People Will Be People ...

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( Dogen's Instructions for the Cook - XXVIII)

We continue with Master Dogen's Tenzo Kyokun ...

Today, I happened to hear from a couple of people who were disappointed by someone in their lives ... friends, family members, co-workers who let them down a bit.

Master Dogen provides a good perspective on this ...

... Hey buddy, don't forget to look in the mirror before pointing fingers at others ... See the dignity and worth of all people ... People are people, and act like people ... Know that there are days when we are all foolish, and how we were yesterday is not necessarily how we will be tomorrow.

Also, know how to stand beyond opinions of right and wrong ...

We cannot always control what other people do to us ... but we have control over how we react to what other people do.

Joko Beck Roshi, in Everyday Zen, tells the 'empty rowboat' story I mentioned ...

Suppose we are out on a lake and it's a bit foggy-not too foggy, but a bit foggy-and we're rowing along in our little boat having a good time. And then, all of a sudden, coming out of the fog, there's this other rowboat and it's heading right at us. And...crash! Well, for a second we're really angry-what is that fool doing? I just painted my boat! And here he comes-crash!-right into it. And then suddenly we notice that the rowboat is empty. What happens to our anger? Well, the anger collapses...I'll just have to paint my boat again, that's all. But if that rowboat that hit ours had another person in it, how would we react? You know what would happen! Now our encounters with life, with other people, with events, are like being bumped by an empty rowboat. But we don't experience it that way. We experience it as though there are people in that other rowboat and we're really getting clobbered by them. ...


Do not discriminate between the faults or virtues of the monks or whether they are senior or junior. You do not even know where you stand, so how can you put others into categories. Judging others from within the boundaries of your own opinions, how could you be anything other than wrong? Although there are differences between seniors and juniors [and some have wisdom while others are foolish or dim], all are equally members of the assembly. Those who had many faults yesterday may be correct and clear today. Who can judge "sacred" from "common." The Zen Monastic Standards states, "Whether foolish or wise, the fact that one trains as a monk provides for others a gift that penetrates everywhere." 

If you stand beyond opinions of right and wrong, you bring forth the practice of actualizing unsurpassable Awakening.
If you do not, you take a wrong step and miss what's there. The bones and marrow of the ancients was just the exertion of such practice and those monks who train as tenzo in the future realize the bones and marrow of the Way only through just such exertion. The monastic rules set forth by great master Baizhang must always be maintained.

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

Translated by Yasuda Joshu and Anzan Hoshin

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

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