“The bodhisattva who desires to attain the supreme wisdom ought first of all to entertain boundless compassion, vowing to save all beings and giving up the egoistic desire for his personal salvation.”
It is highly significant that this text, whose object is to give a detailed account of the physical and mental methods of meditation, should first of all emphasize the importance of pity and love for all beings.
It would not be going too far to say that shouldering the cross of the pains and sorrows of humanity is the true source of sincerity in Zen study and practice. Hence the old saying that the identification of one’s own good with the good of others is the essence of the way ofbodhisattvas.
Renunciation of the world is not because of pessimism or escapism, as is often wrongly supposed: on the contrary, it ought to be for the sake of ridding the world of its misery. The distinction between Hinayana and Mahayana consists in this: that the former seeks one’s own salvation exclusively whereas the latter is bent upon that of all creatures.
Before one can benefit others, however, one must have the experience or consciousness of having saved himself. Thus one’s own good should be promoted by the desire for the good of others. On the other hand, the good of others cannot be achieved without one’s own good. Study, practice, and propagation form a trinity. On the eve of my ordination, I was continuously taken up with these thoughts.
Master Kendo Ueki bestowed on me a stole, a robe, and a begging bowl, as well as the formal priestly name Genyo. But in fact I had my lay-disciple name Somei registered as my priestly name with the ecclesiastical authorities, keeping Genyo as a sort of pen name.