Sleeves Tied Back

Commentaries on Dogen zenji's Tenzo kyokun

by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi

Vanier Zendo, October-November 1986

transcribed and edited by Ven. Jinmyo Renge osho-ajari

These three classes were presented in 1986 by Roshi following zazen at the Vanier Zendo, the White Wind Zen Community's second centre. The classes were very informal so they should not be regarded as teisho. Anzan roshi was still working on a draft of the translation of "Tenzo kyokun: Instructions For the Tenzo" that he had done with Joshu Dainen zenji and so he used the translation published in "Moon in a Dewdrop" edited by Kazuaki Tanahashi. Had he been working from his own finished text, the classes would no doubt have been quite different. I have edited the text by inserting Roshi's translation which was published together with Dogen zenji's "Fushukuhanpo: How to Use Your Bowls" in 1996 as "Cooking Zen."

Ven. Jinmyo Renge osho-ajari
Dainen-ji, February 23, 2004

Tenzo kyokun Class 1: Sleeves Tied Back

by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi

October 28, 1986 at the Vanier Zendo

This week we are going to begin taking a look at a text by Dogen zenji called "Tenzo kyokun" or "Instructions to the Chief Cook". It will probably take us several classes to work with this text and even so we are just going to go through it in a fairly introductory manner because this is a text which was composed separately from the 95 chapters of the "Shobogenzo". It is one of the texts contained within the "Eihei Shingi", or "Monastic Rules" which Dogen zenji composed for his monks at Eihei-ji and so a lot of the content of the text is intended directly for monks and priests and so on and so forth and their particular lifestyle and their particular way of doing things. But nonetheless this text has turned out to be one of the more "popular" of Dogen zenji's texts, shall we say, in the west, along with Genjokoan, Fukanzazengi and Uji. Several translations of "Tenzo kyokun" have come out and so obviously people seem to find something in the text; and what is in the text are instructions on how to cook as practice, how to take care of oneself and others and of what one is doing as practice.

Practice is concerned with realizing Buddha Nature, realizing that we have Buddha Nature, and completely Waking Up to Buddha Nature, completely manifesting Buddha Nature, leaving no gaps in our practice. So often we feel that only sitting is practice or perhaps kinhin is practice, or perhaps chanting is practice. But we breathe in and we breathe out and we move. If we live a life of practice, then this is practice.

Within the Jewel Net of Indra, within the luminous interdependence of all that is, all of this coming and going, nothing is separate from anything else and yet, everything is distinct and vibrant and clear. Because it is distinct and vibrant and clear it shows its Face1 clearly. And by looking into the Face of what this moment shows us we recognize this Face to be our own face and any task that we do brings this Face before us. In the practice of this Way there is nothing which can be left out and there is nothing which can be left undone. And so a lot of this text is concerned with very precise ways of doing things and it is also concerned with telling the tenzo, or the chief cook, how important it is to plan out just precisely how much food will be needed for the monks, how many monks there are in the Zendo; if there is anyone in the sick room; are there any visiting monks, and so on and so forth so that there will be enough food with no wastage.

This can contradict some of the more popular notions of what Zen practice is about. Zen practice is about being spontaneous and just doing whatever comes up in the moment - knocking over tables and laughing madly and so on and so forth. And these romantic notions can be quite attractive, especially when we are trying to escape our own responsibilities. We would like to validate this escape by pretending that it is Zen, following the Dao, the Way of Zen. The Way of the Dao, the Way of this moment is to complete this moment. If you breathe in, you have to breathe out. If you take one step, you take another step. And so you don't leave things undone; you don't leave things that others will have to take responsibility for because within this Jewel Net of Indra you are not alone.

This reminds me of something I was reading just recently about certain actions that occurred around 1945. Some scientists had fashioned an object named "Trinity". Trinity was the first atomic bomb. The scientists had had quite a good time working on Trinity. There were all sorts of sweet technical details to work out, simply fascinating work. When they were finished they weren't sure whether this thing was going to work or not. So as the test date drew near, there were all kinds of speculations as to what might happen. Perhaps it wouldn't go off. There seemed to be an outside chance that an atomic explosion would cause the atmosphere to catch on fire and the entire planet would burn. But they thought they'd take that risk because they wanted to see if it would work. One scientist was taking side bets as to whether the State of New Mexico would be vaporized.

Perhaps it is me, but this seems to be a little short-sighted. But how often do we do this, do we do something regardless of the effect that it will have on others or on ourselves? How often do we do things which, later on, we are ashamed of? Why would we do something that would embarrass us? But we do these things.

The law of karma, the law of cause and effect holds. (Although if one looks closer at the law of cause and effect, if one looks completely at this whole moment, one recognizes completely the Great Mirror Wisdom and sees that even cause and effect doesn't hold because actually nothing has ever happened. There is just simply this seamless web.) Yet still cause and effect hold. A moment of ignorance makes room for more moments of ignorance. The more dreams you allow yourself, the more that you dream; the more that you steal, the easier that you make it for yourself to steal. Why would you do such a thing? Why would we limit ourselves in these ways? And yet we do, forgetting that if we breathe in, we have to breathe out, we have to complete everything that we do.

So, in practice, we even have formal ways of taking meals known as "oryoki", in which there are no bowls or chopsticks or spoons that a practitioner leaves behind for someone else who has to clean up after them. When we finish sitting we fluff up the zafu and rest it against the wall. When we see someone, we look into their eyes.

So with this introduction we can begin to look at this text:

From ancient times communities of the practice of the Way of Awake Awareness have had six office holders who, as disciples of the Buddha, guide the activities of Awakening the community. Amongst these, the tenzo bears the responsibility of caring for the community's meals. The Zen Monastic Standards states, "The tenzo functions as the one who makes offerings with reverence to the monks."

Since ancient times this office has been held by realized monks who have the mind of the Way or by senior disciples who have roused the Way-seeking mind. This work requires exerting the Way. Those entrusted with this work but who lack the Way-seeking mind will only cause and endure hardship despite all their efforts. The Zen Monastic Standards states, "Putting the mind of the Way to work, serve carefully varied meals appropriate to each occasion and thus offer everyone to practice without hindrance."

In times past such great masters as Guishan Lingyu, Dongshan Shouchu, and others have served in this post. Although this is a matter of preparing and serving meals, the tenzo is not just "the cook."

