a monk’s mouth

Image result for stone wood cooking stove


a monk’s mouth refuses nothing

like a stove it consumes whatever comes

having no preference all becomes ash

life is like that

whatever comes is there

do not refuse it

accept it as is and consume it

to consume it means to integrate it

the monk’s mouth takes in all

digested it enters into the endless ocean

the monk’s eyes take in all refusing none

understanding all it is digested

the monk’s hands grasp all

whatever is there is for him to take

even the blade of grass becomes a temple

a speck of dust a castle

what does this mean?

the monk opens his mind and is boundless

being boundless he recognizes the great in all

even the smallest is like the biggest

all are part of the great

you monk are the one who makes it so

and it already is

this is alchemy

put down anyone for lack of skill

rise up anyone of wisdom

and you lose the treasure

be sure of each step

for it is the first and the last step

bitter and sweet complete the taste

for the one with the open mind they are truly the same

do you have the courage to be the monk?


inspired by Dogen:

When ordinarily preparing ingredients, do not regard them with ordinary [deluded] eyes, or think of them with ordinary emotions. “Lifting a single blade of grass builds a shrine; entering a single mote of dust turns the great wheel of the dharma.” Even when, for example, one makes a soup of the crudest greens, one should not give rise to a mind that loathes it or takes its lightly; and even when one makes a soup of the finest cream, one should not give rise to a mind that feels glad and rejoices in it. If one is at the outset free from preferences, how could one have any aversions? Even when confronted with poor ingredients, there is no negligence whatsoever; even when faced with scanty ingredients, one exerts oneself. Do not change your mind in accordance with things. Whoever changes his mind in accordance with things, or revises his words to suit the person [he is speaking to], is not a man of the way.

Harmonizing and purifying yourself in this manner, do not lose either the one eye [of transcendent wisdom] or the two eyes [of discriminating consciousness]. Lifting a single piece of vegetable, make [yourself into] a six-foot body [i.e. a buddha] and ask that six-foot body to prepare a single piece of vegetable. Those are [the cook’s] spiritual penetrations and magical transformations, his buddha-work and benefiting of living beings.

As for the [proper] attitude in preparing food offerings and handling ingredients, do not debate the fineness of things and do not debate their coarseness, but take as essential the profound arousal of a true mind and a respectful mind.

What is regarded as the preparation of superb delicacies is not necessarily superior, nor is the preparation of a soup of the crudest greens necessarily inferior. When you select and serve up crude greens, if you do so with a true mind, a sincere mind, and a pure mind, then they will be comparable to superb delicacies. Why is that so? Because when one enters into the pure and vast oceanic assembly of the buddha dharma, superb delicacies are never seen and the flavor of crude greens does not exist: there is only the one taste of the great sea, and that is all.

Moreover, when it comes to the matters of nurturing the sprouts of the way and nourishing the sacred embryo, superb delicacies and crude greens are as one; there is no duality. There is an old saying that a monk’s mouth is like a stove. You must not fail to understand this. You should think that even crude greens can nourish the sacred embryo and nurture the sprouts of the way. Do not regard them as base; do not take them lightly.

A teacher of humans and devas is able to regard crude greens as things that convert and benefit [beings]. Moreover, you should not concern yourself with the strengths and weaknesses of the monks of the assembly, or look upon them as being old or young. Even the self does not know the self’s own weak points; how could others be aware of the weak points of others? How could it not be a mistake to take one’s own deficiencies as the deficiencies of others?

Although there are differences in the appearance of seniors and juniors, and some have wisdom while others are foolish or dim, as members of the sangha they are the same. Moreover, something that was not true in the past may be true at present, so who can know which are sages and which are commoners? The Rules of Purity for Chan Monasteries says, “The sangha gathers together from throughout the ten directions, without distinguishing sages and commoners.” If you have an aspiration that does not try to control all matters of right and wrong, is that not the way of practice that directly
approaches supreme awakening?

source: Instructions for the Cook – excerpts p.3, 6, 7 – Master Dogen




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