One Flavor, Five Poisons

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( Dogen's Instructions for the Cook - XXIII)

Maybe we could say this like this ...

In cooking your life out of life's cookbook ... you had better see clearly what's what.

If you do so, you may be able to obtain a life of whole and harmonious flavor ... not limited to the words in the book.

If not, you may end up with a bitter, unpalatable, poisoned mess of a life.

So much of the result is up to you.

You can read a bit more about Viktor Frankl's finding meaning and peace even in a concentration camp here [LINK]

Viktor Frankl's 1946 book Man's Search for Meaning chronicles his experiences as a concentration camp inmate and describes his psychotherapeutic method of finding a reason to live. ... Frankl concludes that the meaning of life is found in every moment of living; life never ceases to have meaning, even in suffering and death. ...  Frankl concludes from his experience that a prisoner's psychological reactions are not solely the result of the conditions of his life, but also from the freedom of choice he always has even in severe suffering. The inner hold a prisoner has on his spiritual self relies on having a faith in the future, and that once a prisoner loses that faith, he is doomed.


Some Viktor Frankl quotes ...

    * "A man can get used to anything, but do not ask us how."

    * "We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms--to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."

    * "When we are no longer able to change a situation - just think of an incurable disease such as inoperable cancer - we are challenged to change ourselves."

    * "Fundamentally, therefore, any man can, even under such circumstances, decide what shall become of him - mentally and spiritually. He may retain his human dignity even in a concentration camp."


You disciples who come after me, [must be able to see that side from this side, as well as this side from that side]. If you make this kind of effort, you will be able to obtain ... the Zen of a single flavor [that goes beyond the surface of words]. If you are not like this, you will be subjected willy-nilly to the poison of the Zen of five flavors, and when it comes to arranging the monks' meals, you will not be able to do it skillfully.

From: Tenzo Kyokun - Instructions for the Cook by Eihei Dogen - Translated by Griffith Foulk [with portion from Uchiyama]

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

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