Posted inDogen, Henry's Messages

Message from Henry: One Bright Pearl

February 4, 2020

Zen: the only way to keep it is to give it away.

Throughout my training I’d thought I just wanted to find again the “one bright pearl” I’d glimpsed on the beach at nineteen, the Golden Fleece the youth failed to bring home, and the inner torment he felt about that being the very measure of his failure. I would never have guessed back then that bringing home the fleece was the lifelong endeavor at the core of Zen: how to live the one bright pearl, have it be the bedrock of our lives.

Zen can’t be a matter of self-interest. To “drop body and mind,” as Dogen put it, is not the end. What matters, then is how we enact a bodiless, mindless life in the world, even as we are embodied along with all other beings, with them at the forefron of our caring, and all trace of awakening erased.

Zen: the only way to keep it is to give it away.

Text is from Henry’s memoir, One Blade of Grass

Image: Pearl by Xeppo,  Public Domain, from
Message from Henry is from our February 3, 2020 Newsletter
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