So first of all, a large monastery has six officers, six people put in charge of various functions. Besides the teacher there is the administrator or director and his assistant, a treasurer, a practice supervisor, a cook and a work leader. None of these are simply people working on jobs. These are people fulfilling Buddha activity, the activity of Buddha, the activities of the monastery, except that these positions were held by accomplished monks who have Way-seeking mind. We have had classes on this Way-seeking mind of bodaishin. Bodaishin, this Way-seeking mind, is the beginning point of practice, when we have some glimpse, some possibility of recognizing some innate dignity, wisdom, compassion, and all-embracing humour within ourselves. This is actually the starting point of our practice. We might be quite confused; we might have a great deal of suffering that we hope practice will take care of, that practice will help us to clarify it, and this possibility of clarification is the beginning point of practice: The recognition that there is something wrong and that it can somehow be righted is the Way-seeking mind. But the Way-seeking mind does not seek the Way elsewhere; it seeks the Way within this moment, within this action. Each action is the Way-seeking mind. The full realization of this Way-seeking mind is Ocean Seal Samadhi,2 is entering into the whole moment. It is complete kensho. And yet it doesn't end, this complete kensho doesn't end. The Way-seeking mind does not end. Although it does not look for the Way elsewhere, it does not blind itself to the fact that the Way continues endlessly. So the Way continually seeks the Way. Kensho is seeing into our own nature. Waking Up to this inherent Buddha Nature is Waking Up to the possibility of Waking Up and Waking Up again and again and again, moment after moment, action after action, completely seeing Complete Nature moment after moment. Not stopping with feeling better, not stopping with clarity, not stopping with compassion or all-embracing skillful means but continuing: continually penetrating the ten directions and the three times, seeing this coming and going, recognizing time and space and selves to be merely the compilation of intelligence, the deportment of this bodymind, that this bodymind is the Way itself. Each action is the Way itself. Each action is the Way-seeking mind. To truly fulfill the function of tenzo, one must have such a mind.

When I was in Song China, during spare moments I enquired of many elder monks who had served in the various offices about their experience. Their words to me were from the bone and marrow of the Awakened Ancestors who, having attained the Way, have passed it through the ages. We should carefully study the Zen Monastic Standards to understand the responsibility of the tenzo and also carefully consider the words of these senior monks. The cycle of one day and night begins following the noon meal. At this time the tenzo should go to the administrator and assistant administrator and procure the rice, vegetables, and other ingredients for the next day's morning and noon meals. Having received these things, you must care for them as you would the pupils of your own eyes. Thus Zen master Baoning Renyong said, "Care for the monastery's materials as if they were your eyes." The tenzo handles all food with respect, as if it were for the emperor; both cooked and uncooked food should be cared for in this way.

Following this all of the officers gather in the kitchen building in order to carefully consider the next days meals with regard to flavourings, vegetables to be used, and the kind of rice-gruel. The Zen Monastic Standards states, "In deciding the morning and noon meals, the amount of food and number of dishes, the tenzo should consult the other officers. The six officers are the administrator, assistant administrator, treasurer, disciplinarian, tenzo, and head caretaker. After the menu is decided post it on boards by the abbot's residence and the study hall." Following this the morning gruel may be prepared.

Do not just leave washing the rice or preparing the vegetables to others but use your own hands, your own eyes, your own sincerity. Do not fragment your attention but see what each moment calls for; if you take care of just one thing then you will be careless of the other. Do not miss the opportunity of offering even a single drop into the ocean of merit or a grain atop the mountain of the roots of beneficial activity.

The Zen Monastic Standards states, "If the six flavours are not in harmony and three virtues are lacking, then the tenzo is not truly serving the community."

It says do not give away your opportunity. Each task that is presented to us is an opportunity to complete this task, to complete this moment, to realize this Buddha nature. So if we are given something to do this is not a burden, it is an opportunity. If someone yells at us this is an opportunity for us to see how we are at that moment and to recognize their mind as our own mind and somehow to evoke the dignity of Buddha nature within that moment. This is an opportunity, not an attack. When someone is hungry, to feed them is an opportunity, an opportunity to extend ourselves past our usual limits to enter completely into the real world.

Be careful of sand when you wash the rice, be careful of the rice when you throw out the sand. Take continuous care and the three virtues will be naturally complete and the six flavours harmonious.

The six tastes are sweet, salty, sour, so on and so forth.3 The three virtues are mildness, purity and dignity. So the food that you present to the monks is not slop. You treat each vegetable, each grain of rice completely, using it as an offering, an offering of your own practice to those in the Zendo who are practising. When we chant our brief form of the Meal Chant we go through the five reflections:

This meal arises from the labour of all beings,
May we remember this offering.
Greed arises from self-cherishing,
May we be free in moderation.
This offering sustains us, gives us strength
May we be grateful.
We use this strength
And attain the Way,

And so there is this sense of responsibility even in eating, in even being able to take a breath. Because all sentient beings throughout all times and all directions are sustaining and feeding and nursing and in turn, you feed and nourish and nurse them.

Wash the sand when you examine the rice. Wash the rice when you throw away the sand. Be careful.

There is the story of Huineng and Hongren. When Huineng, the Sixth Ancestor was studying at Hongren's monastery, his main work there was to mill the rice. And after he'd shown some promise Hongren approached him and asked him what he was doing and he said, "I am sifting the rice. I am sifting the chaff from the rice."

And Hongren said, "Is it complete?"

Huineng said, "I am still sifting the rice".

He was still completing his practice with each grain of rice, still clarifying his mind moment to moment to moment. Although he'd shown great promise he did not take this promise as a credential, he continued his practice through the work of sifting grains of rice.

Xuefeng once practiced as tenzo under Zen master Dongshan. Once when he was washing rice, Dongshan said, "Do you wash the sand away from the rice, or the rice away from the sand?"

Xuefeng said, "I wash them both away together?"

Dongshan said, "Then what will the community eat?"

Xuefeng overturned the washing bowl.

Dongshan said, "You should go and study with someone else. Soon."

Senior students, from ancient times, always practiced with the mind which finds the Way and so how can we of later generations not do the same? Those of old tell us, "For the tenzo, the mind which finds the Way actualizes itself through working with rolled up sleeves."

