Monday, October 12, 2009

Simply practice the Way wholeheartedly.

In an evening talk, Dogen said,
The late Sojo Eisai often admonished, “Monks, do not think that I give you the clothing, food, and other provisions you use. They are all offered by various heavenly beings. I merely play the role of distributor. Also, each one of you is fully endowed with the necessities for your lifetime. Do not run around seeking after them. Do not think that I feed you or that you have to be grateful to me.” I think these are most admirable words.

Also, in great Song China, when the assembly was under the direction of Zen Master Wanshi, Tendo Monastery had enough provisions for one thousand people. Thus, seven hundred people inside the sodo and three hundred people outside the sodo could be fed. However, due to the excellence of the master, many monks gathered like clouds from all over the country. There were one thousand people inside the sodo and five or six hundred people outside.

One of the officers remarked to Wanshi, “The temple provisions are sufficient for only one thousand people. We do not have enough food for everyone staying here. Please take this into special consideration and send the extra monks away.” Wanshi replied to him, “Each one of them has his own mouth. It is not your business. Do not worry about it.”

I believe that everyone has a certain amount of food and clothing granted from birth. It does not come about by worrying over it, nor will it cease to come by not seeking it. Even lay people leave such things to fate; being concerned with loyalty and filial piety. How much more should monks who have left home be unconcerned with trivial matters [besides practice]. We have the fortune given to us by Shakyamuni; we also have the food and clothing offered by the deities. Moreover, we have the natural share of life we were allotted when we were born. Without chasing after it or worrying over it, we are sure to receive as much as we need. Even if we chase after and secure a great fortune, what will happen to it when impermanence suddenly comes? Therefore, students must not be concerned with extra matters. Simply practice the Way wholeheartedly.

1 comment:

Uku said...

Simply practice the Way wholeheartedly.

One of my favorites... thank you, Steve!