Apply yourself to the task at hand


I found this book in the Harvard Book Store last February. I have been reading it in small increments ever since then. I find that only a few pages give me a lot to sit with.

People often speak of doing something for this or that purpose but in Zen we do not live our lives for this or that purpose. Even if we are doing something for ourselves or for someone else, the life of Zen is to forget all that comes before and after and really do each deed for the purpose of the deed itself. Wholeheartedly apply yourself to the task at hand, exhausting yourself in each activity, that is the life of Zen.

— Sekkei Harada, The Essence of Zen, 2008, page 49.

Sekkei Harada is the abbot of Hosshinji, a Soto Zen training monastery and temple, in Fukui Prefecture, Japan.



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