Shobogenzo Zuimonki

Book 4


One day Dogen instructed,

An ancient has said, “Associating with a good person is like walking through mist and dew; though you will not become drenched, gradually your robes will become damp.”1 This means that if you become familiar with a good person, you will become good yourself without being aware of it.

In ancient times a boy who attended Mater Gutei (Judi)2, without noticing when he was learning or when he was practicing, realized the Way because he had served as a personal attendant to the master who had been practicing for a long time.

Similarly if you practice zazen for a long time you will suddenly clarify the Great Matter and will know that zazen is the true gate [to the buddha-dharma].

  1. This is a quotation from the Isankyosaku , written by Isan Reiyu (771–853).
  2. Whenever Gutei was asked questions, he did nothing but raise a finger. One day, someone asked his attendant what the master’s teaching was, the boy mimicked his master’s action and raised a finger. When Gutei heard this, he cut off the boy’s finger. The boy ran away crying. Gutei called the boy’s name. When the boy turned his head, Gutei raised his finger. The boy suddenly became enlightened.