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Life is a metaphor we are experiencing each moment. And, for me an exploration happens each year at this time, when Mr. Dickens meets Master Dogen.

Master Dogen was enthralled with the question of, if we are then why must we do? If we are already Buddha for example, then why must we practice the Noble Eightfold Path? An obvious retort might be, if we are thus then will do this, yet the caveat is: if we do not realize IT then we are not “thus.” Hold on as it gets quantum-like (theoretically of course) as we multiple experiences simultaneously. What says Mr. Dickens?

In A Christmas Carol, which is like a sutra/chant or koan, the metaphor is a process: we experience time travel, love gained, lost, and gained, wise women and sickly men in darkness and light. Dickens offers this story as life while Dogen suggests life is the story. Dickens, the swipe of years and choice; and Dogen everything all the time. Both men addressed the Great Question.

Dogen had to go back in time to Chan orthodoxy, Dickens, his dukha’s primal expose. Then through years of immersion in the practice for both, it becomes a way of life, the treasury of the true Dharma eye. Transformation is a discovery best captured on a sign I read outside a Lutheran Church many years ago: “May You Become the Kind of Person Your Dog Thinks you are.”

So both Dogen and Dickens’ lead character, became what they were through living as a Bodhisattva. It is simple once found and meaningful when living in the foundation. Enter the Tenzo and Scrooge. As for Dogen, he met reality in the form of a cook and Scrooge in the form of a ghost. The pivot or backward facing glance crystallized as Right View, an awakening on the path to deep samadhi, and living the spirit (essence) of Christmas all year long.

In short Scrooge’s "Bodhi" tree (Marley) was planted years before arriving that Christmas eve. He awoke to it. Dogen traveled far to see it in the form of a tenzo that awakened him.

Finally Dogen became the true self of no merit and Scrooge became…Ebenezer

May all Beings be Happy,


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