The Excellent Matter

The Excellent Matter

 Once a student asked Baizhang, “what is the most excellent matter?”
Baizhang said, “Sitting alone on Daxiong Peak”
Suppose someone were to ask me – what is the most excellent matter?  I would simply tell him: Giving a Dharma hall discourse on Mount Kichijo. (The location of Master Dogen”s temple)
Dogen’s Extensive Record

For all of us spending our lives scurrying to somewhere. anywhere – Master Dogen  provides a pointed short cut.

Madly scurrying
San Francisco squirrels
First day of Autumn

The Tao of the Plum Blossoms

The Tao of the Plum Blossoms

Truly to know plum blossoms

needs your heart

as well as your nose

                    Ueshima Onitsura (1660-1738)


Needing the heart implies the openness of being the flower, of being one with our reality.  

The obstacles to this are what they have always been – Greed, that is the belief that if we get just one more thing…. turns us into hungry dissatisfied ghosts. Anger – the feeling that someone else is to blame, makes us irresponsible victims. And Fear deprives us of our very lives. All of this is what our ancestors called ignorance.  

Analytical intelligence is important, but emotional intelligence is the entrance to the world of plum blossoms. The world of our life.

A person of the way sees with their heart and walks in the footsteps of our ancient ancestors.

The plum blossom stands alone, shining, serene. It fills the universe. Another name for it is Heart.  The best name for it is your name.

The person of the way is not swayed. They are intimate with the Tao, sometimes known as the heart.

Please practice.  Do not falter.




When you sit, sit
When you stand, stand
Above all don’t wobble.

This old Zen saying contains enough nourishment to last a lifetime.
So will we just talk the talk
or really walk the walk?