Dogen

‘Monks in zazen do not turn their heads to look and see who is entering or leaving. When you want to go out to the washrooms, before you leave your seat, first take off the okesa and put it on the quilt. Then gassho and get down off the tan, turning clockwise to face the edge of the tan. Put your feet in your slippers as you get down. Going in or out, do not look at the backs of the people doing zazen, but just lower your head and proceed. Do not walk with long strides, but advance your body together with your feet. Look at the ground about six feet straight in front of you and take half-steps. Walking with unhurried calm is exquisite, almost like standing still. Do not slide your slippers noisily so as to rudely distract the assembly. Keep your hands together in shashu inside your sleeves. Do not droop your sleeces down alongside your legs.’ (Eihei Shingi Bendoho)

Once again, it is fun to read the details Dogen expounded for his monastic sangha. While some of the particulars pertain more to a sodo, where the monks sleep as well as sit, the overall tone is exactly what would be expected at Tassajara – though generally you would wait for a period of kinhin to leave the zendo.


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