One Eye, Two Eyes ... A Six-Foot Body Of A Buddha ...

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( Dogen's Instructions for the Cook - XV)


Uchiyama Roshi translates this section in a very nice way ...

It is vital that we clarify and harmonize our lives with our work, and not lose sight of either the absolute or the practical. Handle even a single leaf of a green in such a way that it manifests the body of the Buddha. This in turn allows the Buddha to manifest through the leaf.

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Harmonizing and purifying yourself in this manner, do not lose either the one eye [of transcendent wisdom] or the two eyes [of discriminating consciousness]. Lifting a single piece of vegetable, make [yourself into] a six-foot body [i.e. a buddha] and ask that six-foot body to prepare a single piece of vegetable. Those are [the cook's] spiritual penetrations and magical transformations, his buddha-work and benefiting of living beings.

Having prepared [everything] so that the preparations are finished, and cooked [everything] so that the cooking is done, look to "that side" and put things away on "this side". ** When the drum sounds or the bell rings, join the assembly [of monks in training] and attend the convocation [to hear the abbot's teachings]. "Morning and evening, seek and attend", without being remiss even once.

** [NOTE: A double-entendre. On the literal level, the meaning is simply that the cook should look all around and put things away where they belong. Figuratively, he is advised to look "there" (nahen -- the realm of the highest truth), while putting things to rest "here" (shahen -- the wordly realm)].

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




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

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