Dogen: Portrait


If you take this portrait of me to be real,

Then what am I, really?

But why hang it there,

If not to anticipate people getting to know me?

Looking at this portrait,

Can you say that what is hanging there

Is really me?

In that case your mind will never be

Fully united with the wall {as in Bodhdharma’s wall-gazing
meditation cave}.

~ Dogen

 

 

Accompanying a portrait of the master painted at
 Kōshōji Temple in the late 1230s. This portrait was used
 as an object of veneration by the assembly. From the Chinese poetry collection.

 


Poem from Zen Poetry of Dogen, by Steven Heine
Image: DogenP2, from wiki-images, CC0 Public Domain.
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