Dogen on Continuous Practice

Something cool I wanted to share with readers from Dogen (道元, 1200-1253) the founder of Soto Zen in Japan. This translation comes from the book The Essential Dogen: Writings of the Great Zen Master:

Blossoms opening and leaves falling now are the actualization of continuous practice. (Pg. 152)

But I liked the next quote even more so:

Great Teacher Shakyamuni Buddha was engaged in continuous practice in the deep mountains from the time he was nineteen years old. At age thirty, after practicing continuously, he attained the way simultaneously with all sentient beings on the great earth. Until he was in his eighties, his practice was sustained in mountains, forests, and monasteries. He did not return to the palace,¹ nor did he claim property.  He wore the same robes and held the same bowls throughout his lifetime.  From the time he began teaching, he was not alone even for a day or for an hour.  He did not reject offerings from humans and devas.  He was patient with the criticism of people outside the way.  The lifetime teaching of the Buddha, wearing the pure robes and begging for food, was nothing but continuous practice. (pg. 152-153)

For some reason, I find this quotation very inspirational.

¹ Technically he did return to the palace, but did not reclaim his birthright. Instead, he let his son, Rahula, have the inheritence. However Rahula became a monk as well and a number of sutras in the Pali Canon show conversations between father and son. 


Author: Doug

A fellow who dwells upon the Pale Blue Dot who spends his days obsessing over things like Buddhism, KPop music, foreign languages, BSD UNIX and science fiction.

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