He said, “There is no question of convincing me. Nobody comes into the world with a name. All kinds of names are given – labels stuck, glued – and you become the label. You forget completely that you had come without any name, without any fame. And you will die in the same way.
“Tell your teacher to come here to face the lion. If he has the capacity to move inwards, only then can he know what it means to be a buddha; what it means to be enlightened. By somebody else becoming enlightened you cannot understand it – it is just like when somebody else drinks water it cannot quench your thirst.”
Alexander touched the feet of the old man and said, “I am sorry to disturb you. Perhaps we don’t understand each other’s language at all.”
And it is even today true: the Western mind and the Western educated mind – it may have been born in the East – has forgotten the language which Dogen is going to use. You have to be very conscious, very alert, that you don’t misunderstand. A different world, a different climate which used to be here, which had made this world a beautiful searching and seeking pilgrimage…. Now it is only a marketplace for purchasing arms, and fighting and killing and wars. Who bothers about meditation? It seems to be a very faraway echo. It does not seem to be related with us in any way. But unless you are open to this faraway echo, you will not understand what Dogen is saying.
When we look around our boat on the mountainless ocean, we see nothing but the circular shape of the ocean. But this large ocean is not circular or square; its other shapes and movements are innumerable. To fish it is like a palace. To celestial beings it is like a necklace. Only as far as the eye can reach, does it temporarily appear circular.
Its circularness is only an appearance. Although when you see it, it is there, you know that it is not a reality. If you go towards it you will never reach it; it will go on receding…it is the horizon. But it has a certain reality of its own, although it is not the ultimate reality. Our body is our circumference, our horizon. It appears, it lives, it breathes, yet it is not our very self.
This is also the case with all things. All things worldly and unworldly have various aspects, but we can see and realize them only through practical understanding.
For a blind man there is no light.
It happened…A very learned scholar was blind, in the times of Gautam Buddha. And he was so articulate in argumentation that the whole village was tortured by him, because everybody tried, “You are blind, that’s why light is not within your reach.”