Tea Ceremony Ladle
citations from Dogen Zenji's
Prostrating to Attainment of the Marrow
Shobogenzo (Book 1), trans. by Gudo Wafu Nishijima & Chodo Cross
photo: Wikipedia Commons: Tea Ceremony Tools, Bamboo Dipper
__ __ __
     THE CHINESE ZEN MASTER Shikan is a venerable patriarch in Rinzai’s lineage. Once upon a time, Rinzai sees the master coming [to visit] and holds onto him. The master says, "It is understood." Rinzai lets go and says, "I will allow you to stop for a while." From this point on, he has already become Rinzai’s disciple.
      He leaves Rinzai and goes to [Nun-Master] Massan (*), at which time Massan asks him, "Where have you come from?" The master says, "The entrance of the road." Massan says, "Why have you come here without anything on?" (**) The master has no words. He just prostrates himself, bowing as disciple to teacher. The master asks a question back to Massan: "Just what is Massan?" Massan says, "[Massan] never shows a peak." The master says, "Just who is the person within the mountain?" Massan says, "It is beyond appearances such as those of a man or a woman." The master says, "Then why do you not change [your form]?" Massan says, "I am not the ghost of a wild fox. What might I change?" The master prostrates himself. Eventually he decides to work as the head of the vegetable garden and works there altogether for three years.
     Later, when he has manifested himself in the world, he preaches to the assembly, "I got half a dipper at Old Papa Rinzai’s place, and I got half a dipper at Old Mama Massan’s place. Making a dipper with both [halves], I have finished drinking, and, having arrived directly at the present, I am completely satisfied."
     Hearing these words now, I look back on the traces of those days with veneration for the past. Massan is an excellent disciple of Koan Daigu. She has power in her lifeblood, and so she has become Shikan’s "Ma." Rinzai is an authentic successor of Obaku [Ki]un. He has power in his efforts, and so he has become Shikan’s "Pa." "Pa" means father, and "Ma" means mother. Zen Master Shikan’s prostration to and pursuit of the Dharma under the nun Massan Ryonen are an excellent example of a resolute spirit, and integrity that students of later ages should emulate. We can say that he broke all barriers, large and small.
__ __ __
from translation notes: 
(*) Nun-Master Massan Ryonen, successor of Master Koan Daigu. The proper name "Massan" is literally "Last Mountain" or "End Mountain."
(**) "Why haven’t you come here covering yourself?" This suggests that it is sometimes better to be polite than to give a terse “Zen” answer.

(Zen Master) DOGEN ZENJI'S (道元禅師)
(Gender Inclusive) STUDIES OF THE WAY (學道) | INDEX
95-Fascicle SHOBOGENZO (正法眼蔵) & Other Writings
photo (Top): Wikipedia Commons