Our Ancestor Dōkai of Mount Fuyō manifested a pure wellspring of ceaseless practice. When the ruler of the nation tried to bestow upon him the title of Meditation Master Jōshō along with a purple kesa, our Ancestor would not accept them and wrote a letter to the emperor politely declining his offer. Although the ruler of the nation censured him for this, the Master, to the end, did not accept them. His rice broth has passed down to us the taste of the Dharma. When he built his hermitage on Mount Fuyō, the monks and laity streamed to his refuge by the hundreds. Because he served them only one bowl of gruel as a day’s rations, many of them left. The Master, upon a vow, did not partake of any meals offered by donors. One day he pointed out the Matter to his assembly, saying the following:
To begin with, those who have left home behind to become monks have a distaste for the dust and troubles stirred up by defiling passions and seek to rise above birth and death. And they do so in order to give their hearts and minds a rest, to abandon discriminatory thinking, and to eradicate entanglements, which is why it is called ‘leaving home’. So, how can it possibly be all right for monks to indulge in conventional ways of living by being neglectful and greedy?
Straight off, you should discard all dualistic notions and let neutral ones drop off as well. Then, whenever you encounter any sights or sounds, it will be as if you were trying to plant a flower atop a stone, and whenever you encounter gain or fame, it will resemble getting dirt in your eyes. Moreover, it is not that, since beginningless time, no one has ever done this, or that no one has ever known how. Simply, we just stop reversing our head and making a tail out of it.62 If we stop our training at this point, we will suffer from our cravings and greeds, but why do we need to do so? If we do not bring them to a halt right now, when will we deal with them? Therefore, the saintly ones of the past, who were ordinary human beings, invariably and thoroughly exhausted these cravings in each moment of the present. If we can exhaust them in each moment of the present, what more is there to do? If we are able to be calm in heart and mind, it will be as if even ‘the Buddhas and Ancestors’ become our enemy. When everything in the world has become naturally cooled down and impermanent for us, then, for the first time, we will be in accord with the Other Shore.


Gudo Nishijima’s translation can be found here (scroll down to “[241] Patriarch [Do]kai…” ): www.thezensite.com/ZenTeachings/Dogen_Teachings/Shobogenzo_2_NC.pdf