Chapter 5: The Moon Never Breaks the Water
When we achieve enlightenment, it is just like the moon reflecting itself on the water. The moon will not get wet, nor is the water broken. The moonlight, however vast, reflects itself on a small quantity of water. The whole moon and the whole sky both reflect themselves even in a dewdrop on the grass, or in a drop of water.
As the moon never breaks the water, so enlightenment never destroys the man. As the dewdrop never obstructs the reflection of the moon, so a man never obstructs the coming of enlightenment. The deeper the moon reflects itself in the water, the higher the moon is. We should realize that the long and short of time are quite one with the large and small of water, and the broad and narrow of the moon.
Maneesha, Dogen is making a very specific point. It deserves absolute attention and concern, because he is saying nobody obstructs your enlightenment. Then why are you not enlightened? Nobody in the whole existence is interested in becoming an obstacle to you. It is something of major significance that has to be understood.
As we go along in the sutra, I would like to make it clear to you what it is that is obstructing. Certainly you are not obstructing it. And existence loves it, rejoices in it. The whole universe dances in every man’s enlightenment. One part of it, which had been groping in the dark, has come back home in its full glory. The whole existence receives him with a showering of flowers. So there is no question of any obstruction from existence. And there is no question about yourself. Then who is obstructing? There certainly are obstructions; otherwise there would be no need to become enlightened - you would be enlightened. There would be no need for any master to tell you. It is a little bit complicated, but not so complicated that you cannot understand and overcome it. Dogen says:
When we achieve enlightenment, it is just like the moon reflecting itself on the water.
So peaceful, so silent. The moon reflects on the surface of the water. In fact, nothing is happening. The moon is in its own place, it has not moved even a little inch towards the water; nor is the water disturbed even a little bit.
But in a silent lake the moon’s reflection becomes even more beautiful than the moon itself, because the lake also adds some beauty to it. It makes it more alive and more fragile.
Enlightenment - according to Dogen, and I agree with him absolutely - is just like the moon reflecting itself on the water. There is no effort on the part of the water, that the moon has to be reflected. There is no commandment that has to be followed, no doctrines that have to be practiced, no yoga postures.so that the moon can reflect itself in the water. There is not even a desire, not even a longing.not even a faint longing. And the same is the situation on the part of the moon - the moon has no desire to be reflected. Both are desireless, but the reflection happens on its own accord. So does enlightenment. Just in a silent, peaceful consciousness it suddenly reflects your buddhahood.