Shobogenzo Zuimonki

Book 5


Dogen instructed,

Many of the ancient masters have cautioned not to spend one’s time in vain. It has also been said not to pass one’s time wastefully. Students of the Way, value every moment of time. This dew-like life disappears easily; time passes swiftly. For the little while you are alive, do not engage in other affairs. Just devote yourself to learning the Way.

People today say that they cannot abandon their debt of gratitude to their parents, or they can not disregard the order of their lord, or they cannot part from their wives, children, and relatives. Or they excuse themselves saying that their families would not be able to survive, or that people would slander them. Or, they say they cannot afford monk’s supplies, or they are not capable of enduring the practice of the Way.

Since they consider the matter with such sentiments, they cannot leave their lords, fathers and mothers; or abandon their wives, children, or relatives. They go on following worldly sentiments and cling to their wealth. Consequently, they spend their whole lifetime in vain and cannot help feeling regret upon departing from this life.

Sit tranquilly and ponder reality, and promptly determine to arouse bodhi-mind. Neither your lords nor parents can give you enlightenment. Nor can your wives, children, or relatives save you from the suffering [of life-and-death].

Wealth cannot cut off the cycle of birth-and-death. People in the world cannot give you any help. If you do not practice on the grounds that you are not a vessel of the dharma, when will you be able to attain the Way? Just cast aside all affairs and devote yourself to the practice of the Way only. Do not have expectations of any later time (to practice).