It’s hard to realize that throughout our lifetime we’ve been fed propaganda. The Tinkerbell corporation is a drop in the bucket. With communications and media the way they are, everybody’s in on the fun, destroying the minds of young children. Movies do it, advertising does it, parents do it, and the children’s peers do it. They do it through books, through magazines, through video games, on and on and on. And it’s getting worse instead of better. These kids will be our business executives twenty-five years from now. They’ll be teachers, doctors, airline pilots, surgeons, priests, and Zen students. It’s something to think about.

Dragon daughters and sons, do not be irresolute. That’s the key. People still transform their lives. People still realize themselves. The buddhadharma would not have come down this far if that weren’t the case. So it can be done. It’s not easily attained, just like the capping verse says: The spiritual potential of the thousand sages is not easily attained.


Photo by Dez Pain


The spiritual potential is something that every one of us has. That’s what’s buried and it’s not easy to get to. In order to get to it, you have to personally work your way through those layers of conditioning. Line by line. Item by item. And you need to get past all the things you’ve been told, things that you should or shouldn’t do, and get to the ground of being, because buried beneath all that is a person, perfect and complete, lacking nothing.


When you see that person—when you meet yourself—you’ve met the Buddha. You’ve met the flower on Vulture Peak. You’ve met Mahakashyapa, Deshan, the ten thousand sages. It’s nothing but this very body and mind, your body and mind. And yet to realize it is not enough: you need to actualize it. That means to manifest it in the way you live your life, the way you treat other people, the way you treat the environment, the way you take care of things. It takes resolution, commitment, and spirit. All we can do in a monastery is to create a form, point the way, and create the optimal conditions to realize oneself. What you do when you put yourself on your cushion is totally up to you. The pure wind of the buddhas and ancestors is a very personal matter. Only you can experience it

True Dharma Eye: Master Dogen’s Three Hundred Koans, is a complete, modern English translation of Master Dogen’s Three Hundred Koan or Chinese Shobogenzo. This important collection of koans, translated by Kazuaki Tanahashi and John Daido Loori, is accompanied by John Daido Loori’s commentary, capping verse and footnotes (Shambhala Publications, 2005).

John Daido Loori, Roshi is the abbot of Zen Mountain Monastery. A successor to Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi, Roshi, Daido Roshi trained in rigorous koan Zen and in the subtle teachings of Master Dogen, and is a lineage holder in the Soto and Rinzai schools of Zen.