‘Reading literature while ignoring the way of practice is like a person reading a prescription but forgetting to take the medicine; what is the benefit? Continuously uttering sounds like frogs in a spring rice paddy croaking day and night is also ultimately worthless. Furthermore, people deeply blinded by fame and profit have difficulty abandoning these things because their greed is exceedingly deep. Since this was the case in ancient times, why shouldn’t it be so in the modern world? We must feel the utmost sympathy.’ (Bendowa)

A couple of weeks ago I was listening to Brad Warner reading his updated version of the question and answer section of the Bendowa at the San Francisco Against the Stream sangha’s new venue (he also read at Zen Center – I wanted to catch both readings to see how he might shape the evenings differently). I love the notion of making Dogen more accessible, and sometimes Dogen is perfectly clear himself – the above message is just as applicable almost eight hundred years on. I will be speaking about the Bendowa at Dharma Eye in San Rafael this evening.

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