Working with the sleeves tied back. - A monk's koromo, the formal robes, have very, very long sleeves which tend to get in your way, knocking over incense burners and so on and so forth, truly helping one to be quite mindful. But in order to do any task, even to write a letter and certainly to work in the kitchen, you draw the sleeves back, you tie them behind your back so that they stay. So this is truly rolling up your sleeves and getting to work.

You yourself should examine the rice and sand so that rice is not thrown out with sand. The Zen Monastic Standards states, "In preparing the food, the tenzo is responsible for examining it to ensure that it is clean." Do not waste grains of rice when draining off the rinsing water. In olden times a cloth bag was used as a filter when draining the rinse water. When the rice is placed in the iron cooking pot, take care of it so that rats do not fall into it or idlers just hang around poking at it.

After cooking the vegetables for the morning meal and before preparing rice and soup for the noon meal bring together the rice pots and other utensils and make sure that everything is well-ordered and clean. Put whatever goes to a high place in a high place and whatever goes to a low place in a low place so that, high and low, everything settles in the place appropriate for it.

There is no "high" or "low", one just puts things where they go. No vegetable is better than another vegetable. No person is better than another person. No moment is better than another moment because it is always this moment and whoever you meet, you meet this person.

Chopsticks for vegetables, ladles, and all other tools should be chosen with great care, cleaned thoroughly, and placed well.

After this, begin work on the coming day's meals. Remove any weevils, lentils, husks, sand, and pebbles carefully. While you are selecting the rice and vegetables, the tenzo's assistants should chant the sutras to the shining being of the hearth. When preparing the vegetables or ingredients for the soup which have been received from the office do not disparage the quantity or quality but instead handle everything with great care. Do not despair or complain about the quantity of the materials. Throughout the day and night, practice the coming and going of things as arising in the mind, the mind turning and displaying itself as things.

Sincerity. Sincerity is the root of our practice. It is how we practice, body, breath, sincere with the breath, working with the koan, questioning sincerely and completely and whole-heartedly. This one word: "sincerity".

Put together the ingredients for the morning meal before midnight and begin cooking after midnight. After the morning meal, clean the rice cooking pots and soup pots for the noon meal. The tenzo should always be present at the sink when the rice is being soaked and the water measured. Watching with clear eyes, ensure that not a single grain is wasted. Washing it well, place it in the pots, make a fire, and boil it. An old teacher said, "Regard the cooking pot as your own head, the water your own life-blood." Place the cooked rice in bamboo baskets in summer and wooden serving buckets in winter and set these out on trays. While the rice is boiling, cook the soup and vegetables.

The tenzo supervises this personally. This is true whether the tenzo works alone or has assistants to tend the fire or prepare the utensils. Recently, Zen monasteries have developed positions such as rice-cook and soup-cook who work under the tenzo. The tenzo is always responsible for whatever is done. In olden times the tenzo did everything without any assistance.

In preparing food never view it from the perspective of usual mind or on the basis of feeling-tones. Taking up a blade of grass erect magnificent monasteries, turn the Wheel of Reality within a grain of dust. If you only have wild grasses with which to make a broth, do not disdain them. If you have ingredients for a creamy soup do not be delighted. Where there is no attachment, there can be no aversion. Do not be careless with poor ingredients and do not depend on fine ingredients to do your work for you but work with everything with the same sincerity. If you do not do so then it is like changing your behaviour according to the status of the person you meet; this is not how a student of the Way is.

Strengthen your resolve and work whole-heartedly to surpass the monks of old and be even more thorough than those who have come before you. Do this by trying to make as fine a soup for a few cents as the ancients could make a coarse broth for the same amount.

The difficulty is that present and the past are separated by a gulf as great as between sky and earth and no one now can be compared to those of ancient times. However, through complete practice of seeing the nature of things you will be able to find a way. If this isn't clear to you it is because your thoughts speed about like a wild horse and feeling-tones careen about like a monkey in the trees. Let the monkey and horse step back and be seen clearly and the gap is closed naturally. In this way, turn things while being turned by them.

When you are practising there is the wild horse and there is the monkey, galloping and climbing throughout the bodymind. You don't whip them, you don't beat them. You simple ask them to look at themselves, to recognize themselves and through this comes sincerity; through this comes clarity; through this comes whole-heartedness.

Clarify and harmonize your life without losing the single Eye which sees the context or the two eyes which recognize the details.

The single Eye is the eye which sees oneness. The two eyes see multiplicity - see the difference between a grain of rice and a lentil.

Taking up a vegetable leaf manifests the Buddha's sixteen-foot golden body; take up the sixteen-foot golden body and display it as a vegetable leaf. This is the power of functioning freely as the awakening activity which benefits all beings.
Having prepared the food, put everything where it belongs. Do not miss any detail. When the drum sounds or the bells are struck, follow the assembly for morning zazen and in the evening go to the master's quarters to receive teachings.

And so the tenzo has an awful lot to do and yet does not neglect his own practice.

When you return to the kitchen, count the number of monks present in the Monks' Hall; try closing your eyes. Don't forget about the senior monks and retired elders in their own quarters or those who are sick. Take into account any new arrivals in the entry hall or anyone who is on leave. Don't forget anyone. If you have any questions consult the officers, the heads of the various halls, or the head monk.

When this is done, calculate just how much food to prepare: for each grain of rice needed, supply one grain. One portion can be divided into two halves, or into thirds or fourths. If two people tend to each want a half-serving, then count this as the quantity for a single full serving. You must know the difference that adding or subtracting one serving would make to the whole.

If the assembly eats one grain of rice from Luling, the tenzo is the monk Guishan. In serving a grain of that rice, the tenzo sees the assembly become the ox. The ox swallows Guishan. Guishan herds the ox.

There are references to two koan here. Rice from Luling is a very expansive and wonderful, tasty kind of rice and in answer to the question, "What is the meaning of Buddha Dharma?" one Zen master says, "What is the price of rice from Luling?"

The other koan involves Guishan who told his monks that in his next lifetime he would come back as a water buffalo. On one side of the buffalo's chest would be written, "I am the monk Guishan". So at that moment, is it Guishan or is it a water buffalo? The water buffalo looks at Guishan; Guishan looks at the water buffalo. There is complete mutuality when the tenzo brings in the rice, serves the monks, he sees the water buffalo, he sees Guishan. When the monks look at the tenzo they see the water buffalo and they see Guishan. The monks see the monk. Mutuality sees mutuality in the rice.

