‘I see the process of ordinary education as being like piling up blocks to make a building of knowledge. When that building is completed it becomes our prison. It’s difficult to get out. If one is a lawyer, a doctor, or any professional – in my case a Buddhist priest – we accumulate knowledge necessary […]
Study the way as if boring wood to make fire. Seeing the smoke you should not stop. Immediately the golden star appears. Within this world is the primary destination. Dogen’s response to Longya.
‘Some people think that when we eliminate all thought and experience enlightenment we are liberated; we don’t have to do anything else and can be happy for the rest of our lives. I think this is a misunderstanding or even a superstition. Dogen tried to caution his students that the point is to let go […]
‘The moon on the water is vast and boundless, the boat oars quiet. The snow clouds gradually gather, and the crossroads vanish. Having arrived at such a field, again, how does it feel?’ (Extensive Record, 419) The ‘again’ makes it – each time we must look afresh.
‘All day and all night, things come to mind and the mind attends to them; at one with them all, diligently carry on the Way.’ (Tenzokyokun) I have always been charmed by this phrase, from early in Dogen’s Instructions to the Cook, and it comes to mind often. I have a fond memory from Tassajara, when […]
‘Here’s my personal opinion. If you’re going to call yourself a “Zen priest” in the Soto tradition, then you had better know some “priest craft.” You’d better know how to do all the different roles in a standard chanting ceremony — like ringing the bells, offering incense, hitting the mokugyo (wooden drum shaped like a fish), chanting, […]
‘Who is studying? Who is inquiring? In the case of Buddhadharma, Buddha studies Buddha’s way through our practice. Or Dharma studies Dharma itself through us, through this person, because this person is part of the Dharma. The term “dharmas” means all beings; “Dharma” with a capital D means the way all beings are. But though “Dharma” […]