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Dogen on Gensha Shibi

Tao Te Ching Chapter 64-9
Dogen on Gensha Shibi / A thousand league travel
A travel of a thousand leagues starts from beneath the feet. (Ch.64)

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Don't be fooled by size or distance.

Space doesn't exist in


There is a famous story used as a Zen koan concerning space.

When Seppo Gison 雪峰義存 [Hsueh-feng I-tsun] asked Gensha Shibi 玄沙師備 [Hsuan-sha Shih-pei] why he would not go on a pilgrimage, the latter answered:

"Daruma / Bodhidharma 達磨 did not come to East Land (=China).

The Second Ancestor did not go to West Heaven (=India)."



Keitoku dento roku / Record of the Transmission of the Lamp, No. 18 景徳伝燈録第十八)

Dogen explains:

"Gensha's answer 'Daruma / Bodhidharma 達磨 did not come to East Land' was not a ridiculous remark of whether he came or not.

It is the principle that lands have no earth at all".



(Hensan 遍参, «Shobogenzo»)

Lands are a hologram.

So are East and West.

Therefore, there is "no earth", that is to say, no space.

All of them exist as catalysts.

Just remember.

The earth beneath your feet and the land thousands of miles away are asking you the same thing:

"Send Love (=Tao)."

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Morihei Ueshiba (1883 - 1969) was a Japanese martial artist. An Aikido master. Takeda Sokaku was his teacher. Later he worked with a Japanese religious leader, Onisaburo Deguchi, to found a utopian colony in Mongolia.

Shinran (1173 -1263) is the founder of Jodo Shin shu / Pure Land Shin school. Zen Master Dogen lived in Kyoto while Shinran was there although there is no record that proves the two ran across each other. Shinran's master was Honen. Yuien, one of Shinran's disciples, is supposed to be the author of «Tannisho».

Quick guide > Tao Te Ching translation > Chapter 64 Easy > 9-12. Dogen on Gensha Shibi

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  [Chapter 64]  Easy                                 Go to YouTube Playlist

Tao Te Ching Chapter 64-10
Do & Defeat
If you do something to it, you will defeat it. (Ch.64)

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This sentence is identical to the one in Chapter 29 A god’s vessel. (☞See Defeat it 29-3)

According to Osamu Kanaya, a Japanese Orientalist specialized in Chinese philosophy,

this chapter might be a patchwork of maxims.

It is not logically well constructed.

Some sentences might be original;

others might be added by later hands.

When you read Tao Te Ching, you cannot treat it as if it was written by a modern judge.

Having said that, the message here is quite clear.

Handle your hologram with care.

Or rather, handle your hologram with Love.

Don't act on it directly.

If you do, you will simply block the natural flow of Tao. (☞See Chuang Tzu's teachings 42-8)

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Tao Te Ching Chapter 64-11
Stick & Lose
If you stick to it, you will lose it. (Ch.64)

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Like the sentence before this one, you can find the identical one in Chapter 29 A god’s vessel. (☞See If you stick to it 29-4)

When you stick to something, you are refusing change.

When you block the change, you lose Tao's energy.

Obsession is the shortcut to loss.

Especially the obsession to the concept of Self.

Zen Master Dogen kindly cautions:

"Those who are lost in Mayoi stick to (Self);

those who get Satori leave (Self)."


(«Gakudo yojin shu 学道用心集»)


"Oh, my god. I've got my own self. I cannot leave it. My god. What can I do?"

Please do not panic.

Being lost in Mayoi is part of Satori.

Satori is another name of the hologram.

If you cannot help sticking to something, well, leave your feelings alone although it is not ideal,

and don't worry.

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Need help?

Q: "I am frustrated! Will Tao help me?"

A: Why don't you think the other way round?

Reverse Thinking

Q: "I am not happy about how I look. Do I need a cosmetic surgery?"

A: Before you invest a hefty sum of money on your appearance, there are a few things to think about.

Mirror, mirror, on the wall

Q: "I am scared of seeing my reports. What’s gonna happen if the numbers are not good enough"

A: Zen Masters asks you to forget about statistics.

No Numbers

Q: "We need to change our way to grow foods. I am worried about the future of my children. What should we do?"

A: If you are interested in organic foods, read about the modern-day Lao Tzu of “Do nothing” farming, late Masanobu Fukuoka.

Tao Agriculture

Q: "People talk about Zen, but what the heck is it indeed?"

A: Zen is nothing special. It is something you know well.

Zen is Love

Q: "I am desperate. I need some solutions right away."

A: No worries. Here is a practical method.

10 points to be One with Tao

Q: "I am confused when people tell me to face reality. What is reality?"

A: A good question! Zen masters have been tackling the question for ages, but our old man, Lao Tzu, knows the answer.

No Absolute Truth

Q: "Is a geisha truly a p,........., a lady of the oldest profession of human beings?"

A: No, it means "artist", literally. She is an artist of the Taoist way of living.

Kawabata's Onsen Geisha

Q: "What Does Nintendo mean?"

A: It means "Do nothing" Corporation.

Tao Te Ching Chapter 64-12
Defeat nothing
Hence, the sage does nothing, so he defeats nothing.


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Doing nothing is the most powerful act of


"What? You cannot change anything by doing nothing!", you might respond.

Then, I want to ask you:

"Can you really do something to the world?".

Let's check some important points.

1) The world is part of a hologram.

2)Your own self that tries to change the world is part of a hologram,


3)Though you project your hologram, your own self does not control


That's why Zen Buddhists call it "Inmo butsu 恁麼物 / a what-on-earth thing". (☞See Inmo and No mind 49-10)

In conclusion, you cannot do anything to the world.

You are the sage.

You know you are not doing anything no matter what you seem to be doing.

Therefore, you will not "defeat" and break the natural flow of Tao.

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