Are your measurements right or are they off? Have those you consulted been correct in their counting? Review this as best as you can and then direct the kitchen accordingly. This practice of effort after effort, day after day, should not be forgotten.

When a patron visits the monastery and makes a donation for the noon meal, discuss this with the other officers. This is the tradition of Zen monasteries. Other offerings to be distributed should also be discussed with the other officers. In this way, the responsibilities of others are not disrupted nor your own neglected.

And so I believe we will leave the text at this point, but there is still quite a bit to go. Are there any questions or any comments that anyone would like to make about this text or any related matter?

I did not think there would be.

Sometimes this kind of text can seem not quite as exciting as Uji or Genjokoan, and yet in many ways, simple and straightforward instructions like these are the most precious because they are the ones so difficult to complete. He is saying sit there and follow your breath. It sounds very simple but it involves the entire bodymind. Every action involves your entire bodymind. We can hear about various koan and so on and so forth, but perhaps the most precious instruction we might receive from our teacher is how to walk during kinhin, how to bow. Completely bowing, completely walking, completely sitting, completely cooking, completely eating. This is the completion of the Buddha Way which never ends and always completes itself.

And so we will end with gassho.

  • 1. Roshi is referring to "honrai memmuku", the Original Face of Awareness.
  • 2. Kai-in Zanmai.
  • 3. Bitter, sour, sweet, hot, mild, salty.

Tenzo kyokun Class 2: "If Not Now, When?"

by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi

November 4, 1986 at the Vanier Zendo

We will continue from where we left off in the "Tenzo kyokun".

When the meal is ready and set out on trays, at noon and morning put on the wrap robe, spread your bowing mat, offer incense and do nine great bows in the direction of the Monks' Hall. When this is done, send out the food.

These nine-fold bows are done by the tenzo because his work, as tenzo, is an offering to the Sangha of monks and nuns and priests, an offering to practice. The practice of his work is offered to the practice of sitting.

Day and night, the work for preparing the meals must be done without wasting a moment. If you do this and everything that you do whole-heartedly, this nourishes the seeds of Awakening and brings ease and joy to the practice of the community.

Although the Buddha's Teachings have been heard for a long time in Japan, I have never heard of any one speaking or writing about how food should be prepared within the monastic community as an expression of the Teachings, let alone such details as offering nine bows before sending forth the food. As a consequence, we Japanese have taken no more consideration of how food should be prepared in a monastic context than have birds or animals. This is cause for regret, especially since there is no reason for this to be so.

When I was staying at Tiantong-jingde-si, a monk named Lu from Qingyuan fu held the post of tenzo. Once, following the noon meal I was walking along the eastern covered walkway towards a sub-temple called Chaoran Hut when I came upon him in front of the Buddha Hall drying mushrooms in the sun. He had a bamboo stick in his hand and no hat covering his head. The heat of the sun was blazing on the paving stones. It looked very painful; his back was bent like a bow and his eyebrows were as white as the feathers of a crane. I went up to the tenzo and asked, "How long have you been a monk?" "Sixty-eight years," he said.

"Why don't you have an assistant do this for you?"

"Other people are not me."

You are you, I am I. He is recognizing there is no separation between us until our work is done completely for others, all of the beings which arise within our bodyminds, all of the thoughts that we have, all of the colours that we see, all of the sounds that we hear - offering realization to these beings, offering the work of tenzo to the beings in the Zendo. Although there is no separateness, each thing is distinct: red is red and blue is blue; rice is rice and soup is soup. We don't mix them up but we don't split them apart.

"Venerable sir, I can see how you follow the Way through your work. But still, why do this now when the sun is so hot?"

"If not now, when?"

Don't try to leave your practice to some other time or to someone else. Don't try to leave it to the Teacher; don't try to leave it to fate. Don't absorb yourself in the breath; don't abstract yourself in the breath. When following the breath, follow the breath completely. When a thought comes up, penetrate completely. When a sound comes up, penetrate completely. Don't delegate your authority within practice, practice completely.

There was nothing else to say. As I continued on my way along the eastern corridor I was moved by how important the work of the tenzo is.

In May of 1223 I was staying aboard the ship at Qingyuan. Once I was speaking with the captain when a monk about sixty years of age came aboard to buy mushrooms from the ship's Japanese merchants. I asked him to have tea with me and asked where he was from. He was the tenzo from Ayuwang shan.

He said, "I come from Xishu but it is now forty years since I've left there and I am now sixty-one. I have practiced in several monasteries. When the Venerable Daoquan became abbot at Guyun temple of Ayuwang I went there but just idled the time away, not knowing what I was doing. Fortunately, I was appointed tenzo last year when the summer Training Period ended. Tomorrow is May 5th…

The day on which Bodhidharma died.

but I don't have anything special offerings for the monks so I thought I'd make a nice noodle soup for them. We didn't have any mushrooms so I came here to give the monks something from the ten directions."

"When did you leave Ayuwang shan?" I asked.

"After the noon meal." "How far is it from here?" "Around twelve miles." "When are you going back to the monastery?"

"As soon as I've bought the mushrooms."

I said, "As we have had the unexpected opportunity to meet and talk like this today, I would like you to stay a while longer and allow me to offer Zen master tenzo a meal."

"Oh, I'm sorry, but I just can't. If I am not there to prepare tomorrow's meal it won't go well."

"But surely someone else in the monastery knows how to cook? If you're not there it can't make that much difference to everyone."

"I have been given this responsibility in my old age and it is this old man's practice. How can I leave to others what I should do myself? As well, when I left I didn't ask for permission to be gone overnight."

"Venerable sir, why put yourself to the difficulty of working as a cook in your old age? Why not just do zazen and study the koan of the ancient masters?"

The tenzo laughed for a long time and then he said, "My foreign friend, it seems you don't really understand practice or the words of the ancients."

Hearing this elder monk's words I felt ashamed and surprised. I asked, "What is practice? What are words?"

The tenzo said, "Keep asking and penetrate this question and then you will be someone who understands."

Here Dogen zenji missed the meaning of his own words, the speaking of his own words, to penetrate the mind which speaks at that moment. This is the meaning of practice. This is the meaning of the words of the ancient masters of koan, the complete display. Penetrate one mind moment and you will find it is as vast as the world itself. It is Sagara Mudra Samadhi. It is Ocean Seal. One mind moment contains the three times and ten directions.

