Empty Handed (Bendowa VII)

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In today's Bendowa, Master Dogen voyages to China (not a simple journey in the 13th century) searching for Truth ...

What did he gain while there?

Soon after his return he was asked this very question.

He responded ...

I have come back empty-handed. I have realized only that the eyes are horizontal and the nose is vertical

"I have come back empty-handed" ... or, as Master Dogen wrote a few lines earlier in Bendowa, "When you let go, the dharma fills your hands"


I then went to the great kingdom of Sung [China], visiting [good] counselors in the east and west of Chekiang and hearing of the tradition through the gates of the five lineages. At last I visited Zen Master Nyojo of Dai-byaku-ho mountain, and there I was able to complete the great task of a lifetime of practice. After that, at the beginning of the great Sung era of Shojo,  I came home determined to spread the Dharma and to save living beings - it was as if a heavy burden had been placed on my shoulders. From: Bendowa - A Talk about Pursuing the Truth  - Nishijima-Cross

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

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