Dōgen Quotes (109) Spiritual Sayings


About the Author: Dōgen also Dōgen Kigen titled as Dōgen Zenji [Zen Master Dōgen] - (19 January 1200 – 22 September 1253) was a Japanese Zen Buddhist teacher born in Kyōto, and the founder of the Sōtō school of Zen in Japan. See website for more info - https://www.britannica.com/biography/Dogen




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Do not follow the ideas of others, but learn to listen to the voice within yourself. Your body and mind will become clear and you will realize the unity of all things.
― Dogen


“If you are unable to find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?”
― Dōgen


“Only those who have the great capacity of genuine trust can enter this realm [the realm of the buddhas]. Those who have no trust are unable to accept it, however much they hear it.”
― Dōgen, Beyond Thinking: A Guide to Zen Meditation


When we discover that the truth is already in us, we are all at once our original selves.
― Dogen


“Do not be concerned with the faults of other persons. Do not see others' faults with a hateful mind. There is an old saying that if you stop seeing others' faults, then naturally seniors and venerated and juniors are revered. Do not imitate others' faults; just cultivate virtue. Buddha prohibited unwholesome actions, but did not tell us to hate those who practice unwholesome actions.”
― Dōgen


“Forgetting oneself is opening oneself”
― Dōgen


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


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


Continuous practice, day after day, is the most appropriate way of expressing gratitude. This means that you practice continuously, without wasting a single day of your life, without using it for your own sake. Why is it so? Your life is a fortunate outcome of the continuous practice of the past. You should express your gratitude immediately.
― Dogen


If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?
― Dogen


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.
― Dogen


Life and death are nothing but the mind. Years, months, days, and hours are nothing but the mind. Dreams, illusions, and mirages are nothing but the mind. The bubbles of water and the flames of fire are nothing but the mind. The flowers of the spring and the moon of the autumn are nothing but the mind. Confusions and dangers are nothing but the mind.
― Dogen


The whole moon and the entire sky are reflected in one dewdrop on the grass.
― Dogen


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


Studying the Buddha way is studying oneself. Studying oneself is forgetting oneself. Forgetting oneself is being enlightened by all things. Being enlightened by all things is to shed the body-mind of oneself, and those of others. No trace of enlightenment remains, and this traceless enlightenment continues endlessly.
― Dogen


If you want to do a certain thing, you first have to be a certain person. Once you become that certain person, you will not care anymore about doing that certain thing.
― Dogen


Cease from practice based on intellectual understanding, pursuing words, and following after speech.
― Dogen


Meditation is not a way to enlightenment, Nor is it a method of achieving anything at all. It is peace itself. It is the actualization of wisdom, The ultimate truth of the oneness of all things.
― Dogen


A fool sees himself as another, but a wise man sees others as himself.
― Dogen


When both body and mind are at peace, all things appear as they are: perfect, complete, lacking nothing.
― Dogen


Those who seek the easy way do not seek the true way.
― Dogen


To escape from the world means that one's mind is not concerned with the opinions of the world.
― Dogen


A flower falls, even though we love it; and a weed grows, even though we do not love it.
― Dogen


That you carry yourself forward and experience the myriad things is delusion. That the myriad things come forward and experience themselves is awakening
― Dogen


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. Do not seek anything else.
― Dogen


To study Buddhism is to study ourselves. To study ourselves is to forget ourselves.
― Dogen


Students, when you want to say something, think about it three times before you say it. Speak only if your words will benefit yourselves and others. Do not speak if it brings no benefit.
― Dogen


If you want to travel the Way of Buddhas and Zen masters, then expect nothing, seek nothing, and grasp nothing.
― Dogen


Truth is not far away. It is nearer than near. There is no need to attain it, since not one of your steps leads away from it.
― Dogen


Something you want badly enough can always be gained. No matter how fierce the enemy, how remote the beautiful lady, or how carefully guarded the treasure, there is always a means to the goal for the earnest seeker. The unseen help of the guardian gods of heaven and earth assure fulfillment.
― Dogen


Enlightenment is intimacy with all things.
― Dogen


Although its light is wide and great, the Moon is reflected in a puddle one inch wide. The whole Moon and the entire sky is reflected in one dew drop on the grass.
― Dogen


To be in harmony with the wholeness of things is not to have anxiety over imperfections.
― Dogen


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.
― Dogen


Just practice good, do good for others, without thinking of making yourself known so that you may gain reward. Really bring benefit to others, gaining nothing for yourself. This is the primary requisite for breaking free of attachments to the Self.
― Dogen


