Magnanimous Mind, Dharma Talk May 4/2022

  • Post category:Audio / Zen

I presented this talk to the Salt Spring Zen Sangha a few weeks after our spring sesshin (silent meditation retreat). The theme of sesshin, led by Sensei Peter Levitt was Engraving Trust in Mind. Insightful talks were given by Sangha members on the Hsin Hsin Ming. In this talk, I refer to the first 3 verses of a contemporary translation by Stan Lombardo. 

In his “Instructions to the Cook,” Dogen, wrote that someone working to benefit others should maintain three minds: magnanimous mind, parental mind, and joyful mind.

  • Magnanimous mind (generous or big mind) means, according to Dogen, “being unprejudiced and refusing to take sides.” In other words, a magnanimous mind is not swayed by preferences. Cooks work with the ingredients they have: for eg. imperfect carrots, onions or whatever is ready to harvest in the garden. What’s there is always enough.
  • Parental mind takes great care with whatever, and whomever, one encounters, not distinguishing between self and other. Unforgettably, Dogen instructs cooks to handle ingredients “as if they were their own eyes.”
  • Joyful mind is the mind of gratitude. The cook feeds and serves others not simply as a job but as an opportunity and finds unconditional joy. It arises from the vow to benefit others and doesn’t hinge on things going right or fade when things go wrong.
    These three minds can be seen as reflections of one another; the three describe one internal world.

Leave a Reply