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40 Dōgen Zenji Quotes That Will Alter Your Perception of Everything

Dōgen Zenji was a Japanese Buddhist priest, poet, philosopher, writer, and founder of the Sōtō school of Zen in Japan.

He is known for his extensive writing including his most famous work – Shōbōgenzō, but also Eihei Shingi, the first Zen monastic code written in Japan.

List Of 40 Dōgen Zenji Quotes That Will Alter Your Perception of Everything:

#1 ”In a mind clear as still water, even the waves, breaking, are reflecting its light.”

#2 ”Do not think you will necessarily be aware of your own enlightenment.”

#3 ”Enlightenment is like the moon reflected on the water. The moon does not get wet, nor is the water broken. Although its light is wide and great, the moon is reflected even in a puddle an inch wide. The whole moon and the entire sky are reflected in one dewdrop on the grass.”

#4 ”But do not ask me where I am going, As I travel in this limitless world, Where every step I take is my home.”

#5 “Forgetting oneself is opening oneself”

#6 ”Cause is not before and effect is not after.”

#7 “There is a simple way to become buddha: When you refrain from unwholesome actions, are not attached to birth and death, and are compassionate toward all sentient beings, respectful to seniors and kind to juniors, not excluding or desiring anything, with no designing thoughts or worries, you will be called a Buddha.”

#8 ”Above all, don’t wish to become a future Buddha; your only concern should be, as thought follows thought, to avoid clinging to any of them.”

#9 “Every man possesses the Buddha-nature. Do not demean yourselves.”

#10 ”Enlightenment is intimacy with all things.”

#11 “One must be deeply aware of the impermanence of the world.”

#12 ”Your body is like a dew-drop on the morning grass, your life is as brief as a flash of lightning. Momentary and vain, it is lost in a moment.”

#13 “What you think in your own mind to be good, or what people of the world think is good, is not necessarily good.”

#14 ”Those who see worldly life as an obstacle to Dharma see no Dharma in everyday actions. They have not yet discovered that there are no everyday actions outside of dharma.”

#15 “Nothing can be gained by extensive study and wide reading. Give them up immediately.”

#16 ”The whole universe Shatters into a hundred pieces. In the great death There is no heaven, no earth. Once body and mind have turned over, There is only this to say: Past mind cannot be grasped, Present mind cannot be grasped, Future mind cannot be grasped.”

#17 “In a snowfall that covers the winter grass a white heron uses his own whiteness to disappear.”

#18 ”All-inclusive study is just single-minded sitting, dropping away body and mind. At the moment of going there, you go there; at the moment of coming here, you come here. There is no gap.”

#19 “If you study a lot because you are worried that others will think badly of you for being ignorant and you’ll feel stupid, this is a serious mistake.”

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#20 ”Birth is just like riding in a boat. You raise the sails and you steer. Although you maneuver the sail and the pole, the boat gives you a ride, and without the boat you couldn’t ride. But you ride in the boat, and your riding makes the boat what it is.”

#21 “Your body is like a dew-drop on the morning grass, your life is as brief as a flash of lightning. Momentary and vain, it is lost in a moment.”

#22 ”Truth is perfect and complete in itself. It is not something newly discovered; it has always existed. Truth is not far away; it is ever-present. It is not something to be attained since not one of your steps leads away from it.”

#23 “To escape from the world means that one’s mind is not concerned with the opinions of the world.”

#24 ”Foolish people think that if they help others first, their own benefit will be lost, but this is not so. Beneficial action is an act of oneness, benefiting self and others together.”

#25 “If you want to travel the Way of Buddhas and Zen masters, then expect nothing, seek nothing, and grasp nothing.”

#26 ”Life is short and no one knows what the next moment will bring. Open your mind while you have the opportunity, thereby gaining the treasures of wisdom, which in turn you can share abundantly with others, bringing them happiness.”

#27 “Life and death are of supreme importance. Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost. Each of us should strive to awaken. Awaken! Take heed, do not squander your life.”

#28 ”Sit on a cushion in a manner as comfortable as possible, wearing loose clothing. Hold your body straight without leaning to the left or the right, forward or backward. Your ears should be in a line with your shoulders, and nose in a straight line with your navel. Keep the tongue at the roof of the mouth and close your lips. Eyes are slightly open, and breathing is quiet through the nostrils.”

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#29 “No matter how bad a state of mind you may get into, if you keep strong and hold out, eventually the floating clouds must vanish and the withering wind must cease.”

#30 ”The truth is the reality of mind which is formless and pervades the ten directions. It is being used presently right before your eyes, yet people do not trust it sufficiently, so they accept terms and expressions, seeking to assess Buddhism conceptually in the written word.”

#31 “Prefer to be defeated in the presence of the wise than to excel among fools.”

#32 ”The Buddha meditated for six years, Bodhidharma for nine. The practice of meditation is not a method for the attainment of realization – it is enlightenment itself.”

#33 “A fool sees himself as another, but a wise man sees others as himself.”

#34 ”Even if you do not understand it, do not ignore it but be determined to understand it. Since this word is already expounded, listen to it. Listen until you understand.”

#35 “Do not be concerned with the faults of other persons. Do not see others’ faults with a hateful mind.”

#36 ”Right and wrong are temporal, but time is neither right nor wrong. Right and wrong are the Dharma, but the Dharma is neither right nor wrong. In the balance of the Dharma, wrong is balanced. In the balance of the Dharma, right is balanced.”

#37 ”Your search among books, word upon word, may lead you to the depths of knowledge, but it is not the way to receive the reflection of your true self.”

#38 ”The primordial Buddhas are saying – not doing wrong action, sincerely doing every kind of good, naturally clarifies this mind. This is the Teaching of all the Buddhas.”

#39 ”Your meditation room should be clean and quiet. Do not dwell in thoughts of good or bad. Just relax and forget that you are meditating. Do not desire realization since that thought will keep you confused.”

#40 ”To study Buddhism is to study ourselves. To study ourselves is to forget ourselves.”

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