‘Once, while in China, I was reading a collection of sayings by an ancient master. At that time, a monk from Shi-chaun, who was a sincere practitioner of the Way, asked me, “What’s the use of reading recorded sayings?”
I replied, “I want to learn the deeds of the ancient masters.”
The monk asked, “What is the use of that?”
I said, “I will teach people after I return home.”
The monk asked, “Ultimately, what’s the use?”
Later, I considered this and thought, “Learning the deeds of ancient masters by reading recorded sayings or koans or explaining them to deluded people, these are all ultimately of no use for my own practice and for teaching others. Even if I don’t know a single letter, I will be able to show it to others in inexhaustible ways if I devote myself to just sitting and clarify the Great Matter. For this reason, the monk said to me, “Ultimately, what’s the use?” I thought this to be the truth. Thereupon, I gave up reading the recorded sayings and other texts, concentrating wholeheartedly upon sitting, and was able to clarify the Great Matter.’ (Shobogenzo Zuimonki)

I don’t know that I entirely believe Dogen here, but anyway, you hear him, give up reading the recording sayings and other texts, and concentrate wholeheartedly on sitting. Go on, scoot!

2 thoughts on “Dogen

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