September 21, 2015

Francis Harold Cook on Practicing with an Attitude of Single-minded Urgency

Thought of the Day:

“Activities such as chanting, bowing, and sitting in zazen are not at all wasted, even when done merely formally, for even this superficial encounter with the Dharma will have some wholesome outcome at a later time. However, it must be said in the most unambiguous terms that this is not real Zen. To follow the Dharma involves a complete reorientation of one's life in such a way that one's activities are manifestations of, and are filled with, a deeper meaning. If it were not otherwise, and merely sitting in zazen were enough, every frog in the pond would be enlightened, as one Zen master said. Dōgen Zenji himself said that one must practice Zen with the attitude of a person trying to extinguish a fire in his hair. That is, Zen must be practiced with an attitude of single-minded urgency.”

— Francis Harold Cook, How to Raise an Ox: Zen Practice as Taught in Zen Master Dogen's Shobogenzo, Including Ten Newly Translated Essays