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Posts Tagged ‘kitchen’

Xuefeng Yicun was once the tenzo under Dongshan Liangjie. One day when Xuefeng was washing rice Dongshan happened to pass by and asked, “Do you wash the sand and pick out the rice, or wash the rice and pick out the sand?” “I wash and throw away both the sand and the rice together,” Xuefeng replied. “Then what on earth do the residents here eat?” Dongshan pressed again. In reply, Xuefeng turned over the rice bucket. On seeing that, Dongshan said, “The day will come when you will practice under another master.”

Dogen, “Instructions for Zen Cook”

During the second webinar Dosho briefly went through the story which is about intimately studying the self. Dongshan asks Xuefeng, What is the essence of your practice? Do you throw away what you don’t want or focus on getting what you want? He considers practice to be a concrete expression of our life, not something conceptual, theoretical. Xuefeng’s answer is overdramatic: he turns the bucket over, spilling everything onto the floor. Dongshan is not questioning this response but suggests that Xuefeng with time find a teacher supportive of this more demonstrative style of practice.

As always with these stories, I had no idea where to go with it. So I just let it simmer for a while.

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Ango: playing in the kitchen

Before we get sautéd in another koan, I took a chance to celebrate my return into the kitchen by cooking to a trance tune in the background and playing around.

“You must not leave the washing of rice or preparation of vegetables to others, but must carry out this work with your own hands. Put your whole attention into the work, seeing just what the situation calls for”

Dogen, “Instructions for the Zen Cook”

Was Dogen talking about food? What I hear is the same question that keeps coming up:

What does it mean to take responsibility for my life?

But back to the kitchen… For most part, I cook my meals myself.  Not an easy thing to do if you commute and have all evenings booked for preferably some other activity than cooking.  Still, this is my choice.  I save time, ingredients and energy by cooking a few meals at a time. Also, it has to be simple, fast and fun!


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