White Wind Zen Community

A Community practising and teaching Dogen’s Zen since 1985

Fushukuhanpo: How to Use Your Bowls

by Eihei Dogen zenji

translated by Yasuda Joshu Dainen roshi

and Anzan Hoshin roshi

A sutra1 says: When we are intimate with the food we eat,2 there is intimacy with all things;3 when we are intimate with all things, we are intimate with the food we eat.4 We should let all things and eating be intimate with each other because when each thing is Reality5 then eating is also Reality. When all things are Suchness,6 then eating is also Suchness. When all things are One Awareness,7 then eating also is One Awareness. When all things are Awakened Intelligence,8 then eating is also Awakened Intelligence. Any name that can be applied to it and the Reality spoken of are this intimacy so we can call all of this intimately single.

Another sutra 9 says, Name and reality are both equal. All are equal in stainlessness. Zen master Mazu10 said,11 In looking at the Total Field of All Possibilities,12 there is nothing but this Total Field. The same can be said of Suchness, the ultimate nature13 and the sheer facticity14 of things. This kind of 'equal' is not a matter of how one thing is related to another but of what is utterly so through Unequaled and Utter Awakening.15

This is awakening to the utter seamlessness of primordial Reality and each and every thing.16 This kind of "equality" which holds that all things are the display of Truth is only grasped completely in the transmission between Buddhas and Buddhas through radical investigation of the true form of all things. Thus, meals are the naked display of all things, which is grasped completely only through the transmission between Buddhas and Buddhas. When eating is intimate with all things then the nature, embodiment, effect, activity, primary causes and secondary conditions17 of Suchness are here in this naked presencing of truth. All things are eating and the other way 'round. All things are the transmission between Buddha and Buddha. Through the Teachings and practice, "food" is that which flows as joy.

At the time of the morning meal18 following the bell to announce the close of early morning zazen19 the monks sit at their respective seats. At noon they do this before the three strikes on the drum. The announcement of the noon meal20 begins with three strikes on the drum followed by eighteen strokes on the large bell. At urban monasteries the noon bell is struck first and in the country the drum is struck thrice first. At this time monks sitting facing the wall turn to sit facing outwards. Monks working outside of the Monks' Hall21 immediately stop their tasks, wash their hands and proceed in correct dress to the Hall. When three long rounds of strikes are given on the han22 these monks enter the Monks' Hall without speaking or looking to left or right. There is never any conversation in the Hall, monks must keep silence.

As to how to enter the Monks' Hall. Bring the palms together23 below the eyes; actually, the tips of the fingers should be at the level of the tip of the nose. When bowing, the head should be kept aligned, the tips of the fingers in consistent alignment with the bowing of the head. In bringing the palms together it is important to be take care to keep the forearms out away from the chest and the elbows out away from the upper arms.

In entering the Hall through the front door everyone except the Abbot,24 whether we belong to the right (lower) or left (upper) sections of the Hall, passes through the doorway keeping to the left, stepping forward with the left foot first and then the right. We manifest our respect for the Abbot by never entering through the right edge or centre of the doorway. The Abbot must enter the Hall by the right or centre of the doorway and enter by stepping into the Monk's Hall with the right foot leading, bow before the statue of Manjushri in the form of an elder monk,25 turn to the right and take his seat on the chair. Leading-monks26 pass the northern outer part of the Hall27 and enter through the left side of the front door.

For monks entering the Hall through the door to the rear, those belonging to the right section of the Hall enter through the north side of the doorway, leading with the left foot; those belonging to the left section enter through the south side, leading with the right foot. When they come to the point just behind the Manjushri altar they bow with palm to palm to the east and take their seats.28

Seating for morning and noon meals is arranged according to the date that we received ordination or by the date that we began training at this monastery or by the place assigned to us; however during the ninety day Training Period29 it is set according to the first of these conditions.

As to how one should ascend the raised seating platform.30 First bow before your seat with hands placed palm to palm and then to those seats neighbouring ours. Then turn clockwise to the left and bow to the monks facing us on the opposite side. Then push the left sleeve of the robe31 under the left arm with the right hand, the right sleeve under the right arm with the left hand, left the wrap robe32 with both hands and then transfer it to the left hand. Standing with the feet together on the floor before the raised platform, sit on the edge and remove your sandals.33 Ascend the platform by firmly pressing on the platform with the right hand while lifting first the left leg and then the right, raising the body and then sit upright with the right leg pressed underneath the left. Spread the wrap robe evenly over the knees, and ensure that the inner robes are not showing nor the edge of the outer robe34 hanging over the edge of the platform like the image of Kannon seated with robes draped over the stone.35 There should be enough space between the body and the edge of the platform for the bowls to be placed.

This space36 is regarded as pure because it is the place for what is called the three purities: firstly, the kesa is placed there; secondly, bowls are arranged there; thirdly, the head faces there when lying down to sleep.

At this time the senior monks in the offices of kan-in,37 ino,38 tenzo,39 shissui40 and jisha41 sit in the outer right part of the Hall and those in the offices of shika,42 yokusu,43 enju,44 doshu,45 tanju,46 gaibo47 and keshu48 sit in the outer left part.49 When the hanging wooden fish drum50 is struck for three rounds51 all monks must have taken their seats and no one else will be admitted into the Hall. When the cloud shaped gong52 by the kitchen is beaten,53 monks take down their wrapped sets of bowls.54

As to how to remove the set of wrapped bowls from their hooks. Stand with dignity, turn to the right and bow with palm to palm to the nameplate55 behind the seat, take the set with the left hand and remove it from its hook with the right hand and then, holding it with both hands, raise it. Neither too high nor too low, it should then be at the level of the breast when you turn to the left, bend and sit down. Now put it behind you to the left. Be careful not to jostle each other with waist, back, elbow or arm or for the wrap robe to sweep up into someone's face.

At this time the monk56 attending on the statue of Manjushri offers cooked rice. A server carries the offering tray and the attendant walks before the offerings with the hands held palm to palm.57 After the attendant offers the meal to Manjushri and bows, he or she removes the wrapper from the mallet and wooden block.58 Coming before the statue once more he or she bows and turning to the right exits the Hall and comes to his or her own seat by passing the officers on the raised platform.59

Now there are three rolldowns on the drum and near the end of this a series of seven strikes60 are given three times on the bell in front of the Hall. It is at this point that the Abbot enters the Hall and the monks descend the platform at once. The Abbot bows before the Manjushri statue and to the monks and takes his chair. The monks reascend the platform. The Abbot's attendant61 watches this from outside of the Hall where the Abbot left him and when everyone is ready, bows palm to palm, enters bearing the Abbot's table, places it before the Abbot, bows palm to palm and exits. The Abbot's set of bowls are placed on the table.

Having removed their sandals and put them away under the platform, the monks have ascended the platform, raised themselves to sit erect on their cushions in clear alignment. Now they place their sets of wrapped bowls in front of them.

The ino enters the Hall, bows palm to palm to Manjushri, offers incense, bows once more, and proceeds to the mallet and wooden block with hands palm to palm. After a bow sometimes he strikes the block once with the mallet, sometimes not. It is at this point that the monks begin to unwrap their bowls.

