Nothing to Seek

From the Eihei Koroku – Dogen’s Extensive Record. Another gem from this huge tome.

Zazen within Desire and Stumbling
I can remember, Dharma Teacher Dayi of the Tang dynasty asking Master Ehu, “There is no dhyana in the realm of desire, how can we cultivate the samadhi of dhyana?”
Ehu said, “You only know that there is no dhyana in the realm of desire. You do not yet know that there is no desire in the realm of dhyana.”
Dayi had no response.

and that, you might think, was the end of that but no…
After a pause Dogen said:

Within seven tumbles and eight falls we still take up and use [meditation]. Both “no desire” and “no dhyana” are not true. In steadfast immovable effort there is nothing to seek. How can this be equated with the three realms [of desire, form, and the formless]?

We are constantly being pointed to ‘going on beyond’. No resting place and no ‘stumbling’ place it would seem.

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6 thoughts on “Nothing to Seek”

  1. (Apologies for the link to a dusty old blog … it seemed most appropriate.

    Trust Dogen to challenge us again and again!
    “Tumbles” and “falls” there are … we have. But desire and dynana? Prasangika! :-)

    /me goes to make tea … lemon ginger

    1. Thanks for leaving the commentBen. And I do love this c(_)~ …..mug. Mine is Bancha at the moment.

  2. Hello Dr. Mugo,

    Recently I’ve been reading material that deals with the realization of our desires, and have been trying to reconcile it with the Buddhist position of no desire, and I guess I could say that I’m hanging in uncertainty! I think that one can only live in the present, and that breathing and accepting what one is experiencing in that moment (even though you “want” more) is the only way to live. I’ve come a long way in coming to this understanding, so reading and trying to comprehend the message of “Ask and It Is Given: Learning to Manifest your Desires” by Abraham (Esther & Jerry Hicks), is challenging.

    I’m not sure if this is the kind of question that’s appropriate to ask re: your post, but when I just recently read it, these thoughts came up, and I wanted to connect to you, as I trust in your wisdom.

    Thank you, in the dharma,

    1. I can answer your question in a day or so when I am back with may laptop. Typing on my phone at any length is not so easy.

      1. Thank you, Rev. Mugo for your time and availability – I don’t mind at all waiting until you have access to your computer.

        I hope you don’t mind if I include a quote I found recently that helped shed some light on my dilemma (taken from “Making Miracles” by Lynn Woodland – see whole article at”:

        “Putting imagination in the service of love means not just envisioning the circumstances we want to happen, but cultivating the inner experiences we want in life. Too much emphasis on envisioning outcomes can amplify attachment, leaving us more concerned about the future than feeling content in the present. The inner experiences that fill us up in the moment, however, connect us to the Field and attract the outcomes that match the joy we’ve created within (often better outcomes than we could imagine).” I was wondering if the use of the word “Field” could possibly loosely approximate the sense of “steadfast immovable effort [where] there is nothing to seek” … ? The huge mystery of it all!

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