A monk asked,
“My aged mother is still alive. I am her only son. She lives solely by my support. Her love for me is especially deep and my desire to fulfill my filial duties is also deep. I am somewhat engaged in worldly affairs and have relationships with people; with their help I obtain clothing and food for my mother. If I leave the world and live alone in a hermitage, my mother cannot expect to live for even one day. Yet it is difficult for me to stay in the secular world without being able to enter the Buddha-Way completely because of the necessity of taking care of her. Still, if there is some reason I should abandon her and enter the Way, what might it be?”
Zen Master Dogen instructed,
“This is a difficult matter. No one else can decide for you. After carefully considering it, if you truly aspire to practice the Buddha-Way it would be good for both you and your mother to somehow prepare or find a means to ensure your mother’s livelihood and enter the Buddha-Way. What you earnestly wish for you will definitely attain. If you wish to beat a strong enemy, to gain favor with some noble lady, or to obtain some precious treasure, if your desire is strong enough you will surely find some means to attain your wish. It will certainly be completed with the unseen help of the beneficent deities of Heaven and Earth" (from Shobogenzo Zuimonki, Book 3, Chapter 14).