Since ancient times this position [tenzo] has been held by accomplished monks who have way-seeking mind, or by senior disciples with an aspiration for enlightenment. This is so because the position requires wholehearted practice. Those without way-seeking mind will not have good results, in spite of their best efforts. Regulations for Zen Monasteries states, “Use your way-seeking mind carefully to vary the menus from time to time, and offer the great assembly ease and comfort.”
— Dōgen zenji, translated by Kazuaki Tanahashi in Moon in a Dewdrop, p. 53
“To study the way of enlightenment is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be actualized by myriad things. When actualized by myriad things, your body and mind as well as the bodies and minds of others drop away. No trace of enlightenment remains, and this no-trace continues endlessly.”
At the extreme cast side of Trillium Wood, come upon a black snake, which at first keeps still prudently, thinking I may not see him, — in the grass in open land, — then glides to the edge of the wood and darts swiftly up into the top of some slender shrubs there — Viburnum dentatum and alder — and lies stretched out, eying me, in horizontal loops eight feet high.
Saw two splendid rose-breasted grosbeaks with females in the young wood in Emerson’s lot. What strong- colored fellows, black, white, and fiery rose-red breasts! Strong-natured, too, with their stout bills. A clear, sweet singer, like a tanager but hoarse somewhat, and not shy. The redstarts are inquisitive and hop near.
Saw the yellow-legs feeding on shore. Legs not bright-yellow. Goes off with the usual whistle; also utters a long monotonous call as it were standing on the shore, not so whistling. Am inclined to think it the lesser yellow-legs (though I think the only one we see). Yet its bill appears quite two inches long. Is it curved up?
It is a splendid day, so clear and bright and fresh; the warmth of the air and the bright tender verdure putting forth on all sides make an impression of luxuriance and genialness, so perfectly fresh and uncankered. A sweet scent fills the air from the expanding leafets or some other source. The earth is all fragrant as one flower. And bobolinks tinkle in the air. Nature now is perfectly genial to man. I noticed the dark shadow of Conantum Cliff from the water. Why do I notice it at this season particularly? Is it because a shadow is more grateful to the sight now that warm weather has come? Or is there anything in the contrast between the rich green of the grass and the cool dark shade?
The first cricket’s chirrup which I have chanced to hear now falls on my ear and makes me forget all else; all else is a thin and movable crust down to that depth where he resides eternally. He already foretells autumn. Deep under the dry border of some rock in this hillside he sits, and makes the finest singing of birds outward and insignificant, his own song is so much deeper and more significant. His voice has set me thinking, philosophizing, moralizing at once. It is not so wildly melodious, but it is wiser and more mature than that of the wood thrush. With this elixir I see clear through the summer now to autumn, and any summer work seems frivolous. I am disposed to ask this humblebee that hurries humming past so busily, if he knows what he is about. At one leap I go from the just opened buttercup to the life-everlasting. This singer has antedated autumn. His strain is superior (inferior?) to seasons. It annihilates time and space; the summer is for time-servers.
he best men that I know are not serene, a world in themselves. They dwell in form. They flatter and study effect, only more finely than the rest. The world to me appears uninhabited. My neighbors select granite for the underpinning of their houses and barns; they build their fences of stone; but they do not themselves rest on an underpinning of granite. Their sills are rotten. What stuff is the man made of who is not coexistent in your thought with the purest and subtlest truth? While there are manners and compliments we do not meet. I accuse my finest acquaintances of an immense frivolity. They do not teach me the lessons of honesty and sincerity that the brute beasts do, or of steadiness and solidity that the rocks do. I cannot associate with those who do not understand me.
Where are the men who dwell in thought? Talk, — that is palaver! at which men hurrah and clap! The manners of the bear are so far good that he does not pay you any compliments .