Showing posts from September, 2021

United in Koan

 United in Koan For those of us who have come to love and revere Master Ehei Dogen (1200-1253) it can be disturbing when we come across the more polemic parts of his writings. In the essay  Sansuigyo (p. 173) for example he calls a large group of fellow Zen monks in China “dogs” and “more stupid than animals”. Their "offence" which so upset Dogen was the fact that they maintained that certain stories from the Zen tradition called  koan  were irrational and not to be approached through words or reasoning. In another essay called Jisho-Zanmai Dogen describes over several pages the fruitless attempts of another Chinese Zen monk called Soko to trick various Zen masters into conferring on him the rank of a Zen teacher. Throughout this text, Dogen again uses strong and personal languages, describing Soko as heedless, ignorant, and greedy: “We must say that he is without profound insight, and without the makings of truth. He is an extreme case of negligence in practice. Through gr