderings of the title. The Sino-Japanese original of the expression Genjō Kōan is usually given as 現成公案. The first part – Genjō , 現成 – is translated as “to manifest”, “(self-) evident” or “(self)-existing” in Soothills Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms. This part is not controversial amongst the translators who render it as “reality” (Okumura), “realized” (Nishijima and Cross”) and “actualize” (Tanahashi). The problem lies in the second part of the expression, the word Kōan - 公案. According to Soothill, a Kōan was a “dossier”, “case record” or a “public law”, in other words a legislatorial term in imperial China which initially had no connection with Buddhism. In a wider sense Kōan