Instructions to the Cook

Raspberries_(Rubus_Idaeus)From Dogens Tenzo Kyokun:

When ordinarily preparing ingredients, do not regard them with ordinary [deluded] eyes, or think of them with ordinary emotions. “Lifting a single blade of grass builds a shrine;[1] entering a single mote of dust turns the great wheel of the dharma.” Even when, for example, one makes a soup of the crudest greens, one should not give rise to a mind that loathes it or takes its lightly; and even when one makes a soup of the finest cream, one should not give rise to a mind that feels glad and rejoices in it. If one is at the outset free from preferences, how could one have any aversions? Even when confronted with poor ingredients, there is no negligence whatsoever; even when faced with scanty ingredients, one exerts oneself. Do not change your mind in accordance with things. Whoever changes his mind in accordance with things, or revises his words to suit the person [he is speaking to], is not a man of the way.

That you still do not grasp the certainty of this principle is because your thinking scatters, like wild horses, and your emotions run wild, like monkeys in a forest. If you can make those monkeys and horses, just once, take the backward step that turns the light and shines it inward, then naturally you will be completely integrated. This is the means by which we, who are [ordinarily] set into motion by things, become able to set things into motion.

Harmonizing and purifying yourself in this manner, do not lose either the one eye [of transcendent wisdom] or the two eyes [of discriminating consciousness]. Lifting a single piece of vegetable, make [yourself into] a six-foot body [i.e. a buddha] and ask that six-foot body to prepare a single piece of vegetable. Those are [the cook’s] spiritual penetrations and magical transformations, his buddha-work and benefiting of living beings.

When the World-honored One was walking with the assembly [of his followers], he pointed to the ground with his hand and said, “This place is suitable to build a shrine.” Indra took a single blade of grass, stuck it in the ground, and said, “I have built the shrine.” The World-honored One smiled.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *