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Dry Shiitakes in the Sun

One day in Eihei-ji, a temple of Caodong School located in the city of Fukui in Japan, a hunchbacked Chan master in his eighties was drying Shiitakes (an edible mushroom native to East Asia) in the sun. Eihei Dōgen, the abbot of Eihei-ji, saw him and could not help saying, “Master, given your old age, why are you doing this laborious work? Actually, you don’t have to. I can ask someone else to do it for you.”
“Someone else is not me!” the old Master replied unhesitatingly.
“You are right! But must you do it in the hot sun?” Dōgen continued.
“If I don’t dry mushrooms in the hot sun, then should I do it on a cloudy or rainy day?” the Master said disapprovingly.
As the abbot of Eihei-ji, Eihei Dōgen enlightened people from all places, but on this matter, he stood corrected.
In the life of a Chan master, they never put work into the hands of others or leave unfinished work to the next day. “Someone else is not me!” “If we don’t do it right now, then when?” These are worth deep thoughts by the modern generation.
 

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