Okumura Roshi · Uncategorized

The Moving and the Not Moving – Okumura

Dogen is again questioning: What is moving and not-moving? By Shohaku Okumura


Nangaku said, ‘Suppose that a person is riding a cart. If the cart does not move, which is right — to hit the cart or to hit the cow?’

Netsuke: Pilgrim with a Daruma-Doll, Japan, Late 18th - early 19th century. © State Hermitage MuseumIn our common way of thinking, when a cart is pulled by a cow and it doesn’t move, hitting the cow is the thing to do, and hitting the cart is ridiculous. That is the meaning in the original story. Nangaku is admonishing Baso, ‘You should hit the cow not the cart.’ The cart refers to the body or form of zazen, and the cow refers to mind or formless truth. Nangaku is admonishing the young practitioner Baso not to cling to the physical form of sitting, rather he should open the dharma eye of the mind-ground. To this Dogen is again questioning: What is moving and not-moving? What is the cart? What is the cow? How do we hit them? And Dogen reads the sentence not as a question but as a statement, ‘Hitting the cart is right and hitting the cow is right.’

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