Muho wals and talks, February 16th 2018

View from the Antaiji kitchen door & walk around the hall, February 13h 2018

Descending the mountain to pick up the mail, February 6th 2018

Descending the mountain to pick up the mail, February 6th 2018

Same procedure…, February 4th 2018

Muho talks about Hyakujo’s fox and Joshu’s cat, January 31st 2018

Short English Q & A at the very end (2:07:00)!

Shobogenzo Zuimonki
Book 1 Chapter 6
(quoted from:

Once Ejo asked,

“What is the meaning of not being blind to cause and effect?” ①
Dogen replied, “Not moving cause and effect.”

Ejo asked, “How can we be released then?”

Dogen said, “Cause and effect are self-evident.” ②

Ejo inquired further, “Then does cause bring about effect or does effect bring about cause?”

Dogen said, “If it is so in every case, what about Nansen’s ③ killing the cat? When his students could not say anything, Nansen immediately killed the cat. Later, when Joshu heard about the incident, he put his straw sandal on his head and went out. This was excellent action.”

Dogen added, “If I had been Nansen, I would have said, ‘If you cannot speak, I will kill it; even if you can speak, I will kill it. Who would fight over a cat? Who can save the cat? On behalf of the students, I would have said, ‘We are not able to speak, Master. Go ahead and kill the cat!’ Or, I would have said for them, ‘Master, you only know about cutting it (the cat) into two with one stroke, yet you do not know about cutting it into one with one stroke.’”

Ejo asked, “How do you cut it into one with one stroke?”

Dogen said, “The cat itself.”

Dogen added, “If I had been Nansen, when the students could not answer, I would have released the cat saying that the students had already spoken. An ancient master said, ‘When the great-function manifests itself, no fixed rules exist.’”

Dogen also said, “This action of Nansen’s that is, cutting the cat, is a manifestation of the […]

Shogaku talks about Tenzokyokun, January 29th 2018

In the seventh month of the same year, I registered at Tiantong [Monastery]. While I was there, that cook came to meet me and said, “At the end of the summer retreat I retired as cook and am now returning to my home village. I happened to hear a disciple say that you were here; how could I not come to meet you?”
I jumped for joy and was very grateful. In the ensuing conversation that I had with him I brought up the karmic conditions of written words and pursuit of the way that we had discussed previously on the ship. The cook said, “The study of written words is to understand the purpose of written words. Exertion in pursuit of the way requires an affirmation of the purpose of pursuing the way.” I asked him, “What are written words?” The cook answered, “One, two, three, four, five.” I also asked, “What is pursuit of the way?” He said, “In the whole world, it can never be hidden.”
Although there was a great variety of other things that we discussed, I will not record them at this point. The little I know about written words and understand about pursuing the way is due to the great kindness of that cook. I told my late teacher Myôzen about the things that I have just related here, and he was very happy to hear of them.
Later I saw a verse that Xuedou wrote to instruct the monks:
One letter, seven letters, three letters, or five;
Investigating myriads of images, one reaches no basis.
In the depth of night, the moon sets into the dark sea;
Seeking the black dragon’s pearl, one […]

Eko talks about Tenzokyokun, January 28th 2018

Again, in the fifth month of the sixteenth year of the Jiading era (1223), I was on the ship at Qingyuan. While I was talking with the Japanese captain, there was an old monk who arrived. He was about sixty years old. He came directly onto the ship and inquired of the Japanese passengers if he could buy Japanese mushrooms. I invited him to drink tea and asked where he was from. He was the cook of the monastery on Mount Ayuwang. He said, “I come from Sichuan, but I left my home village forty years ago. This year I am sixty-one years old. In the past I have trained in quite a few different monasteries. In recent years, I stayed for a while with Guyun. I was able to register at Yuwang [monastery], but for some time I felt out of place. At the end of the summer retreat last year, however, I was appointed cook of that monastery. Tomorrow is the fifth day [feast], but the entire menu does not yet include a single delicacy. I need to cook noodle soup, but still have no mushrooms, and thus have made a special trip here to try to buy mushrooms to offer to the monks of the ten directions.
I asked him, “What time did you leave there?” The cook replied, “After the midday meal.” I inquired, “How long is the road from Yuwang to here?” He said, “Thirty-four or thirty-five li.” I asked, “When will you return to the monastery?” He said, “If I can buy the mushrooms now, I will set off right after that.” I said, “Today I did not expect to meet you and have […]

Mickaël talks about Tenzokyokun, January 27th 2018

When a patron comes into the monastery and donates money to hold a feast, the various the stewards should all be consulted; this is the precedent established in monasteries of old. With regard to the distribution of the merit-making donations, they also consult together. Do not create a disturbance in the hierarchy by infringing on anyone’s authority.
When the midday meal or morning gruel has been properly prepared and placed on the table, the cook dons his kesa, spreads his sitting cloth, faces the sangha hall [where the monks eat], burns incense and makes nine prostrations. Upon finishing his prostrations, he sends the food [to the sangha hall].
Throughout the day, as you prepare the meals, do not pass the time in vain. If your preparations are true, then your movements and activities will naturally become the deeds of nurturing the womb of the sage. The way to put the great assembly at ease is to step back and transform yourself.
It has been a long time now since the name “buddha-dharma” came to be heard in our country, Japan. However, our predecessors did not record, and the former worthies did not teach, anything about the proper procedure for monks’ meals, and they never even dreamed of the rite of making nine prostrations before the monks’ meals. People in this country say that the way in which the monks eat and the way in which monasteries prepare food are just like the feeding methods of [domestic] birds and beasts. This is truly pathetic, truly deplorable. How could it be?
When this mountain monk [I, Dôgen] was at Tiantong Monastery, the position [of cook] was held by cook Yong, of the same province [as […]

Around the hall, January 26th 2018