Shobogenzo Zuimonki

Book 2


Once, someone urged Dogen to go to Kanto1 to help the Buddha-dharma flourish.
Dogen refused. “If someone aspires to practice the buddha-dharma, he will come and study it even if he has to cross mountains, rivers, and oceans. If he lacks such resolution, there is no certainty that he will accept it, even if I go and urge him (to practice it). Shall I fool people merely for the sake of material support? Isn’t this just greed for wealth? Since it would just tire me out, I feel no necessity to go.”

  1. Kanto refers to the eastern part of Japan, in this case Kamakura, where the shogunate (government) was located. At the time, the samurai who took over political power from the court in Kyoto accepted Zen Buddhism. Several Chinese Zen masters came from China; for example, Rankei Doryu, Mugaku Sogen, etc, and a number of Zen temples were founded there. The person was suggesting that Dogen go there to gain the support of the shogunate government. Later, however, after Dogen moved into Eiheiji, he did visit Kamakura and stayed there for half a year.