Monday, September 28, 2009

In an evening talk included in Zuimonki (Book 2, Chapter 4), Dogen said, "A student of the Way must abandon human sentiments." Human sentiments here refer to both thoughts and emotions based on egocentricity, discrimination, and preference. In a footnote, Shohaku Okumura points out that these thoughts and emotions are the roots of delusion.

"To abandon human sentiments," Dogen continued, "is to practice following the buddha-dharma. Most people in the world are being dragged about by the hinayana mind, discriminating good from evil, distinguishing right from wrong, seeking after what is good while discarding what is bad. This is caused by the hinayana mind."

Here, hinayana mind means the attitude of practicing only for the sake of self emancipation or of escaping from samsara by one’s own effort. As the spirit of a bodhisattva, we should vow to save all living beings. In Shobogenzo Hotsubodaishin (Arousing Bodhi-Mind), Dogen said, “To arouse bodhi-mind is to vow and work for the salvation of all living beings before saving oneself.”

"First of all, just give up worldly sentiments and enter into the Buddha-Way," Dogen taught. "To enter the Buddha-Way, refrain from making judgments based on discrimination between good and evil, don’t hold dear your physical and mental conditions; follow the verbal teachings and ways of acting without being concerned with good and evil. What you think is good or what others in the world think is good is not always good. Therefore, forget others’ views; cast aside your own mind and follow the teachings of the Buddha. Even though your body suffers and your mind is in distress, resolve to abandon body and mind, and practice what the Buddha and patriarchs, our venerable predecessors, practiced, even if it is painful or causes you distress. Even if you think something is good and accords with the Buddha-Way and want to practice it, do not carry it out if it has not been done by the buddhas and patriarchs. In doing so, you grasp the dharma-gate (teachings on dharma) perfectly.

"Cast aside both mind and thoughts based on the various teachings you have learned in the past, and gradually turn your mind into the words and deeds of the buddhas and patriarchs you are encountering right now. In doing so, your wisdom will grow and satori will open by itself. Abandon even your understanding of what you have learned from writings of the teaching-schools if there is reason to do so, and see things from the perspective I have mentioned. Studying the dharma-gate is nothing but parting from samsara (life and death) and attaining the Way.

"If deep in your heart you think what you have accomplished through studying for many years with great effort cannot be given up easily, such a mind itself is one bound by samsara."

"Consider this carefully and thoroughly," Dogen advised.

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