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Zen & Serving Others

By Tanouye Tenshin Rotaishi, Zen Master*


Lao Tzu said, “If we learn, we gain in knowledge day by day. If we act according to the Way, we lose day by day. We keep losing until we no longer possess anything to do. In non-action we do everything.” The same is true of the Way of Zen. Master Joshu said, “I have entered Buddhist life when I was a small boy. I have grown old now. Confronted with people, I now find myself powerless to save them. I used to discipline myself in order to help people some day when I became enlightened. Contrary to my expectation, however, I have become a fool whether you believe it or not.” We have Zen if we become aware of nobody in need of saving when we are ready to save them. Zen is indeed without merits and effects. But in compliance with the needs of others, the following effects have been traditionally pointed out:


Calmness of spirit under all circumstances.

Being able to choose to die while sitting zazen.

Realizing that every day is a fine day.

Acting spontaneously and without restraint.

Sitting alone feeling like a high, majestic mountain.

Bringing joy to those around you.

Accepting any hardship.

Acting without concern for public recognition.

Seeing things as they truly are.

Willingness to suffer for the sake of others.

- Tekio Sogen Rotaishi, Founder of Daihozen Chozen-ji


*Tenshin Tanouye Rotaishi received his inka shomei, or mind stamp, from Omori Sogen Rotaishi, with whom he established Daihonzan Chozen-ji, in Honolulu, Hawai`i, in 1979.

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