In an evening talk Dogen said,
Once there was a general whose name was Rochuren 1. While residing
in the country ruled by Heigenkun , he subdued the enemies of the
court. Although Heigenkun praised him and wanted to reward him with
much gold, silver, and other things, Rochuren refused, saying, “I
put down enemies only because that is the role of a general. I did
not do it to gain some reward or possessions.” So saying, he never
received the reward. Rochuren was famous for his righteousness and
Even in secular society, those who are wise carry out their tasks solely
for the sake of fulfilling their roles. They do not expect any reward.
Students of the Way must have the same mental attitude. Once you have
entered the Buddha-Way 2 , you should practice the various activities
just for the sake of the buddha-dharma 3 . Do not think of gaining
something in return. All teachings, Buddhist or non-Buddhist, exhort
us to be free from the expectation of gaining a reward.
- A famous Chinese general in the age of the Warring States (403-221
B.C.). This story is taken from Shiki (Shiji), compiled
by Shibasen. For Japanese, this sort of Chinese hero was like the
Greek or Roman hero for European people.
- Way (Do in Japanese, Dao in Chinese) is a translation
of the Sanskrit words marga or bodhi. Marga is
the path along which we should walk (practice) to become a Buddha. Bodhi is
awareness or enlightenment. So Buddha Way has two meanings combined,
one is the way leading to enlightenment and the other is the buddha’s
enlightenment itself. So, the Buddha Way is the way we should walk
in our daily activities in the direction of the Buddha, while each
one of the activities is nothing other than a manifestation of the
Buddha’s enlightenment. This is the meaning of Dogen’s expression shusho-ichinyo (practice
and enlightenment are one).
- Buddha-dharma means (1) the truth or reality to which the Buddha
awakens, (2) the teachings which show us the reality, and (3) the
law or morals which form the way of life in accordance with that
reality or teaching. Another meaning of this word is existence or
things (the myriad dharma).