But I didn't know what he was talking about and so the tenzo said, "If you don't understand then come and see me at Ayuwang shan some time. We'll talk about the meaning of words." Having said this, he stood up and said, "It'll be getting dark soon. I'd best hurry." And he left.

In July of the same year I was staying at Tiantong shan when the tenzo of Ayuwang shan came to see me and said, "After the summer Training Period is over I'm going to retire as tenzo and go back to my native region. I heard from a fellow monk that you were here and so I came to see how you were making out."

I was overjoyed. I served him tea as we sat down to talk. When I brought up our discussion on the ship about words and practice, the tenzo said, "If you want to understand words you must look into what words are. If you want to practice, you must understand what practice is."

I asked, "What are words?"
The tenzo said, "One, two, three, four, five."
I asked again, "What is practice?"
"Everywhere, nothing is hidden."

Right here: this is the origin of practice. This is root of practice.

We talked about many other things but I won't go into that now. Suffice it to say that without this tenzo's kind help I would not have had any understanding of words or of practice. When I told my late teacher Myozen about this he was very pleased.

Later I found a verse that Xuedou wrote for a disciple:

"One, seven, three, five.
What you search for cannot be grasped.
As the night deepens, the moon brightens over the ocean.
The black dragon's jewel is found in every wave.
Looking for the moon, it is here in this wave and the next."

What the tenzo said is expressed here in Xuedou's verse as well. Then it was even clearer to me that the tenzo was truly a person of the Way.

Before I knew one, two three, four, five; now I know six, seven, eight, nine, ten. Monks, you and those to follow must understand practice and words through this and from that. Exert yourself in this way and you will practice the single true taste of Zen beyond words, undivided into the poisonous five flavours. Then you will be able to prepare food for the monastic community properly.

These numbers are all dharmas; all dharmas are these numbers. At first it is one, two, three, four five and then these are completely gone. And then it's five, six, seven, eight.

There are many old stories we can hear and present examples of monks training as tenzo. A great many teachings concern this because it is the heart of the Way.

What is this "one taste" that we are cooking up within our practice, that we are cooking up within our body and mind? What does this moment taste like? What does this sound taste like? What does the feeling of the tongue against the roof of your mouth taste like? Chew this taste to penetrate.

Even if you become the Abbot of a monastery, you should have this same understanding. The Zen Monastic Standards states, "Prepare each meal with each detail kept clear so that there will be enough. Make sure that the four offerings of food, clothing, bedding, and medicine are adequate just as the Generous One offered to his disciples the merit of twenty years of his lifetime.

This, of course, is from the Mahayana myth that the Buddha had an allotted life span of 100 years but he sacrificed the last 20 years of his life in order to offer it to all beings so that they would have a bit more time to practice and perhaps Wake Up. But in any case, it is an example of generosity.

We ourselves live today within the light of that gift because the energy of even a white hair between his brows is inexhaustible.

As well, the Buddha had a hair that curled clockwise between his brows. If you had a certain kind of mind you would see it as a hair. If you had another kind of mind you would see it as light.

It also says, "Just think about how to best serve the assembly without being hindered by thoughts of poverty. If your mind is limitless, you enjoy limitlessness." This is how the abbot serves the assembly.

And I too, would add, do not be limited by happiness.

In preparing food, it is essential to be sincere and to respect each ingredient irregardless of how coarse or fine it is. There is the example of the old woman who gained great merit through offering water in which she had rinsed rice to the Thus Come. And of King Ashoka creating roots of wholesomeness through offering half a mango to a monastery as he lay dying. As a result of this he realized the deathless in his next life. Even the grandest offering to the Buddha, if insincere, is worth less than the smallest sincere offering in bringing about a connection with awakening. This is how human beings should conduct themselves.

So, give what you can and receive what you can. Offer completely. Do not pretend that you cannot be Buddha. Buddha is born from the womb of the three klesas and so we give what we can and practice as we can. We exert ourselves as we are and without images of what our practice should be like. The practice is exertion in the midst of hope and fear, although complete exertion is free of hope and fear. But by facing hope and fear completely, we discover complete exertion. We do not have to get rid of the three klesas to realize that we are Buddha. We have to understand and penetrate the three klesas of passion, aggression and ignorance to realize that we are Buddha. If you wait until the three klesas are completely gone in order to be Buddha, when will this happen? What is the mind that gives rise to the three klesas? To say that we can't be Buddha because we just don't feel like Buddha? But what does Buddha feel like? What does Buddha think like? Who are you?

A rich buttery soup is not better as such than a broth of wild herbs. In handling and preparing wild herbs, do so as you would the ingredients for a rich feast, wholeheartedly, sincerely, clearly. When you serve the monastic assembly, they and you should taste only the flavour of the Ocean of Reality, the Ocean of unobscured Awake Awareness, not whether or not the soup is creamy or made only of wild herbs.

Within Ocean Seal, all dharmas penetrate all dharmas and yet no dharma is eliminated by all of these other dharmas. In the Jewel Net of Indra, each jewel reflects every other jewel and yet it is still a single jewel. Each mind moment reflects the three times and the ten directions. This bodymind is itself the entire Jewel Net of Indra. This Jewel Net of Indra is the entire bodymind.

In nourishing the seeds of living in the Way rich food and wild grass are not separate. There is the old saying, "The mouth of a monk is like a furnace." Bear this in mind. Wild grasses can nourish the seeds of Buddha and bring forth the buds of the Way. Do not regard them lightly. A teacher must be able to use a blade of wild grass to benefit humans and shining beings.

This means that food fuels the bodymind. We eat in order to fuel our practice. Nothing gets as hungry as Zen monks or hungry ghosts. And since food is fuel we do not search for fine tastes or reject that which is not a fine taste. We eat penetrating the taste. We eat, exerting practice of the moment when we eat without completely localizing on the food. Usually when people are served food and they like it they completely blank out everything else that is going on and they become absorbed in some sort of trance state and absorb themselves into the food, reinforce themselves with the food, become blinded by the food. If they don't like the food, they ignore it and just shovel it in. To find strength in food does not mean to ignore the taste but simply to realize what it tastes like.

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?

