Treeleaf Zen

( Dogen’s Instructions for the Cook – XXX)

The value of service to others … as oneself, not two


Inthe many monasteries of the mountains of Song China that I have seen, the monksholding the various offices train in these posts for a year at a time, each ofthem in each moment practicing by three standards. Firstly, to benefit othersbenefits yourself. Second, make every effort to maintain and renew the monasticenvironment. Third, follow the standards set forth by the examples of excellentpractitioners of past and present and come to stand with them.

Youshould understand that foolish people hold their practice as if it belonged tosomeone else, wise people practice with everyone as themselves.

Anancient teacher said,

"Two-thirdsof your life has passed

withoutclarifying who you are.

Eatingyour life,

muddlingabout in this and that,

youdon't even turn when called on.



Fromthis verse we can see that if you have not met a true teacher, you will justfollow the lead of your tendencies. And this is pathetic. It's like the storyof the foolish son who leaves his parent's home with the family treasure andthen throws it away on a dung heap. Do not waste your opportunity as that mandid.

From: Tenzo Kyokun - Instructions for the Cook by Eihei Dogen -

Translated by Yasuda Joshu and Anzan Hoshin 

(remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells;
a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended)

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