Extracts from ‘The One Bright Pearl’ (Ikka Myōju), in the “Shobogenzo”, by Eihei Dōgen

gif art by Dave Whyte http://beesandbombs.tumblr.com/
gif art by Dave Whyte http://beesandbombs.tumblr.com/

“Shibi was the first to voice the statement, “The whole universe throughout all its ten directions is the One Bright  Pearl.” Its basic idea is that the whole universe throughout all its ten directions is  not to be thought of as vast and grand or minute and insignificant, nor as made up  of angles and curves, nor as the center or core of something else, nor does it act like some  lively fish darting about in a sea of space or like dewdrops brightly whirling  in the wind. Moreover, because it is not something that was born and will die, not something that is coming or going, it is being born and dying, coming and going all the time. Because of its being just what it is, it is from here that the days of yore have forever departed and from  here that the present arises. By thoroughly doing one’s  training, who will say,  once he has looked deeply, that the universe is just something fluttering about. Or who will say,  once he has fully investigated the  matter,  that the universe is merely a motionless thing?

[…]

Even though we have a body and mind at this very moment, they are the Bright Pearl.  They are not some vegetation sprouting up here or there, nor  are they ‘mountains and rivers that arise from  a duality like that of Heaven and Earth’.  They are  the Bright Pearl.

[…]

It is ‘One Bright Pearl as the whole universe throughout all its ten directions’: It is not said to be two or three. Your whole being is your pair of eyes of the True Dharma; your whole being is the embodiment of Truth; your whole being is a single line of Scripture; your whole being is luminosity; your whole being is your whole heart and mind. When your whole being exists, your whole being has no impediments: it is perfect in its completeness and is ever-turning, like the rumbling on of cart wheels.

[…]

When the time is right, you will find the Dharma enfolded in empty space or enfolded within the lining of that which clothes you; or you will find It stored in the folds of the dragon’s chin or stored in the folds of the king’s headdress, and all are the One Bright Pearl that is the universe throughout all the ten directions. Keeping It enfolded beneath your robes is proper deportment: do not talk about displaying It on the outside. Enfolding It in your headdress or underneath your chin is proper deportment: do not imitate those who would playfully display It upon their headdresses or around their necks.

[…]

This is why, even though it seems that, on the surface, things are either fluctuating or still, everything is  the Bright Pearl.  To  know  that this is precisely how the Jewel is, is what the Bright Pearl is. In this manner we can perceive the sounds and forms of the Bright Pearl. Because  this is the way things can be, even though you may be uncertain about whether or not something is the Bright Pearl, you should have no doubt about whether or  not there is the Jewel.  Whether you actively pursue your doubts, cling to them, or let them  go, they are simply momentary observations of little significance, fleeting images of small weight.

[…]

Hence, the conscious mind is not what we are, so who is it that arises and passes away?  Why worry yourself over whether or  not something is the Bright Pearl? Even if you are perplexed as you grope along, do not think that this is not the Bright Pearl. Since there is  no action or thought that can be generated that is not of the Bright Pearl, even your going back and forth, in and out of the demon’s cave within the black mountains is nothing other than the One Bright Pearl.”

Extracts from ‘The One Bright Pearl’ (Ikka Myōju), in the “Shobogenzo”, by Eihei Dōgen

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