If you cannot even know what categories you fall into, how can you know about others? So let us not judge other people's practice. We see someone whose back is bent, we don't have to think that they are not sitting correctly. We see someone get angry, someone being scoffed at, we cannot criticize them for that. They are as they are and if they realize what they are doing and truly are trying to be wholehearted, then this is practice. We can only practice as we are. When we manifest through practice, we do so as we are, not according to images that we have about what we should be like when we practice so we should not have images about how other people should practice. We should not judge other people's practice because we cannot do practice for other people. We can only do our own practice. This is actually the essence of Sangha, this "harmonious community" of people gathered together in the Zendo and practicing together, but each person follows their own breath, works with their own koan, faces the wall with their own eyes. And so while we are mutually together in this Zendo we are all completely and utterly alone.

Although there are differences between seniors and juniors, 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.

Baizhang was a Zen Master in the Tang Dynasty after the Sixth Ancestor, who composed the Regulations for Zen Monasteries. This was a time when the Patimokkha of Indian forms of Buddhism were found to be not completely functional in China and so new modes of behaviour and practice had to be formed. So Baizhang was apparently the first to compose a set of rules for the conduct of monks within the Zen monastery. Actually, his text has been lost. There have been a lot of texts called the rule of Baizhang but the actual texts itself has been lost.

After I returned to Japan I stayed at Kennin-ji for around two years. They had the office of tenzo there but it was only nominal because no one actually carried out the real activity of this training post. They did not understand it as the activity of Awake Awareness so how could they have been able to use it to express the Way? Truly, it was very sad. The tenzo there had never encountered a living one who could use the office of tenzo as the functioning of Awake Awareness and so he carelessly idled away, breaking the standards of practice.

I watched the tenzo there quite closely. He never actually worked at preparing the morning and evening meals but just ordered about some rough servants, lacking in intelligence and heart, leaving to them all the tasks whether important or not. He never checked on whether they were working well or not, as if it would be shameful to do so like peeping into the private quarters of a neighbouring woman. He just hung about in his own rooms, reading sutras or chanting when he wasn't lying down or chatting. Months would go by before he would even come close to a pot, let alone buy utensils or make out a menu. He did not understand that these activities are the exertion of Awareness.

How can you know without doing them?

The practice of donning the wrap robe and offering nine bows before sending out the food was something he would never have even dreamed of; it just wouldn't have occurred to him. As he himself did not understand the office of tenzo, when it came time for him to teach a novice how to carry out the office what understanding could be passed on? It was very regrettable. Although one might have the fortune to hold this post, if one is without the mind which uncovers the Way and fails to meet with one who has the virtue of the Way, it is like returning empty-handed after climbing a mountain of treasure or entering an ocean of jewels.

We all have these opportunities, moment to moment with every task that we face, every breath that we take, to completely realize Ocean Seal and to completely penetrate the three times; to completely realize ourselves as Buddha. But moment after moment we seem to come away empty handed. Dogen zenji's Transmission is empty hands, holding onto nothing, but holding surely, completely, and letting go completely. With each breath, with each moment, with each task, with each thought we can see this coming and going clearly, realize this coming and going to be the nature of the Buddha's Awoken self.

Although you might not have the mind which uncovers the Way, if you meet one manifesting the True Person you can then practice and unfold the Way. Or, even if you cannot meet with one who is the display of the True Person, by yourself deeply arousing the seeking for the Way, you can begin the Way. If you lack both of these, what is the point?

In the many monasteries of the mountains of Song China that I have seen, the monks holding the various offices train in these posts for a year at a time, each of them in each moment practicing by three standards. Firstly, to benefit others benefits yourself. Second, make every effort to maintain and renew the monastic environment. Third, follow the standards set forth by the examples of excellent practitioners of past and present and come to stand with them.

You should understand that foolish people hold their practice as if it belonged to someone else, wise people practice with everyone as themselves.

An ancient teacher

This is actually Xuedou here.

said, "Two-thirds of your life has passed without clarifying who you are. Eating your life, muddling about in this and that, you don't even turn when called on. Pathetic."

From this verse we can see that if you have not met a true teacher, you will just follow the lead of your tendencies. And this is pathetic. It's like the story of the foolish son who leaves his parent's home with the family treasure and then throws it away on a dung heap. Do not waste your opportunity as that man did.
Considering those who in the past made good use of their training as tenzo, we can see that their virtues were equal to those of their office. The great Daigu woke up while training as tenzo and Dongshan Shouchou's "Three pounds of flax," occurred while he was tenzo.

When he was tenzo, in answer to the question, "What is Buddha?" "What is the meaning of Bodhidharma's coming from the West?"

The only thing of value is the realization of the Way, the only time that is precious is each moment of realizing the Way.

Examples of those who long for the Way are many. There is the story of a child offering the Buddha a handful of sand as a great treasure. Another is of someone who made images of the Buddha and had reverence for them and thus had great benefit follow them. How much more benefit must there be in fulfilling the office of tenzo through actualizing its possibilities as have those excellent ones who have practiced before us?

I think we will leave the text now.

Is there anything anyone would like to talk about? Any questions?

Well until we look at this text again, we will just cook ourselves thoroughly.

Tenzo kyokun Class 3: Senshin

by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi

November 17, 1986 at the Vanier Zendo

So tonight we are going to finish this series of talks on the Tenzo kyokun. Dogen zenji says:

When we train in any of the offices of the monastery we should do so with a joyful heart, a motherly heart, a vast heart.

These three minds are known as senshin. The first, joyful mind, is "kishin"; motherly mind is "Roshin" and vast mind is "Daishin". And so that is what we are going to be discussing this evening basically - three modes or aspects of compassionate activity. Dogen zenji says:

A "joyful heart" rejoices and recognizes meaning. You should consider that were you to be born in the realm of the shining beings you would be absorbed in indulgence with the qualities of that realm so that you would not rouse the recognition of uncovering the Way and so have no opportunity to practice. And so how could you use cooking as an offering to the Three Jewels? Nothing is more excellent than the Three Jewels of the Buddha, the Teachings, and the Community of those who practice and realize the Way. Neither being the king of gods nor a world ruler can even compare with the Three Jewels. The Zen Monastic Standards states, "The monastic community is the most excellent of all things because those who live thus live beyond the narrowness of social fabrications." Not only do we have the fortune of being born as human beings but also of being able to cook meals to be offered to the Three Jewels. We should rejoice and be grateful for this.

