We can say the same thing about all sentient beings. When you are talking to a beggar in the street, or talking to the President of the United States, it should be in the same way, with the same respect. But that is not what happens. We wet our pants when we are talking to the President and we look down our noses when we are talking to the beggar in the street.
“Never change your attitude according to your materials. If you do, it is like varying your truth when speaking with different people—then you are not a true practitioner of the Way.” Whether it is a child, someone lying on their deathbed, a peer, a superior, or a junior—each and every one deserves the same respect. If it can start there, it can go to the ten thousand things: every tree, every blade of grass, every animal, every adversary—not two. If you can see it that way, you can understand the essential principle of this incredible Dharma, the essential teaching of the great Diamond Net of Indra, where everything interpenetrates with everything else, everything is mutually causal. We share the same causality. What you do and what happens to you are the same thing. Master Dogen says, “This is the way to turn things while being turned by things.”
In another fascicle he states, “To advance the self and to realize the ten thousand things is not the true Dharma; to realize that the ten thousand things advance and realize the self is the true teaching.” To turn the ten thousand things, and to be turned by the ten thousand things—this is the interpenetration of differences. And you can only do that when you really trust yourself; you can only do that when you truly understand that self and other are two parts of the same reality. Just as form is exactly emptiness and emptiness is exactly form, so too is self exactly other and other exactly self.