As to how to set out the bowls. First come to gassho before untying the knot of the wrapping cloth.62 Fold the wipe cloth63 small by picking it up so that it folds in half horizontally and then fold it in thirds vertically. Place it down before you64 even with the centre of the set which is where the second or soup bowl65 will be when the set is unfolded; the utensil case66 will be placed there also. The wipe cloth is normally about one foot, two inches67 long unfolded. Place the utensil case on top68 and spread the lap cloth69 across the knees.70 Now, open the wrap cloth, the upper edge away from the body first, allowing it to hang over the edge of the platform.71 Now fold a part of the bottom, right, and left72 corners underneath, that is, towards the bowls.73

Next, pick up the lacquered paper mat74 with both hands transfer it to the right hand held palm downwards and with its corner held towards the body hold it above the bowls. With the left hand pick up the bowls and place them on the left hand side of the lacquer mat. Using only the fingertips of each hand75 remove the bowls in order from small to large without clatter.76 When one's seating area is a bit small set out only the three main bowls.77

Now open the utensil case78 and remove the chopsticks79 and then the spoon;80 when they are replaced in the case the order is reversed: spoon first and then chopsticks. During this the cleaning stick81 is left in the bag. The chopsticks and spoon should be placed behind the second bowl82 with their handles facing to the left. Next remove the cleaning stick and place it lengthwise between the second and third bowls, turning its handle outwards for the offering83 to hungry ghosts.84 Now with the case folded small into thirds, place it with the wipe cloth85 even with the second bowl beneath the lacquered mat.

If the noon meal is an offering on some auspicious occassion or for a memorial for the dead then the incense censer86 is prepared for the kneeling offering.87 During this offering raise the hands palm to palm and just sit still. Don't talk, don't laugh between yourselves, don't move the head around, don't fidget.

Now the ino strikes the wooden block with the mallet once and chants:

I bow88 before the Generous One,89
to the records of his perfect discourses,
to the community of the Vast Path, beings of wisdom.
The merits of these are inconceivable.

The ino then continues with an announcement:

"This morning the meal is an offering90 by such and such a patron. This is the verse stating it. With respect, now I shall declare it to this assembly in that patron's place and ask that it be understood clearly." Following this the monk says, "The details of this are now known. The Buddhas' and Bodhisattvas' selfless eyes, mirrors of radiance, are witness. We will now recite together."

Now the ino leads the assembly of monks with a loud voice, all with hands held palm to palm, in chanting the Ten Names:91

I proclaim the pure Dharmakaya Vairochana Buddha,
the complete Samboghakaya Rochana Buddha,
numberless Nirmanakaya Shakyamuni Buddhas,
the coming Maitreya Buddha,
the Buddhas of the three times and ten directions,
the Mahayana Saddharma Pundarika sutra,
Manjushri Bodhisattva Mahasattva,
Mahayana Samantabhadra Bodhisattva,
great compassionate Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva,
all Bodhisattva Mahasattvas,
Mahaprajna paramita!

If the mallet strikes too fast it catches the Buddha's foot, too slowly and it hits him in the face.92

If there is no special occasion for the morning or noon meals then the ino strikes the wooden block with the mallet once and says,

In proclaiming the Three Jewels
all receive the seal of acknowledgment.

At this time no other special invocations of the Buddhas are chanted. After chanting the Ten Names the ino strikes with the mallet once more and the leader93 chants the meal offering with hands palm to palm.

At the morning meal this is:

This meal arises from the labour of all beings,
its ten benefits94 nourish bodymind and
strengthens pure practice.

At the noon meal:

We offer this meal of three virtues95, six flavours,96
to Buddha, Dharma, Sangha,
and to all life in all worlds.

When the leader is not present in the Hall then the next rank will chant this.

When the meal offering chant ends a server enters the Hall to announce the food by saying, Kyo-han Kyo-ju.97 The server enters the front door on the left side, bows to Manjushri, then to the Abbot, then the leader. Then the server moves to the last seat at the left or south of the front door, bows to Manjushri, and announces the food while standing with the hands clasped at the chest, the right hand clenched against the chest, the left held with the palm over the right.98 The announcements must be made clearly and correctly or the entire practice of receiving meals is disrupted. Any error must be corrected immediately.

While the food is being served around the Hall the ino strikes once on the wooden block with the mallet to announce it. After the leader bows and sits a moment then everyone begins to eat.

If a patron has offered the food the ino comes from behind Manjushri's altar to the leader and bows, requesting a verse of appreciation. Returning to the block, the ino strikes once with the mallet and the leader chants the donation verse:

Offering of goods and of truth,
endowed with limitless virtues,
complete the perfection of generosity99
so that nothing is lacking.

As to how boiled rice or congee should be served. If the food is served hastily then those receiving it will also hurry. If the serving is too slow, sitting becomes drawn out and worn. The serving of the food is done by the hands of the servers, not by the monks receiving the meal. Begin the serving with the leader and end with the Abbot.100 The servers must take care and not smear the hands of the receivers or the edge of the bowls with congee, soup and so on. When using a ladle, move it up and down a few times before serving to ensure that no food will slide off its sides. Bend the body towards the person that you are serving and keep your free hand against the chest.101 The amount of rice or congee to be served is determined by the person receiving the food. Do carry soup or side dish vessels with the hands hanging down. Try not to sneeze or cough while serving; if this is unavoidable, turn away from the seating platform. Carrying the tray for boiled rice is carrying out the precepts.

On receiving the food. This should be done with civility; as the Buddha said, Food should be received respectfully. This an important point. Do not stick out your bowl demandingly before the server has come to you. In receiving food the bowl should be lifted up and away from the lacquered mat held level with the hands beneath it. Take an appropriate amount,102 In general, do not take the spoon or ladle from the server's hand and serve yourself nor use your own spoon or chopsticks to put something back from your bowl into the serving vessel. An ancient said, Receive food with the mind in equanimity and the bowl held level in receiving soup and rice. Eat the rice, the soup, and then the side dish in sequence.

Don't pull up your knees and hold them with your hands while the serving is in process. If the server is hurried so that grains of rice, drops of soup, or pieces of the side dish fall into your bowls the serving should be done again. Do not raise your bowl and begin to eat before the ino's strike with the mallet announcing the completion of service.

At the sound of the mallet,103 bow with palm to palm, pick up the food104 and chant the Five Remembrances:105

This meal arises from the labour of all beings
may we remember their offering.106
Delusions are many, attention wanders,
may we justify 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.

Emerging from this contemplation is the time to place the offerings to the hungry ghosts;107 do not do so before this practice is completed.108 To make the offering using the thumb and index finger to put seven grains on the handle of the cleaning stick or on the edge of the lacquered mat. Do not exceed seven grains.109 In the case of rice cakes, wheat or buckwheat noodles it should be no larger than the size of a small coin.110 Currently we no longer do this offering at the morning meal of congee although this was done in ancient times. Do not use the spoon or chopsticks for the offering. After this, silently bring your hands together palm to palm.

