A reading from Shobogenzo Zuimonki

On Wednesday our meditation group studied a short text from Dogen’s collection of talks to his monks and lay trainees, Shobogenzo Zuimonki.

“In a dharma talk, Dogen said,

Even if you are speaking rationally 1 and another person says something unreasonable, it is wrong to defeat him by arguing logically. On the other hand, it is not good to give up hastily saying that you are wrong, even though you think that your opinion is reasonable.

Neither defeats him, nor withdraw saying you are wrong. It is best to just leave the matter alone and stop arguing. If you act as if you have not heard and forget about the matter, he will forget too and will not get angry. This is a very important thing to bear in mind.

The original Japanese is dori, which means, (1) principle, truth, (2) reason, argument”

We had a good discussion about what this meant to us and how we interpreted it in our daily lives.

It is one of the most radical aspects of our Zen Buddhist practice, and one of the most difficult.
Radical and difficult because it is totally in opposition to the way my experience and conditioning has been formed.
The society forms us to always argue the point, always put up a good debate, always assert myself.
Build up the Self with Views and Opinions, stories and history.



Zen Master Dogen writes in his book Shobogenzo:

“When human beings look at water, they only see it as something that ceaselessly pours out and flows on. This flowing has many forms, each being a part of the human perspective. It flows over the earth and out of the sky, now surging upwards, now pouring downwards, streaming along in the bends of a river and coursing through deep chasms. It rises up to make clouds and comes down to form pools.”

Some more photos from the shores of Lake Coniston: