Going In and Out of the Gate

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe gate of skillful means is not a temporary art. It is the study of the entire world of the ten direction….If you try to help others go in and out of the gate, it moves farther away. If you have a gate that accepts others, it is possible for them to go in and out.
Dogen Zenji “The Reality of All Things” in The True Dharma Eye (Shobogenzo)

Shinshu’s Commentary
Being skillful in our relationships is not an expedient means to get people to do what we want. If that is our motivation, or has been a motivation, it is important that we rethink that as a strategy. Since our practice is based upon the teaching that we are all one family; (“the entire world of the ten directions”) that should be the basis of our motivation and investigation.
To “help others go in and out of the gate” in this case, seems to point to our tendency to make up standards for the other person, which might lead to judgment on our part. None of us respond to harsh criticism. We want to look at the core of our motivation – thoughts – and find a way to think about others with kindness. This is “a gate that accepts others.” When we and others feel acceptance we are more willing to explore a situation and chance the possibility of failure or difficulty. We want to extend our kind mind to both ourselves and others, because when we are unkind to others it is often a reflection of how we treat ourselves.

 

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