Zen: Dogo and Soshin

The Story:

There was a monk in training under Dogo called Soshin. He was a sincere young monk worthy of his name, which meant “to revere and believe.” He had become distressed, and felt it to be beyond endurance: since the time he had come to the monastery for training, his teacher, Dogo, had not given him, even once, any instructive sermon or appropriate guidance.

Zen LakeOne day Soshin, who could not stand it any longer, went to his teacher Dogo and asked: “Ever since I came to this monastery, you have not given me your gracious teaching even once. What could be the reason for this?”

The master gave the least expected reply, for he said, “Why, ever since you came to my monastery, I have not, even for one moment, neglected to teach you.”

“What kind of teaching have you given me, master?” Soshin asked.

“Well, well! If you bring me a cup of tea, don’t I receive the cup? If you serve me meals, don’t I eat them? If you greet me with your hands pressed, don’t I return your bow? How have I ever neglected to give you guidance?”Zen Landscape

Soshin, listening to this, hung his head deep, and for a while could not utter a word. Suddenly the master’s roaring cry, as if abusing him, fell on Soshin’s whole being. Dogo said, “When you see, see it direct! If a thought moves, it is gone!”

At this, Soshin uttered an unintentional cry and prostrated himself before the teacher, in tears, whether of joy or sorrow he himself did not know.


Osho’s Comments (edited) :

“Zen is life, not a philosophy about it. It is truth, not a theology, a system of beliefs. It is direct and immediate experience. If you move just a little in your thinking – and all thinking is movement, only no-thought is still… Silent, and you will understand not only about Zen, you will understand the very essence of existence itself.

“Philosophers go on about and about, they have many things to think, discuss, dispute. Zen has only one thing: a direct insight, a straight encounter with yourself. All else is simply commentary.

“This beautiful anecdote will explain this to you. Don’t move, it is not something you have to think about; just listen directly. There is no question of believing or not believing, accepting or not accepting. Just listen as if you are listening to the sound of running water.

pagoda“Soshin’s name is beautiful, but it is not the right name for a disciple. It means reverence and belief. Neither reverence is needed nor belief is needed. Soshin has to disappear into an utter absence. Then he would not have asked the master: “I have been here, and now it is becoming unendurable. You have not given me any guidance, nor any teaching, nor any sermon.”

“That is the poor state of every human being. He is expecting someone else to give him the truth. That is the believer’s mind. Truth is available only to the receptive. The believer is never receptive. The believer has his own belief which is a barrier, a prejudice. However beautiful, a prison is a prison.

“And the question of reverence does not arise. You cannot touch your own feet. The authentic disciple is neither a believer nor searching to worship or revere someone. His whole effort is to inquire into his own isness. He will never be dissatisfied.

“There is no question of endurance, there is no need of any expectation. The truth is showering on you in each of your breaths, in each beat of your heart. Except truth, there is nothing else. You are drowned in it.”

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