As to eating congee for the morning meal. Receive the congee in the Buddha bowl111 and then set the bowl down on its stand.112 When it is time113 pick up the second bowl with the right hand, place it on the open palm of the left hand and hold it in place with the thumb over the lip of the bowl so that the thumb is shaped like a turtle's neck.114 Pick up the spoon with the right hand to transfer the congee from the Buddha bowl into the second bowl.115 Bring the second bowl close to the left side of the Buddha bowl and transfer about seven or eight spoonfuls. Raise the second bowl to the mouth and eat the congee using the spoon. Eat the congee by repeating this procedure as many times as required. When the congee in the Buddha bowl is almost gone, place the second bowl down on the lacquered mat leaving about a spoonful of congee in it. Take up the Buddha bowl, eat the remaining congee, then wipe the bowl with the cleaning stick and replace it on its stand. Then pick up the second bowl and eat the remaining congee, wipe it with the cleaning stick, and place it back on the mat. Then just wait for water to be brought for cleaning.

As to eating rice at the noon meal. Bring the Buddha bowl116 up near the mouth to eat from it. Do not eat from it while leaving it down on the mat or by putting it to your mouth. The Buddha said, We must not receive food casually or arrogantly. If we act out of arrogance then we are not far removed from children or harlots.117 The upper part of the bowl is to be regarded as stainless118 and the lower part as touchable.119 The thumb should be facing in towards the body with the index and middle fingers spread120 with the last two fingers folded out of the way. Keep the fingers like this and pick up the Buddha bowl with the palm facing downwards, raise it with the palm underneath.121

If we look for the Buddha's way of doing this in India, the Thus Come One122 and his disciples ate their food by rolling boiled rice into balls with their right hands and did not use spoons or chopsticks. As Buddhists it is good to remember this. Emperors, world rulers,123 and nobles also ate by rolling their food around with their hands. You should know that this how the noble ate. In India only sick monks used spoons. Everyone else used their hands. Chopsticks were never seen or heard of there and their use only occurred in China and east of there. So it is only due to local custom that we use them now. As the descendants of the Buddhas and Awakened Ancestors we should follow the forms practiced by the Buddha. However, the custom of taking food up in one's hands has long been out of use and there is no one that the correct forms can be learned from. And so we now use spoons and chopsticks together with the bowls.124

In taking up and putting down the bowls or in using the spoon or chopsticks do not make clattering noises. Don't eat by poking and stirring the rice around in the Buddha bowl. Except in the case of illness no special requests should be made in regards to rice and soup. Don't try to receive more of some side dish by covering it over with rice.125 Do not annoy each other by looking into anyone else's bowl. Just eat, being mindful of the bowl.

Rice shouldn't be made into a large ball of stuff to put in the mouth all at once. Nor should rice be made into little balls that are popped into the mouth. Don't gather up food that has fallen on the floor and eat it. Do not make sounds when eating. Don't slurp at the food or stick your tongue into it. The Buddha said, You should not extend your tongue and lick your lips or mouth. Understand? Do not wave the hands about. Do not draw up your knees between your elbows and eat. Do not eat with your hands and flick food about. The Buddha said, You should not scatter rice cakes or boiled rice around by eating with your hands like barnyard fowl picking at seeds and scattering them. Do not eat with dirty hands. Do not poke at it or sip at it violently. The Buddha said, You should not pile your food into a heap like a grave mound. Do not eat wet food in the Buddha bowl or pour soup over the boiled rice in the Buddha bowl. Do not mix the soup and side dish with each other or with the rice in the Buddha bowl. Do not eat by stuffing a huge bunch of rice in the mouth and sit there chewing at it with a face like a monkey.

Do not be too fast or too slow but coordinate your eating with what is going on around you on the right and left of the seating platforms; avoid eating too quickly and then looking around at everyone else with "folded arms." Do not fiddle with the bowls or lick your lips waiting for the server126 to announce "SAISHIN" or seconds.127 Do not just leave the rice in the bowl and ask for more soup or a side dish.

Don't pick or scratch at your head and drop scruff into the Buddha bowl or the other bowls or soil your hands. Don't twitch, hold onto your knees, squat and pull up one knee, yawn or blow your nose loudly. (If you do happen to sneeze, cover your nose and mouth with one hand. If something is stuck between the teeth, again, cover your mouth before trying to extract it.) If you find seeds or nasty bits in your vegetables put them behind your bowls so as to not distract anyone else with it.128 Don't help anyone else to finish what is in their bowls.

Don't ask the servers to use fans in the Hall even in summer heat; if fans are used and your neighbour is chilled you may ask the servers to stop. If you yourself have a cold then you may take meals outside of the Hall after receiving permission from the ino. If we need to communicate anything it is best to do so unobtrusively with gestures rather than with a loud voice. If there is anything left remaining in the bowls you must finish eating it from the cleaning stick.

Do not scoop spoonfuls of rice into your mouth, spill rice into the other bowls, or let the spoon become smeared with food. The Buddha has said, Don't stretch your mouth open, waiting to put food into it. Do not speak with your mouth full of food. The Buddha said, Do not try to get more of something by covering your vegetables over with rice or your rice with soup or vegetables. Understand? The Buddha said, Do not make click the tongue, lick your lips, or blow on your food to warm or cool it. Be careful of this.

When eating congee, scrape up any remainder with the cleaning stick. In picking up a morsel of food, first move the spoon or chopsticks three times gently to correspond with the Buddha's statement, In taking meals make balls of rice that are neither too large nor too small. Bring the bowl of the spoon directly to the mouth so as to not let any food fall. Do not let salt, grains of rice and so on drop onto the lap cloth. If there is any food fallen onto the cloth, gather them and give them to the server.129 If there are any unhulled grains one can peal the husk and eat it; don't leave unhulled grains uneaten, instead peal the husk and eat it. The Discourse on Three Thousand Manners130 states, If you find something inedible, do not eat it, but do not bring it to the attention of others or spit it out.

Do not gather up leftovers from the bowls of your neighbours.131 Anything that is left over should be given to the servers. When you have finished eating know that this is enough and do not go drooling after more. Whenever you eat, use this as an opportunity to contemplate the actual nature of things and do not waste a grain of rice either in its ultimate or relative mode.132

Do not noisily scrape the Buddha bowl or other bowls with the spoon and chopsticks. Do not let the finish of the bowls become damaged because once the finish is lost smears and stains are difficult to remove even through washing. After receiving hot water and drinking from the bowl's rim try not to be noisy about it. And do not spit water from your mouth back into the Buddha bowl or anywhere else. Do not use the lap cloth to wipe your face, head, or hands.

As to the standards for cleaning the bowls and utensils. First, tuck up both sleeves in order to avoid their brushing the bowls. Receive water (nowadays, hot water is used)133 in the Buddha bowl and use the cleaning stick to scrub smoothly and carefully in a clockwise manner thus removing any smears of food. Transferring the water into the second bowl, hold and turn the Buddha bowl with the left hand over the second bowl and clean the inside and outside of it with the cleaning stick in the right hand.134 After cleaning it properly, hold the bowl in the left hand and take up the wipe cloth in the right. Drape the wipe cloth across the bowl and then turning clockwise wipe it dry.135 Leave the cloth folded in the bowl without letting it stick out over the rim and place the Buddha bowl down on its stand.

