To miss the moment is to miss life itself. Before we know it our lives will be over and we’ll look back and wonder what happened. Again, in Fukanzazengi Dogen says, “You have gained the pivotal opportunity of human form. Do not use your time in vain. You are maintaining the essential working of the Buddha Way. Who would take wasteful delight in the spark from the flintstone? Besides, form and substance are like the dew on the grass, destiny like the dart of lightning— emptied in an instant, vanished in a flash. Please, honored followers of Zen, long accustomed to groping for the elephant, do not be suspicious of the true dragon. Devote your energies to a way that directly indicates the absolute. Revere the person of complete attainment who is beyond all human agency. Gain accord with the enlightenment of the buddhas; succeed to the legitimate lineage of the ancestors’ samadhi. Constantly perform in such a manner and you are assured of being a person such as they. Your treasure-store will open of itself, and you will use it at will.”

It seems remarkable that all of these teachings can be contained in awareness, but they are. As I said, it’s a very simple practice but it’s very difficult to do and it is incredibly profound.

The capping verse:

Ten thousand kinds of clever talk—
how can they be compared to the great reality?
From within the myriad forms,
the single body is revealed.

No matter how much we talk about it, the direct experience of reality itself cannot be even remotely approached by descriptions, by talk, by analysis. That’s why I always say that every single skillful means in the history of Buddhism has been designed to self-destruct. So don’t hold on to any of it. It is the truth that we are ultimately concerned with.

 

 

From within the myriad forms, the single body is revealed. Among the ten thousand things, when you enter the realm that stops all permutations and combinations, all internal dialogue, the truth of the universe is revealed. But the single body is the myriad forms. So what is it? You live in it, so don’t take it for granted. Be aware of it and please, take care of it.


True Dharma Eye: Master Dogen’s Three Hundred Koans is a complete, modern English translation of Master Dogen’s Three Hundred Koan Shobogenzo. This collection, translated by Kazuaki Tanahashi and John Daido Loori, is accompanied by John Daido Loori’s commentary, capping verse, and footnotes.