To Do

As I have been talking about non-doing (the non-doing beyond non-doing), my dharma brother, Ken Ford, came up to me and said he found this passage in Shobogenzo that was talking about “doing” but sounded very similar to how I was talking about non-doing. And so, the paradox comes around.

If we are non-doing, then our activity is imbued with the qualities of wholehearted presence and an absorption in Zenki, total dynamic functioning. Our non-doing is the renunciation of a “self” doing “something.” When subject and object are merged in the doing, we find non-doing.

Wholeheartedly doing the activities of a human life, our daily life, merges us with the whole of life’s functioning and that manifests as a feeling of non-doing or letting-go. 

Cause and effect are one. Before and after are one. Form and emptiness are one. I believe, if we can find this place of “just do”, we can find our ease in life. We can let go of self’s compulsion with self. We can stop worrying.


Excerpted from Dogen in “Refrain from unwholesome actions,” Shobogenzo
Kaz Tanahashi translation, page 100.

Although wholesome action is do, it is not self, and not known by the self. It is not other, and not known by other.

This is do. At the very moment of do, the fundamental point is actualized. Yet, it is not the beginning or the end of the fundamental point. It is not the eternal abiding of the fundamental point. Should this not be called do?

Wholesome action is neither existent nor non-existent, neither form nor emptiness. It is just do. Actualizing at any place or actualizing at any moment is inevitably do. This do always actualizes all that is wholesome action. Although actualizing do is the fundamental point. It is neither arising nor ceasing, neither causes nor conditions. The entering, abiding, and departing of do is also like this. When one wholesome action among all wholesome actions is do, all things, the whole body, and the true ground altogether are moved to do.

Both cause and effect of wholesome action actualize the fundamental point through do. Cause is not before and effect is not after. Cause is complete and effect is complete. Cause is all-inclusive just as dharma is all-inclusive. Effect is all-inclusive just as dharma is all-inclusive. Although effect is experienced, induced by cause, one is not before and the other is not after. We say that both before and after are all-inclusive.