Wash the spoon and then the chopsticks in the second bowl and then dry them by running them through the wipe cloth without removing it from the Buddha bowl.136 After drying the spoon and chopsticks with the cloth place them in the utensil case and put the case back in its place behind the second bowl.137

The second bowl is washed in the third bowl. Using the left hand to hold both the cleaning stick and the second bowl,138 raise the second bowl slightly and put the third bowl in its place with the right hand. Transfer the water from the second to the third bowl and wash the second bowl.139 If a fourth bowl is used then repeat this procedure to wash the third bowl. None of the utensils nor bowls should be washed from water held in the Buddha bowl.

Wash the Buddha bowl first, then the spoon and chopsticks, then the second, third, and fourth bowls. Dry everything thoroughly and nest the bowls in the Buddha bowl. Then dry the cleaning stick and place it in the utensil case.140 Do not fold the lap cloth yet and do not discard the water. Do not dump the cleaning water under the raised platform. The Buddha said, Do not put any leftover bits of food into the water in the bowl. Remember this point.141

When the servers comes with a pail to receive the water, bring the hands palm to palm and then pour the water into the receptacle.142 Be careful not to spill water on the sleeves of the servers. Do not wash your hands in the water. Do not stain the ground with the water.

As with the second bowl and so on, place this bowl in the Buddha bowl, holding it on the inside of the rim with pressure from the thumbs of both hands.143 Pick up the Buddha bowl with the left hand, palm up, and place it in the centre of the wrapping cloth.144 With the back of the right hand facing upwards take up the nearest corner of the lacquered mat, hold it near the body and fold it up with both hands, and place it over the mouth of the bowl. Now take up the corner of the wrapping cloth facing the body and bring it up over the mouth of the Buddha bowl and cover it and then the corner that is hanging over the edge of the platform.145 Put the utensil case on top of the lap cloth. In the old days the cleaning stick was placed alone on top of the lap cloth but now its is put into the utensil case along with the spoon and chopsticks. Now cover the utensil case with the wipe cloth.146

Now, pick up the left and then the right corners of the wrapping cloth using the left and right hands147 and tie them so that the corners hang towards the body. One reason for this is so that you will know which way the bowls should face and another is that it makes the set easier to untie.

Now that the bowls are wrapped bring the hands palm to palm and sit in silence until the mallet strikes the block to signal the descent from the Hall. The attendant to Manjushri will strike this.148 The attendant to Manjushri is seated in the outer hall next to the Abbot's149 attendant. To strike this signal the attendant rises from the seat, descends the platform, bows, enters the hall with the hands held palm to palm, and enters the Hall. Bowing to the Manjushri altar and passing the southern side of the incense offering table, the attendant reaches the western side of the mallet and block and then stands waiting with hands clasped before the chest until the Abbot and the assembly have finished wrapping their bowls.150 The attendant strikes with the mallet once and then replaces the crepe cover on the mallet and block and bows. Now, I think at Kissho-ji151 the ino begins the Shosekaibon chant152 at this signal. This is the old way established by Abbot Yojo153 and so we follow that tradition now.

The Abbot now leaves the Hall. When he leaves the Hall the bell is struck for practice recess.154 The Abbot descends from the chair and bows to the Manjushri altar. The attendant will have withdrawn from beside the mallet and block and have gone behind the altar so as to not obstruct the Abbot.

Next the practitioners stand up and each hangs their bowls on the hook. First, holding the bowls with both hands, stand and turn to face the nameplate. Holding the bowls with the left hand, place them on the hook with right. Bring the hands palm to palm, turn clockwise toward the edge of the platform and then descend. Step down onto the floor slowly, put on your sandals, bow to seniors and juniors. If the Great Tea Ceremony155 is to be served, the procedures are the same as for this morning meal in terms of entering and leaving the Hall, ascending and descending the platform and so on. Next, place the cushion under the platform156 and leave the Hall.

If there is a recess from practice after the Abbot leaves the Hall then the bell is struck three times. If there is to be a morning teaching157 then no bells are sounded. If a patron has requested a teaching by the Abbot in the Dharma Hall then the "ascending the Hall"158 is struck even if the recess has already been struck. Following this the bell for release would be struck three times once again. Also if the Great Tea is served in the evening, the bell for "descending the Hall"159 is sounded three times after the Abbot has bowed to the Manjushri altar and left the Hall. If the kann-in or shuso are going to have tea served then after escorting the Abbot, they return to the Hall, bow before the Manjushri altar and then to the upper and lower seats of the Hall. After all of the tea bowls are retrieved then the "descending the Hall" bell is struck three times before the assembly descends the raised platforms.

In leaving and in entering the Hall dignity must be practiced. with each step being only half a stride and coordinated with the breath. This is walking in harmony.160 This is as instructed in the Hokyo-ki.161



Meal Chants

The Buddha was born at Kapalavastu,
Awakened at Magadha,
taught at Varanasi,
entered signlessness at Kuchina.
Now I open the Buddha Tathagatha's eating bowls.
May donors, receivers and offerings
be free of self-clinging
together with all beings.

In the midst of the Three Jewels
together with all beings
we chant the Buddha's names.

I proclaim the pure Dharmakaya Vairochana Buddha,
the complete Samboghakaya Vairochana Buddha,
numberless Nirmanakaya Shakyamuni Buddhas,
the coming Maitreya Buddha,
the Buddhas of the three times and ten directions,
the Mahayana Saddharma Pundarika sutra,
Manjushri Bodhisattva Mahasattva,
Mahayana Samantabhadra Bodhisattva,
great compassionate Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva,
all Bodhisattva Mahasattvas,
Mahaprajna paramita!

(breakfast only)

This meal arises from the labour of all beings,
its ten benefits nourish bodymind
and strengthens pure practice.

(lunch and supper)

We offer this meal of three virtues, six flavours,
to Buddha, Dharma, Sangha,
and to all life
in all worlds.

(Gokan-no-ge: the Five Remembrances)


This meal arises from the labour of all beings
(bow with shashu)
may we remember their offering.
Delusions are many, attention wanders,
may we justify 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.

(lunch only)

All hungry ghosts, I offer you this.
This food will pervade everywhere.
(bow and make seven grain offering)


First, this food is for the Three Jewels.
(bow, place spoon in fuhatsu)
Second it is for our teacher, our parents, land,and all beings.
Third for all beings of the six realms.
(bow and raise fuhatsu)
Thus, we eat this food with everyone.
We eat to end wrong action,
to practice purity,
to liberate all beings,
to accomplish the Buddhaway.

The water with which I clean these bowls
tastes like nectar.
I offer it to the various beings that
they might be satisfied.

This is as the boundless sky,
a lotus flowering above the water.
Stainlessness is itself this mind;
in this Awakening we stand exposed.

