Posted inArt and Poems, Dogen, Other Teachings

Birth and Death 2

October 24, 2016


Those who want to be free from birth and death should understand these words…

If you search for buddha outside birth and death, it will be like trying to go to the southern country of Yue with your spear heading towards the north, or like trying to see the Big Dipper while you are facing south; you will cause yourself all the more to remain in birth and death and loose the way of emancipation.

Just understand that birth and death itself is nirvana. There is nothing such as birth and death to be avoided; there is nothing such as nirvana to be sought. Only when you realize this are you free from birth and death.


Translated by Arnold Kotler and Kazuaki Tanahasi

From Moon in a Dewdrop, Writings of Zen Master Dogen, Editor Kazuaki Tanahasi, San Francisco: North Point Press, 1985. Image: Stillness, and more Stillness by nik gaffney, CC by-SA 2.0, from


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