We can also reflect on how our lives would be were we to have been born in the realms of hell beings, hungry ghosts, animals, or jealous gods. How difficult our lives would be in those four situations or if we had been born in any of the eight adverse conditions. We would not then be able to practice together with the strength of a monastic community even should it occur to us to aspire to it, let alone be able to offer food to the Three Jewels with our own hands. Instead our bodies and minds would be bound within the limits of those circumstances, merely vessels of contraction.

So this thing about being born in the realm of the gods - I think I have discussed it various times: the six realms of birth or the six modes of being, starting with the hell realm. In the hell realm it is said that beings are completely encompassed, completely engulfed with anger or hatred, so much so that it is like fire or like ice and it is extremely claustrophobic. There is no way out of this heat or this cold. This is a state of mind we often find ourselves in. When we are extremely angry our sense perceptions are quite dense and chunky. We are not able to see very clearly. It is almost as if we are being crushed by our own feelings and there doesn't seem to be any way out of these feelings because they seem to be so overpowering, we have invested ourselves so thoroughly in them.

The next realm of being is that of the hungry ghosts or preta. The preta is a being completely consumed by the passion for consumption; someone who has such an overwhelming and massive sense of poverty that they are always trying to fill that poverty. So they are pictured as someone with an extremely large, distended, bloated belly, a pencil thin neck and a small pin-prick hole for the mouth. So despite the vast, overwhelming hunger that is rumbling around in their stomachs they are unable to feed themselves. They can't fit any food through there. And of course we are often in this state of mind. We want something to take away our sense of frustration, we want something to make us feel better, something that we can consume, which refers to trying to seduce other people into admiring us or giving us something, trying to absorb music - we are listening to music but we are doing so with a sense of restlessness. It doesn't let us even hear the music. But we want to pull that music into us, we want to dance, we want to do something just in order to get away from the sense of overwhelming pettiness and frustration.

The next realm of being is that of the animal realm. This realm is comprised of an attitude which can only see what is right in front of it. This might sound a little bit like being right in the moment, but what is actually going on is that there are almost blinkers so that all that you are seeing is the next meal or whether something is going to threaten you. It is a state of ignorance, of stupidity, of dullness, of simply functioning at our lowest possible level.

The next is the human realm, and we will talk about that once we have talked about the next two realms.

The fifth realm is that of the asuras, or titans or demi-gods and these are states of mind that we can get into where we feel quite powerful but at the same time there seems to be somebody who is a bit more powerful than we. Or we are feeling quite good but not quite as good as we could and so there is an overwhelming sense of jealousy, a sense of trying to overcome something, trying to get back to something, trying to achieve.

And then the sixth realm is the realm of the gods. In the realm of the gods we are completely blissed out, we are completely absorbed in pleasure; this pleasure being perhaps very subtle states of mind gained through concentration or it might just simply be having a new car or "look at that beautiful sunset" and we don't see the sunset, we just get absorbed in our feelings about that sunset. So the main principle of the god realm is absorption within blissful states.

Now the common denominator of all of these states of being, all of these realms of being, is that one is completely engulfed in these things. One is completely engulfed in anger; one is completely engulfed in passion and so on. The human realm is said to have all of the characteristics of these other realms but to a lesser degree. So therefore, we are able to notice that they shift back and forth. Sometimes we feel good, sometimes we feel bad. Our states are being changed from moment to moment and because of this we have the possibility of seeing our situation clearly rather than being completely engulfed by hatred and anger we have some spark of intelligence which can recognize that anger. But even so we tend to circle through these realms throughout our day and every now and then we sort of stumble into the human realm, stumble into the realm of intelligence and get some sort of breath of fresh air. And this is when practice becomes truly possible.

So practice is basically concerned with, first of all, getting us to stay in the human realm rather than becoming completely absorbed in these states at the very least, without worrying about being a Buddha or anything, try to be a decent human being in the first place. And that is the working ground for recognizing the fact that not only are you a decent human being, you are Buddha. But without being in the human realm it is not possible to truly practice.

Now, of course, in traditional cultures these states of being are often considered to be actual modes of existence, actual worlds and if we are born into any of those worlds then it is impossible for us to practice because we will be engulfed by whatever the characteristic of that is. So having a joyful mind is taking a huge sense of joy in just being able to practice, in just being able to see when we are caught up in passion, when we are caught up in frustration, when we are caught up in jealousy. Taking a joy in intelligence and in the ability to practice so that we see all of the things which arise, dwell and decay within our various states of mind as being dharma, things which are teaching us, things which are workable. So this sense of joy is not congratulating ourselves and patting ourselves on the back. It is a matter of getting down to work and doing what we do as completely and fully as possible - when we see, to see as fully as possible, to just see; when we hear, to just hear. And it is from the precision of this quality of "just", this quality of "tada" or "just", that a sense of joyousness begins to come up because there is a sense of not doing anything unnecessary, not seeing anything unnecessary, but seeing what we are seeing and so this provides a sense of groundedness and spaciousness brought together in one moment, at one time. This joyfulness is our ability to work with this again and again and again. So, anything that we do that arises out of this joyful mind furthers this joyful mind and we contact again and again an almost unconditional joyfulness, a joyfulness which is not based on whether we are feeling good or whether we are feeling bad, but a joyfulness of being willing to work with it, being willing to Wake Up, being willing to pull ourselves out of these states, not by grabbing ourselves and pulling ourselves out of them, but simply by working with it fully in that moment to the best of our ability.

Now, going back to making offerings to the Three Jewels. Anything which connects us with practice, with the possibility of working with intelligence and further intelligence of seeing clearly is something which should bring forth not a sense of awe or a sense of worship, but something which brings forth a very natural sense of gratitude.

The eight adverse conditions are situations that would make it difficult for us to practice. For example, never having heard the Teachings; being in a culture which has no reference points as far as practice goes - it is not practice, nobody has worked with these things. Nobody has Woken Up, nobody has seen mind moments, nobody has seen the unconditioned mind mirror. This makes it very difficult to practice because there is no Dharma available. Or we could be born in a country where there is Dharma but we haven't come into contact with it, we haven't come into contact with a teacher. We should also be grateful that we have our eyes and ears and legs that we can cross so that our knees ache when we sit. We should be grateful that all of our faculties function as well as they do.