  • 1. The Recorded Teachings of Vimalakirti (Vimalakirti Nirdesa sutra) trans. by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi, WWZC Archives, 1992.
  • 2. Jiki.
  • 3. Ho.
  • 4. In the Recorded Teachings of Vimalakirti I translate this passage as, "Subhuti, you can have this food if you can understand the equality of all that is through the equality of forms and if you can understand the sameness of all of the qualities of Awakening through the equality of all that is." (Chapter Three) In the Vimalakirti the passage specifically concerns freeing Subhuti from an understanding of practice and realization that depends upon a series of categorizations through which experiences are sifted into "wholesome" and "unwholesome" thoughts and behaivours into the continuous recognition of all experiences as inherently unthinkable and as the display of the radiance of Experiencing. Dogen's use of the passage requires a different approach to translation.

    For example, in order to make clear the particular nuances of its use here I use the word "intimacy" rather than the phrase "equality of" despite the play with the term "equal" that continues to develop in the next paragraph. One of the reasons for this is that the playfulness does not seem to be apparent to most readers, the term "equal" immediately summoning a sense of abstraction. Hopefully the relationship between "intimacy" and "equality" as used in the translation is evident.

  • 5. Ho-sho. Dharmata in Sanskrit.
  • 6. Shin-nyo. Tathata in Sanskrit.
  • 7. I-shin.
  • 8. Bodai. In Sanskrit, bodhi.
  • 9. Talks in Lanka (Lankavatara sutra) trans. by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi and Tory Cox, WWZC Archives 1992. Dogen apparently took this from the third fascicle of Gunabhadra's four fascicle translation into Chinese but while his meaning is consistent with several passages there is no passage with identical wording.
  • 10. Mazu Daoyi (Ma-tsu Tao-i; Baso Doitsu), d.-788. He appears in Blue Cliff Records cases 3, 53, 73 and in Wumenguan (Gateless Gate) 30 and 33. He is associated with Dogen's Soto Lineage in that Shitou Xiqian's Dharma-heir Yueshan Weiyan was sent by Shitou to study with Mazu for a time in order to clarify a particular sticking point in his practice. For more on this see Denkoroku: Record of the Transmission of Luminosity by Keizan Jokin zenji trans. by Anzan Hoshin roshi and Joshu Dainen zenji, WWZC Archives 1990.
  • 11. In the Jiangxi Mazu Daoyi chanzi yulu (Chiang-hsi Ma-tsu Tao-i ch'an-shih yu-lu; Kozei Baso Doitsu zenji goroku).
  • 12. Hokkai. Dharmadhatu in Sanskrit. I often translate this term as the "Total Field of All Possibilities."
  • 13. Ri.
  • 14. Ji.
  • 15. Anuttara-samyaksambodhi in Sanskrit.
  • 16. Honmatsu-kukkyo.
  • 17. These are six of the Ten Suchnesses presented in the second chapter of the Lotus Discourse (Saddharma Pundarika sutra) and which were fundamental to T'ien-tai and Tendai doctrine. The Ten Suchnesses are form, nature, embodiment, effect, activity, primary causes, secondary conditions, fullfillment, ultimate equality of primordial Reality and phenomena.
  • 18. Shukuji.
  • 19. Kaijo.
  • 20. Saiji.
  • 21. Undo: Cloud Hall; or Sodo: Monks' Hall. Monks are unsui: cloud and water people and so a name for the practice hall in which the monks do zazen and in which junior monks live and sleep is Undo.
  • 22. Hanging wooden board.
  • 23. Gassho.
  • 24. Juji.
  • 25. Shoso.
  • 26. Monks of shuso rank.
  • 27. Undo.
  • 28. Apparently this passage is an addition inserted into the original text.
  • 29. Ango or ge-ango. The years are counted according to the summer ninety day Training Periods in the monk's "career."
  • 30. Sho or jo. Also known as a tan.
  • 31. Koromo.
  • 32. Kesa.
  • 33. Japanese Zen monasteries traditionally have tile floors and so straw sandals are worn for kinhin (walking practice) and for moving about the Zendo. In Western Zen monasteries it is usually the case that only bare feet are allowed in the Zendo unless tabi are used on certain ceremonial occassions.
  • 34. Koromo.
  • 35. Kannon (Avalokitesvara), the Bodhisattva of compassion, is often depicted in such a way that the folds and draping of the robe dramatically enhance the figure. The text specifies Yoryu Kannon, a form in which Kannon holds a willow branch.
  • 36. Sho-en or jo-en.
  • 37. Or kansu. Chief administrator.
  • 38. Also called iki, iko, or esshu. Disciplinarian and chanting leader.
  • 39. Chief cook.
  • 40. Caretaking practice (samu) leader.
  • 41. Attendant.
  • 42. Also tenhin or tenka. Guest master.
  • 43. In charge of the bath house.
  • 44. Or ensu. Head gardener.
  • 45. Or enjodo-su. In charge of the infirmary.
  • 46. The assistant to the Godo-shuso, the senior monk seated at the rear of the Hall who oversees everything in the Hall.
  • 47. In charge of obtaining supplies from the market.
  • 48. In charge of soliciting and receiving donations.
  • 49. Apparently this paragraph and that preceeding it have been inserted into the original text.
  • 50. Ho.
  • 51. The three rounds are introduced by the uchidashi: two medium strikes followed by a soft strike and then a loud strike.
  • 52. Umpan. Sometimes a densho (hanging bell) is used.
  • 53. Usually the ahatsu-han of one round, rolldown, then a final strike.
  • 54. Oryoki sets.
  • 55. Katatan. The term means "hanging up the robes and bowl" and refers to the nameplate by the hook. Each monk has an assigned place, the wall area of which is a closet (kanki) in which bedding and a very few personal items are stored.
  • 56. This monk is called the shoso-jisha.
  • 57. During this the gaido drum is struck with dairai ("great thundering") which begins with uchidashi ("introduction") of two medium strikes followed by a soft and then a loud strike and then three rounds which come to crescendo and then soften for each round followed by an ending round called uchikiri ("ending cut").
  • 58. The wooden block is called tsuichin. The tsuichin is a hard wood octagon about a foot and a half wide and the mallet is also octagonal, four inches long with tapered ends. It evolved from an instrument called a ghanta in Sanskrit.
  • 59. Chiji-sho.
  • 60. This is called shichige-sho.
  • 61. Jisha or anja.
  • 62. Fukusa.
  • 63. Fukin.
  • 64. First the folded wipe cloth (fukin) is placed on top of the mizuita (water board) if the set has one and the utensil case (hijotai) and then these are picked up together with the right hand grasping the top, the left the bottom. They are placed before you by rotating them from the horisontal to the vertical and then set down.
  • 65. Zukun; currently usually called jihatsu.
  • 66. Hijotai. Also known as hashi-bukuro.
  • 67. One shaku, two son.
  • 68. Some developments of the oryoki form place the hijotai (utensil case) under the folded wipe cloth.
  • 69. Jokin.
  • 70. The lapcloth (jokin), folded into halves and thirds, is picked up from the set with the first two fingers of the right hand at the open edge and allowed to fall open, the bottom edge grasped with the left hand, and then spread.
  • 71. If not seated on a platform, this corner is folded as are the following corners.
  • 72. Some oryoki forms brought clockwise consistency to these movements, opening and folding the bottom, left, and right corners successively.
  • 73. Allowing the corners themselves to still project out from the fold. The effect of all of this is to create a rectangular base with three (or four) if not seated on a raised platform triangles emerging from the cardinal points of the rectangle.
  • 74. Hattan. This is rarely used in the oryoki forms practiced in Western Zen monasteries or Zen centres.
  • 75. The thumb, index, and middle fingers only.
  • 76. Setting them out from right to left, smallest to largest.
  • 77. The zuhatsu (or fuhatsu)—the Buddha bowl, zukun (or ni-kun)—second bowl, san-kun—third bowl which of course emerge from the nested set in opposite order. The two smaller bowls are used only on special feast occassions; the rest of the time they are placed where the third bowl will rest so that they are out of sight. Ensure that adequate space is left between the third and second bowl to allow room for the setsu (cleaning stick) to be placed later.
