To study the way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be enlightened by all things. To be enlightened by all things is to remove the barriers between one's self and others. Then there is no trace of enlightenment, though enlightenment itself continues into one's daily life endlessly.
The first time we seek the law, we are far away from the border of it. But soon after the law has been correctly transmitted to us, we are enlightened persons.
Maneesha, this is the first day of a new series of talks, devoted to the full moons. The moon is an ancient symbol of transforming the hot rays of the sun into cool, peaceful, beautiful rays. It has nothing of its own. When you see the moon, you are seeing only a mirror which is reflecting the rays of the sun. Those reflected rays are just like the ones you can see when the sun is reflected in a river.
The moon is a mirror but not only a mirror, it is also a transforming agent. It changes the heat rays into cool, peaceful rays. That is the reason why the moon has become the most significant symbol in the East.
This series is dedicated to the full moons. In the series itself we are going to discuss one of the most unique masters, Dogen.
Before I enter into the sutras, it will be good for you to know something about Dogen. That background will help you to understand his very condensed sutras. Apparently they look contradictory. Without the background of Dogen’s life pattern they are like trees without roots, they cannot bring flowers. So first I will talk about Dogen’s life structure.
Dogen was born into an aristocratic family in Kyoto, eight hundred years ago. His father was a high-ranking government minister and he himself was a uniquely intelligent child. It is said that he began to read Chinese poetry at the age of four….
Another Mozart…. Chinese is perhaps the most difficult language in the world, because it has no alphabet. It is pictorial and to read it means years of hard work to memorize those symbols. To the born Chinese it is not so difficult, because from the very birth it becomes ingrained into his mind, but anybody who is studying Chinese from the outside world…I have been told by friends that it takes ten years at least, if one works strenuously; thirty years if one works the way any ordinary student will work.
At the age of four, to understand Chinese – and not only Chinese, but Chinese poetry; that makes it even more difficult. Because to understand the prose of any language is simple, but the poetry has wings, it flies to faraway places. Prose is very marketplace, very earthly; it creeps on the earth. Poetry flies. What prose cannot say, poetry can manage to indicate. Prose is connected with your mind, poetry is more connected with your heart; it is more like love than like logic.