Yet you must not cling to the words of the old sages either; they, too, may not be right. Even if you believe them, you should be alert so that , in the event that something superior comes along, you may follow that.
― Dogen


If he cannot stop the mind that seeks after fame and profit, he will spend his life without finding peace.
― Dogen


Let your heart go out and abide in things. Let things return and abide in your heart.
― Dogen


Prefer to be defeated in the presence of the wise than to excel among fools.
― Dogen


People who truly follow the Way would do well to conceal the fact that they are Buddhists.
― Dogen


To start from the self and try to understand all things is delusion. To let the self be awakened by all things is enlightenment.
― Dogen


Those who practice know whether realization is attained or not, just as those who drink water know whether it is hot or cold
― Dogen


What is reality? An icicle forming in fire.
― Dogen


Do no harmful actions, do not become attached to the cycle of death and rebirth, show kindness, respect the old and have compassion for the young, do not have a heart that rejects or a heart that covets and have no worry or sadness in your heart. This is what is called enlightenment. Do not seek it elsewhere.
― Dogen


A zen master's life is one continuous mistake.
― Dogen


In the mundane, nothing is sacred. In sacredness, nothing is mundane.
― Dogen


Do not travel to other dusty lands, forsaking your own sitting place; if you cannot find the truth where you are now, you will never find it.
― Dogen


Since we are provided with both a body and a mind, we grasp onto the physical forms we see. Since we are provided with both a body and a mind, we cling to the sounds we hear. As a consequence, we make ourselves inseparable from all things, yet we are not like some shadowy figure 'lodging' in a mirror or like the moon in water. Whenever we witness what is on the one side, its opposite side will be in darkness.
― Dogen


Look for Buddha outside your own mind,
and Buddha becomes the devil.
― Dogen


Coming, going, the waterbirds don't leave a trace, don't follow a path.
― Dogen


When you paint Spring, do not paint willows, plums, peaches, or apricots - just paint Spring.
― Dogen


Be mindful of the passing of time, and engage yourself in zazen as though you are saving your head from fire.
― Dogen


In a mind clear as still water, even the waves, breaking, are reflecting its light.
― Dogen


Since it is the practice of enlightenment, that practice has no beginning and since it is enlightenment within the practice, that realization has no end.
― Dogen


One must be deeply aware of the impermanence of the world.
― Dogen


When we discover that the truth is already in us, we are all at once our original selves.
― Dogen


People like what is not true and they don't like what is true.
― Dogen


Practice and enlightenment are not two.
― Dogen


Set aside all involvements and let the myriad things rest. Zazen is not thinking of good, not thinking of bad. It is not conscious endeavour. It is not introspection. Do not desire to become a buddha; let sitting or lying down drop away. Be moderate in eating and drinking. Be mindful of the passing of time, and engage yourself in zazen as though you are saving your head from fire.
― Dogen


If you want to see things just as they are, then you yourself must practice just as you are.
― Dogen


We must always be disturbed by the truth.
― Dogen


Nothing in the entire universe is hidden.
― Dogen


There are those who, attracted by grass, flowers, mountains, and waters, flow into the Buddha Way.
― Dogen


When one first seeks the truth, one separates oneself from it.
― Dogen


Just as parents care for their children, you should bear in mind the whole universe.
― Dogen


In the stream,
Rushing past
To the dusty world,
My fleeting form
Casts no reflection.
― Dogen


When you walk in the mist, you get wet.
― Dogen


I haven't got any Buddhism. I live by letting things happen.
― Dogen


Do not be amazed by the true dragon.
― Dogen


When you ride in a boat and watch the shore, you might assume that the shore is moving. But when you keep your eyes closely on the boat, you can see that the boat moves. Similarly, if you examine many things with a confused mind, you might suppose that your mind and nature are permanent. But when you practice intimately and return to where you are, it will be clear that there is nothing that has unchanging self.
― Dogen


Students today should live fully every moment of time. This dew-like life fades away; time speeds swiftly. In this short life of ours, avoid involvement in superfluous things and just study the Way.
― Dogen


Do not think you will necessarily be aware of your own enlightenment.
― Dogen


There are mountains hidden in mountains. There are mountains hidden in hiddenness. This is complete understanding.
― Dogen


What you think in your own mind to be good, or what people of the world think is good, is not necessarily good.
― Dogen


