From the ‘Genjo Koan’ (現成公按), by Eihei Dogen

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“when you sail out in a boat to the midst of an ocean where no land is in sight, and view the four directions, the ocean looks circular, and does not look any other way. The ocean is neither round nor square; its features are infinite in variety. It is like a palace. It is like a jewel. It only looks circular as far as you can see at that time. All things are like this. Though there are many features in the dusty world and the world beyond conditions, you see and understand only what your eye of practice can reach. In order to learn the nature of the myriad things, you must know that although they may look round or square, the other features of oceans and mountains are infinite in variety; whole worlds are there. It is so not only around you, but also directly beneath your feet, or in a drop of water.

A fish swims in the ocean, and no matter how far it swims there is no end to the water. A bird flies in the sky, and no matter how far it flies, there is no end to the air. However, the fish and the bird have never left their elements. When their activity is large their field is large. When their need is small their field is small. Thus, each of them totally covers its full range, and each of them totally experiences its realm. If the bird leaves the air it will die at once. If the fish leaves the water it will die at once. Know that water is life and air is life. The bird is life and the fish is life. Life must be the bird and life must be the fish. It is possible to illustrate this with more analogies. Practice, enlightenment, and people are like this.

Now if a bird or a fish tries to reach the end of its element before moving in it, this bird or this fish will not find its way or its place. When you find your place where you are, practice occurs, actualising the fundamental point. When you find your way at this moment, practice occurs, actualising the fundamental point; for the place, the way, is neither large nor small, neither yours nor others’. The place, the way, has not carried over from the past, and it is not merely arising now. Accordingly, in the practice-enlightenment of the buddha way, meeting one thing is mastering it; doing one practice is practicing completely.

Here is the place; here the way unfolds. The boundary of realisation is not distinct, for the realisation comes forth simultaneously with the mastery of buddha- dharma. Do not suppose that what you realize becomes your knowledge and is grasped by your consciousness. Although actualised immediately, the inconceivable may not be distinctly apparent. Its appearance is beyond your knowledge.

From the ‘Genjo Koan’ (現成公按), by Eihei Dogen

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