Imaginary Portrait of Zen Master Dogen
Calligraphic Drawings for
Zen Master Dogen's Ecological Healing of the Earth
Page 1 | Page 2 | Citation Sources
All artwork by Sarah Whitworth

• D-B - Dogen's poem, ON A PORTRAIT OF MYSELF:

Cold lake, for thousands of yards, soaks up sky color.
Evening quiet: a fish of brocade scales reaches bottom, then goes
First this way, then that way: arrow notch splits.
Endless water surface, moonlight brilliant.

• D-B - Butterfly above Water -- Citation from Dogen's BAIKA:

This is the time for humans and heavenly beings
to turn towards attaining the way,
as the old Buddha's dharma wheel is turned
to the extreme limit of the entire world.

Even clouds, rain, wind and water,
as well as grass, trees, and insects,
do not fail to receive the benefit of this teaching.
Heaven and earth, and land
are vigorously turned by this dharma wheel.

• D-U - The Entire Earth -- Citation from Dogen's UJI:
There are myriads of forms
and hundreds of grasses throughout the entire earth,
and yet each grass and each form itself
is the entire earth.

The study of this
is the beginning of practice.

• ED-S - The House of Buddha -- Citation from Dogen's SHOJI:
Do not try to fathom with your mind
the unfathomable problem of life and death
nor explain it with words.
When you throw yourself into the 'House of Buddha,'
casting off body and mind,
giving no more thought to them,
the answer due your action is offered by Buddha.
You will achieve detachment from life and death
by the constant following of the same's Way
and, without effort or recourse
to your mental faculties
you can become a Buddha.

Once one understands this, the same will no longer
be attached to their narrow self.

• D-BSH - Billowing Leaf -- Citation from Dogen's BODAISATTA SHISHO-HO:
To launch a boat or build a bridge
is an act of giving.
If you study giving closely,
you see that to accept a body
and to give up a body
are both giving.

Making a living and producing things
can be nothing other than giving.
To leave flowers to the wind,
to leave birds to the seasons,
are also acts of giving.

• D-BW - Earth Buddha -- Citation from Dogen's BENDO-WA:
There are those who, attracted
by grass, flowers, mountains and waters,
flow into the Buddha Way.
And there are those who, grasping
earth, rocks, sand and pebbles,
manifest the Buddha's seal.

In fact although the boundless
words of the Buddha
overflow among myriad things,
the turning of the great dharma wheel,
is contained
inside a single particle.

• D-SK - Balancing a Whirlwind -- Citation from Dogen's SANSUI-KYO:
To say that the world
is resting on the wheel of space or on the wheel of wind
is not the truth of the self or the truth of others.
Such a statement is based only on a small view.
People speak this way because they think
that it must be impossible to exist
without having a place on which to rest.

Buddha said, "All things are ultimately liberated.
There is nowhere that they abide."

You should know that even though all things
are liberated and not tied to anything,
they abide in their own phenomenal expression.

• D-KS - True Self/True Earth - Citation from Dogen's KEISEI SANSHOKU:
A certain monk who was a disciple of Chang-sha Ching Chi'en asked him,

"How can I unite the mountains, streams
and the great earth within myself?"

The master replied, "How can you unite yourself
with the mountains, streams and great earth?"

What is meant here is that if you are not anything other than your true self, then whether you speak of yourself being united with the mountains, streams and great earth, [or the mountains, streams and great earth united with yourself], there should not be any difference between what unites and that with which one is united.

• D-KS - Kitchen Chair -- Citation from Dogen's KOBUTSU-SHIN:
The "ancient mind" is so called
because it is the mind's antiquity.

Because the mind's Buddha
should always be ancient,

the ancient mind is chairs
and bamboo trees.

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citations from the writings
of Zen Master Dogen (1200-1253)

adapted (with line breaks added) from:
(citation from Baika)
(citation from Uji)
(citation from Bodaisatta Shisho-ho)
(citation from Bendo-wa)
edited by Kazuaki Tanahashi, Northpoint Press, 1985

(citation: On a Portrait of Myself)
edited by Kazuaki Tanahashi, Shambhala, 2000

(citation from Kobustu-Shin)
translated by Hee-Jin Kim, Mellen Press, 1985

(citation from Keisei Sanshoku),
Francis Dojun Cook, Zen Center of Los Angeles, 1978

(citation from Shoji)
Commentary by Masanobu Takahashi, translated by Yuzuru Nobuoka
Kegan Paul Internation, 1983