Sunday, January 3, 2010

Hanshaku Kyo

Commissioned by Dogen Zenji in the 13th Century, Hanshaku Kyo ("Half Dipper Bridge") takes its name from the fact that when drawing water, Dogen, as abbot of Eiheiji Monastery, would return half a bucketful of water to the river as a sign of respect. As Suzuki Roshi said, "This was not done with any idea of economy." Rather, it was done as an exercise in mindfulness, to remind the resident monks of their dependence upon the life-giving quality of the river.