  • 78. Pick it up from under the fukin (wipe cloth) by lifting the outer edge of the cloth inwards with the left hand, bowing forward slightly and reaching underneath and grasping the hijotai (utensil case) with the right hand, turning it so that it opens away from the body while releasing the fukin from the left hand, and transferring it to the left hand. Holding it against the centre of the chest, place the thumb of the right hand under the cleaning stick (setsu) and the index and middle fingers on top, fold the setsu up and away from the body thus opening the case. Still holding the case against the centre of the chest, bring the right hand in towards the body thus shimmying the case open and bringing the setsu tip level with the other utensils. Bring the left hand out from the body thus allowing the loose bottom of the bag to drop free. Grasp this with the right hand, thumb towards the body and placed one third of the way up from the bottom of the loose end of the case, the index and middle fingers on the opposite side from the thumb. Fold the loose end in thirds by moving the right hand up and away from the body. When this movement brings the two hands into contact, use the fourth and fifth fingers of the left hand to hold the folded end against the bottom of the case. Bring the end of the case against the chest once more.
  • 79. Hashi.
  • 80. With the right hand palm up circle around to the handles of the hashi (chopsticks), withdraw them smoothly, rotate the wrist and place them down. Repeat this gesture for the spoon.
  • 81. Setsu or hassatsu. A flat wooden stick about eight inches long with cloth wrapped about one end, used to scour the bowls and utensils during cleanup.
  • 82. With their handles brought to the left most edge of the hattan or the wrapping cloth if using a simplified set.
  • 83. Saba.
  • 84. Again, grasp the setsu lightly with the thumb underneath but palm up, the index and middle fingers on top. The setsu is removed with a smooth flipping gesture so that the cloth covered tip which was facing away from the body now faces in towards it. Smoothly place the setsu between the second and third bowls so that the handle of the setsu projects by one quarter of its length beyond the edge of the wrapping cloth.
  • 85. In some traditions it is placed under the wipe cloth, in others on top. In particular, if the hattan is not used it is preferable to place the case under the folded wipe cloth.
  • 86. Gyoko.
  • 87. Kyoro. The abbot kneels in seiza with the altar attendant kneeling and holding an incense censer for the offering.
  • 88. Keishu.
  • 89. I have translated this term "Bhagavat" from its Sanskrit roots as has become my custom in translations of Pali or Sanskrit texts. The roots of the word denote one who portions out shares in a treasure. I find this much less offensive than the political or exclusive quality of such conventional translations as "Lord" or "World Honoured One" which are concepts that evolved from the original meaning of the term.
  • 90. Shusetsu.
  • 91. In most oryoki traditions this chant is preceeded by Tenpatsu-no-ge. Refer to the appendix for this chant. It will of course be noticed that eleven items are listed in the chant rather than ten. This is because Dogen added the title of the Lotus Discourse (Saddharma Pundarika sutra), a text which he was particularly moved by.
  • 92. The tsuichin should be struck in the middle of each chanted line; therefore striking too soon "catches the Buddha on the foot" as the name is arising, too late and it "hits him in the face" as it goes.
  • 93. Shuso. Monastic leader. Often this post is used to mark the ripening of the training of a novice monk becoming a senior.
  • 94. The ten beneficial effects of congee (shuku): 1) healthy colour 2) provides physical strength 3) gives longevity 4) comforts bodymind 5) purifies the tongue 6) helps to detoxify the stomach and bowels 7) helps to prevent colds 8) quenches hunger 9) quenches thirst 10) strengthens excretion and urination.
  • 95. The three virtues: 1) light and gentle 2) pure 3) prepared correctly.
  • 96. The six flavours: 1) bitter 2) sour 3) sweet 4) hot 5) salty 6) tender.
  • 97. This monk is called the kasshiki-anja. "Kyo-han Kyo-ju" means something like "Fine food, fine broth." The kasshiki-anja also lays out the ino's oryoki.
  • 98. This gesture is called shashu.
  • 99. Dana paramaita (fuse or dan).
  • 100. The abbot is regarded as the host, the monks as guests, and so as is the tradition of Asian hospitality the host is served last.
  • 101. The left hand is to be held either in a modified gassho or shashu before the chest.
  • 102. O-ryo-ki means "honourable," "measure or amount," "bowl." So, "holds just enough" or "Honourable Just Right."[/fn} not so much that any food might be left uneaten. Indicate "enough" to the server by lifting and lowering the hand two fingers breadth.When receiving food in the zuhatsu, hold the bowl level in the left hand using the thumb, index, and middle fingers and resting the fourth quarter of the bowl against the folded last two fingers and heel of the hand; the bowl is extended out towards the server away from the hattan or fukusa; the right hand is held palm up next to the zuhatsu, about two fingers width below its lip. When the desired quantity is reached smoothly raise the right hand to the level of the lip of the bowl and lower it again.
  • 103. This strike is called henjikitsui ("the food is here").
  • 104. In most oryoki traditions the zuhatsu is not raised and held during the Gokan-no-ge as is instructed here. To do so, bow forward keeping the head and shoulders aligned. At about the halfway point of the bow the right hand circles down to pick up the spoon, thumb on top of the handle and index and middle fingers underneath. Raise the spoon and move it in a smooth arc into the zuhatsu with the handle facing straight away from the body. At this point the left hand grasps the zuhatsu with the thumb, index and middle fingers on the left side and the right hand does the same. Lift the bowl lightly and bring it in towards the tanden and then raise it up to just above eye level. By the time that the bowl has reached the tanden, bend the wrists in towards the bowl so that its bottom edge facing away from the body rests on the folded fourth and fifth fingers, the index and middle fingers are spread, and the tips of the thumbs touch in the centre of the side of the bowl facing towards the body. When the zuhatsu is raised to above eye level, the thumbs and the bottom edge of the bowl should create a triangular shape. Look at this shape in the foreground and the rest of the bowl and the whole visual field equally as the Five Rememberances are chanted. In some traditions the relationship between this triangle and the surrounding space is associated with mikkyo practices.
  • 105. Gokan-no-ge.
  • 106. In those traditions that do not raise the zuhatsu for the Gokan-no-ge the first line is chanted with the hands in gassho, the second involves a bow with the hands in shashu, the third with the hands lowered to the hokko-in of zazen until the end of the chant.
  • 107. Saba. The hungry ghosts are denizens of a condition of experience based upon a fundamental sense of poverty which inhibits them from experiencing anything outside of this state. Everything that is experienced is rearranged by the parameters of the state to be either consistent with it or excluded. This is symbolized by the image of hungry ghosts being unable to quench their thirst because as soon as they lift fresh water to their mouths it becomes transformed into festering ooze and by their possessing mouths no larger than a pinprick, unable to ingest even so much as a grain of rice or barley to fill their enlargedstomachs. The offering of saba is a gesture of reminding ourselves of the misfortunes of those who live in the midst of the inconceivable richness of experience and yet live out the craving and miserliness that arises from the narrowness of self-image and of offering richness not in the grains of rice lad out but through them.
  • 108. Before placing the offering the hands are held in gassho and the Saba-no-ge (or Shussan-no-ge) is chanted:

