sweeping discovery

July 14, 2008

The first lesson of the ascetics of Hinayana Buddhism is to regard one’s body as impure.  Here the body is regarded as the source of all evils, and as a hindrance to the practice of the Way.  Dogen, however, revised this interpretation.  According to him, contemplation should be realized in one’s actions in everyday life.  “So-called contemplations are everyday activities like sweeping the ground and the floor.”  That should be concieved as exactly identical to “recognizing one’s body as impure.”  Moreover, in that case, one is expected to transcend the dichotomy of purity and impurity.”  

Ways of Thinking of Eastern Peoples p. 370 (paragraph 3)

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