Shobogenzo Zuimonki

Book 6


Dogen instructed,

The mental attitude of a person of the Way is somewhat different from that of ordinary people. One time when the late Sojo (Archbishop) of Kenninji (Eisai) was still alive, the temple ran completely out of food. At the time, one of the patrons invited the Sojo over and offered him a bolt of silk. The Sojo rejoiced and carried it back to the temple himself, instead of having someone else carry it for him. He gave it to the temple officer who was in charge and told him to use it to pay for the following morning’s gruel, etc.

However, a certain layman asked, “A shameful affair happened, so that I need a few bolts of silk. If you have any, could you kindly let me have them?”

The Sojo immediately took back the silk from the temple officer and gave it to the man. At the time, the officer and all the other monks were extremely upset by this. Later the Sojo said, “You may think it was wrong. However, my thinking is that you gather together here because of your aspiration for the Buddha-Way. It should not matter even if we run out of food and starve to death. It is more beneficial to save people in the secular world right now who are suffering from a lack of something they need.”
Truly, the consideration of a person of the Way is like this.