Managing the Monks

Kyujo was the managing monk of Rakufu's monastery. One day he ordered: "Monks from the first to the middle seats, go out to work in the field. Remaining monks, go to the mountain for wood." "What is Manjusri to do?" asked the chief monk. "My order goes only to those monks seated on cushions," answered the managing monk. "Manjusri has nothing to do with the order." Later, Engo commented on this dialogue and said, "If I were questioned that way by the chief monk, I would answer, 'The path is like a mirror. It does not move itself, but reflects all that comes.' "

In each Zendo, or meditation hall, there is a statue or painting of either Manjusri or Bodhidharma. When Kyujo divided the monks into two groups in order to do the work more efficiently, the chief monk asked what Manjusri was to do. Kyujo replied, in effect, that Manjusri does his own work, independently, as the sun shines. As managing monk, Kyujo manages the monks and nothing else; he has nothing to do with Manjusri. Each one attends to his own work without a sense of duty, ostentation, or pride. A pine tree stands on the cliff in the snow showing its fresh green needles. There is no intention of showing off, for the green needles are its life expression. In Japan the plum blooms in February despite the snow. It blooms in the snow because that is its nature, and not to show off its bravery. As Engo commented, the path works as the mirror reflects. If A comes, it reflects A; if B comes, it reflects B. It works as causes and conditions are present. There is no artificiality or ego in the reflections. How nice it is when one reflects things as they are! The mirror of man has become selfish and reflects his wishes and attachments. So even the mirror should be destroyed. Then one will be completely free.


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