I recently translated a section from Dogen's Hokyoki, the journal he kept in China, for "The Ten Line Kannon Sutra" series. Because I'll only be using a portion of it in that piece (due up next week), I thought I'd share the whole thing in this post for those who might appreciate it - so I've copied it below without commentary or explanation.
The selection presents Dogen's main teacher, Tiantong Rujing's (1163–1228), teaching on Great Compassion. If you are so inclined, you can learn a lot more about Rujing here - he was featured in my "Dogen's Great And ..." series from last year (it includes some excellent work by Kokyo Henkel Osho).
Rujing was truly one of the great masters of the Zen tradition.
Below, you can jump right into the heart of this wonderful old Buddha's teaching:
Hokyoki, Section 36:
The Venerable [Rujing] would sometimes say, “Although the zazen of arhats and pratyekabuddhas does not attach to flavor, it lacks Great Compassion. Therefore, they are not the same as the Buddhas and Ancestors who make Great Compassion primary, and in their zazen vow to carry all living beings across.
“In India, those outside the Way also do zazen. These outsiders suffer from three afflictions - attachment to flavor, mistaken views, and arrogance. Therefore, they always differ from the zazen of Buddhas and Ancestors.
“Also, sravakas also do zazen, but their kindness and compassion are weak. Within all dharmas, they do not use the sharp mother of wisdom to cut through all dharmas. Practicing only to perfect themselves, they cut off full knowledge of the seed of Buddhahood. Therefore, they always differ from the zazen of Buddhas and Ancestors.
“Speaking of the zazen of Buddhas and Ancestors, from the first arousal of the thought [of awakening], they vow to gather all the various buddhadharmas. Therefore, within zazen they do not forget living beings, and they do not discard living beings, including even insects and worms, but always compassionately remember them for their benefit. They vow to carry them across and to transfer (Japanese, eko) all merit to all. Therefore, Buddhas and Ancestors abide in the desire realm, negotiating the Way in zazen within the locus of the human condition. Because of causes and conditions (Japanese, innen), life after life, they cultivate every virtue, obtaining a soft and flexible mind.”
Dogen bowed and said, “How did you obtain a soft and flexible mind?”
The Venerable [Rujing] said, “By affirming all the Buddhas and all the Ancestors dropping body and mind. This is the soft and flexible mind. Regard this as the mind seal of the Buddhas and Ancestors.”
Dogen bowed six times.