Our passages of Shobogenzo-Zuimonki this week are 2-23 and 3-1.
One thing to keep in mind in reading this stuff is that 'Old Hard-butt' Dogen ... like many a good football coach ... was prone to a bit of exaggerated speech. In reality ... in a monastery or anywhere ... people are people, human beings.
They try their best, most are very diligent ... but they sometimes trip up, are weak, make a mistake ... forget something, fall asleep during practice, are late for work.
I am sure that Dogen ran a very tight ship (his Eihei-ji monastery is still a very tight ship, marine boot camp). But nobody is like that all the time, even if the most diligent worker or monk.
So, again, when Dogen talks about "people throwing themselves in the river" or "beating people so they don't fall asleep" ... remember that it is a talk, a marine boot camp drill instructor to the recruits. That is not the only way to practice, nor even the best way of practice over a lifetime (maybe for short intensive periods it is good).
Thus, for example, when it says folks went to bed at "eleven o’clock at night and got up at about half-past two to sit zazen" ... I very much doubt they did that every day. Maybe at special retreats, and even so, it is unusual in the Zen world. At Antaiji, Homeless Kodo's old temple, for example, "lights out" is about 9pm and they get up about 3:30 am during intense Sesshin (a bit looser on normal practice days). That is pretty much typical (and Zazen can substitute for a little lost sleep physiologically). However, I do not believe that intense sleep deprivation is conducive to practice.
In fact, I wonder how ... with all that sleep deprivation, folks didn't screw up their work in the monastery a lot more! :shock:
In our daily practice and work, we are careful, attentive, diligent ... we don't quit. Yet, when we inevitably trip as we are all bound to do, we simply pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and move ahead.