( Dogen’s Instructions for the Cook – XXXIII)
As we close this year 2009 … all is truly but a constant beginning, ever new …
In these final passages, Master Dogen reminds us to be joyful, to take care of our responsibilities like a parent for a child, and to embody “Great Mind and Vast Heart” …
For the first, he writes (as we saw yesterday)
Now we have the good fortune to be born as human beings … Let us be joyous.
For “Mother Mind” he writes …
So-called[motherly heart] is the spirit of fathers and mothers. … Withoutregard for their own poverty or wealth, [parents] earnestly turn their thoughtstoward raising their child. Without regard for whether they themselves are coldor hot, they shade the child or cover the child.
And for “Great Mind, Vast Heart”, he states [in a good reminder for the turning year],
This vast heart … does not follow the sounds of spring or try to nest in a spring garden; it does not darken with the colours of autumn. See the changes of the seasons as all one movement, [all] in relation to each other within a view which includes both.“
And so, from tomorrow, January 1st, we depart Beliefnet and move our home for this daily “Sit-a-long with Jundo” Zazen netcast to SHAMBHALA SUNSPACE, the webpage of the Shambhala Sun and Buddhadharma magazines.
… and wish them … and everyone … a most content and peaceful 2010.
This life we live is a life of rejoicing, this body a body of joy which can be used to present offerings to the Three Jewels. It arises through the merits of eons and using it thus its merit extends endlessly. I hope that you will work and cook in this way, using this body which is the fruition of thousands of lifetimes and births to create limitless benefit for numberless beings. To understand this opportunity is a joyous heart because even if you had been born a ruler of the world the merit of your actions would merely disperse like foam, like sparks.
A “motherly heart” is a heart which maintains the Three Jewels as a parent cares for a child. A parent raises a child with deep love, regardless of poverty or difficulties. Their hearts cannot be understood by another; only a parent can understand it. A parent protects their child from heat or cold before worrying about whether they themselves are hot or cold. This kind of care can only be understood by those who have given rise to it and realized only by those who practice it. This, brought to its fullest, is how you must care for water and rice, as though they were your own children.
The Great Master Sakyamuni offered to us the final twenty years of his own lifetime to protect us through these days of decline. What is this other than the exertion of this “parental heart”? The Thus Come One did not do this hoping to get something out of it but sheerly out of munificence.
“Vast heart” [or “Great Mind”] is like a great expanse of ocean or a towering mountain. It views everything from the most inclusive and broadest perspective. This vast heart does not regard a gram as too light or five kilos as too heavy. It does not follow the sounds of spring or try to nest in a spring garden; it does not darken with the colours of autumn. See the changes of the seasons as all one movement, understand light and heavy in relation to each other within a view which includes both. When you write or study the character “vast,” this is how you should understand its meaning.
If the tenzo at Jiashan had not thus studied the word “vast,” he could not have woken up Elder Fu by laughing at him [from a story in which a monk’slaughter spurred
All of these and other great masters through the ages have studied the meaning of “vast” or “great” not only though the word for it but through all of the events and activities of their lives. Thus they lived as a great shout of freedom through presenting the Great Matter, penetrating the Great Question, training great disciples and in this way bringing it all forth to us.
The abbot, senior officers and staff, and all monks should always maintain these three hearts or understandings.
Written in the spring of 1237 for those of coming generations
who will practice the Way by Dogen, abbot of Kosho-(Horin-)ji temple
From: Tenzo Kyokun – Instructions for the Cook by Eihei Dogen –
Translated by Yasuda Joshu and Anzan Hoshin [with additions from T. Griffith Foulk]
(And, in case you have not heard … after a lovely year here at Beliefnet.com, our daily “Sit-a-long with Jundo” Zazen netcasts will be moving home on January 1st to SHAMBHALA SUNSPACE, the webpage of the Shambhala Sun and Buddhadharma magazines, where we will be a daily featured Buddhist blog … sitting there just as we do here. !)
( Dogen’s Instructions for the Cook – XXXII)
This world and life into which we find we were born is far from perfect, often difficult … yet how fortunate we are that this life is as it is … neither heaven nor hell (though we can help make it a little bit of each) … but a place to care, to practice, to live …
Ingeneral, the various stewards and prefects, including the cook, should maintaina joyful mind, [a motherly heart], and a great [and vast] mind whenever they performrituals or engage in work.
So-calledjoyful mind is the spirit of happiness. You should consider that if you wereborn in a heaven, you would be attached to pleasures without cease and wouldnot be able to arouse the thought of enlightenment. Practice would not befeasible. Even less would you be able to prepare meals as offerings to thethree jewels [Buddha, Dharma and Sangha]! Among the myriad dharmas, the mostrevered and precious are the three jewels. The most superior things are thethree jewels. Indra cannot compare. A wheel-turning king does not equal them.The Rules of Purity says, "Revered by the world, it is an excellent spaceoutside [worldly] things; pure and detached, the assembly of monks isbest." Now we have the good fortune to be born as human beings and toprepare the food that these three jewels receive and use. Is this not of greatkarmic significance? We should thus be very happy.
Again,you should consider that if you were born into the realms of hell, hungryghosts, animals, anti-gods, and the like, or born in circumstances where yousuffered from one of the eight difficulties [such as being born in a place ortime where the Dharma is not practiced or taught, being born without thefaculties that would allow us to practice or locked into the views of socialconventions], even if you sought to cover yourself in the power of the sangha,your hands would naturally be unable to prepare pure meals as offerings to thethree jewels. Relying on that painful physical form you would receive pain andbe bound in body and mind. Now, in this life, you have already prepared thosemeals. How happy a birth! How happy a body! It is the good karmic result ofkalpas vast and great. It is merit that cannot decay. When you prepare food andcook it you should do so with the aspiration of taking tens of thousands ofbirths and concentrating them into this one day, this one time, that you may beable to bind together in good karmic result the bodies of millions of [past]births. A mind that contemplates and understands things in this way is a joyfulmind. Truly, even if one takes on the body of a wheel-turning holy king, if onedoes not prepare meals as offerings to the three jewels, in the end it has nobenefit. It is only of the nature of water, froth, bubbles, or flames.
From: Tenzo Kyokun - Instructions for the Cook by Eihei Dogen -
Translated by T. Griffith Foulk [with additions by Yasuda Joshu and Anzan Hoshin]
( Dogen’s Instructions for the Cook – XXXI)
When I observedaccomplished people in the past who held the position of cook, their personalqualities were naturally in accord with their official roles. The Great [TeacherGuishan Lingyou (771-853)] awakened to the way when he was a cook. Dongshan's [famoussaying] "Three pounds of hemp" [in response to the question, "What isBuddha"] was also when he was a cook. If there is a matter that can be valued,you should value the matter of awakening to the way. If there is a time thatcan be valued, surely you should value the time of awakening to the way! Theresult of cherishing that matter and being addicted to the way is attestedespecially by the [story of] "grasping sand and making a jewel" [atraditional story with a meaning such as "whatever is available at hand can beturned into something wonderful]. We can often see the effect of making animage [of the Buddha] and worshipping [before it]. The position of cook issimilar [in its karmic results], but even more so. Its name is the same [as inthe past]. If the cook is someone who can transmit its character and itspractice, how could its beauty and its fulfillment fail to appear?
From: Tenzo Kyokun - Instructions for the Cook by Eihei Dogen -
Translated by T. Griffith Foulk