Monk In The World

To be a monk is to have time to practice for your transformation and healing. And after that to help with the transformation and healing of other people.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Sunday, February 21, 2010

...buddhadharma, the world just as it is!

Ok, so we are studying Dogen's instructions to the cook (the tenzo). I'm presently readying From the Zen Kitchen to Enlightenment...


Dogen:
A dish is not necessarily superior because you have prepared it with choice ingredients, nor is a soup inferior because you have made it with ordinary greens. When handling and selecting greens, do so wholeheartedly, with a pure mind, and without trying to evaluate their quality, in the same way in which you would prepare a splendid feast. The many rivers which flow into the ocean become the one taste of the ocean; when they flow into the pure ocean of the dharma there are no such distinctions as delicacies or plain food, there is just one taste, and it is the buddhadharma, the world itself as it is. In cultivating the germ of aspiration to live out the Way, as well as practicing the dharma, delicious and ordinary tastes are the same and not two. There is an old saying, "The mouth of a monk is like an oven."Remember this well.

My take on this is that a oven just receives what it is given and cooks it, without any judgement. Walking through this world, we are like an oven. Life is contingent, I believe. We are a walking oven and certain things are given to us born out of these contingencies. Don't have the space here to get into "free will"...anyway, what is given is what we are to cook.

So why do I say all the above? Why did these particular words catch my eyes this morning?

I continue to think about Amy and David, and their three living children.

Is our life just an oven? All we can do is just receive what is given? In some ways, yes. What matters is how we cook what has been given? What matters is what do we do with the food that we have? Can we make something meaningful out of it? Making meaning is not picking and choosing, making meaning is the cooking. Then you just eat what you have placed before you.

But that does not mean you have to like it. Maybe what is important is that you digest it properly so you can be changed by the nutrients that are in it.

May Amy and David, and their three living children be fed well this day.

Deep Bows,
Alan

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