Last modified on 2 November 2014, at 03:33

Dōgen

Students, when you want to say something, think about it three times before you say it. Speak only if your words will benefit yourselves and others. Do not speak if it brings no benefit.
Coming, going, the waterbirds
don't leave a trace
don't follow a path.
Just practice good, do good for others, without thinking of making yourself known so that you may gain reward. Really bring benefit to others, gaining nothing for yourself. This is the primary requisite for breaking free of attachments to the Self.

Dōgen (道元; also Dōgen Kigen 道元希玄, Eihei Dōgen 永平道元, titled as Dōgen Zenji [Zen Master Dōgen] 道元禅師) (19 January 120022 September 1253) was a Japanese Zen Buddhist teacher born in Kyōto, and the founder of the Sōtō school of Zen in Japan.

SourcedEdit

  • To study Buddhism is to study ourselves. To study ourselves is to forget ourselves.
    • As quoted in Exploring the Inner World : A Guidebook for Personal Growth and Renewal (1974) by Tolbert McCarroll, p. 6
  • Coming, going, the waterbirds
    don't leave a trace
    don't follow a path.
    • As quoted in The Enlightened Heart : An Anthology of Sacred Poetry (1989) by Stephen Mitchell, p. 50
  • But do not ask me where I am going,
    As I travel in this limitless world,
    Where every step I take is my home.
    • As translated in The Zen Poetry of Dōgen : Verses from the Mountain of Eternal Peace (1997) by Steven Heine, p. 61
  • As I study both the exoteric and the esoteric schools of Buddhism, they maintain that human beings are endowed with Dharma-nature by birth. If this is the case, why did the Buddhas of all ages — undoubtedly in possession of enlightenment — find it necessary to seek enlightenment and engage in spiritual practice?
    • As quoted in Eihei Dogen, Mystical Realist (2004) by Hee-jin Kim
  • The primordial Buddhas are saying,
"Not doing wrong action,
Sincerely doing every kind of good,
naturally clarifies this mind.
This is the Teaching of all the Buddhas."
This is the universal precept of the Seven Buddhas, our Founding Ancestors, and is truly transmitted by earlier Buddhas to later Buddhas and is received by later Buddhas from earlier Buddhas. It is not only the Teaching of the Seven Buddhas but of all the Buddhas. This principle must be investigated and mastered through practice.
  • Right and wrong are temporal, but time is neither right nor wrong. Right and wrong are the Dharma, but the Dharma is neither right nor wrong. In the balance of the Dharma, wrong is balanced. In the balance of the Dharma, right is balanced.
    And so, in learning of complete and utter Awakening, in hearing the Teachings, doing the training, and realizing the effect, this is profound, vast, and wonderful. Some hear of unsurpassed Awakening from good friends, and some hear of it from the sutras. What one hears first is, "Not doing wrong action." If one does not hear “not doing wrong action,” one is not hearing the Buddhas' true Dharma but demonic talk. Know that hearing “not doing wrong action” is hearing the Buddhas' true Dharma.
    • "Shoaku makusa : Not Doing Wrong Action" as translated by Anzan Hoshin roshi and Yasuda Joshu Dainen roshi (2007)

Shobogenzo Zuimonki (1238)Edit

Shobogenzo Zuimonki [Things Overheard at the Treasury of the Eye of the True Dharma], a collection of Dōgen's teachings compiled by Ejō between 1236 and 1238, as translated by Reiho Masunaga. (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press; New Ed edition, June 1975)
  • Zazen is the ultimate practice. This is indeed the True Self. The Buddhadharma is not to be sought outside of this.
    • II, 22
  • Just practice good, do good for others, without thinking of making yourself known so that you may gain reward. Really bring benefit to others, gaining nothing for yourself. This is the primary requisite for breaking free of attachments to the Self.
    • III, 3
  • When other sects speak well of Zen, the first thing that they praise is its poverty.
    • III, 7
  • Something you want badly enough can always be gained. No matter how fierce the enemy, how remote the beautiful lady, or how carefully guarded the treasure, there is always a means to the goal for the earnest seeker. The unseen help of the guardian gods of heaven and earth assure fulfillment.
    • III, 14
  • Yet you must not cling to the words of the old sages either; they, too, may not be right. Even if you believe them, you should be alert so that , in the event that something superior comes along, you may follow that.
    • IV, 1
  • Because monks come from the midst of purity, they consider as good and pure what does not arouse desire among other people.
    • IV, 11
  • Students of the Way must not study Buddhism for the sake of themselves. They must study Buddhism only for the sake of Buddhism. The key to this is to renounce both body and mind without holding anything back and to offer them to the great sea of Buddhism.
    • V, 2
  • People who truly follow the Way would do well to conceal the fact that they are Buddhists.
    • V, 3
  • Students today should begrudge every moment of time. This dewlike life fades away; time speeds swiftly. In this short life of ours, avoid involvement in superfluous things and just study the Way.
    • V, 8
  • Just study Buddhism. Don't follow the sentiments of the world.
    • V, 9
  • If he cannot stop the mind that seeks after fame and profit, he will spend his life without finding peace.
    • VI, 9
  • Students, when you want to say something, think about it three times before you say it. Speak only if your words will benefit yourselves and others. Do not speak if it brings no benefit.
    • VI, 2

Ocean Mudra Samadhi (1242)Edit

Written at the Kannon-dori Kosho Horin Monastery on the twentieth day, the fourth month, the third year of the Ninji Era (1242), as translated in Beyond Thinking : A Guide to Zen Meditation (2004) edited by Kazuaki Tanahashi
  • Buddhas and Ancestors continuously maintain ocean mudra samadhi. While swimming in this samadhi, they expound, realize, practice.
  • The Buddha said, "Elements come together and form this body. At the time of appearing, elements appear. At the time of disappearing, elements disappear. When elements appear, I do not say "I" appear. When elements disappear, I do not say "I" disappear. Past moments and future moments do not arise in sequence. Past elements and future elements are not in alignment. This is the meaning of ocean mudra samadhi."
    Closely investigate these words by the Buddha. Attaining the way and entering realization does not necessarily require extensive learning or realization. Anyone can attain the way through a simple verse of four lines. Even scholars of extensive learning can enter realization through a one line verse.
  • In the great way of going beyond, no endeavor is complete without being one with myriad things. This is ocean mudra samadhi.

See alsoEdit

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