Zen Master Dogen had a couple of major turn arounds while he was in China and both were connected with mushrooms! The first was his encounter with an elderly chief cook who came to buy mushrooms from the boat the young Dogen was on. (When he arrived in China he was not able to immediately disembark and so had to remain on the boat until he was clear to land – immigration difficulties even in those days). The second encounter was when he had gone ashore and had finally arrived at Tendozan. There he came across another elderly monk who was drying mushrooms in the heat of the day. Both encounters were formative and they both pointed to the primacy of simple work and the importance of applying oneself to that as a priority.
We celebrated the Festival of Zen Master Dogen here at Shasta Abbey this morning and Rev. Master Daishin, the Vice Abbot, gave the talk after the ceremony. The title of the talk is Great Master Dogen’s Three Minds and can be downloaded from the Shasta Abbey website. I wholeheatedly recommend listening to it.
Rev. Master Daishin was the Chief Cook while I was training here and I, like most of the novices, benefited from working with him in the kitchen in the 1980’s. The talk reflects his hands on practical approach to monastic life as well as his upbeat sense of fun and joy in living, which have had a huge impact on me. Fantastic. This afternoon I tracked him down to check something he said in the talk that I wanted to quote him on. He was splitting wood, hands on practical as ever. Unfortunately I’m not confident in my memory to quote him now. You will just have to go listen to the whole talk. Mushrooms are mentioned since the Reverend elaborates on Dogens two formative encounters mentioned earlier. I’m so glad too since I was wondering how I’d be able to post this photograph taken at the Monterey Market and have any kind of link to Buddhism. Thank you Zen Master Dogen and thanks to the Rev. Master Daishin too.
This post is for a young Reverend who reads posts here. And for all young Reverends, and trainees generally, everywhere
The following information, in edited form, is from the comment section.
For those who are interested, you can find four talks Rev. Master Daishin gave on the whole chapter of Instructions to the Chief Cook by Great Master Dogen.
The text for the above chapter can be found within Zen Is Eternal Life, by Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett. It’s a free download.
Thanks to the ‘young Reverend’. You should know it is my choice not to mention monks by name, unless I’ve got their permission.