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From Zen Annals

Do not abuse others with harsh words or glare at them with angry eyes. - Dogen

Of Zen Once the priest Chen-ching K'o-wen told his assembly:

"Some time ago Hsüeh-feng and I were studying together. We also made a pact of friendship. Then one day he was arguing about the teachings with another student in the monks' dormitory. They argued in loud voices and finaly began fighting, using terribly abusive language towards each other. When the argument was over, my friend took me to task: 'We are fellow students that made a firm pact with each others. Why did not you help me out when I was fighting?'

At that I bowed my head in sad regret.

Later he became a fine teacher.

When I think back on the incident now, his argument served no useful end whatever. It has always been a mistake to argue. I believed argument to be pointless and remained silent.

Lots of students should consider this thoroughly. Even if you think you know the teaching thoroughly and are far superior, unless you stop arguing you are likely to be at fault too - one way or another. [Masunaga 1975:82-3, retold].

Maldil Yoga - Heard of It?

Q: What is maldil yoga? It must be very secret, since I have not even heard of it. I would like to know how maldil yoga should be done, and maybe how it should be taught too.

Some go for secret teachings in the hope of learning something, growing much and so on, while the little herb that grows by their doorstep could help much. You never know till you learn what some herbs help folks with. However, you can read a big book of 956 pages of herbal knowledge and still be without the needed keys to top successful appliance or practice. Skills are called for too, along with the reading and learning. It is often like that.

Q: While you are at it, make effort to present some more elegant sayings for better living too, please. Please, open the treasure chests of such knowledge and decide to lavish - give away!

Imploring others, is it proper faith in one's inner nature?

Q: You are teaching practically. Have you got any particular message for practitioners of maldil yoga?

Maldil - many good things - had better be taught and practiced to one's advantage. Trusting in hanky-pankies can lead astray.


Acting from a calm centre should be preserved, as you should preserve good things in general. A calm centre helps calm observation. To ascertain true and significant details of this and that is a boon. Thus, study and learn to use basic facts to promote what is good in life. [More]

Mending the Pen

When King Bushir came to the throne, his interests were swayed from favouring the country. Often he idled away his time with his concubines and favoured whoever pandered to his base passions and desires, no matter whether such a person was a traitor or not. But as to those who saw they had to admonish him for his wayward life, he shooed or even punished them. As a result, the state declined rapidly.

An old loyal minister warned the king frankly of the coming danger, "The country is getting weaker and weaker. If you don't mend your ways right away, I am afraid you will lose the country to the neighbouring king, who wants it."

The king became red with anger and shouted, "What a stupid man we have got here, cursing his own motherland with such evil words! Away with you while you are still safe and sound!"

The minister saw that he could not turn the tide, so he withdrew and went to a third country, where he lived much by himself in a cottage.

Five months later a neighbouring king invaded the country of King Bushir and took the capital. The defeated king had to flee for life. Sad in mind he realised his mistakes and recalled what his minister had said, and sent for him. "You can imagine how I repent what I did," he said, "Only it's too late for that now."

The old minister looked at the king, remained silent for a while, and then said, "Would you mind listening to a story? Here it is:

A shepherd got up one morning to find one of his sheep lost. He examined the pen and saw a hole in it. A wolf had got in there and robbed him of one of his sheep. His neighbours advised him to mend it at once, but he answered, "What is the use of doing it now, after the sheep is gone already?'

Next morning another sheep was gone through the same hole. Now the shepherd did not hesitate to mend his sheepfold. Well, King Bushir, do you think it was too late?"

The king nodded and realised he should get ready for the battles that were needed to take back his capital, or lose his life while trying.

Conclude professionally the day you can, and do not get immaturely, rashly sure

Fight less if you can afford to. Being truthful should not preferably be any big break-through. We could instead try to conclude well wherever we are as we go step by step along, for sound and proficient conclusion work could bring insights and it tends to give help one way or another. There is also sound reason to think that both pleasure and suffering are hallmarks of being alive, but you can favour one and not the other.

So what decisions should you take now? There may be practical preparations, like-minded ones, and paths with a nice direction and end. Yet if they turn away from what is natural, candid, harmonious, rather much could be at stake after some time.


Texts for some reason, an essay, Literature  

Masunaga, Reiho, tr. A Primer of Soto Zen. A Translation of Dogen's Shobogenzo Zuimonki. Honolulu: University Press, 1975.

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