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From Zen Annals

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

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].

A miscalculation

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.

⚶ ⚶ ⚶

Q: What is . . .? It must be very secret, since I have not even heard of it. Have you got any particular message for practitioners of . . .?


Teacher, hesitation, a secret, Literature  

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

Harvesting the hay

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