Monday, October 12, 2009

Dogen's Genjo Koan: Section Six

Enlightenment is like the moon reflected on the water. The moon does not get wet, nor is the water broken. Although its light is wide and great, the moon is reflected even in a puddle an inch wide. The whole moon and the entire sky are reflected in dewdrops on the grass, or even in one drop of water.

Enlightenment does not divide you, just as the moon does not break the water. You cannot hinder enlightenment, just as a drop of water does not hinder the moon in the sky. The depth of the drop is the height of the moon. Each reflection, however long or short its duration, manifests the vastness of the dewdrop, and realizes the limitlessness of the moonlight in the sky.

This section is about the relationship between relative and absolute or ordinary beings and enlightenment. Enlightenment is true nature, true reality and is here represented by the moon. The relative, finite, personal mind is represented by water, which reflects the absolute.

The moon does not get wet,

You cannot hinder enlightenment. The absolute is unborn and unconditioned, it isn't obstructed by our conditioning, our karma, our relative minds. It is always fully manifested. The particular cannot obstruct the whole, for it always is a manifestation of the whole. Being empty of self-nature, it is delusion to imagine that we can be anything other than Buddha.

nor is the water broken.

Enlightenment does not divide you. True realisation does not create a duality out of enlightenment and samsara. An ordinary being who does not know enlightenment creates a duality out of samsara and imagined enlightenment. An ordinary being who has glimpsed enlightenment may create a duality out of samsara and recalled enlightenment. True enlightenment is to see that there is no duality between samsara and enlightenment. Or as Dogen put it earlier 'no trace of realisation remains'.

Although its light is wide and great, the moon is reflected even in a puddle an inch wide. The whole moon and the entire sky are reflected in dewdrops on the grass, or even in one drop of water.

If we examine a particular thing carefully we cannot find it's essence, all we find is conditions produced by conditions produced by conditions which ultimately include the whole universe. Buddha nature is universal - it is perfectly expressed without hindrance through each particular thing no matter how small. Each particular is the entire vastness of the universal.

The depth of the drop is the height of the moon. Each reflection, however long or short its duration, manifests the vastness of the dewdrop, and realizes the limitlessness of the moonlight in the sky.

The mind is the universe and the universe is the mind. Buddha nature or enlightenment are not something separate or additional to the self and the world. They are the true self and the true world. They are the actual nature of things at all times.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful article.
    Yes, universe is mind, and mind is universe.
    Therefore, all the thoughts and emotions we feel: sad, happy, stressed out, relaxed, etc. are nothing more than the ebbs and flows of the universe as a whole.
    Thanks,
    Vik
    EasternSpirit at aol.com

    ReplyDelete