‘Studying the Buddha Dharma is most difficult to accomplish. Why is that? Even when people have genuinely aroused the mind of awakening, without knowing it, they might fall in with demons, or unaware they might become sick, and their way-seeking mind will be broken, their practice-realization regressing and collapsing. Truly we must sympathize. Students these days are fascinated by the demons of brilliance and imagine it as the enlightenment of the way. Encountering the onset of the disease of fame and fortune, they imagine it as verification of the merit of their practice. These not only damage and destroy a single life or person, but they can also damage and destroy the merits and virtues of good roots from many lives through vast kalpas. This is the saddest thing for students. So-called satori (enlightenment) is very difficult to realize. It cannot be understood by thinking or discrimination, and it cannot be clarified by brilliance or keen wisdom. Considering fascination with this demon as great enlightenment, and clinging to the sickness and its ailments as merits and virtues, how could this not be a mistake?’ (Extensive Record, 513)

At the end of his life, Dogen was keen not to let anyone off the hook – even as he paraphrases parts of his first work, the Fukanzazengi. A salutory reminder before I head into a corporate meditation, thinking I am any good.

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