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Thread: MASTER DOGEN'S Instructions for Washing the Hands

  1. #1

    MASTER DOGEN'S Instructions for Washing the Hands

    ... (from Shobogenzo -Senjo). I cannot attest to all aspects of this method from a public health point of view (e.g., use of a "common towel"), but they did take their time. Maybe recite that Garland Sutra Gatha twice while scrubbing? I hope that folks will turn their diligent hand washing, and other careful actions brought about by these events, into a bit of ritual and mindful practice.

    =======

    "[R]eturning to the washstand ... Then wash the hands. Taking the spoon for ash in the right hand, first scoop [some ash] onto a tile or a stone, sprinkle a few drops of water onto it with the right hand, and cleanse the soiled hand. Scrub the [fingers] on the tile or the stone, as if sharpening a rusty sword on a whetstone. Wash like this, using ash, three times. Then wash another three times, putting soil [on the stone] and sprinkling it with water. Next, take a honey locust [long twisted pods containing a sweet edible pulp and seeds that resemble beans] in the right hand, dip it in a small tub of water, and scrub it between the hands. Wash [the hands] thoroughly, going up to the forearms as well. Wash with care and effort, dwelling in the mind of sincerity. Three lots of ash, three lots of soil, and one honey locust, makes seven rounds altogether; that is the standard. Next, wash [the hands] in the large tub. This time skin cleansers, soil, ash, and so on, are not used. Just wash with water, either cold or hot. After washing once, pour the [used] water into a small bucket, then pour some fresh water [into the tub], and wash the hands again.

    The Garland Sutra says, “When we wash the hands with water, we should [recite] that living beings will get excellent and fine hands, with which to receive and to retain the Buddha-Dharma.”
    To pick up the water ladle, always use your right hand. While doing this, do not noisily clatter the ladle and bucket. Do not splash water about, scatter honey locusts around, get the washstand area wet, or be generally hasty and messy. Next, wipe the hands on the common towel, or wipe them on your own towel. ...

    [T]here is no restriction against using warm water to wash the hands. The reason that a cauldron is provided is so that we can boil water for washing the hands. The Shingi says, “Late in the evening, boil water and supply oil. Always ensure [a] continuous [supply of] hot and cold water, so that the minds of the monks are not disturbed.” So we see that we [can] use both hot and cold water."

    (Translation by Nishijima Roshi and Chodo Cross)

    Last edited by Jundo; 03-14-2020 at 01:45 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    Thank you, Jundo!

    The public health advice is currently to wash your hands for at least twenty seconds.

    Fortunately, extensive research (or at least me reciting it several times with a stopwatch) has shown that the Verse of Atonement is pretty much exactly that length!

    Or else, this hand washing gatha can be recited x4 in order to make up the time:

    Upon washing the hands with water,
    I pray that all living beings
    may gain the pure dharma gate
    and forever be without defilement.


    With much metta to all countries and people struggling with corona virus right now. Let us continue to heed official advice and keep a good standard of hygiene. We may not live in the same monastery but the whole world is our temple and the longer we can stay out of the transmission cycle, the better.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday/lah-
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  3. #3
    And remember, Gassho does not touch the face! ...


    ... is the first step of the Vietnamese Handwashing Dance ....


    ... and, if the elbow is unavailable, will serve to cover a sneeze ...

    [
    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 03-13-2020 at 12:54 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  4. #4
    Thank you Jundo.

    I was actually reading about Master Dogen's hygene guidelines. We can make washing hands part of our practice too!

    Yes, our best bet so far is to keep our hands as clean as possible.

    Kokuu: Thank you for the gatha!

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Sat/LAH
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  5. #5
    I'm glad Dogen gave us instructions on how to clean ourselves with a stick because with the way panicked people are hoarding toilet paper, it may become necessary lol

    Gassho
    Kyōsen
    Sat|LAH
    橋川
    kyō (bridge) | sen (river)

  6. #6
    Thank you Jundo.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyōsen View Post
    I'm glad Dogen gave us instructions on how to clean ourselves with a stick because with the way panicked people are hoarding toilet paper, it may become necessary lol

    Gassho
    Kyōsen
    Sat|LAH
    I recommend the recent podcast episode on said stick

    Gassho,
    Tyler

    SatToday

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Kokuu View Post
    Thank you, Jundo!

    The public health advice is currently to wash your hands for at least twenty seconds.

    Fortunately, extensive research (or at least me reciting it several times with a stopwatch) has shown that the Verse of Atonement is pretty much exactly that length!

    Or else, this hand washing gatha can be recited x4 in order to make up the time:

    Upon washing the hands with water,
    I pray that all living beings
    may gain the pure dharma gate
    and forever be without defilement.


    With much metta to all countries and people struggling with corona virus right now. Let us continue to heed official advice and keep a good standard of hygiene. We may not live in the same monastery but the whole world is our temple and the longer we can stay out of the transmission cycle, the better.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday/lah-
    Thank you Kokuu-san! Iíve been looking for this.

    I remember seeing in Throssell Hole they had gatha for many things.

    I remember they had one for tooth and face washing, do you know of something similar?

    With loving bows,
    Jakushin
    Sat


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Ask not what the Sangha can do for you, but what you can do for your Sangha.

  8. #8
    I remember they had one for tooth and face washing, do you know of something similar?
    Hey Jakushin!

    These are from the Treeleaf retreat chant book

    [When picking up the toothbrush]

    Holding the toothbrush,
    may all living beings,
    attain the true dharma,
    and be naturally pure and clean.


    [When using the toothbrush]

    Brushing the teeth in the morning,
    I vow with all beings,
    to care for the eyeteeth
    that bite through all afflictions.


    [When rinsing the mouth]

    Rinsing the mouth,
    may all living beings
    approach the pure dharma gate
    and accomplish liberation.


    [When washing the face]

    Washing the face,
    I vow with all beings to
    attain the pure dharma gate
    and be forever undefiled.


    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday-
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  9. #9


    Gassho, Shinshi

    SaT-LaH
    空道 心志 Kudo Shinshi
    I am just a priest-in-training, any resemblance between what I post and actual teachings is purely coincidental.

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