This moment in India has been called sandhya. The word comes from a root, sandhi, the boundary line. From day to night, there is a gap when the day disappears and the night begins – a discontinuity. Ordinarily sandhya means evening. But the mystics have used sandhya to mean meditation. They have used it as an indication of a quantum leap, when you move from the mind to no-mind.
This anecdote says that the moon remains itself, whether it is known or not known. And you are the moon. It is your freedom to know yourself or to remain ignorant. Nobody can force you to be enlightened and nobody can force you to remain unenlightened. It is just your mood. Just a small moment of silent watching – and the explosion.
The moon has been one of the greatest objects of Zen poems, for the simple reason that it disappears and still it is there in its totality. In some way, it becomes your symbolic representation.
The moon has no intent
to cast its shadow anywhere,
Nor does the pond design to lodge the moon:
How serene the water of Hirosawa!
Hirosawa is the lake where Takuan lived. What he is saying is that existence has a quality of desirelessness. Still everything happens, but it is not motivated.
The moon has no intent to cast its shadow anywhere although the shadow will be cast in thousands of places: in rivers, in ponds, in lakes, in the ocean. But the happening is not an intention, not a desire. On the other hand, Nor does the pond design to lodge the moon. The silent pond has no desire to reflect the moon either. How serene the water of Hirosawa!
There is a life of which we are aware, a life of desire, longing, greed, lust, power – a life, in short, of motivation; a life of goals, of achievements. There is another life where Zen opens the door for you, a life without motivation. Everything happens – why bother? Even desiring enlightenment is preventing it.
It will happen. Just become the silent lake of Hirosawa. When no motivation is there, your consciousness is unclouded. No question arises, no answer is needed.
You simply are a pure existence.
Another Zen master, Moan, wrote:
Clear, clear – clearest!
I ran barefoot east and west.
Now, more lucid than the moon,
The eighty-four thousand
Mythologically, Buddhism believes that dharma, the nature of existence, has eighty-four thousand gates. That is only symbolic: it means there are as many gates as there are living beings. You don’t have to enter through anybody else’s gate, you are carrying your gate within you.