First Presbyterian Church Repairs
Paraphrased citation and COMMENTARY on Dogen Zenji's
TENZO KYOKUN (典座教訓)
Z. B. A. - Zen of Business Administration
by Marc Lesser and Shannon Fujimoto Nakaya
(See: "Our Happiness and Freedom are Right Here, Right Now)
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     WORK HAS always played a central and critical role in Zen practice. There is a famous story [in the Tenzo Kyokun] about Dogen, the founder of Zen in Japan and perhaps the most revered teacher in all of Zen practice. Eight hundred years ago Dogen took the long and dangerous trip from Japan to China in search of a true Zen teacher. The first person he met was a Zen monk in his seventies whom Dogen was surprised to discover was the head cook in a mountain monastery. This monk had travelled several miles to buy some mushrooms for the evening meal.
     Dogen was excited to meet a Chinese Zen monk and invited him to spend the evening with him. When the monk said he needed to return to the temple to make dinner, Dogen said that surely there must be others who could do the cooking and that an older monk didn't need to make dinner, Dogen said that surely there must be others who could do the cooking and that an older monk didn't need to make the trip back that evening. The monk laughed and said that it was his responsibility and his practice to oversee the cooking of the meals. He said that this foreigner clearly did not understand that Zen practice was not separate from the act of work. Dogen was moved by this conversation and by the spirit of the monk.
     In another famous Zen dialogue the student asks, "What is the essence of Zen?" The teacher responds, "Chopping wood and carrying water." Zen practice emphasizes simplicity and action. In Zen practice, work itself by its very nature both allows us to express our true nature and provides the ground for awakening.
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 Note: See also the above paraphrased as conversation between Dogen and two
Zen cooks, citation from The Cosmos in a Carrot, by Carmen Yuen.
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(Zen Master) DOGEN ZENJI'S (道元禅師)
(Gender Inclusive) STUDIES OF THE WAY (學道) | (INDEX)
95-Fascicle SHOBOGENZO (正法眼蔵) & Other Writings
photo (Top): (Making Repairs, First Presbyterian, NYC), earlywomenmasters.net