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.
― Dogen


Emptiness is bound to bloom, like hundreds of grasses blossoming.
― Dogen


I asked, "What are words?" The tenzo said, "One, two, three, four, five." I asked again, "What is practice?" "Nothing in the entire universe is hidden."
― Dogen


To study the Way is to study the Self. To study the Self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be enlightened by all things of the universe. To be enlightened by all things of the universe is to cast off the body and mind of the self as well as those of others. Even the traces of enlightenment are wiped out, and life with traceless enlightenment goes on forever and ever
― Dogen


The recognition of the coming and going of things is a first step in training and practice.
― Dogen


Do not doubt that mountains walk simply because they may not appear to walk like humans.
― Dogen


If you do not get it from yourself, where will you go for it?
― Dogen


The true person is
Not anyone in particular;
But like the deep blue color
Of the limitless sky,
It is everyone,
Everywhere in the world.
― Dogen


Yet, though it is like this, simply, flowers fall amid our longing and weeds spring up amid our antipathy.
― Dogen


A fish swims in the ocean, and no matter how far it swims there is no end to the water. A bird flies in the sky, and no matter how far it flies there is no end to the air. However the fish and the bird have never left their elements. Thus each of them totally covers its full range, and each of them totally experiences its realm... Know that water is life and air is life. The bird is life and the fish is life. Life must be the bird and life must be the fish... practice, enlightenment and people are like this.
― Dogen


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.
― Dogen


Why abandon a seat in your own home to wander in vain through dusty regions of another land? If you make one false step, you miss what is right before your eyes.
― Dogen


There is no beginning to practice nor end to enlightenment; There is no beginning to enlightenment nor end to practice.
― Dogen


If we look at the world with a deluded body and mind, we will think that our self is permanent. But if we practice correctly and return to our true self, we will realize that nothing is permanent
― Dogen


You should stop searching for phrases and chasing after words. Take the backward step and turn the light inward. Your body-mind of itself will drop off and your original face will appear. If you want to attain just this, immediately practice just this.
― Dogen


The coming and going of birth and death is a painting. Unsurpassed enlightenment is a painting. The entire phenomenal universe and the empty sky are nothing but a painting.
― Dogen


Zazen is an activity that is an extension of the universe. Zazen is not the life of an individual, it's the universe that's breathing.
― Dogen


Do not view mountains from the scale of human thought.
― Dogen


Learn the backward step that turns your light inward to illuminate your self. Body and mind of themselves will drop away, and your original face will be manifest.
― Dogen


Forgetting oneself is opening oneself
― Dogen


Do not arouse disdainful mind when you prepare a broth of wild grasses; do not arouse joyful mind when you prepare a fine cream soup.
― Dogen


The one and only thing required is to free oneself from the bondage of mind and body alike, putting the Buddha's own seal upon yourself. If you do this as you sit in ecstatic meditation, the whole universe itself scattered through the infinity of space turns into enlightenment. This is what I mean by the Buddha's seal.
― Dogen


Sitting is the gateway of truth to total liberation.
― Dogen


An ancient buddha said, “Mountains are mountains; waters are waters.” These words do not mean mountains are mountains; they mean mountains are mountains.
― Dogen


Do not miss the opportunity of offering even a single drop into the ocean of merit or a grain atop the mountain of the roots of beneficial activity.
― Dogen


Mountains and oceans have whole worlds of innumerable wondrous features. We should understand that it is not only our distant surroundings that are like this, but even what is right here, even a single drop of water.
― Dogen


In autumn even though I may see it again, how can I sleep with the moon this evening?
― Dogen


In the assemblies of the enlightened ones there have been many cases of mastering the Way bringing forth the heart of plants and trees; this is what awakening the mind for enlightenment is like. The fifth patriarch of Zen was once a pine-planting wayfarer; Rinzai worked on planting cedars and pines on Mount Obaku. . . . Working with plants, trees, fences and walls, if they practice sincerely they will attain enlightenment.
― Dogen


When you find your place where you are, practice occurs, actualizing the fundamental point.
― Dogen


What is the way of the Buddha? It is to study the self. What is the study of the self? It is to forget oneself. To forget oneself is to enlightened by everything in the world.
― Dogen


Does a dragon still sing from within a withered tree?
― Dogen


There are myriads of forms and hundreds of grasses throughout the entire earth, yet each grass and each form itself is the entire earth.
― Dogen


To study the Way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self.
― Dogen


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Dōgen Quotes - (109) - Awakening Spiritual Quotations
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