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Lions Roar : November 2019
our turn to get our hands dirty, we end up complaining. Yoshio Toi, the Buddhist monk, fre- quently gave a talk entitled “Bowing to the Soles of People’s Feet.” On one occa- sion another lecturer approached him afterward, bowed to the soles of his feet, and began massaging them, saying, “Rev- erend Toi, when you return home, please bow to the soles of your wife’s feet and massage them like this.” Reverend Toi did so and later told us his thoughts about the experience. He said: “It had been over twenty years since we were married, and yet this was the first time I had ever seen the soles of my wife’s feet. I was shocked to find how rough and misshapen they were. Then it came to me. My wife, who was born in a city temple, undoubtedly had much nicer feet when she first came to my temple as a young bride. In my place, she would always inspect the fields, function as the caretaker of the temple, and go out on any errands. She shouldered all the rough work at our poor temple up in the moun- tains, tilling the fields and gardens, carry- ing heavy bags on her back. Her feet had suffered as she trudged among the rocks and tree roots on mountain paths. Realiz- ing the truth of this, I bowed to them and massaged them in earnest.” Have we ever seriously examined, bowed to, or appreciated in any way the soles of our feet, which have done all the work of sustaining the body, always bear- ing the brunt of our walking? Even if we did, would we truly discover their worth without comparing them to other parts of the body, and enjoy work that requires us to assume a role similar to the soles of our feet? They support the whole body. If they are not a buddha, what is? But even this kind of discernment is delusion. True commitment to one’s role has no room for thoughts like these. ♦ TENKU RUFF, OSHO, is the guiding priest of Beacon Zen Center and president of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association. Y U K O WAKAYAMA YAMADA, OSHO, is the vice-abbess of Shogakuji Temple in Tokyo and the first Soto Zen nun to teach at Eiheiji monastery. From Shundo Aoyama Roshi’s book Zen Seeds: 60 Essential Buddhist Teachings on Effort, Gratitude, and Happiness (Shambhala 2019). This selection is from the Fall issue of Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly, published by Lion’s Roar. For more in-depth teachings, commentary, and reviews from Buddhadharma and to subscribe, go to lionsroar.com/buddhadharma. Sunday Morning Talks Lam Rim Teachings Retreats & Initiations Weekend Workshops DEMO RI POCHE PROGRAMS Jewel Heart Programs and Digital Dharma. Learn more at jewelheart.org. JEWEL HEART TIBETAN BUDDHIST LEARNING CENTER LION’S ROAR | NOVEMBER 2019 24 CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE