Dōgen on the importance of seeing others as ourselves

"A fool sees himself as another, but a wise man sees others as himself".


This quote is attributed to the Japanese Buddhist monk Dōgen. It is a very powerful quote that has a lot of meaning and depth. In this article, we will explore what the quote means, where it came from, and what we can learn from it today.

Dōgen was a Japanese Buddhist monk and the founder of the Soto School of Zen in Japan. And he was a prolific writer and poet.

The quote comes from his work "How to Cook Your Life: From Zen Kitchen to Enlightenment". In this work, Dogen tries to explain how to live one's life more mindfully by being present in every moment and not getting caught up in the past or the future.

Drawing based on a statue of the Dōgen

The quote itself is quite simple, but profound. It says that a fool sees himself as another person, while a wise man sees others as himself. In other words, a fool looks at another and sees another person, while a wise man looks at another and sees himself.

Why is this important? When we see others as we are, we are more likely to treat them with kindness and compassion. We are then more likely to see their potential and goodness. And we are more likely to forgive them when they make mistakes.

What can we learn from it today? That it is so important to see others as we see ourselves. All too often we see someone who is different from us as an enemy or a threat. But when we take a step back and see them as ourselves, we can begin to build bridges instead of walls.

When you notice yourself getting caught up in anger and hatred, remember the words of Dōgen: "A fool sees himself as another,... [but] a wise man sees others as himself." We are all in the same boat, so let's start acting like it. Only then can we hope to create a better future for all.


Thank you for reading. I hope this article gave you something to think about.

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