Shobogenzo Zuimonki

Book 3


A monk said,

“In the monasteries in China, since there are provisions belonging to the sangha which comprise the permanent property of the temple and are used to support the monks’ practice, the monks need not worry about their livelihood. Because there are no such things in this country, abandoning all possessions will become an obstacle to practicing the Way. I think it is a good idea to have people who offer clothing and food to support our practice. What do you think?”

Dogen replied,

“I disagree. Unlike in China, sometimes people in this country support monks beyond reason and offer things beyond their means. I don’t know about others, but I have experienced this and found this to be true. I have spent more than ten years without any possessions and I have never worried about how to obtain them. To think of accumulating even a little bit of wealth is a great obstacle. Without thinking of how to gain or store up things you will naturally receive as much as you need to stay alive for a while. Each person has his allotted share; heaven and earth bestow it on us. Even though you don’t run around seeking it, you will receive it without fail.

Needless to say, children of the Buddha will receive the legacy of the Tathagata, they will obtain it without seeking it. These things will naturally be there only if you abandon everything and practice the Way. This is clear proof.”