    All hungry ghosts, I offer you this.
    This food will pervade everywhere.

  • 109. Don't just make a lump of stuff and drop it on the setsu handle; be mindful and precise.
  • 110. Hansen.
  • 111. Zuhatsu or fuhatsu, The largest bowl at the extreme left of the set.
  • 112. Hattetsu. A traditional zuhatsu is rounded at the bottom in imitation of the classical Indian iron alms-bowl and so needs to be placed on a stand.
  • 113. Time to eat. Often gomasio (sesame salt) is served as a condiment for the congee and would be received in the san-kun (third bowl). The gomasio would be sprinkled onto the congee before the procedure described in this passage begins. In some traditions the gomasio would be sprinkled pinch by pinch with the fingers as one eats. Others would consider this to be outrageously decadent and insist that the gomasio should be added by picking up the san-kun with the right hand brining it with a smooth arc towards the tanden and then around to over top of the zuhatsu and then sliding the gomasio into the congee. Others would regard the use of any condiment added to food already served as a self-indulgent distraction from the oryoki process itself and a grave insult to the skill of the tenzo (chief cook) in working to prepare food appropriate ro as many people's tastes as is possible. It might be noted that some monasteries or Zen centres actually hand out condiment trays bearing shoyu (soy sauce), vinegar, salt and pepper, chili sauces, and ketchup.
  • 114. Well, not really.
  • 115. As the Buddha bowl (zuhatsu) represents the Buddha's own alms-bowl which has merely been lent to the monk to use, it is considered vile and rude to put lips or tongue to the edge of the bowl or to risk spilling anything down its side wheras this is quite acceptable and necessary in drinking soup from the ni-kun (second bowl). Since congee is quite wet, it is difficult to eat it without some risk of spilling and so the congee is transferred to the ni-kun. Some traditions of oryoki disregard this and use the zuhatsu for congee anyway. Others eat congee from the Buddha bowl but make the congee firmer to prevent spillage or needing to drink the remainder from the zuhatsu.
  • 116. Hou.
  • 117. Although I am unable to locate the source of this quote in the classical Vinaya there are numerous rules concerning conduct in regards to food there. These range from monks not being allowed to get the nuns to beg food for them, not consuming beings who are still alive, and not eating more than two or three bowls of barley gruel, to not making disgusting sounds (ie. "chuchu, sursuru, shulushulu") or annoying each other with food, to how to go amongst the laypeople for arms in a manner which conveys the dignity of the practice and the Dharma. Some of these are raised by Dogen further on in the text.
  • 118. Jo.
  • 119. Soku.
  • 120. So that the whole acts as a tripod to support the bowl.
  • 121. The thumb, index, and middle fingers of the left hand grasp the zuhatsu from the top left side and lift it from the mat; steady it with the same fingers of the right hand and smoothly rotate the left hand underneath the zuhatsu.
  • 122. Tathagata.
  • 123. Chakravartin.
  • 124. It was always of concern to Dogen that his teaching be understood not as something new imported from China or as a particular school or sect but rather as simply the continuation of what the Buddha had practiced and realized and was the actual essence of practice, the Original Dharma or the Shobo.
  • 125. Since food is never mixed from bowl to bowl this would be impossible to do in oryoki practice. It is more a reference to one of the Buddha's teachings for monks eating from alms-bowls in which anything and everything gathered is mixed together. Nontheless, Dogen repeats this instruction further on in the text.
  • 126. Kasshiki-anja.
  • 127. In some styles of oryoki only a single serving is practiced.
  • 128. This is of course leaves the question of just what to do with it when cleaning the bowls to put the set away. Add it to the hungry ghosts offering which will be put outside for the birds, insects, and other animals. Or if there is no hungry ghost offering made, place it inside the koromo and dispose of it later unobtrusively.
  • 129. Again, add it to the hungry ghosts offering.
  • 130. Sanqian weijing; Sanzen-igi-kyo.
  • 131. The text uses the term "joza" which means "senior seat," a term for a monk of twenty years ordination.
  • 132. The last part of this sentence is a Dogen joke. Get it?
  • 133. Plain hot water (josui) is usually used but some traditions a tea made with any rice that has burned on the bottom of the cooking pot called koto is used at the noon meal. Some monasteries even use bancha.
  • 134. In some oryoki traditions the Buddha bowl is held on the left knee resting on the left hand's thumb and first two fingers and cleaned with the setsu in the right hand. As the Buddha bowl is never brought to the lips and one is mindful of every part of it but the very bottom of the bowl as stainless (jo), there is never any spillage or smearing on the outside of this bowl. Therefore it is not only unnecessary to clean the outside of the Buddha bowl (unless the entire set is being gently washed, clothes and all on a cleaning day) but this would dishonour the oryoki process.
  • 135. The wipe cloth is picked up with the right hand by one corner so that it falls open into a triangle, draped over the bowl so that the flat base of the triangle is to the left and the top point to the right. Then the point closest to the body is folded into the bowl three times. During this the Buddha bowl is held level in the left hand by the thumb and first two fingers. Once the cloth is folded into the bowl it is held in place by the right first two fingers while the left hand is turned at the wrist so that the Buddha bowl is turned 180 degrees into a half-moon shape. The cloth has been pressed against the bottom of the bowl during this and so has absorbed excess water that might have otherwise dripped. Sweep the cloth four times clockwise around the bottom of the bowl. Leaving the cloth in the bottom of the bowl, straighten it and hook the left thumb and then the right inside the rim. Place the Buddha bowl smoothly onto the lacquer mat or wrapping cloth base.
  • 136. Pick up the spoon with the right hand, bring it around the bowl to the left side to about the centre of the bowl, transfer it to the left hand. Pick up the cleaning stick (setsu) with the right hand and scrub the bowl of the spoon pushing outwards four times. Turn the spoon over in the left hand, scrub the bottom of the spoon four times pushing outwards. Put the setsu back down in the second bowl so that its cloth tip faces the body and its handle points to 12 o'clock of the outer rim. Bring the spoon around to the left side wiping cloth in the Buddha bowl by describing the bottom edge of a circle horizontal to the body with the gesture. Bring the spoon around to over the wipe cloth, find a loose corner with the right hand, fold it over the spoon's overturned bowl. Turn the bowl of the spoon with the left hand in the corner of cloth held by the right hand until its handle faces away at 12 o'clock and then begin to push the spoon through the wipe cloth. When its is three quarters of the way through, bring the left hand around to receive it just above the bowl of the spoon or at the base of the handle. Pulling it all the way free of the cloth, transfer it to the right hand. Without picking up the utensil case slide the spoon so that it fits into the open flap of the case. Repeat this process for the chopsticks (hashi) except for the following. Once the hashi are transferred to the right hand so that the tips of the hashi are pointing to the left, straighten the back and bring the right elbow back so that the hashi are held to the right side of the torso, tips still pointing left, right hand palm up. Bending forward, pick up the folded utensil case with the left hand (holding the spoon firmly in place) and bring the case up so that it rests at heart level, the handle of the spoon pointing straight out. Bring the hashi tips in a smooth arc of the right hand and forearm to the left side of the spoon inside the open fold of the case. Ensuring that the hashi and spoon are held firmly, the right hand holding the the handles of both now, shimmy the case up over them with the left hand. When they are fully enclosed by the case bring the left hand out away from the body so that the case is no longer pressed against the chest and close the flap with the right hand. The thumb of the right hand is held under the case with the palm facing away from the body, fingers on top. Bring both left and right hands so that the case is held parallel to the chest with the thumbs of each hand on the side of the case facing the chest, fingers outwards, palms down. Place the case straight down so that the hashi and spoon inside are pointing to the left knee, the closed flap to the right.
  • 137. Some traditions group the spoon and hashi together with the setsu (cleaning stick) as utensils and so clean and dry them together just before the water offering is drunk from the third bowl.
  • 138. The thumb faces in towards the body, the index and middle fingers are spread so that the setsu is held between them against the rim of the bowl.
  • 139. The second and third bowl are washed while leaving them placed in the centre of the base cloth. The only difference in the procedure for drying is that since the outside and inside of these bowls are washed, once the folded wipe cloth is draped in a triangle over the bowl, the right and left thumbs hook the bowl and cloth together, the bowl is turned so that its bottom faces way from the chest and then is turned within the cloth using both hands clockwise four times. Then the bowl is placed on the thumb and first two fingers of the left hand and the right hand folds the wipe cloth into the bowl and the rest of the procedure follows.
  • 140. The process with this is almost exactly the same as for the spoon except that the tip of the handle of the setsu is placed into the flap of the utensil case and then the flap is folded down once more so that the setsu rests on top of the case but held in place by the flap.
  • 141. In monasteries where the water is collected, any grains of rice or whatever that are left are to remain in the bottom of the bowl along with a small portion of water which is then drunk.
  • 142. This is only the case if the water offering (sessui) is not drunk entirely from the bowl as at Zazen-ji. At most monasteries the following chant is practiced:

