Tuesday, April 12, 2016


What Dogen is trying to convey to us across the span of eight hundred years is not facts or information. He's trying to pass along an attitude. That's why he says again and again that it doesn't matter how smart or dumb a person is. It doesn't matter how many facts you've got in your head or how many sutras you can quote. Dogen could quote all kinds of texts. But he still praises teachers who were illiterate and completely unschooled because they had the proper attitude.

This is why it's very good to have an in-person teacher. Without a teacher you can still absorb all kinds of facts and learn to regurgitate quotations on command. But you might never cop the proper attitude unless you see it in action in the form of an actual human being who lives it.

---Brad Warner, in Don't Be a Jerk---

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