Dogen

‘Why leave behind the seat in your own home to wander in vain through the dusty realms of other lands? If you make one misstep, you stumble past what is directly in front of you. You have gained the pivotal opportunity of human form – do not pass your nights and days in vain. You are taking care of the essential activity of the Buddha way – who would take wasteful delight in the spark from a flint stone? Besides, form and substance are like the dew on the grass, the fortunes of life like a dart of lightning – emptied in an instant, vanished in a flash. Please, honored followers of zen, long accustomed to groping for the elephant – do not doubt the true dragon. Devote your energies to the way that points directly to the real thing. Revere the one who has gone beyond learning, and is free from effort. Accord with the enlightenment of all the Buddhas; succeed to the samadhi of all the ancestors. Continue to live in such a way, and you will be such a person. The treasure store will open of itself, and you may enjoy it freely.’ (Fukanzazengi)

I was thinking of a line from this as I rode down to our Monday sitting, but I found myself carried away, as always, by the amazing crescendo to the end. This is the translation that was used when I first lived at Zen Center. To think, he was twenty-seven when he first wrote this.


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