    The water with which I clean these bowls
    tastes like nectar.
    I offer it to the various beings that
    they might be satisfied.

  • 143. The bowl that contained the water is dried before placing it with the other bowls and the wipe cloth is kept folded up tightly in the right hand.
  • 144. Or the set of bowls is picked up with the left hand palm down, the thumb at five o'clock, the index and middle fingers spread at the top of the edge facing away from the body.
  • 145. The text omits to mention taking care of the lap cloth. Pick it up slightly with the left hand at its centre near the belly, slide the right hand palm up underneath and grasp the bottom edge with the thumb underneath and the tips of the index and middle fingers on top. Flip the clothby bringing the right hand in towards the body and the left hand away. Fold it in half horizontally and then fold it in three vertically by bringing the right hand in towards the left. Holding the top edge with the right hand, bring the left hand smoothly down the left side from the top to the bottom. Move the right hand to top centre and the left hand to bottom centre. Place the folded cloth down on the covered bowls with the left hand moving away from the body so that the bottom edge becomes the top and right coming towards the body so that the top becomes the the bottom. In this way there will be an open edge at the upper left hand side of the folded lap cloth that can be picked up with the left hand and allowed to simply fall open when the orioki set is next opened for use.
  • 146. The wipe cloth has been held crumpled up in the right hand until now. Find a corner with the thumb and index finger (the cloth should have been placed in the right hand with this already in mind so that a corner is easy to find). Open the other fingers and palm and allow the wipe cloth to hang from this corner. With the left thumb and index finger pick up the corner opposite to that held by the right hand. Pull the corners away from each other sharply (there can be a slight snapping sound but it must be very slight) to smooth out the cloth. Now bring the corner held by the right hand over to the left hand. Grasp this corner with the left hand and release that previously held. With the right hand pick up the new corresponding corner. Repeat this process until the cloth has been rotated once through all of its corners. If the seamed edge is facing towards the body then flip the cloth up as it is placed down over the set that this edge is now facing downwards. If the seamed edge is facing away from the body then simply place it down. This is the process used at Zazen-ji. If a larger wipe cloth is used then it must be folded in half before placing it down. This is done by moving the hands down from the top edge of the wipe cloth to its centre and then letting the cloth fall into a fold, turning it 180 degees and then setting it down on the set.
  • 147. Place the left hand palm up on the centre of the set. Pick up the left corner with the right hand and thread it over the palm but under the thumb and fourth finger of the left hand. Now the right hand picks up the right corner and places it between the index and middle fingers of the left hand. The right hand grasps the corner held betwen the third and fourth finger of the left hand which is then released by the left hand. The left hand pulls towards the body while maintaining hold of the corner held by the index and middle fingers. The left hand brings this corner up and moves down towards the base of the strip of cloth holding it near the tie already made. With the right hand brought in towards the body, tie this corner up and over that held by the left and then tuck the tab into the knot while moving the left hand up to pull its corner taught. This will leave the left hand's corner longer than that of the right and the right hand's corner folded into the knot. Fold the projecting corner down towards the body and to the right.
  • 148. This sentence is an insertion into the original text.
  • 149. Docho. "Head of the Hall."
  • 150. Everyone should have finished at the same time, juniors matching the pace set by seniors, seniors accomodating the pace of juniors.
  • 151. This portion of this sentence is an insertion. Kissho-ji means Eihei-ji.
  • 152. The Song of Living in This World:

    This is as the boundless sky,
    like a lotus flowering above the water.
    Stainlessness is itself this mind,
    ​thus we bow to the Buddha.

  • 153. Eisai.
  • 154. Hosan This sentence is an insertion into the original text.
  • 155. Daizo-chato. The Abbot or a senior office holder sometimes sponsors the serving of tea or some other drink to the practitioners while they are seated in the Monk' Hall.
  • 156. In most monasteries the zafu are placed in the closets (kanki) behind each monk's seating space instead of under the tan.
  • 157. Sosan.
  • 158. Jodo or shindo. This would be signalled by wooden blocks (kaishaku) being struck outside the Monks" Hall and all of the other buildings of the monastery complex.
  • 159. Ado.
  • 160. Zanmai.
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