The Brightness

the whole Universe in ten directions is the brightness of the self.

the whole Universe in ten directions exists within the brightness of the self.

in the whole Universe in ten directions
there is no-one
who is not

this light illuminates
the eighteen thousand Buddha-lands
of the East.

"Buddha lands" means inside of the eyes.

the Buddha's light is not blue, yellow,
red, or white.

it was just the light that was guarded
by the dragon-gods.

it is the hundred weeds around you.

it is already their roots, stems,
twigs, leaves,
flowers, light, and color.

it is never something added or taken away.

how is it that mountains, rivers, and the Earth
suddenly appear?

the whole Universe in ten directions
is the brightness of the self.

transcendence of the common
and transcendence of the sacred
are the indigo and vermillion
of the brightness

practice and experience
are the brightness being separated
into means and end

smoke, mist, water, and stone
the way of birds
and the hidden paths

these are the turning cycle
of the brightness

the whole Universe in ten directions
is the concrete self

the present seven feet of skull and bones
is just the form and image
of the whole Universe

in ten directions

just what is this brightness
that is present in all people?


is it the monks' hall, the Buddha hall,
the kitchen, and the three gates!

the existence of each moment of totality
possesses each moment of totality

- Dōgen

from 正法眼蔵 (The Shōbōgenzō, meaning "Treasury of the True Dharma Eye") 光明 ("Kōmyō", meaning "Brightness") as translated into English by Nishijima Gudo Wafu (西嶋愚道和夫). Most of the text was left out, with the intention of making it shorter, more poetic, and to the point.

These words were spoken by Dōgen to the monks at Kannon-dori-kosho-horin-ji temple at about 2:00 in the morning on July 1, 1242 in the pouring rain. The monk who wrote the words down made a point to mention that: "At the time, the rain of the wet season fell thick and heavy, drops dripping endlessly under the eaves. 'Just what is this brightness?' The monks in the assembly could not help being pierced by [these] words."

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