Shobogenzo Zuimonki

Book 2


In an evening talk, Dogen said,

Do not expect to be respected by others unless you have true inner virtue. Since people in this country are ignorant of such virtue and praise others highly based only on their outward appearances, students without bodhi-mind are easily dragged down into the evil paths (the six realms of samsara), and become the kindred of demons. It is easy to be respected. To halfheartedly pretend to have abandoned your body and parted from the world is only a matter of outward appearance. Such is not a sincere attitude. One who appears to be an ordinary person of the world, and goes on harmonizing his inner mind is a person of true bodhi-mind.

Therefore, an Ancient said, “Empty inside, following along outside.” This means being without ego-centric mind inside and getting along with others outside. If you completely forget your own body and mind, enter into the buddha-dharma, and keep practicing in accordance with the laws of the buddha-dharma, you will be good both inwardly and outwardly in the present and the future.

Even though you have entered into the buddha-dharma and have abandoned yourself and the world, it is wrong to thoughtlessly abandon that which should not be abandoned. In this country, among those who are famous as men of the buddha-dharma or of bodhi-mind, there are some who do not consider how others see them and behave badly without any reason, saying they have abandoned the self. Or they do such things as becoming drenched while walking in the rain, and think they have become free of attachment to the world. They are entirely useless both inwardly and outwardly. Nevertheless, people in the world often consider them respectable and free from attachment to the ordinary world.

In their midst, if one maintains the precepts of the Buddha, keeps the regulations, practices for oneself, and instructs others in following the Buddha’s teachings, people think that he clings to fame and profit and ignore him. Yet for us that is the way to follow the Buddha’s teaching and cultivate inner and outer virtue.