Monday, March 15, 2010

All Things Come

Zen practice is a matter of patience. To quote the proverb: "All things come to those who wait." There are the similar lines at the close of John Milton sonnet on his blindness, "They also serve who only stand and wait." Similar, but there is a fundamental difference, highlighted with the directionality of  "come to" and "serve." As Dōgen Zenji said, "That the self advances and confirms the myriad things is delusion. That the myriad things advance and confirm the self is true realization.


  1. This patience is not in time, it is not waiting for something in the future. This timelessness is patience itself, naturally. This waiting is full of ease, this ease is fullness. This waiting is not the place of expectation for fulfillment, it is fulfullment itself. There is no coming and where else to come from or to go. The myriad things advance to confirm the no-self, this is patience.

  2. the self
    the myriad things
    what difference is there in true realization?
    nothing to advance
    no need for confirmation
    the patient practice of perfection.

  3. Dear Aitken Roshi,

    Thank you for pointing so directly!

    Your expression directed my attention to the distinction between "come to" and "serve" without "explaining away" anything at all. This has allowed several passages of Dogen to "arrive" in new light. These include this one from Shobogenzo, Daigo:

    The great realization at this very moment is beyond self and beyond other. It is not something that comes to us from somewhere outside, yet it fills in the ditches and fills up the valleys everywhere. It is not something that departs from us, yet it is incompatible with any pursuit after some ‘other’. And why is that? Because it has departed from chasing after whatever is ‘other’.
    ~Shobogenzo, Daigo, Hubert Nearman

    And this one from Shobogenzo, Gyoji:

    Because the Bodies and Minds of Buddhas and Ancestors are one and the same, so Their one or two phrases all express the genial Body and Heart of a Buddha and Ancestor. This Body and Heart of Their’s also comes to us, and It expresses our body and heart. At the very moment when They express It, Their expression comes to us and expresses our own body and heart.
    ~Shobogenzo, Gyoji, Hubert Nearman

    And finally, my favorite from Shobogenzo (28), Butsu-kojo-no-ji

    In ancient times Old One Sakyamuni under the bodhi tree, on seeing the bright star, at once realized the truth. The principle here is the principle that not a single thing is fetched. Previously the Buddha had experienced the bright star, but from this time on the bright star was experiencing the Buddha. What is the basis [for saying that] he was experienced by the bright star and that he experienced the bright star? Namely, “Practice and experience is not nonexistent [but] it cannot be tainted.”

    A [monk] named Chokei asks Master Hofuku, “They say that to see form is to see the mind. But do you see the boat?”
    Hofuku says, “I see it.”
    Chokei says, “Let us set aside the boat for the moment. Just what is the mind?”
    Hofuku points a finger at the boat.
    ~Shobogenzo 28 (the so-called “Secret Shobogenzo”), Butsu-kojo-no-ji, Gudo Nishijima & Mike (Chodo) Cross

    Thank You!

    Nine Full Bows



  5. I Also Agree With you Meditation is not contemplation. Meditation is not concentration. Meditation is a state of being. It is a state of awareness. Meditation is not about doing something; rather it is about doing nothing. So Check out more Intresting techniques and Guidene about Maditation only at []