This life we live is a life of rejoicing, this body a body of joy which can be used to present offerings to the Three Jewels. It arises through the merits of eons and using it thus its merit extends endlessly. I hope that you will work and cook in this way, using this body which is the fruition of thousands of lifetimes and births to create limitless benefit for numberless beings. To understand this opportunity is a joyous heart because even if you had been born a ruler of the world the merit of your actions would merely disperse like foam, like sparks.

A ruler of the world, a "wheel turning king" in Indian cosmology, a cakravartin-raja is someone who is born with not just a silver spoon in his mouth, but a silver ladle. He is someone of incredible strength, intelligence, dignity, beauty, he has incredible wealth at his disposal and beyond this, he's just a hell of a nice guy. And he is such a nice guy that he is able, say, run a government and everybody benefits. He can bring benefit to everybody. But it is all benefit in terms of what you are eating and what you are wearing and various social things of this nature, but really never penetrates to the basic question of birth and death. Although practice is not separate from what we eat and what we wear in our social relationships, it questions into what it is that has any sort of relationship at all. What is seeing? What is hearing? What is the basis of mind? What is the basis of existence? And if we don't get to that basis, then we are continually caught within the leaves and branches and never get to the root of what our life truly is. So even if you are someone of such great merit and virtue the things that you do are almost of no benefit because they have only surface value. So you should be damned glad that you are not stuck in that sort of context, that you can actually practice and get to the root.

A "motherly heart" is a heart which maintains the Three Jewels as a parent cares for a child. A parent raises a child with deep love, regardless of poverty or difficulties. Their hearts cannot be understood by another; only a parent can understand it. A parent protects their child from heat or cold before worrying about whether they themselves are hot or cold. This kind of care can only be understood by those who have given rise to it and realized only by those who practice it. This, brought to its fullest, is how you must care for water and rice, as though they were your own children.

The Great Master Sakyamuni offered to us the final twenty years of his own lifetime to protect us through these days of decline. What is this other than the exertion of this "parental heart"? The Thus Come One did not do this hoping to get something out of it but sheerly out of munificence.

This is the main thing about this parental mind: doing what we do, being compassionate, not so that we will be considered as someone who is compassionate and not because we consider ourselves as someone who is compassionate. We talk about the three purities of giving. This is the recognition that inherently there is no self who gives, there is inherently no self in that which receives that which is given and there is inherently nothing which is given. There is nothing to cling to. Just because you were nice to someone once, that moment is now entirely gone and you can't build anything on the basis of that. You can't try to create images of being a wonderful, kind, compassionate person. Instead, you simply must be compassionate from moment to moment and this is so in regards to how we deal with others and how we deal with our own minds and our own bodies. Having some sense of unconditional or unconditioned willingness to see how we are form moment to moment and we can work with that fully. It is not sufficient to just have some image of being compassionate towards ourselves or towards others, we must actually be so. When that moment comes, that is what we must do. We can't say, "Well, I am usually like this and I will probably be quite compassionate then, too." When the moment comes we have to make our choice and we have to do what we do. Once it is done, then there is the next thing to be done.

So when we prepare rice for the Sangha, we don't do so hoping that everybody will go, "Mmmmmm", but we do try to do the best job that we can.

"Vast heart" is like a great expanse of ocean or a towering mountain. It views everything from the most inclusive and broadest perspective. This vast heart does not regard a gram as too light nor five kilos as too heavy. It does not follow the sounds of spring or try to nest in a spring garden; it does not darken with the colours of autumn. See the changes of the seasons as all one movement, understand light and heavy in relation to each other within a view which includes both. When you write or study the character "vast," this is how you should understand its meaning.

So this "Daishin", this vast mind, is actually ultimate compassion. We start off with a joyful mind, the willingness to work with things moment after moment. And from that a kind, or parental mind begins to grow, a sense of doing things without a sense of gain or loss, but just doing it with an attitude of benefit which arises simply from who and what we are. And from this comes "Daishin", or vast mind, which is a mind which embraces everything, which is not based on accepting, isn't based on rejecting. Everything is already included in it. In this mind a pound isn't light and a ton isn't heavy. This mind is like a mountain or a great ocean. It cannot be moved because it is not based on anything. It just simply is how we are. It is a mind which includes all of who and what we are; all of what we see: colours, sounds, spring, autumn.

If the tenzo at Jiashan had not thus studied the word "vast," he could not have woken up Elder Fu by laughing at him.

The tenzo at Mount Jiashan once heard Elder Fu give many lectures on the Mahaparanirvana sutra and Elder Fu was quite good at this. He knew all of the terms, he knew all of the categories. But he had not himself uncovered his true Dharmakaya and so at this the tenzo left and this for some reason brought Fu into recognition of how baseless and petty all of his Dharma practice had been up until this point and so he actually set to work on his actual body, breath, speech and mind, and actually Woke Up. So the study of the word "Vast" by this tenzo is simply that all-embracing whatever it is. This is how we study this word, "Vast". By seeing that which closes us down, seeing that which opens us up and seeing completely. Seeing it on the basis of great faith1 rather than on the basis of a belief in this or that, a particular logical structure or anything of that nature, but simply seeing it completely. Having great seeing.

If Zen master Guishan had not understand the word "vast," he would not have blown on dead firewood three times. If the monk Dongshan had not understood the word "vast," he could not have taught the monk through his expression, "Three pounds of flax." All of these and other great masters through the ages have studied the meaning of "vast" or "great" not only though the word for it but through all of the events and activities of their lives. Thus they lived as a great shout of freedom through presenting the Great Matter, penetrating the Great Question, training great disciples and in this way bringing it all forth to us.

The abbot, senior officers and staff, and all monks should always maintain these three hearts or understandings.

Written in the spring of 1237 for those of coming generations who will practice the Way by Dogen, abbot of Kosho-(Horin-)ji.

Is there anything anyone would like to bring up?

Our practice really is quite like making a soup - seeing all of the vegetables that we are going to need; cutting them, cleaning them, and then beginning to cook them. And when we are cooking the soup we can't just throw it on the stove and let it burn. We have to actually reach in there with a spoon and stir and as we stir all of the vegetables come to the surface, all of these various things come to the surface. If we let them settle to the bottom of the pot, they will simply burn. And so, thoughts, feelings, textures of mind, arise, dwell and decay and we stir them and we see them completely and we cook them thoroughly. Once we have cooked this soup of our practice then with it, we can feed all sentient beings.

We will end with gassho.

  • 1. Daishinkon. The recognition of fundamental clarity.