Quietly consider the fact that if this were a time when the true dharma had not yet spread throughout the world, it would be impossible for us to come into contact with it, even if we were willing to sacrifice our lives to do so. How fortunate to have been born in the present day, when we are able to make this encounter!
We are now able to come in contact with the Buddha Sakyamuni and hear his teachings due to the compassionate kindness that has resulted from the constant practice of each of the buddhas and patriarchs. If the buddhas and patriarchs had not directly transmitted the dharma, how could it have come down to us today?
The true way of expressing this gratitude can be found only in our daily practice itself.
How transient our life is! To utter two or three words of the buddhas and patriarchs completely is to express the buddhas and patriarchs themselves fully. Why is this so?
In their realm there is no gap between body and mind, so every word of their uttering is their warm body and mind.
Therefore, when we become the buddhas and patriarchs, we transcend them.
This is the practical expression of two or three words of buddhas and patriarchs.
So I strongly urge you to pursue the practice of the buddhas and patriarchs.
Maneesha, obviously these statements of Dogen were uttered before his enlightenment. He is a beautiful scholar, a learned man. He has a rare intellect; from the age of seven he was able to translate Buddha’s words from Chinese to Japanese. At the age of four he was able to learn Chinese. He was a rare child, a rare intellect, a genius. But that is a barrier as far as Zen is concerned. It must have been a difficult time for him to later change gears from mind to heart.
These sutras are just from the mind. Whoever has compiled these sutras does not know that a master does not speak the way Dogen is speaking. This is the way of the scholar.
I have to remind you that at some point Dogen must have become a master. We have discussed the sutras written when he had become enlightened. It is a good comparison…to see in a single man what enlightenment brings and what the impediments are. Even to a man like Dogen with such immense and unique intelligence…the problem arises that his intelligence is so great that it is very difficult to take the jump out of it.
Sometimes things which are blissful, fortunate, become unfortunate, dangerously preventing the quantum leap. You can see why I call him still a scholar.
Dogen wrote: Quietly consider…
What is consideration? It cannot be meditation. There is no place for consideration in meditation. Consideration is of the mind, consideration is another name for thinking. And how can you consider something which you don’t know?
Just the fact that he is asking,
Quietly consider the fact that if this were a time when the true dharma has not yet spread throughout the world, it would be impossible for us to come into contact with it.