Shobogenzo Zuimonki

Book 3


Dogen instructed,

Students of the Way, let go of1 body and mind and enter completely into the buddha-dharma. An ancient said,” At the top of a hundred foot pole, how do you advance one step further?”2 In such a situation, we think that we would die if we were to let go of the pole and so we cling firmly to it.

Saying “advance one step further” means the same as having resolved that death would not be bad and therefore one lets go of bodily life. We should give up worrying about everything from the art of living to our livelihood.

Unless we give up worrying about such things it will be impossible to attain the Way even if we seem to be practicing earnestly as though trying to extinguish a fire enveloping our heads. Just let go of body and mind in a decisive manner.

  1. Hoge in Japanese means to let go, throw away, give up, abandon, lay down, etc. Someone asked Joshu, “I have nothing. How is that?”
    Joshu replied, “Throw it away (hoge-jaku).”
  2. See 1-13, footnote 4.