If one helps the monks bathe, then he will receive immeasurable fortune.
Can it be accomplished by just mind-watching?
Bodhidharma: Bathing the monks does not mean the ordinary form of doing with physical functioning. It was presented as a metaphor to explain the fundamental truth, including seven things;
The first, clean water;
The second, lighting the fire;
The third, soap;
The fourth, tooth brush;
The fifth, cleaning powder;
The sixth, oil;
The seventh, underclothes.
If one uses these seven dharmas to wash and freshen the body, by what can he eliminate the dirt from the three poisonous darknesses?
What are the seven dharmas?
The first, truthful precepts; warm the moral flaws and cleanse them like clear water washing off all the dirt.
The second, wisdom; Be watchful both inside and outside; just like the flame of fire warms the water.
The third, distinction; identify and separate sins; just like soap eliminates all dirt.
The fourth, truthfulness; eliminate all untruthful talk; like a tooth brush eliminates all stenches from the mouth.
The fifth, right faith; after right determination there is no other secondary thinking; like washing powder rubbed on the body clears up infection.
The sixth, breath control; control all heavy inclinations; like oil makes skin soft and lustrous.
The seventh, knowing shame; neglect all bad karmas; like underclothes cover up a naked body.
These seven things are all the hidden dharmas inside the sutra. People today just do not know this.
What is the Hot-House? Hot-House implies the physical body. With the fire of wisdom, clean and warm the bathtub of the precepts. Wash the truth-as-it-is and the Buddhahood inside of body; adorn the self with the seven dharmas.
All the monks at that time were very bright and wise; they understood what Buddha tried to say and practiced as it was said. And finally they attained the virtues and reached the holy stages. But today’s indigent-being is ignorant, dull, and without understanding of this and only says, ‘ordinary water will wash these bodies,’ while saying, ‘we sincerely take refuge in Buddha’s teaching.’
Is that not wrong?
And furthermore, true Buddha-nature-as-it-is has no mark of ordinary-being and, dirt of the bewilderment originally has no form; how can water wash the body of unenlightened darkness? It does not make sense, so how can Tao be understood?
So, contemplate it like this;
“This body originally came from an impure greed, where it stinks and excretions are inside and outside.”
Although you want to be clean by bathing the body, like trying to wash dirty soil; it can never be purified. So you should know that washing outside, naturally, has nothing to do with what Buddha has to say.
Here you can find more information about the ordination as Zen Monk / Zen Nun. For further questions about the meaning of bathing the monks contact us at any time via a contact form on the homepage or call. We would be pleased to welcome you in one of our Zen temples. Visit for a cup of coffee, an evening meditation, for a short or long term templestay. The temple gates are always open and the daily routine continues. Examine and share Life & Death with the Zen Nuns and Zen Monks in Switzerland.