The capping verse: “Utterly devoid of abilities, the guide can’t lead. Lost in self-deception, the evil one can’t find his way. Take off the blinders, set down the pack and see. Beyond god masks and devil masks, there is a Way.” “Utterly devoid of abilities, the guide can’t lead.” These are the abilities of wisdom and compassion, and he doesn’t have them.

“Lost in self-deception the evil one can’t find his way.” He’s being led by the delusion of the self as separate. He’ll never find the Way. The Way is right where we stand, but if you’re locked up in the bag of skin and think that’s who you are, you’re missing it.

“Take off the blinders and set down the pack and see.” The blinders prevent us from seeing anything other than what is right in front of us: our goals. It’s all we see. The blinders are buying into the hoax that’s propagated by governments, institutions, religions, newspapers, magazines, and media. “Set down the pack.” The pack is the baggage we carry around with us. It’s the conditioning of parents, teachers, nation, peers; all of it needs to be stripped away before we can trust ourselves.

“Beyond god masks and devil masks, there is a Way.” God masks is one side, devil masks is the other side. Good, bad; up, down; heaven, hell; this, that; self, other—all those dualities. Beyond those dualities there is the Way. The Middle Way. The Way of all buddhas. You carry it around with you, you’re born with it, you’ll die with it, whether you realize it or not. You have the ability to realize it. You’re born as a fully equipped buddha. It’s just a matter of making it real. Nobody can do that for you. Nobody can tell you what to do. Don’t ask Buddhism or me to give you a list of things to do. Make your own list. Empower yourself. You are a buddha. Act like one. Live like one. Be what you are

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